205 Live: King Neville reigns supreme

Neville defeated TJP to retain the cruiserweight championship on 205 Live Courtesy @WWENetwork

After a couple of months of a feud between the division's top two stars, Neville and Austin Aries, the cruiserweight division has leapt forward impressively over three days.

First, Neville defended his championship at Extreme Rules in a submission match against Aries. Monday Night, the tenuous alliance between Neville and TJP blew up, leading to an immediate title match between the two on Tuesday night's edition of 205 Live.

It wasn't surprising that the Neville-TJP alliance ended, and abruptly so, but since the alliance only lasted two months, a few concerns come to mind.

-- Did the split lack impact after the two aligned just for a couple of months?

-- With three singles losses to Neville, was Perkins a legitimate threat for the title?

-- Where would a loss this leave TJP after a heel turn following a face run where he turned irrelevant?

The concerns were all taken care of in their main event bout.

There's always a question about the style of match when two clear heels (or faces, for that matter) square off, but these competitors' heel styles match up better than many tradition heel-versus-face contests. Neville is a physical force, with Braun Strowman's injury, he could be the best "monster heel" in all of WWE right now. Perkins is cocky, defiant, technically sound, but not physically overwhelming.

Before the match, Perkins cut a backstage promo saying that the division was him, and that Neville now faced a "TJP problem," showing an air of seriousness that set him more up as a serious contender.

The match itself started with an intense showdown as Neville's aggression was turned up to 11 while TJP refused to back down. Perkins absorbed Neville's early offense and dealt it right back, making clear that this wasn't going to be a squash match similar to what they had when Neville first arrived in the division.

Neville took control and showcased his offense and brutality. A notable moment occurred when Neville dropped TJP on the announce table and seemed content to take the countout victory. His look of bewildered disgust when Perkins got back in the ring momentarily before the 10 count really sold what Neville is right now.

The ending sequence was also well done. TJP caught an overly-confident Neville with a dragon screw leg whip, a dropkick to the knee and, eventually, the knee bar. A moment of doubt crept in. What seemed like an inevitable Neville victory now could be turned into a surprise Perkins win. The WWE had provided constant reminders that he is the first cruiserweight champion, showing highlights from last summer's Cruiserweight Classic.

But Neville took advantage of TJP momentarily releasing the hold to pull him away from the rope and locked in the Rings of Saturn, folding Perkins in ways he wasn't meant to be folded, causing him to tap.

Where does this leave Perkins?

Rich Swann and Jack Gallagher both took a big step back after losing to Neville and Aries' status remains up on the air after not being seen this week. Perkins is definitely ahead of where he was prior to his story with Neville, a net gain despite the look of doubt on his face at 205 Live went off the air.

Neville, on the flip side, regained his strength and currently stands head and shoulders above the rest of the division. He's dispatched of what could be considered numbers two and three in the division in a three-day stand.

And it's not a terrible thing that Neville wasn't left with an immediate challenger. A little time to breathe as the unquestioned "King" will serve Neville well.

Hits and misses

  • I groaned a little when Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar's feud resumed upon Alexander's return from injury, but the two had a great match, albeit overshadowed by Neville-Perkins. It couldn't have had a better ending for the feud, as Alexander shouted to a fallen Dar that he's done with this, and if Dar was smart, he would be too. Dar has become the workhorse of the cruiserweight division, and he is in the running for "most improved". His selling ability of everything from a Sasha Banks slap or a huge Lumbar check from Alexander makes him incredibly valuable.

  • Akira Tozawa being recruited by the Titus Brand sets up an interesting opportunity to blend storylines between the cruiserweight division and the main roster. I think it'll help the cruiserweights. And I wouldn't complain if it means Tozawa and Kalisto in the ring together.

  • I'm not sure where the Mustafa Ali-Drew Gulak feud will lead. Will Ali buy into Gulak's lesson after he's lost matches with backfired high-flying moves and winning with ground-based maneuvers? I like not knowing where this one is going.