As I was sitting watching the latest installment of 205 Live on the WWE Network, it got me asking myself the question of how the WWE can fix 205 Live. It is no secret that ever since the conclusion of the Cruiserweight Classic, fan interest in the Cruiserweight Division has not quite been at the levels WWE would like to see them at. There are many reasons the WWE Universe are giving for why they choose not to tune in to 205 Live each and every week. I have read all the reasons, listened to all of you out there, and now I am going to give my personal thoughts on how I feel WWE could go about fixing 205 Live.
The first way to fix 205 Live is really an easy one for me. My idea is simply to move the Cruiserweight Division from Monday Night Raw. At the moment, Raw does what it can to slot in at least two Cruiserweight segments each week. Most of the matches we get on Raw each week are repeated or slightly modified into the matches then booked on 205 Live the very next night. We do not even get a couple or few days in between these matches, we get these repeats on back to back days at the moment.
If the WWE Universe are going to invest their time in a weekly show like Raw and they already get a lot of the same content, then what could WWE possibly do to entice us enough to invest another hour of our time to tune in to 205 Live each week? If WWE were to remove the Cruiserweights from RAW and leave them exclusive to their own show, they would then be allowed to take their bigger feuds for the title and have those matches play out on the Raw PPVs or even the Smackdown Live PPVs for that matter, seeing as they do already air their show right after Smackdown Live takes place.
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The next thing on my list is to take a look at the current roster over on 205 Live. The roster is paper thin at the moment, and so proper feuds are difficult to carry out when you need to keep these guys going on television each and every week. It would be easy for the WWE to start taking people from NXT or signing new indie wrestlers and slotting them immediately into the landscape of 205 Live. This would be the easy way to go, but the larger portion of the WWE Universe may not pay close attention to the indie wrestling scene, so it would not help these new faces get noticed.
My idea to fix this issue is to bring in a second edition of the Cruiserweight Classic tournament. This time around, they could do the tournament a bit differently. We could still have qualifying matches take place around the world in the respective indie companies that the indie stars are working for. The tournament portion itself would then be held during episodes of 205 Live. One or two matches in the tournament could fill the first couple of slots on each weeks show, with the conclusion of the Tournament being held on a very special 205 Live.
The winner of this tournament should be awarded an immediate 205 Live contract and a match against the current Cruiserweight Champion. This new tournament would not only build a new star in the winner of the tournament, but it would also bring exposure to many new faces which WWE could then sign to contract, and have them mixing it up with the 205 Live Roster. A healthier and larger roster would promise less over-exposure for some of the stars and allow for a new dynamic to the Cruiserweight Division.
Next up, and one that WWE need to take a hard look at even before they consider bringing in a second edition of the Cruiserweight Classic, is looking at what made the Cruiserweight Classic such a success in the first place. What makes the Cruiserweight Division exciting is their fast paced in-ring styles. At the moment, WWE have plagued the division with a slower pacing and less of the high flying stunts that wow wrestling fans across the world. This fast paced in-ring action is exactly what can set the Cruiserweight Division apart from anything we see from Raw and Smackdown Live.
If WWE want to give fans a reason to watch 205 Live then they need to understand that we need it to be different from what we are currently getting. The Cruiserweight Classic gave us something outside the typical realm of the WWE product, but unfortunately since then the Cruiserweights have been moulded into smaller versions of what we get from the rest of the WWE roster. It also does not help their case when you see bigger guys do a high flying move on Raw or Smackdown Live and the announcers state that those guys are doing moves like a Cruiserweight. This does not give the Cruiserweight Division enough of a identity, and so most fans are not going to be interested in seeing the product then. WWE needs to release their hold over the division and let these guys wow the audiences like they did during the Cruiserweight Classic.
The other part that made the Cruiserweight Classic so special is how it was not bogged down by cheesy storylines and cartoon-like characters. At the moment, Drew Gulak, Noam Dar, Rich Swann, & Jack Gallagher are all forced into these laughable segments on 205 Live, making it hard for the vast majority of the WWE Universe to take anything they do seriously. In order to fix this problem, the WWE should take a look at giving these stars some credibility. This can be done with simple things like a video package letting us know exactly who they are. NXT is doing this extremely well at the moment. They recently aired “Who is Roderick Strong” and it was a brilliant way of helping to build up Strong and giving us an insight into the man himself. These video packages allow us to understand the passion and drive these superstars have, and as a result make us more invested in them as a character within the landscape of the WWE.
The next way I feel WWE could go about fixing 205 Live is to allow some proper gimmick matches. And not so much the ones like the Gentlemen’s Duel they forced upon us already. I am talking about gimmick matches with a real pay off. When a feud such as Aries and Neville reaches a pinnacle, it should have a finish inside a cage, a no-DQ bout, submission match, or even a Iron Man match possibly. It could also be used to build up new contenders as well, like if they were to take six competitors and place them in a six man Cruiserweight ladder match with the winner getting a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship. Adding these types of matches, blended with a rebirth in the in-ring style of the Cruiserweight Division, could add such intrigue and have the WWE Universe excited to tune in and see what could happen.
The last idea I have for how to fix 205 Live involves using competitors from outside the 205 Live roster. On the indie scene, we often see cross-brand shows where two different companies get together to create a mega event of sorts. We know the WWE is not about to run a cross promotional show with Ring Of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, or Impact Wrestling anytime soon but they really do not need to in order to accomplish this.
The WWE has done an excellent job of building up the stars of the UK Championship Tournament and have often used competitors from that tournament for matches on NXT. We recently saw title defences from Tyler Bate on NXT, where he took on Trent Severn, and even recently defended against 205 Live’s Jack Gallagher. These were great matches and a great way to continue to deliver something fresh and new. If the WWE were to do this all correctly they could build to a 205 Live special where we would see matches that included the members of the UK Championship Tournament, and even competitors from NXT as well.
There would be endless potential with matches like Pete Dunne vs Jack Gallagher, or Neville vs Tyler Bate. They would even then have a chance to use the likes of DIY to come in and compete on the show as well. I mean who out there would not want to see Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Severn) taking on DIY in a tag match? If the WWE does this right and shows respect to both show’s rosters it could end up being similar to what we see on the indie scene, only now we would be able to tune in to the WWE Network to watch it all unfold.
The WWE could build a truly special show with 205 Live, but unfortunately at the moment they do not seem certain on how to get the formula just right. I may not be the person who has all the answers – in fact I am just a fan with an opinion like all of you out there – and my views may vary quite drastically from your own. No matter what our opinions are though, I believe we can all agree that the competitors on 205 Live are giving it their all in the ring each and every week and doing the best to work with what they are being given.
If we want there to be a future for these competitors in a WWE ring, we the fans need to tune in to 205 Live on Tuesday Nights. If we do not like what they are doing with the product at the moment then we need to be more vocal about it. Do not simply ignore the division and let it die. Get out there to live shows, get online and voice your opinion, do whatever it is you need to do to let WWE know we want change in the Cruiserweight Division. If we all get together and do this, one day yet we may get the 205 Live we have all been waiting for.