In a striking revelation, a high-ranking WWE executive disclosed plans that were once in motion to integrate 205 Live into Raw, potentially as its third hour. This insight sheds new light on the evolving strategy of WWE to showcase its diverse range of talent and programming.
Launched in November 2016, 205 Live emerged as a successor to WWE Superstars. It primarily aired following SmackDown, with a clear aim to showcase the company's exceptional cruiserweight talent. This move was partly inspired by the resounding success of the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic tournament, which brought stars like Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampo into the limelight.
205 Live Strategy Revealed
WWE Senior Vice President of Live Events, Brian ‘Road Dogg’ James, recently shared his thoughts on the "Oh You Didn’t Know" podcast. He emphasized the abundance of skilled athletes weighing under 200 pounds in both WWE rosters.
James highlighted that 205 Live was a strategic initiative to incorporate these smaller, yet incredibly talented wrestlers into WWE's main programming, ensuring they received the exposure and recognition they deserved. Despite receiving acclaim for its in-ring performances, 205 Live struggled to reach its anticipated success.
Initially a WWE Network Exclusive, this limited its accessibility and viewership. In an attempt to boost its popularity, WWE contemplated moving the show to the third hour of Raw, as James revealed. Discussions even went as far as considering a rebranding to "WWE Turbo," aiming to transform it into a more visible and engaging segment of WWE's offering.
However, the show's inability to reach its full potential wasn't solely due to its broadcast limitations. TJP, a former WWE Cruiserweight Champion and a regular on 205 Live, suggested that the decline in the show's success was largely due to Vince McMahon losing interest in the cruiserweight division.
This shift in focus within the company's upper management had a significant impact on the trajectory and perception of 205 Live. This inside scoop from a top WWE executive not only provides an intriguing glimpse into the company's internal decision-making but also highlights the dynamic nature of the wrestling entertainment industry, where strategies and focuses can shift rapidly, often influenced by the changing interests of both the audience and the management.