Noam Dar has had his share of issues with WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese in recent months, facing off against The Premier Athlete in a losing effort in November. Former tag team partners on a handful of occasions, Dar and Nese’s animosity has only continued to fester, putting them at odds once more on WWE 205 Live.
Nese arrived to the contest without his training partner at ringside, ready to prove beyond a doubt that he is a better athlete and competitor than The Scottish Supernova. However, as the match got underway, Nese’s attempts to showcase his power were met by Dar’s brilliant counters that kept him on the defense. The ever-confident Premier Athlete was again mocked as Dar flexed after countering an offensive strike.
Using his speed and strength, Nese enjoyed a swing of momentum into his favor, however The Scottish Supernova continued outwitting his opponent, driving him to retreat outside the ring. The strategy paid off for Nese, finding an opening to attack and stop Dar’s dominant advantage.
The two Superstars continued to battle back and forth with The Premier Athlete maintaining an edge thanks to his agility and power. With his growing frustrations after a series of near-falls, Nese, too, began to maximize pain and pressure on his opponent with his own technical ability. Finding a reprieve as Nese taunted the WWE Universe, Dar turned the tide, eventually kicking his opponent off the top rope leading to a series of strikes that nearly secured the victory.
As the battle continued, neither competitor could maintain a solid advantage, but Nese’s raw strength seemed to be too much for The Scottish Supernova. After an eye-popping powerslam, Nese dragged Dar to the corner, no doubt preparing for a potential running knee strike. However, Dar fooled Nese and rolled him up for the three-count.
After suffering a crushing defeat to Mustafa Ali last year, Hideo Itami returned to action and continued to not only demand respect but set his sights on the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. In the process, Itami forged a new alliance with Ariya Daivari and only the former champion – Cedric Alexander – stands in the way of a title opportunity at WWE Royal Rumble.
The implications of the match were enormous, Alexander has previously defeated Itami and despite a loss to Buddy Murphy at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, he hasn’t lost sight of the Cruiserweight division’s ultimate prize.
Knowing Itami’s hard-hitting ability, Alexander was careful and deliberate in his early advances, focusing on Itami’s left arm and hoping to neutralize the Japanese striker. Despite Alexander’s strategy, Itami found an opening to begin unleashing strikes, specifically his powerful kicks. The former champion managed to regain control but was clearly favoring his chest following Itami’s brutal strikes.
Alexander managed to stay one step ahead of Itami and continued to keep the pressure on his opponent. However, outside the ring, Daivari took advantage of the official being distracted and leveled Alexander, giving Itami exactly the opportunity he needed to unleash more devastating kicks.
As Itami continued to dole out punishment, the ever-resilient Alexander continued to fight back but was again stopped in his tracks with another kick and a leg drop to the back of his head and neck. With encouragement from Daivari, Itami continued to maintain control of the bout.
Channeling the energy from the WWE Universe, Alexander reversed a hold from Itami and managed to initiate a sequence of high-octane strikes before taking his opponent down with a Flatliner. However, Alexander continued to favor his chest. As the Queen City’s favorite son continued to press on, Itami countered a neutralizer that left Alexander dazed in the corner. Itami capitalized and hit his opponent with a running knee strike. Following a near-falls, The Japanese Superstar continued to weaken the former champion with hard-hitting strikes and maneuvers but was unable to score a pinfall.
With the stakes higher than ever, Alexander and Itami exchanged blows in the center of the ring. Alexander gained the upper hand and was able to successfully execute the neutralizer, but he was still unable to secure the victory. With the WWE Universe in his favor, Alexander rallied, trying to execute the Lumbar Check, but to no avail.
After Daivari pulled Itami out of the ring to help him, both The Persian Lion and Itami found themselves flattened after Alexander took to the skies, soaring over the top rope. With the WWE Universe on the edge of their seats, Daivari tried to grab Alexander’s leg as he headed back into the ring. The distraction bought Itami enough time to attack his opponent and execute a shocking Falcon Arrow from the ring apron to the arena floor.
Alexander barely made the official’s 10-count, only to be welcomed back to the ring by Itami’s patented basement dropkick. Despite one last attempt to counter his opponent, Alexander found himself on the receiving end of another basement drop kick before Itami executed his double-knee jawbreaker to punch his ticket to the Fatal 4-Way at WWE Royal Rumble.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Noam Dar defeated Tony Nese (12:39)
- Hideo Itami defeated Cedric Alexander in a WWE Cruiserweight Title #1 Contendership Match (17:05)
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