The Next Steps in Taking 205 Live to New Heights

With 205 LIVE appearing to have had a revival recently, it has been pointed out by many fans that the show has been far stronger than it has ever been. After introducing a general manager as well as an entertaining and unpredictable tournament to crown a new Cruiserweight champion, there is a greater interest in both the division and 205 Live, the show. However, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Pretty much from the get-go, I and many others have claimed that the best option for the Cruiserweights was moving the division to Smackdown LIVE. It makes perfect sense. 205 Live airs every Tuesday after Smackdown, Daniel Bryan works with the division more than the RAW general manager, and there has always been a stronger position for these guys on the blue brand. Of course, Monday night RAW is a three-hour show and so you would like to believe that there is more than enough time for the division to be showcased on a weekly basis but that hasn’t been the case at all.

We barely see these guys used on RAW and when they are, the booking is so weak no one even has an interest. Moving them to Smackdown LIVE does mean the blue brand is under more pressure to show all its brightest stars every week, but also, every week we’re getting something different. In return, every division is being used right,  having its time, and fans can actually find a reason to care again.

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This also means that some 205 LIVE stars could be working two matches or two segments a night but that only works in favour of the superstars and the division as a whole; more exposure can only mean growth. Plus, it helps storylines to come across as far more effective. Say we have a segment between two Cruiserweights on the SD Live roster who clash on 205 later on in the night while another group of stars works actual matches for Smackdown. Effectively, this allows us as fans to learn more about the stars on the roster which is something the WWE has struggled with from day one.

As we have touched on, Daniel Bryan has already shown signs of having a stronger personal connection with the stars of 205 Live. Despite the fact that Smackdown is a shorter show, there’s a far more likely chance the division will not be neglected to the level it has been on RAW. While 205 Live has grown massively in recent months we still see no changes on how these guys are booked on Monday nights.

Whether the division eventually gets the move it needs to Smackdown LIVE or not, one thing it is going to seriously benefit from is new additions. Now, there is no denying that the talent is there already. The likes of Drew Gulak, Cedric Alexander, Noam Darr and many more are extremely talented men that could lead the division and deliver matches we could all note as some of the best we have seen in a long time. However, it’s been two years and we haven’t really had anything.

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The WWE has failed to bring these characters to life, educate fans on who they are and give us all reasons to tune in and get behind them. Looking ahead, what we need is new faces that bring star quality. The arrival of Rockstar Spud has shaken things up already and NXT stars making their way to the show has made a huge change, but what we need is even more in-ring talent to shine a spotlight on the division.

The likes of the recently signed Richocet along with other NXT stars including Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Fabian Aichner and Danny Burch to name just a few, would give the division the depth, character, and interest it desperately needs. These are the big star names that will send the cruiserweight division to the level it needs and deserves to be at. Just imagine a twenty-five-minute contest between Cedric Alexander and Richocet! Now, if that doesn’t get you excited I don’t know what will!

So far, we have seen Buddy Murphy and Roderick Strong amongst those NXT stars to make appearances for 205 LIVE along with UK division stars such as Tyler Bate and Mark Andrews, and the effects those names have had are huge! If this is something the WWE can keep doing then we will notice an even greater change in how much fans rate 205 Live as a star-filled, must-see show. We also have to look at past Cruiserweight stars that could make a return either to join as active members, potential future GMs, or characters as part of the show and division to shake things up. Of course, Rey Mysterio is a big name to consider!

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Excluding the cruiserweight division from the rest of the roster has been one of the biggest mistakes WWE has made. They are completely on the outside with very little interaction with the rest of the roster and not only does it make no sense, but it has clearly not benefited the stars at all. This needs to change. The more these guys are featured, the more their popularity is likely to increase, which means fans are even more likely to tune into 205 Live’s products because they have been given a reason to become invested in the stars.

Again, you start booking matches like Brian Kendrick vs Seth Rollins or Cedric Alexander vs Samoa Joe, for example, and you’re going to leave fans wanting more of these stars. It doesn’t take anything away from the cruiserweights as a division, but simply highlights them as a part of the roster by giving them all a chance to work these killer matches that allow them to climb the ladder, increase fan interest and send the division right to the top rather than isolate them from the rest of the RAW roster.

The revival of 205 Live has been focused around a tournament set to determine a new Cruiserweight champion. The tournament will come to an end at Wrestlemania and it’s sure to be an important night for the division. Who they crown as champion will shape this new direction and be a key step in pushing 205 Live to new heights. This champion must have star quality, a connection with fans and potential to lead the division to something very exciting.

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However, it’s also very important that time is given to these guys on the Grandest Stage of Them All, unlike last year where they not only were booked for the pre-show but the match didn’t even make the DVD edit. This year, giving the Cruiserweight championship a bigger spotlight is key. It will indicate the WWE are taking them more seriously, and with the potential for this match to steal the show regardless of the final two competitors, this could be a huge turn around night.