Tybo Talks… Five Ways to Improve #205Live

Welcome once again to Tybo Talks! I am Tybo, and I’m sure by now you know that I am the ‘Five Star General’ of this operation we call SLTD Wrestling. […]

Welcome once again to Tybo Talks! I am Tybo, and I’m sure by now you know that I am the ‘Five Star General’ of this operation we call SLTD Wrestling.

With the recent additions to the Cruiserweight division, that being Enzo Amore and Kalisto, it’s clear that WWE are trying to get some eyes back on 205 Live. This is a good start to turning the product around, but there is so much more WWE could do to make 205 Live a more interesting watch. Before I get into that, how about a little history.

The history of the Cruiserweight Championship can be traced all the way back to the original WCW Light Heavyweight Championship that was created in 1991 and won by Brian Pillman. This championship was only active for 11 months after Brad Armstrong was forced to relinquish the title and it became inactive.

It wasn’t until 2001 when WWF purchased WCW and they unified WCW’s Cruiserweight Championship, and WWE’s Light Heavyweight Championship, which was created in 1997. It wasn’t until 2007 that this title became inactive after Hornswoggle won it, but only defended once in 6 months.

Fast forward to 2016, and Triple H announced the first ever ‘Cruiserweight Classic’ (CWC) where the final between Gran Metalik and TJ Perkins would be for the newly revived Cruiserweight Championship (although WWE don’t consider the former title and the new title’s lineage linked). The huge success of the CWC spawned the creation of a new weekly cruiserweight division show ‘205 Live’.

This new show started off strong, but has ended up in a bit of a directionless lull, and with it quickly losing fans and views every week (me included) how can WWE revitalise another wavering weekly wrestling show on the WWE Network?

Adding New Talent
The same thing happened with NXT after the WWE Draft, all the top talent was snapped up by the main roster and this left the brand lacking a lot of what made it great for so long. Unlike NXT, 205 Live does not have a deep talent pool to call upon, and this is the first thing I would attempt to change.

This seems like a complete no brainer but If WWE want to turn around the failing show, they need to add new talent. I know that Enzo and Kalisto have been added to the purple brand, but in an already almost anorexic roster there needs to be more stars that fans are invested in. There is smaller talent in NXT that could easily fit into the 205 styles.

NXT’s Hideo Itami (182lbs) Johnny Gargano (199lbs) Oley Lorcan (190lbs) Roderick Strong (200lbs) and Tommaso Champa (201lbs). Raw’s Kalisto (170lbs) and Smackdown’s James Ellsworth(165lbs) could really bring a new feel to the show. I’m not suggesting adding them all, but this shows there is talent already on the roster that could add something to the 205 Live brand.

Creating a Brand
The mention of a brand leads onto my second point. It seemed like WWE would like the cruiserweight division to be its own brand, for that to work they need to move away from 205 Live just being like a show. The fact that cruiserweights are on Raw is just as good as it is bad. I understand why they put cruiserweight talent on Raw, it gets eyes on the division and potential eyes on 205 Live.

The downfall with this is that they are just a Raw side show attraction, I think if they can build on the show over time they should look at touring 205 Live separately, or maybe even with NXT. The reason NXT works so well is because although it’s under the WWE umbrella, it feels different to a Raw or Smackdown show. It concentrates on the matches, and the competition between rivals, there isn’t a huge number of long promos or backstage segments.

Not only that but the feel of NXT is created a lot from the smaller crowds, NXT fans feel like they are a part of something special and different. If (and it’s a huge if) WWE could recreate some of this for 205 Live they could have something that’s fresh, new and innovative. Whereas at the minute WWE basically have a glorified ‘Superstars’ or ‘Main Event’ show.

Step Away from the WWE Style
I have just mentioned that NXT feels different to the WWE, there is more emphasis on the wrestling, I think this is one of the main things 205 Live needs to capitalise on. It has been reported that WWE wants the cruiserweight division to ‘tone down’ most of the crazy high-flying, high-risk moves that the history of the division is known for, this is a huge mistake in my opinion.

If you look at any other company with an equivalent ‘cruiserweight division’ they all pride themselves on their must-see matches. Impact Wrestling (TNA) have got their X-Division, some of the matches they have had have been amazing to watch, with some of the best wrestlers in the world showing their high-flying prowess. Former X-Division Champions include Christopher Daniels, Low-Ki, Doug Williams and even AJ Styles. Not to mention the X-Division has its signature match, ‘Ultimate-X’ which if you have not seen I would suggest checking out, it’s a multi-man ladder match, with no ladders.

Then there is Lucha Underground. Even though Lucha Underground doesn’t have a specific cruiserweight championship or division, on the roster are some of the greatest light heavyweight wresters in the world. If WWE was to switch up their approach to 205 and let the talent create more matches like that of Lucha Underground stars the likes of Drago, Paragon Jr, Prince Puma, Aerostar, and Fenix the whole show would be on another level.

Adding an Authority Figure
The inclusion of an authority figure always helps with storylines to move forward, and is the easiest way to add direction to the show as a whole. The addition of a GM also creates the feeling of 205 Live being its own entity, with its own rules and regulations. There are two ways WWE could go with this, a heel GM or a face GM. Personally I would say that having a heel GM would be the way to go right now, as both Raw and Smackdown GM’s are both faces.

As for who could be fitted into that role? The first person who comes to mind is the newest free agent and longest reigning Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Shane Helms (The Hurricane). I think his mix of former in ring talent, and his charisma on the mic and to cut promos he could be a great addition to the 205 Live roster. I also think with the history he brings to the championship and the division he could be a great ‘no one is a better champion than me’ heel, or a solid ‘I’m going to make this championship great again’ face.

Mixing it up on Raw
Of all the ideas I have mentioned this one seems the most obvious to me. As I have said I understand why the cruiserweights are on Raw, but what I don’t understand is when they are on Raw why are they segregated off like an unwanted step-child?

With the women’s division now turned into a must-see part of the show, it almost feels like the cruiserweight matches are now when fans take a toilet break. I equate this to the fact that, if fans are not tuning into 205 Live, then why would they want to see the same matches on Raw that they don’t think are important enough to watch on 205 Live? I think the cruiserweights should be feuding with superstars off the Raw roster, that’s the easiest way to get guys over with the crowd.

An easy example being, Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar had been feuding for months on 205 Live and Raw. Well, why tune into 205 Live when you can see it on Raw? But, if Cedric Alexander put on an absolute wrestling clinic with The Miz, and was about to win and Dar cost him the victory that would make Alexander look legit, get him over with the crowd as it’s a match they can only see on Raw. This will make fans want to watch the continuation of Alexander’s feud with Dar on 205 Live because that’s firstly, the only place to see them both wrestle each other, and secondly, where new fans of Alexander can see him wrestle again.

Overall – I don’t think I have mentioned or suggested anything that is ground breaking, but if WWE was to implement a handful of these ideas into the weekly workings of 205 Live, I think it could make all the difference.

Hopefully WWE can make 205 Live more must see over the next few months, and they don’t just get bored and move onto the next toy like we have seen so many times before. If they can do something, this will mean that the Cruiserweight Classic (CWC) will mean a lot more and the future winner will be stepping into something really special and worthwhile, instead of winning the whole CWC and the prize being nothing more than appearing on one of WWE’s ‘C Shows’, and showing their face on Raw once or twice.

What would you do to make 205 Live better? Comment below, or tweet me @Tybo_SLTD