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MAJOR CHANGES BEHIND THE SCENES OF 205 LIVE

By Mike Johnson on 2018-02-07 12:34:00

If you have paid attention to WWE's 205 Live series the last several weeks on the WWE Network, you may have noticed that the series feels far closer in essence to the Cruiserweight Classic tournament that spawned it than what has been the overall presentation of 205 Live itself over the last year. 

There is a very good reason for that, PWInsider.com has confirmed.   As of last week's episode kicking off the tournament for the vacant WWE Cruiserweight championship, Vince McMahon has stepped aside and is no longer personally putting 205 Live together. 

PWInsider.com has confirmed that the series is now being overseen by Triple H, who has brought back many of the hallmarks of the Cruiserweight Classic including the style and presentation of the Cruisers inside the ring.  While Vince McMahon had been personally working with the 205 Live stars to bring out their personalities to present them in a certain light, there has been more a focus on the in-ring work and competition under Triple H's vision. 

In recent months, there had been talk behind the scenes about why the brand wasn't firing on all cylinders.  We are told that McMahon believed that a character-driven show was the best way to get the 205 Live brand over, as seen by his decision to have Enzo Amore shifted there and become the nucleus of the brand, since he was such a strong character. 

While Enzo led to an uptick in viewership and interest (before being fired by the company), others in the company still argued that presenting 205 Live similar to how the Cruiserweight Classic was presented was the right way to go.  The belief among those who pushed for a return to the CWC presentation was that having smaller talents echoing Raw and Smackdown personalities wasn't going to showcase what made the Cruisers different and unique and it wasn't going to help 205 Live grow beyond being an hour of WWE TV on the Network. 

It should be noted that aspects of the CWC were dropped almost immediately from 205 Live after the series debuted, including personality packages that had been produced to introduce viewers to the performers that were almost immediately discarded. 

McMahon finally made the decision to allow Triple H to take over as show runner two weeks ago in an attempt to reboot and fix the brand.  While there's always a chance McMahon could place himself back in control (it is, after all, his company), the last two weeks of 205 Live have been compared by those behind the scenes to WWE NXT, in that Triple H has been the alpha and omega when it came to being the decision-maker for the product.

The lead writer for 205 Live is currently Jonathan Baeckstrom, who has been part of the company's creative team since August 2013.  He's been working for the company as a lead writer since November 2016, coming into the company after working in talent management.  Adam Pearce, the former NWA champion who transitioned into a WWE Performance Center Coach before being moved up to a Producer for the main roster, remains the lead Producer for the 205 Live brand.

We are also told that the vision seen the last several weeks is very much in line with the original plans for 205 Live series before Vince McMahon decided to get personally involved with the direction of the product and the nurturing of the 205 Live talents, who may end up being the last generation of talents McMahon worked with on a specific one-on-one basis to groom.

We are also told that 205 Live house shows are not off the table after the two test shows in Lowell, MA and Poughkeepsie, NY last month, but there are no current plans for additional live events at this time.  Instead, the focus is going to be building the brand up by presenting strong athletic characters and in-ring competition before taking the brand back on the road for another experimental house show run.

So, if you enjoyed the likes of Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong last night, expect more of that in-ring style going forward as Strong was specifically brought up as a way to help freshen up the 205 Live roster and product - and there may be other additions in the weeks to come.

The first of those additions, WWE UK star Mark Andrews (who had a run with Impact prior to signing with WWE) will face Akira Tozawa next week. Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese is also set for next week's episode with both matches taking place as part of the Cruiserweight championship tournament.

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