“The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese is undoubtedly one of the Cruiserweight division's rising stars and earned an impressive victory against Mustafa Ali last week on WWE 205 Live. Harnessing his uncanny agility and power, Nese certainly has a physical advantage over many Superstars in the division. However, he faced his biggest challenge in singles competition to date – inaugural Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins.
Early in the contest, Perkins relied on his speed to avoid strikes from Nese. TJP enjoyed an advantage until The Premier Athlete's astute ring awareness kicked in and he used his natural strength to take control of the contest. Despite some flurries of offense from Perkins, Nese dominated much of the contest. However, one slight slip by Nese allowed the former Cruiserweight Champion to capitalize and secure the win.
After the contest, an irate Nese attacked Perkins, throwing him into the turnbuckle with a German suplex, then adding an exclamation point with an impactful running knee strike.
Following Tajiri's debut on WWE 205 Live, The Brian Kendrick approached his fellow veteran, seeking friendship and an alliance. Instead, The Japanese Buzzsaw spit his patented green mist in Kendrick's face. Humiliated, The Man with a Plan is demanding respect from new Cruiserweights looking to make a name for themselves.
Kendrick faced off against Toledo's own Tripp Bradshaw, who immediately had his hometown crowd in his corner. Kendrick remained unfazed with a sharp, almost disturbed look in his eyes as he methodically lashed out at Bradshaw. The local competitor's evening was cut short when Kendrick applied the Captain's Hook for the submission victory.
In the midst of an effort to move beyond the drama with Alicia Fox and Noam Dar and focus on his in-ring career, Cedric Alexander faced his greatest challenge to date – Neville. Seeking advice from Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann before the match, Alexander was reassured about the task at hand when Swann advised him to do what he does best.
After countering a handful of respective maneuvers, Neville relied on his strength and veteran experience to take control of the contest. However, Alexander used his natural speed and physical similarities to The King of the Cruiserweights to swing momentum back in his favor, keeping Neville on defense outside the ring.
Neville challenges Rich Swann for the Cruiserweight Championship at Royal Rumble
Regaining his composure, Neville tossed his opponent into the barricade before taking him back in the ring and methodically dismantling Alexander. Seemingly taking pleasure in inflicting as much pain as possible, Neville was no doubt sending a message to his Royal Rumble opponent, Cruiserweight Champion Swann.
Displaying his resilience, Alexander battled back, executing fast, high-risk moves to nearly defeated The King of the Cruiserweights multiple times. Following an incredible back and forth between both competitors, Alexander prepared to put the match away when Dar came running down to the ring.
Although he took out Dar, the distraction was enough to force Alexander to slip off the top rope into Neville's hands where he was able to force Alexander to submit.
After the match, Neville was irate that Dar offered an assist, removing the Scottish Supernova from the ring before continuing to assault Alexander. Unfazed by Neville, Dar joined the attack until Swann came to Alexander's aid. An all-out brawl between Neville and Swann erupted and was only suppressed by officials racing to the scene to pull them apart.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- TJ Perkins defeated Tony Nese (8:29)
- The Brian Kendrick defeated Tripp Bradshaw (2:12)
- Neville defeated Cedric Alexander (14:29)
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