Part of 205 Live’s identity at this point is being the best show that no one is watching. With Murphy vs. Alexander the latest in a long line of underwatched, incredible matches, the question remains: what’s the problem?
Part of it is that WWE has resigned itself to its fate. Nobody watches 205, so why make it a bigger part of the programming?
Part of it is the “cruiserweights don’t matter” reputation 205 has had since the brand split.
But I think the biggest issue is its time slot. Three hours of RAW is a slog for a lot of folks, so the prospect of more wrestling stretching late into the evening is a tough sell. But we saw, in the heyday of Main Event, that a show taped before Smackdown works, even if ME didn’t air right before. Not must-watch, no, but it semi-regularly had pretty great matches.
Make 205 Live the new Main Event and you’ll see results. I know I’d watch it much more regularly. Something to throw on in the evening is fun; getting psyched about hour 3 of wrestling from 10-11 isn’t.
There would even be results in the live crowd. Sure, not everyone is in their seats yet, but that’s a better look than everyone leaving because it’s getting late on a Tuesday. I can see the argument that then hour 2 of Smackdown would suffer because of burnout, but I don’t agree. An audience will react better to hours 2-3 being of the same program due to inertia than “hey, you’re tired, let’s start something new.”
It wouldn’t fix “205 doesn’t matter.” It wouldn’t fix confusion over whether or not 205 is the main roster or not. (It is.) But it would fix the time commitment issue, which seems to be at the heart of WWE’s programming as of late.
Alexander, Gulak, Ali, Murphy, and the rest all deserve an audience that isn’t exhausted or begrudged. But in this state, they’re never going to get it.