The biggest question heading into Great Balls of Fire this Sunday, at least from a cruiserweight perspective, is whether or not Neville will remain the face of the division. Most would agree that Neville is the best thing to have happened to 205 Live since its inception, and that his dark, angry character has done wonders for the brand and his own career.
Neville has gone from a mighty mouse-inspired, cape-wearing babyface to a legitimate, aggressive force to be taken seriously -- and he has the longest reign of any champion on the main roster to show for it.
At Great Balls of Fire, Neville will have held the cruiserweight championship for 161 days, the third-longest reign in the history of the title and the longest since the championship was reintroduced in September. In short, the "King of the Cruiserweights" is in the midst of one of the greatest reigns in the division's history.
But in wrestling, little is precious and no title reign lasts forever. Akira Tozawa, thanks in large part to his allegiance to Titus O'Neil's newly founded Titus Worldwide stable, has caught on with audiences of late -- well enough, in fact, to at least be considered a threat come Sunday.
Case in point: The two other members of Titus Worldwide, O'Neil himself and Apollo Crews, were featured in the main event segment of RAW this week. Granted, their involvement was part of a losing effort at the hands of Braun Strowman, but to be featured in that time slot has to be considered a major win for all involved in Titus Worldwide.
That could also mean good things for Tozawa come Sunday night.
It was a bit curious that Tozawa was absent from both RAW and 205 Live this week, just days before the biggest match of his WWE career, but O'Neil did a commendable job filling the void.
O'Neil kicked off 205 Live Tuesday night by selling Tozawa as the man to dethrone the king, only to be interrupted by the champ.
Neville addressed O'Neil: "What a charismatic leader you have become. But you see the problem is that all of this is a fantasy."
Neville went on to point out the shortcomings of O'Neil and Crews on RAW this week, and invited him to sit ringside to observe his warm-up match this week against Lince Dorado.
Despite putting up a fight, Dorado fell victim to the Rings of Saturn submission, which forced him to tap out -- keeping the champion looking strong heading into Great Balls of Fire.
- WWE (@WWE) July 5, 2017
As we move ahead to Sunday's showdown, the Tozawa threat is alive, but the question remains: Will he claim victory and become the WWE cruiserweight champion?
Tozawa has clearly elevated himself in becoming championship material on 205 Live, but when all is said and done, Sunday doesn't quite seem like the right time to take the strap off of Neville just yet.
Just days after Great Balls of Fire, Neville would pass Tajiri and claim the No. 2 spot on the list of longest cruiserweight championship reigns. A historic title reign deserves an extraordinary culmination, and while Neville's rivalry with Tozawa feels like it's budding into something that could eventually reach that point, Great Balls of Fire doesn't seem like the right stage.
Perhaps there isn't a superstar currently on the 205 Live roster who has reached the "Neville level," so to speak. The roster is talented, but this title reign's conclusion should come at the hands of someone who has undoubtedly caught fire in a similar way to Neville -- and that simply hasn't happened yet.
Hits & Misses
- WWE (@WWE) July 5, 2017
• Rich Swann and TJP renewed their rivalry on Tuesday night in a technically sound and athletic main event. No surprise there. Both superstars are supremely talented and have a great deal of chemistry. The highly competitive back-and-forth affair came to an end after a series of rollup attempts where Swann squeaked out a three-count and a win.
The abruptness of the final sequence suggests that there is more to come on this front. That is good news, as both Swann and TJP bring the best out of each other in the ring (and have some real chemistry outside of it as well).
• Gentleman Jack Gallagher went one-on-one with the Premier Athlete, Tony Nese, in a rematch of their collision two weeks ago (when Nese feigned injury to sneak out a victory over the talented Manchester native). The solid match, which featured an innovative inverted torture rack submission by Nese, ended much differently than the original encounter. Nese attempted to fake another injury, but Gallagher didn't bite this time around, snagging the win via a running dropkick.
• A quick backstage conversation between Noam Dar and Alicia Fox seemed to suggest that Dar's dealings with Cedric Alexander aren't done, even after Alexander's convincing win over Dar on RAW this week and Dar's reluctance to continue the conflict. That's unfortunate, as this particular love triangle story has run its course several times over. A transition to something fresh would be beneficial to both superstars and fans alike.