With the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic underway in NXT on the WWE Network and the Cruiserweight Division now being showcased (with clear growing pains, mind you) on Raw, hot on the heels of this summer’s stunning Cruiserweight Classic on the Network, the WWE is clearly finally behind the push of it’s smaller indie talent, even recently bringing in indie stars like Ring of Honor‘s Roderick Strong and Europe’s Tommy End.
Today, the WWE announced on it’s official website that the Cruiserweight focus will not only continue, but intensify with the addition of a brand new program on the Network entitled 205 Live. The show, which will be broadcast live on Tuesday nights directly following Smackdown Live on the USA Network (and seemingly pushing Talking Smack to 11pm EST), will be an hour long in-ring show featuring exclusively Cruiserweight weight class wrestlers, weighing 205 lbs or less.
Here’s the company’s official statement:
STAMFORD, Conn. — A one-hour, in-ring program called 205 Live, showcasing WWE’s new Cruiserweight division, will premiere Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 10 p.m. ET, exclusively on WWE Network. The live weekly show will be called by Mauro Ranallo, the voice of SmackDown LIVE, and Corey Graves, color commentator for Monday Night Raw.
Coming off the success of WWE Network’s recent Cruiserweight Classic tournament and the formation of the new Cruiserweight division, which airs exclusively on Monday Night Raw, 205 Live will feature Superstars that are 205 pounds and under, including: new WWE Cruiserweight Champion The Brian Kendrick, as well as TJ Perkins, Rich Swann, Noam Dar, HoHo Lun, Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado, Gran Metalik, Tozawa, Jack Gallagher, Gurv Sihra and Harv Sihra.
“205 Live is a natural progression to showcase the depth of our roster,” said Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative. “With world-class talent such as Brian Kendrick, TJ Perkins, and Rich Swann, 205 Live will be a must-see program on WWE Network.”
“With the addition of 205 Live to an already robust programming schedule, WWE continues to enhance the value of WWE Network for our subscribers,” said Michelle Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. “We take pride in listening to our fans and delivering even more live, premium content that they are asking for.”
Here’s some things to consider coming out of today’s announcement.
THE CRUISERWEIGHT DIVISION WILL STILL REMAIN ON RAW
While there’s on-line discussion going on as we speak about whether this means that the Division is being declared a bust on Raw and shifted to the new program, there’s hasn’t really been any official indication that this is going to happen. It’s quite possible that the Cruiserweight Division’s top storyline (or two) will still play out on Raw, while the 205 Live show will be used as a percolator of sorts. New storylines can be planted and nurtured and only when the fruits have ripened while they be put on full display on Raw. This will eliminate one of the complaints by many that the seeming random combinations and endless stream of characters for limited time on Raw is actually hurting the Division out of the gate. By keeping only a minimal amount actually on Raw would allow more depth for these performers, and having a secondary outlet program like 205 Live to let other storylines play out, more akin to NXT or ROH TV.
IT’S ESSENTIALLY A FOURTH BRAND
Which means they could continue to sign other independent workers for small deals or runs. Zack Sabre Jr., Ibushi or Ricochet could turn up for small runs or guest matches without having to sign long term contracts. Many of the regular 205 LIVE performers would already working NXT – like Tony Nese, Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik and others – so the influx would be a great way to give more room for NXT to develop more characters as well.
IT’S THE RAINBOW BRIDGE OF THE WWE
Triple H is now the Heimdall of the WWE. 205 Live is it’s Rainbow Bridge. In other words (for those who don’t follow Thor in the Marvel comics or films), 205 Live is the connection point between NXT and the Raw Cruiserweight Division. It’s the middle ground where they would compete and the Superstars that make the biggest splash in the 205 Live go up to Raw. Either way, all three shows benefit and allows a bit more time for both Raw and NXT to develop other characters.
With hopes high, it looks like Triple H is implementing more strides in developing the Cruiserweight Division, which is a great sign. Past WWE management platforms would have been to shut it down and sweep it under the carpet after it’s Raw debut failed to deliver as hoped.
Let’s hope that it works out well for everyone and we all get to see more great wrestling from some of the indie circuit’s deserved elite.
Main Photo: WWE.com