The Cruiserweight division has once again heavily declined in interest since its relaunching last year. In 2006, names such as Chavo Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Sr., Jackie Moore, and Hornswoggle were the primary names of the division, before it completely dissolved with Hornswoggle as champion. Ten years later, WWE revived the division, with a tournament hosting names from across the globe.
Initially, with names such as Tajiri, Kota Ibushi, and Zack Sabre, Jr. in the Cruiserweight Classic, along with the weekly match quality, the decision to bring the division back seemed to be a very good one. However, all three of the aforementioned names left, leaving a huge void. Names such as Brian Kendrick, Neville, and Austin Aries still bring a top name feel to the division. Despite this, as well as good matches, the cruiserweights are once again becoming disengaged by the WWE Universe.
Due to the success of the Cruiserweight Classic, a list of names debuted on the Raw brand, which highlighted the division on a weekly basis. WWE went even further by allowing the cruiserweights to have their own show, 205 Live, which aired on the WWE Network following SmackDown Live. Perhaps placing the cruiserweights on a separate show following a two-hour SmackDown Live was a poor decision, as ratings are continuously declining.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the show is consistently falling down the list of most-watched programs on the WWE Network.
“205 Live, live wrestling with more established characters, guys on Raw every week, with much of the same talent, is pulling very disappointing numbers. This past week, it was not among the top 20 most watched shows no the network, which is mind-blowing when you think a live show built up on Raw with characters on Raw did worse than months old Ride Along and Tables for 3 shows and even behind the 1998 Halloween Havoc show.
“It’s often not even top ten for the week, always way behind NXT even though 205 Live is directly built off Raw the night before, and live rather than taped.”
The Newsletter also added that, in contrast, the Cruiserweight Classic was among one of the highest rated shows every week on the network. It is apparent that this success launched the 205 Live show, but without a few of the main names that made people tune in to watch the tournament.
Currently, the top two names of the division are Neville and Austin Aries. Neville is doing fantastic work as a heel, and is one of the best talents in WWE that portrays a true villainous character. From even the nuance of dropping from the top rope when about to perform the Red Arrow, which elicits a chorus of boos, Neville is successful in filling the role of a true heel.
Aries, though still showing his cocky and arrogant side, is unanimously cheered by the fans, which is why he currently fits well as a babyface. Being both a former Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor World Champion, Aries has the star power to elevate the division. Sadly, those two names, and perhaps Brian Kendrick, are the lifeline of the division, and the general audience is not interested in the show as a whole.
The cruiserweights being on the WWE Network in conjunction with the weekly NXT episodes brought a great deal of exposure and interest to the division. The tournament showed how amazing the talent can be if just given the right spot to showcase their abilities. Based on the declining ratings and overall lack of interest, removing 205 Live from airing after a two-hour SmackDown Live, and placing it back on Wednesdays before or after NXT, would be a much-needed fresh start for the division.
[Featured Image By WWE]