Amid several large shakeups in the Cruiserweight Division, WWE’s underdog program is primed for a step up.
Since its inception, 205 Live has had trouble finding its voice – or at least trouble finding a voice that casual fans respond to. The matches have never been bad, Enzo goodbye-and-good-riddance Amore aside, but it could be hard to connect to a division presented like it’s full of Dean Malenkos. “Being a really good wrestler” as an entire character can only go so far, hooking a hardcore WORKRATE audience while struggling with story.
It didn’t help that it felt like the first few months of the division were almost exclusively six-man tags, where it’s hard for any one wrestler to make a mark. They eventually started coming into their own (with Drew Gulak as one of the most entertaining characters in all of WWE period), but for a lot of viewers the damage had already been done.
But with Enzo’s disgraceful exit, it looks like things for the Cruiserweights are about to change.
As of the beginning of the current tournament for the vacant championship, Vince has stepped back from managing 205 Live and has handed the reins to Triple H, who is bringing back the feel of 2016’s brilliant Cruiserweight Classic, per PWInsider. With the recent Alexander vs. Ali match getting “this is awesome” chants and the introduction of a GM, it seems to be turning into a brand people can get excited about, despite its post-Smackdown death slot.
While I personally don’t love the new name but see the reasons for changing it, Drake Maverick (née Impact’s Rockstar Spud) is already a great GM. We know he’s capable of busting out an unexpectedly great match from time to time – see Spud vs. EC3 Hair vs. Hair on Impact – and, mostly importantly, he has screen presence. Even if he doesn’t wrestle, there’s something about him, something beyond charisma, that makes you want to keep watching, which will be a massive boon for a division that’s had character problems and a reputation to match.
I genuinely believe that people want to like the cruiserweights. Some folks are just not fans of them and that’s valid, but behind a lot of complaints that there’s no storytelling or that they’re boring characters is a real yearning for a reason to root for these extremely talented wrestlers. If the video packages introducing characters from the CWC come back with a few other production tweaks along those lines, WWE can really give the people what they want – and, funnily enough, what Drew Gulak had always been campaigning for as a smarmy politician:
A better 205 Live.
Written by Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)
Image courtesy WWE.com