Last month, the Inquisitr reported that Vince McMahon and longtime WWE producer Kevin Dunn were in charge of 205 Live and not Triple H. The news was viewed as somewhat surprising, considering it was Triple H who had to convince Vince to green-light the brand and bring the Cruiserweight Division back to life.
Vince seems to have had a major change of heart in regard to his feelings on tournaments. He’s stated publicly and privately in the past how he loathed them despite the fact that several have provided memorable moments for the company that now live in perpetuity on the WWE Network. WrestleMania IV gave us a new WWE Champion in Randy Savage after surviving a 14-man tournament in Atlantic City. The 1996 King of the Ring provided the genesis for Austin 3:16, and The Rock memorably turned heel by joining Vince at the conclusion of the 1998 Survivor Series.
And as it turns out, the success of the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic gave Vince the confidence to bring back the high-fliers and create an entirely new platform for them, 205 Live. The CWC partly came about due to the triumph of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic that Hunter developed for his NXT brand. And just this past weekend, we witnessed the first-ever United Kingdom Championship Tournament.
We noted that Vince had a clear vision for the cruiserweights and 205 Live at its onset, which is another indication that his thought process has changed in recent years. He went from believing cruiserweights couldn’t develop a distinct plan to help them thrive in the modern era.
However, since the cruiserweights were brought back to RAW in September and 205 Live debuted on the WWE Network at the end of November, the reviews have been mixed — and you can count Vince McMahon as one of its critics. According to a report from Daily Wrestling News, Vince is extremely disappointed with how both the cruiserweight segments on RAW and 205 Live have been received up to this point.
The Inquisitr initially pointed out that the majority of the criticism surrounding the re-birth of the cruiserweights centered not around the stars who were performing but the ones who weren’t. Neville and Austin Aries were not originally pegged for the division or for 205 Live, but as we’ve seen, those plans were scrapped.
There was a feeling that Neville was being saved for something outside of the Cruiserweight Division, but when nothing significant materialized, Vince repackaged him to provide a spark to 205 Live. Aries, of course, suffered an orbital fracture while wrestling in NXT and has since been designated as a commentator on both 205 Live and the RAW segments. It appears the plan is to bring him into the fold once he’s cleared, which could spell the end of his NXT tenure.
Vince is hopeful that by bringing in Neville, Aries, and even Tajiri that superstars with name recognition will provide a boost. Neville has already been praised by several WWE officials for his heel persona and work in the ring with Rich Swann and others. The heel turn has done wonders for his career so far and that wasn’t expected to take place had he not been made part of 205 Live.
There have been some strong individual performances from the cast that make up 205 Live, including Neville, Swann, Jack Gallagher, and Brian Kendrick. But collectively, something is still missing and Vince has taken notice.
The other aspect that continues to hurt 205 Live has been the time slot. The decision to air their weekly show immediately following SmackDown Live was met with considerable criticism. A good portion of the live audience leaves the arena right after SmackDown ends, leaving a lot of empty seats for 205 Live. No word yet on whether Vince has considering moving the show to before SmackDown.
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