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205 Live Undergoes Backstage Changes

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WWE fans who follow 205 Live may have noticed a change in direction with the show that started at the beginning of 2018 – and not just in regards to the Cruiserweight title picture.

The main story on 205 Live is a Cruiserweight title tournament that will culminate with a new champion crowned at Wrestlemania.

In addition to the superstars on 205 Live like TJP and Kallisto, the tournament has featured NXT alumni Roderick Strong, former United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate and the upcoming Mark Andrews.  

The direction of the show has shifted from a character-based show the WWE Universe would normally see on WWE’s Raw and Smackdown Live brands, to a program more focused on presentation akin to NXT or what fans saw in the Cruiserweight Classic back in 2016.

Part of the shift from 205 Live can be attributed to Triple H taking over the direction of the program.

According to a report from PWInsider, WWE CEO Vince McMahon is no longer the lead show runner for  205 Live.

While McMahon had focused on bringing out wrestlers’ personalities on 205 Live and believed that a character-driven show and program was the way to go. Once 205 Live debuted and McMahon took over production of the show, fans started seeing more promo packages and character based work rather than wrestling.

McMahon’s approach worked in some cases. WWE sent Enzo Amore to 205 Live and placing the Cruiserweight title on him to become the face of the program, which generated some buzz.

Drew Gulak entertained the WWE Universe with his powerpoint presentations. Neville also shined with his King of the Cruiserweights persona, though he later became frustrated, walked out and hasn’t been on TV since.

Although the character work on 205 Live has worked on some degree, it hasn’t elevated the program much higher than programming on the WWE Network.

PWInsider’s report noted that while McMahon wanted a character-based show, there were still other members of WWE brass who felt presenting 205 Live in the same manner as the Cruiserweight Classic was the way to go.

It makes some sense because having more character work on 205 doesn’t help the program stand out from Raw and Smackdown Live. Fans loved the Cruiserweight Classic and still talk about fondly.

The report states McMahon handed the reins to Triple H as a way to fix the brand.

While McMahon was more focused on making 205 Live another copy of the main roster brands, Triple H’s approach to 205 Live seems to be more focused on bringing the in-ring work and competition element to the forefront.

The report also states that Jonathon Baeckstrom is the lead writer for 205 Live while former NWA Champion Adam Pearce remains the lead producer for the brand.

Running 205 Live also helps Triple H guide and work with certain NXT talent, specifically the wrestlers at or under 205 pounds, when they are called up to the main roster. It also gives him a place to showcase the United Kingdom talent outside of NXT or a UK special. Image a Cruiserweight title match between Pete Dunne and Strong at Wrestlemania or Summerslam.

On one hand, there’s always a chance McMahon could try and wrestle the reins of 205 Live from Triple H. On the other, McMahon likes to many money and if he sees Triple H’s direction for 205 receiving an overwhelming response from the crowd and benefitting the product, as well as the WWE as a whole, he might just sit back and let him run the show the way he wants to.

If Triple H has success with 205 Live, this could lead to the cruiserweights having a show beyond the Raw roster.

WWE

Bobby Lashley Discusses Turning Heel, Challenging AJ Styles

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WWE superstar Bobby Lashley has been a bit stale in recent weeks, and a heel turn is badly needed to reboot his character.

Lashley is all for a heel turn, and would like to set his sights on Smackdown’s WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles, who he has never stepped in the ring with despite both being under the Impact Wrestling (TNA) banner a few years back.

“He was going out while I was coming in and he was involved with these other things” Lashley said of Styles and TNA, during an appearance on The Big J Show (h/t Wrestling Inc).

Lashley believes he is the perfect heel compliment to Styles’ face character.

“The MMA part was to show people that I can do it, a lot of people look at me as such a nice guy, they don’t understand how dangerous I can actually be” Lashley said of being heel.

“The thing with AJ is a crazed good guy needs a crazed bad guy. When I flip that switch and you see that bad side of me like I had in TNA, I believe I’m a perfect person to AJ’s good.”

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Shawn Michaels Returning to Ring at WWE Crown Jewel

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Fans have been clamoring for it since the moment he retired at WrestleMania 26, and now it appears that Shawn Michaels will be coming out of retirement for a return to the ring at WWE Crown Jewel.

Michaels will be in the corner of Triple H as he takes on the Undertaker, who will have Kane in his corner, at WWE Super Show-Down, and that match will be used to set up what is likely to be a tag team match between the four men at WWE Crown Jewel.

According to our source, WWE is discussing the idea of Michaels’ in-ring return stretching past a one-off appearance, and would like to see him in 1-2 other high profile matches, ending at WrestleMania 35 where he would take on the Undertaker, for what would likely be the Undertaker’s final match.

 

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Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg Rumored for WrestleMania 35

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While the rumored opponent for Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35 has been Charlotte Flair for months now, it appears that Cris Cyborg is a name that is being mentioned as a potential opponent for Rousey at next year’s mega-show.

Cyborg spoke on the rumors, rather cryptically, during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, which you can see below:

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