Approximately six months ago, World Wrestling Entertainment introduced us to the Cruiserweight Classic, a ten week tournament that introduced viewers to 32 of the best cruiserweights in the world. Audiences thrilled at the spectacle of the action and the smash mouth feel of a real sport that the single-elimination tournament gave us. However, as good as the CWC was, any wrestling fan that’s been watching for long enough knew that once WWE creative got ahold of this concept, they’d handle it with…less than tender loving care. Thus, began the WWE Network exclusive, 205Live. The show features much of the same exact talent from the CWC. But how did such a great concept go so terribly wrong?
The talent doesn’t seem to be the issue. These same performers have gained fame in other independent promotions around the world. Cedric Alexander wowed us with his high flying feats in Ring of Honor. Akira Tozawa’s hard hitting style put him on the map in Dragon Gate. Rich Swann dazzled us week in and week out right there in NXT. When given the right creative, these performers rise to the occasion more often than not. In the few months that 205 Live has been on, haphazard pushes and storylines that go nowhere have plagued the program. The creative staff needs to rethink its approach and retool current storylines.
The cruiserweights in wrestling promotions of years past would provide us with something different. High flying bouts between premiere athletes, defying gravity with each and every move, are usually what come to mind when thinking about a cruiserweight match. Thus far, we’ve been given very little ‘high flying’ over the past several weeks. If the matches on 205 Live are going to look exactly the same as the matches we see on Raw and SmackDown Live, then what is the point of this division? Let’s see some more exciting offense on 205 Live.
The biggest hurdle for 205 Live to overcome, one that not even the talent or creative can overcome alone, is that the show is aired directly following SmackDown Live. After nearly three hours of hard hitting action of SmackDown and the taping of WWE Main Event, the audience is drained and not interested in watching what is perceived to be a lesser show. The arena is populated at a fraction of what SmackDown was just minutes before. The apathy of the audience in attendance is infectious and affects the television viewers (the show is averaging 14th most watched show on the WWE Network). The simple solution to this dilemma, record the show BEFORE SmackDown Live.
It is too soon to consider 205 Live a complete failure. All of the ingredients are there to make an amazing show. We just need the cooks in the kitchen to stop frakking up the recipe.