SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
It all started with the Cruiserweight Classic. A well-produced WWE Network tournament that showcased wrestlers from all over the world, the critical success of the series helped lead to cruiserweights getting a spot on the main roster.
To the surprise of no one, the cruiserweight division on Monday Night Raw has not gotten over with the live audiences. The main storyline, Brian Kendrick vs. T.J. Perkins, has been booked haphazardly at best. Aside from a few early personality pieces, many of the other wrestlers featured are faceless cogs in the machine. The exciting athletic contests witnessed during the Classic are nowhere to be found on Monday nights; instead, as feared, the matches have devolved into WWE-style bouts.
WWE may be attempting to put the genie back into the bottle with the announcement of 205 Live, a weekly WWE Network cruiserweight show that will air Tuesday nights after Smackdown Live. Perhaps with fewer restrictions, it’s expected to follow more of a Cruiserweight Classic model, rather than the hamstrung Raw encounters we’ve gotten lately. The positioning of the show on Tuesday nights raised eyebrows, as cruiserweights are exclusive to Raw; this would force those wrestlers to work TVs on Mondays and Tuesdays.
That is, until the stipulation was made on Smackdown this past week that if Smackdown’s Kalisto beats Raw’s Brian Kendrick at Survivor Series, the cruiserweight division would become property of the blue brand. Smackdown had been home to the cruiserweight division during the previous brand split, and eyebrows were raised when the cruiserweights were initially revealed as being Raw-bound. The only reason it made sense was because Raw is three hours, and the cruiserweights would, in theory, help break up the monotony on the show and bring the same energy the division brought to Monday Nitro for WCW.
That hasn’t been the case. But if the cruiserweights move to Smackdown, is the division deep enough (or can it get deep enough) to keep fans interested in the division embedded within the Smackdown show itself, AND a separate, one-hour cruiserweight taping in addition to that?
The only saving grace of the cruiserweight division thus far is they haven’t been fed to the likes of Braun Strowman or anyone else. They’ve been allowed to survive in their own little world, but they’re on life support. Hopefully, 205 Live and a potential move to Smackdown will shake things up before it’s too late.
Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. He co-hosts the PWTorch Livecast PPV post-shows at least once a month. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.