The cruiserweights are back! Well, strictly speaking they never left but since the end of the CWC the talent of the cruiserweights have been wasted in Raw’s cruiserweight division. So for all intents and purposes…The cruiserweights are back! I have been longing for some great cruiserweight action since the CWC finals and with the introduction of the strictly cruiserweight show 205 Live I looked to be getting just that. But as excited as I was for the start of the show I really didn’t know what to expect, would we be getting a return to a CWC style format, would it resemble NXT? So many questions surrounded the show but the only way to find out what it was, was to dive in and find out.
Straight off the bat, the first thing I noticed about 205 Live was the recap. It reflected on the success of the cruiserweights in the tournament that preceded this show but more importantly it featured little to no footage of the Raw cruiserweight division. This lack of presence from the Raw division just shows how poorly the cruiserweights were treated on the main roster. Regardless of why they were mistreated, it seems that 205 is a fresh start for the cruiserweights and with this fresh start comes a slick new theme song and opening titles to kick the show of right.
Speaking of kicking things off right, the shows introduces us to our commentary team, a team that is nothing less than perfect if you are a WWE fan. Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves with the added surprise of Austin Aries. The men waste no time doing a little character work and setting up the main event of the night within seconds. Rich Swann vs The Brian Kendrick is scheduled for later in the show with the Cruiserweight Title on the line. From here we are introduced to the Cruiserweights once more to remind us of the talent on offer, and introduce some of the talent not seen since the CWC such as Jack Gallagher, Akira Tozawa and the Bollywood Boys the latter of which making their debut in this edition of the show.
As the Bollywood boys made their way to the ring I was reminded of the major pitfall of the first episode of the CWC. A lack of crowd reaction. The crowd was dead during their entrance which was a real shame though completely understandable with the division being exposed to a new crowd. The match started strong for the Bollywood Boys as they showed their real strength, tag team wrestling against Tony Nese and Drew Gulak. In the CWC it always seemed something was missing with these two and seeing them work in tandem it became evident that they were born to wrestle that way. As the matched started to turn more in Gulak and Nese’s favour more attention was drawn towards the commentary team with Mauro seemingly being ganged up on by Graves and Aries who were heeling it up beautifully until the tables turned again and we see some great offense out of Gurv Sihra who manages to take on both his opponents in a great moment I would highly recommend watching involving a DDT and Clotheslines. It’s better than it sounds. By the end of the match, the crowd were starting to warm up in no small part thanks to the debuting Bollywood boys.
Taking a break from the action we are then shown a vignette introducing Noam Dar to the 205 live audience before the second match starts introducing yet another new name to much of the audience CWC standout Jack Gallagher, a personal favorite of mine. With Gallagher taking on Daivari things were set to carry on strong. Gallagher immediately shows off his different style taking charge early on as he showed off to the crowd. He brought back the spot from the CWC in which he tied up his opponent which further demonstrated his individual style and gave the audience something fun to enjoy. The match was short but sweet and did what it needed to, show off Jack Gallagher, i get the feeling he could be a big player in the cruiserweight division.
Another vignette introducing viewers to Lince Dorado was all that remained before the main event got underway with Kendrick and Swann set to battle for the title. Before the start of the match Swann tells his story in a vignette to firmly get the crowd on his side. His story and the way he tells it is just so uplifting you can’t help but smile before he even makes his way to the ring. This match has some really nice spots throughout, with Kendrick hitting some brutal suplexes and continuing to use the ring in the way only he can. In opposition to this Swann showed the high flying things he is capable of with things ranging from a somersault off the barricade to a flip out of a dragon suplex. Near fall after near fall kept me on the edge of my seat for this match and the once dead crowd were whipped into a frenzy. A sliced bread from the top rope (super sliced bread?) caused yet another near fall and showed just how invested in this match the crowd were prompting a “this is awesome” chant to erupt. This chant followed by a Triple Heel Kick from Swann with the pin ensured the crowd exploded when he got the three count and a new champion was crowned.
205 live got off to a great start and has certainly given new life to the cruiserweight division. With the division remaining on raw however, the division is still at risk of going stale. Raw needs to put in the effort that 205 has done to ensure the show and the division are successful. All in all though, I’m optimistic for the future.