#205Live – A great concept that has room for improvement
When the Cruiserweight Classic concluded earlier this year, WWE decided to give fans a chance to see talent with a unique skill set. The company re-branded the lost cruiserweight division and put several stars on the big stage, Monday Night Raw. However, it didn’t seem like the talent that awed fans at Full Sail University were getting the opportunity they earned. Last night, WWE looked to make it all better with the debut of 205 Live (only on the WWE Network). Airing right after SmackDown Live, this new show gives cruiserweight’s 45 minutes to an hour to do what they do best.
How did it go? Here are some things I liked and some things than could be improved:
What I liked:
The show has promise, especially now that more talent are able to compete on the show. Seeing Jack Gallagher was a welcoming sight. The main hailing from Manchester, U.K. was one of the breakout stars during the CWC, and he didn’t disappoint in his return to the WWE spotlight. He could easily become a fan favorite and I am excited to see what his future holds.
I enjoyed hearing Mauro Ranallo on commentary as he was calling the matches, without any filler involved. Having Corey Graves on the show provides an interesting dynamic between the two that could be very entertaining. Giving Austin Aries something to do until he recuperates from his injury is a smart move. He will definitely provide a type of commentary we haven’t seen since CM Punk in 2011.
Rich Swann becoming the new Cruiserweight Champion may have been the best way to launch 205 Live. He has been a fan favorite for quite some time, and he has shown how gifted he is week in and week out. THE Brian Kendrick’s story was great, and it looks like he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It was time however for some new blood to take over. Seeing Swann climb up the ranks and live out his dream is a moment I’m sure he will never forget. Dedicating his win to his deceased mother added on to a great, emotional moment.
What can be improved:
My main concern is doing the show right after SmackDown Live. Seeing an almost empty arena as the main event started was disheartening to say the least. Three hour shows can be tiring (see Monday Night Raw), and this doesn’t really do the show any favors. An idea would be to go back to doing shows at Full Sail University, but I understand the want for getting these guys more exposure.
Just like WWE used to do with their WWEECW shows, it would be interesting to have the event at a smaller arena where the fans will have their voices heard. Fan reaction is key to making or breaking a show, and having some support would be a big benefit. Another option would be to tape/have the show before SmackDown so the crowd’s interest level is sharp.
In order to get people invested in the wrestlers, they have to put on performances that separate themselves. On Raw, we have mainly seen tag matches between the competitors. I would suggest doing what made the CWC popular; singles action with no limits. Fans want to see how much of a “Premiere Athlete” Tony Nese is, and a singles match could showcase his potential. Instead of making T.J. Perkins portray a video game character, have him be the lovable underdog who won the CWC. Simply put: Let everyone be themselves.
The first episode of 205 Live was a major improvement the crusierweight division needed. It’s a step in the right direction, and the hope is that it continues down that road. Here’s hoping everyone can give it a shot, including the head honcho’s in Stamford, Connecticut.
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