It was just over half a year ago that TJ Perkins won the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic, ushering in a new era for the division after nearly a decade on the shelf.
While 205 Live was initially impressive on the WWE Network, that success hasn’t translated well to Monday Night Raw. In light of a myriad of issues, most of which the superstars themselves aren’t responsible for, there have been rumbling that Vince McMahon is growing weary of its place on the company’s flagship program and that potential changes could be looming in the near future.
To understand where the division is currently, we need to establish how we got here.
Triple H has been directly involved with the revival of the cruiserweights since its beginning stages and “scoured the globe to find 32 of the best cruiserweights to compete in this inaugural tournament.”
His commitment to not only the crusierweights but talent development as a whole has been evident as he has gained more control behind the scenes, which includes the more recent United Kingdom Championship Tournament won by Tyler Bate. Although it was The Game that convinced Vince to give the division a shot, it was recently reported by The Inquisitir that Vince and WWE Producer Kevin Dunn are actually the ones pulling the strings for 205 Live.
It’s no secret that in the past Vince has not exactly been fond of tournaments in any capacity, despite various examples of it’s potential success in years past. That in addition to the well-publicized love affair with his ideal vision of a WWE superstar based on size and not necessarily talent, it is not surprising that his patience for this new endeavor has already begun to wear thin.
However in this instance, the ratings reflect a potential need for change.
Not only do the cruiserweight segments on Raw generally represent the smallest portion of viewers during the three-hour broadcast, but 205 Live has also seen it’s viewership diminish recently on the WWE Network. Although it is taped directly after Smackdown Live the majority of fans choose to go home early rather than experience “the most exciting hour on television” as claimed by the WWE.
The talent is there and the matches are generally high-quality (although often too short), so why is it failing? Is there an obvious solution to the problem?
While the roster itself brings a lot to the table in terms of talent, there are few if any household names in the brand. The recent addition of Nevile, Tajari, and Austin Aries was much needed because it brings credibility to a brand lacking distinguishing personalities for the casual fan.
In that respect the superstars can only be held so accountable, a combination of lackluster story development and what are essentially micro-matches certainly haven’t done the roster any favors, and the purple ambiance associated with it feels more like a gimmick rather than something to set it apart.
The next few months leading up to Wrestlemania are going to be critical, hopefully a meaningful storyline can be developed leading to a match on the main card that will bring some much needed credibility to the cruiserweights moving forward.
Are you satisfied with the current product? If not, what would you suggest to improve it?