The Cruiserweight division has had it’s fair share of ups and downs since they joined the WWE roster. The 32 man Cruiserweight Classic that took place over the summer of 2016 was an exciting and innovative way to introduce the new superstars to WWE audiences, detailing each man’s fighting style, ethnic background, and cultural upbringing into the world of sports entertainment. When it was announced that the high-flyers would be given their very own T.V. program on the network, dubbed 205 Live, most fans general reaction (myself included) was jubilance.
Then the show aired, and while certainly not the worst wrestling program, wasn’t compelling enough to draw a strong number of viewers. Neville running as 205’s ultimate baddie was a fun time for the purple brand, but the decision to shift all of the focus to a much less talented Enzo Amore proved to be a massive hammer to the creativeness of the show. Fate took over, and now Enzo is no longer an employee for the WWE, so the company made a decision: go back to basics.
That’s at least the mindset of COO and 14-time world champion Triple-H. In a recent interview with CBS Sports’ In This Corner Podcast the King of Kings discusses the new approach to getting the cruiserweights to connect with audiences. He states:
“I think it’s a work in progress. I think we did the ‘Cruiserweight Classic’ and it was an excitement and an opportunity. We jumped on making it into its own show, but I don’t know if that was totally just kind of thought out in the right way or done in the right way. I think we made an attempt at it that. Vince will say a lot that the business is like flavors — chocolate and vanilla — and not everyone is going to agree on the flavors. So we went in the direction of a certain flavor. We gave them vanilla and people weren’t buying the flavor of vanilla, so we went back to chocolate and people are seeming to like that again.”
He’s certainly correct about liking the show again. 205 Live had a tendency to treat it’s viewers as if they’d never seen a wrestling show before, with zero stakes, character development, or angles that were original enough or unique enough to draw interest. Since Enzo’s departure they’ve hired new General Manager Drake Maverick, whose charming personae fits in perfectly with current cruiserweight roster. Trips goes on.
“I think 205 continues to be a work in progress. I’m excited about that opportunity for all of the athletes there because, for a lot of them, there was no road in front of them. There was no big path, and it was doing what they were doing but this opened up doors for them. Hopefully it will continue to grow, much like NXT has, much like the [United Kingdom efforts] will and all of that. I think there is tremendous opportunity and in some way we are just kind of nicking the surface of where we will be.”
The full interview can be listened to here, where Triple-H and Mauro Ranallo discuss with the CBS the long-term plan for NXT and how its success may mean big things for the wrestling industry down the line. We can certainly agree that NXT has been one of the definite highlights of not only owning the WWE network, but making Big Four PPV weekends feel important again. Hopefully, all this hindsight will lead to better things for 205 Live. For now…it seems viewers are not ready to give the show another chance yet.