The buff beasts of the 80s have long since gone from the wrestling scene. The muscle-bound men like Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior have given way to a new generation of highly skilled, highly athletic, smaller talent. For years in the independent wrestling divisions has drawn fans by focusing on these smaller sized men to great success. Over a decade since the WWE finally caught wind to the changes and established their own division as a catch-all for this new surge. While stars like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan thrived on the main roster, the new influx of smaller sized talent got their own show. 205 Live has been a wonderful landing pad for the talented cruiserweights of indie wrestling but has been an utter failure for everyone involved.
Much like the main roster, the 205 Live roster is packed with talent. So much so that no matter who is being promoted and pushed it’ll likely leave someone else behind. That wasn’t the case when the precursor to 205 was firing on all cylinders. The Cruiserweight Classic was a special designed to highlight the world-class cruiserweight talent from all around the world, and to entice that talent to come work for the WWE. It worked, and the WWE was suddenly flush with new faces ready to steal the show. Then everything lurched to a stop. 205 Live was created, the talent were shoved onto an already floundering Raw, and rarely given the time to show off. The cruiserweights went from starring in a WWE Network special to stranded on a often forgotten WWE Network show.
It didn’t help when the WWE clearly didn’t understand - or care to understand - why cruiserweights were so popular. Much of their sized talent had long since existed on the main roster and now a handful were shoved aside and designated something different. It was an unnatural division and one that was never made clear. Cruiserweights almost never interacted with Raw or SmackDown talent. Then there is the lack of thought or care but into their characters. TJ Perkins, the winner of the Cruiserweight Classic and the weight division’s first champion, was saddled with an obvious millennial-focused gimmick. Perkins came out to video game themed music and graphics desperately trying to get the attention of a younger audience. It erased Perkins' natural charisma and replaced it with a blatant advertisement. WWE has been losing younger viewers and thought a quick gimmick with these beloved indie wrestlers was the simple solution.
205 Live and the cruiserweight division is a symptom of a larger problem. The WWE is losing viewers and subscribers, especially among younger viewers. They’re also watching indies rise from across both ponds in the UK and in Japan. Now we’re left with the remnants of a failed experiment to cure the disease. It hasn’t been so simple and maybe the WWE will figure out a fix. In the meantime those cruiserweights are wrestling in obscurity hoping to have their division repaired, one day.