This past Tuesday, the WWE took its first steps to correcting the direction of the 205 Live brand with the introduction of a new General Manager, that being Drake Maverick – formerly known as Rockstar Spud.
Maverick introduced the new era of the brand, without going the WWE route by exclaiming that is in indeed “A New Era”.
This change is a quiet and gradual shift to a more serious and sports like cruiserweight division. The first steps actually came last week following the suspension followed by the termination of Enzo Amore, leaving the brand without a champion. Last week, Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali battled it out in an early Match of the Year contender. (Seriously, you need to go check it out)
This week, however, was a bigger step towards the future. The introduction of Maverick as the GM allows the brand to have a character with strong talking skills who can handle the brunt of the needed microphone work. Enzo Amore was that guy, Enzo was the talking head of the brand, but his departure left a gap.
Maverick is a great replacement. He has the charisma to hype a dead crowd – which is usually the case after having both Smackdown Live and the Mixed Match Challenge take place before 205 Live even goes on air. Maverick can be used to build the characters of the competitors in the division. Not everyone can talk, and that’s okay. Having a GM like Maverick allows the freedom of character building through a third-person.
The future of 205 Live now includes a single-elimination 16-man tournament to crown the next WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
Do you remember the last time the cruiserweight division had a single-elimination tournament to crown a champion?
Yes, it was the critically-acclaimed Cruiserweight Classic back in 2016.
Why did we all love the Cruiserweight Classic? I can say that I loved it thanks to its sports-like presentation, combined with some of the best in-ring action seen on WWE television in a long time. The Classic allowed the division to flourish and spread its wings to fly.
This soft reboot of 205 Live needs to be more like the Cruiserweight Classic than the regular WWE product. And that seems to be where they are looking to go.
Maverick announced the tournament and we had our first and second first-round matches in the tournament. Cedric Alexander vs. Gran Metalik and TJP vs. Tyler Bate.
Alexander and Metalik killed it in their match. A perfect babyface vs. babyface match that not only showcased their skills, it also was the perfect match to introduce the new era of the cruiserweight division. Fast-paced action, death-defying moves, and an overall fun match.
TJP vs. Tyler Bate was an even better match and displayed the basic storytelling that the 205 Live brand should employ. This was not a feud between two rivals. This was a match between the first-ever WWE Cruiserweight Champion who has recently been on a slump versus the first-ever WWE U.K. Champion who has set the world on fire with great matches. Both guys had individual stories that built their characters without needing a 10-minute promo explaining why they are competing.
This was two competitors who are regular people whose paths crossed tonight thanks to Maverick. This allowed the two competitors to go out and have a great match hoping to advance their careers on the brand.
That is basic storytelling that will differentiate 205 Live from the Raws and Smackdowns of the world.
I hope they continue this vision and introduce new superstars to the brand – showing us that the cruiserweight division is all about competition. Next week’s show need to assert their sports-like presentation and it needs to continue to build itself as a strong division.
The foundation was laid down this past Tuesday, and now the ball is in WWE’s hands.
Do they successfully rebuild the cruiserweight division and 205 Live into the brand they wanted it to be? Or do they simply make it an afterthought for the pay-per-view Kickoff shows and wonder why nobody is responding to the matches?
To finish things here, let me point you to the 205 Live theme song.
Couldn’t keep us from changing the hand that we’ve been dealt
But undoubtedly, I look around and see. We grow stronger than they can tell.
Take that hand that was dealt when Enzo Amore was fired and grow the brand into everything it can be.