WWE 205 Live has been one of the most consistently wrestling shows since Triple H took charge of it earlier this year, and the reported time change to 7 p.m. ET on Wednesdays is a welcome change for loyal followers (and prospective followers) of the Cruiserweight brand.
In champion Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, Buddy Murphy, Lio Rush, Drew Gulak, and so many other great talents, WWE 205 Live has a roster capable of producing brilliance on a regular basis. It’s what they’ve been doing on a week-by-week basis ever since Triple H took charge of the brand in February.
Unfortunately, it’s always seemed like 205 Live gets slept on by the majority of fans, and part of that has to do with timing. See, 205 has aired at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday nights after SmackDown Live. By that point, most fans are burned out after having watched, perhaps, five hours of wrestling between Raw and SmackDown. The live crowd just doesn’t seem as into 205, unless if the match is a “Match of the Year” candidate like, say, Ali vs. Alexander.
Otherwise, the fans are only mildly into matches that are often the best bouts WWE has to offer in a given week.
According to a report from WWE Network News’s Steve Coulson, WWE appears to have their solution to the 205 Live problem. 205 will now air at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesdays before NXT, which airs at 8 p.m. Right now, the exciting Mae Young Classic 2 tournament is airing at 9 p.m. ET on the WWE Network, meaning that there will be three hours of wrestling on Wednesday nights if this were to take place.
These three hours of wrestling are different from the three straight hours of Raw, in the sense that they will be comprised of three unique types of wrestling divided into one-hour shows. All three shows are WWE Network-exclusive, and with the FOX deal in place for Fall 2019, I’m wondering if FOX has their eyes on 205 Live as a possible FS1 show down-the-road.
I’m ecstatic to hear that 205 Live will be moved to an earlier time slot. This could serve as a great “kick-off” for NXT going forward, and if more people tune in, this should become a permanent home for the “most exciting hour on television”.
Furthermore, there’s no conflict at 7 p.m. ET. In its previous time slot, 205 clashed with the Miz and Mrs. and the pre-show of the Mixed Match Challenge 2.
WWE periodically releases detailed surveys to its “Network” subscribers, and I’m wondering if strong feedback from its users led them to making this change. I’m sure it will be well-received by most members of the WWE Universe, many of whom would prefer not to stay up until 11 p.m. ET or watch great wrestling that suffers from worse crowds.
In his report, Coulson writes that 205 Live could be broadcasted in smaller arenas. This indicates that the show could still be “Live”, which would differentiate it from NXT as a “touring brand” that runs taped television episodes, and the added intimacy would be huge for 205. They wouldn’t be as pressed when touring, and the connection between the crowd and wrestlers like, say, Noam Dar and TJP could lead to some special character work.
The one glaring negative is that there will be less eyes on 205 in the arena, but that might be a positive if the atmosphere around the matches is better. And if more people watch 205 on the Network and start falling in love with the product, then we could be headed for an exciting “underdog” story for Triple H’s vision of the Cruiserweight Division.
Again, I’m excited for what the future holds for 205 Live, and the talented men who go all-out every week deserve the best show possible and the most engaged audience possible. I think this simple and necessary change in time slot helps greatly.