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    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Live From The 205 (4/18/17): The Late Rich Swann-Played-Us-All Edition

    The road to Payback is a road paved with good intentions, it seems. TJP's Heel Turn World Tour continues and nothing groundbreaking really happens—he's continuing to flourish in his newfound role, but the writing was logically pedestrian in this episode. They continue to establish the fact that TJ and Neville are the new power couple in the cruiserweight division, and Austin Aries has to get through both of them to win the title at Payback.

    So let's talk about Rich Swann, then. The ridiculous love triangle storyline between him, Noam Dar, and Alicia FOOOOOOOOOOX finally paid off, and man, I can definitely say I did not see that coming at all. For one thing, Noam and Alicia are finally done as a thing, so maybe we can get back to Noam being somewhat of a serious wrestler.

    The big surprise here, however, was that Rich Swann turning into a creepy, dastardly homewrecker was actually one big deliberate and cerebral ploy to break the two up to get a measure of revenge on behalf of the injured Cedric Alexander, Alicia's former love thang.

    Straight up: that was savage. Rich Swann calling all the way back to Cedric Alexander, who is now somewhat buzzing after being away for TV too long thanks to an injury? Who knew Swann had it in him to be the Severus Snape of the cruiserweights? Granted, I still wanted him to continue competing for the Cruiserweight Championship, but if he's going to settle scores like this—regardless of how slightly problematic it remains—I don't mind.

    That was honestly some writing I never expected coming out of the oft-forgotten 205 Live crew, which has to deal with having to go on at the very tail end of the live wrestling week, save for the dark main event. (Consider the fact that the crowd was quiet for all of the matches, just because they had gotten over two hours of great SmackDown Live action.) I just hope that this'll be the last kooky storyline we'll ever see on the show, and that 205 Live eventually finds its way back to the athletic, competitive environment the Cruiserweight Classic was.

    Well, one can only hope.

    Short stops

    • Interesting wrinkle in the Akira Tozawa/Brian Kendrick feud by having Tony Nese intelligently and intuitively react to Kendrick's shenanigans. It's some more logical writing having Nese lay Kendrick out after the latter caused him to lose against Akira Tozawa. Not sure if this means Nese is a babyface; I hope it doesn't, as it's a flimsy reason to turn him. I just like that Nese's reaction made a lot of sense, and it doesn't mean he has to stop being a heel. Meanwhile, Tozawa continues to charm everyone with his natural little boy charisma. I just hope they finally end this feud at Payback, if not next week's go-home episode.

    • Ariya Daivari is back on TV with a new gimmick: a rich Persian millennial. Not sure he can properly carry the gimmick, but it's nice to see them try to make him more interesting, and they're putting in some effort in highlighting the gimmick change. It's the same thing they did with Drew Gulak's conservative politician character; nobody just showed up to the ring sporting a new story. It's one more thing 205 Live amazingly gets right.

    The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 4/21/17)

    No big movements detected on the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm) this week as we're in a holding pattern until Payback in two weeks.

    • 1. Neville (champion), no movement — Neville's still your king, especially after getting the last word against Austin Aries on 205 Live.

    • 2. Austin Aries, #3 last week — The #1 contender moves back up to #2 after solidifying his contention to Neville's title and beating TJ Perkins in a hard-fought match on 205 Live. Granted, he still ate the Rings of Saturn, but he beat TJ.

    • 3. TJ Perkins, #2 last week — TJP drops down one spot after losing to Aries clean this week. He did beat Jack Gallagher on RAW, but he already did that last week, so it's nothing new.

    • 4. Akira Tozawa, #5 last week — Tozawa bounces back—albeit with the help of his nemesis. Works for me, though, as he looks stronger this week.

    • 5. Mustafa Ali, #4 last week — Loses, but only because of Gulak's interference. Had the match won, though.

    • 6. Rich Swann, no movement — Reveals his grand plan and avenges Cedric Alexander in one fell swoop.

    • 7. The Brian Kendrick, no movement — TBK didn't compete in a match, but did get laid out. Not enough to bump him down the list, though.

    • 8. Drew Gulak, #9 last week — Moves up after costing Mustafa Ali the win and advancing his agenda.

    • 9. Tony Nese, #10 last week — Lost against Tozawa, but half of it wasn't his fault. Beats Team Luchador on Main Event with Ariya Daivari.

    • 10. Jack Gallagher, #8 last week — Oh, how far Jacky Boy has fallen since the Royal Rumble. From arguably the breakthrough star of the cruiserweight division, he's since become a jobber to the stars, a weirdo who carries around an umbrella who seems to be more over than he is. He's better than that, though.

    • 11. Noam Dar, no movement — Lost a girlfriend, but is so deep down the rankings that honestly isn't that bad..

      • 12. Ariya Daivari, #14 last week — Went missing last week, but only apparently to reinvent himself as a wealthy Persian scion. Managed to beat Mustafa Ali, too.

      • 13. Gran Metalik, #12 last week — Lost to Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari on Main Event. OF ALL PEOPLE.

      • 14. Lince Dorado, #13 last week — See Gran Metalik.

      • 15. Cedric Alexander, unranked last week — Still injured, but WAS AVENGED BY RICH SWANN!

      Photo from WWE


      Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul.
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      Item Reviewed: Live From The 205 (4/18/17): The Late Rich Swann-Played-Us-All Edition Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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