The purpose of 205 Live has been a much discussed topic in wrestling ever since it debuted.
On one side of the coin, it’s hard to deny its quality. The roster have consistently produced high quality matches on a weekly basis. The tournament to crown a new Cruiserweight champion in 2018 was arguably some of WWE’s best work that year.
The constant top drawer wrestling shouldn’t be a surprise to those who regularly tuned in to the CWC in 2016. The 32 man tournament gripped viewers with a mix of emotion and high calibre athleticism and remains one of the finest products to come out of the WWE Network.
On the flip side though, the whole idea of 205 Live is one that infuriates a number of wrestling fans. To some, it instantly pigeon-holes wrestlers by their weight. As well as that, it makes them look inferior to the main roster stars almost instantly.
Probably more annoying to some though is the perceived lack of faith by some in the WWE hierarchy. The show is taped immediately following Smackdown and shown live at that point on the Network.
As the three hour Monday Night RAW model has shown, more than two hours straight of live wrestling on a weeknight isn’t the best idea. Even before a show begins, you have already lost the interest of most of the viewership. You are fighting a losing battle before you even begin.
The talk is that HHH has taken over control of 205 Live in recent months. If true, then it would be of best interest to all if he followed the model used so well on his other two pet projects.
The NXT Model
Both NXT and NXT UK benefit massively from their weekly one hour show, pre-taped in advance. Filming weeks of TV over a weekend means you have a more invested loyal audience who are more likely to get behind what they see in the ring.
The other aspect of these brands that would help 205 Live is the Takeover events. Cruiserweight matches are often factored in somewhere on main roster PPVs. However, the aforementioned issues mean that they often come across as nothing but filler matches and are treated as so by the fans in attendance.
As seen from the 25 main Takeover shows to have taken place, the crowd is always red hot and firmly invested in what they see. This is what 205 Live needs.
They need to build up their own fan base. That way, it will make the top drawer wrestling we see more worthwhile. Give the guys the main event level platform they deserve to make a feud feel special.
That way, when it comes to main roster call-ups, they will feel like a bigger thing, as opposed to something out-of-the-blue.
The company’s faith in Ali shows that they see something in the brand. Given them a bigger platform on their own will only help to develop a more complete and marketable range of superstars that will help them in the years to come.