There are major behind-the-scenes changes going on with the WWE 205 Live brand as Vince McMahon has stepped aside and is no longer personally producing the show.
The changes began with last week’s episode, which featured new 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick and kicked off the 16-man tournament that will end at WrestleMania 34 with the crowning of a new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
Triple H is now overseeing 205 Live and he has brought back some of the aspects of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic tournament, including the style and presentation of the wrestlers. Vince had personally worked with the 205 Live Superstars to bring out their personalities to present them in a certain way but there has been more focus on the in-ring work under Triple H.
There has been a lot of internal talk over the past few months about why 205 Live wasn’t succeeding like they had hoped. Vince reportedly believed that a character-driven show was the best way to get the brand over, which is why former WWE Superstar Enzo Amore was brought over to be the top star of the brand. Enzo’s arrival helped with viewership and buzz for the show but there were still people in the company that wanted to present the show like the Cruiserweight Classic was presented. Their feeling was that having smaller talents that were just echoing the Superstars from RAW and SmackDown was not going to showcase what made the cruiserweight talents unique, and it wasn’t going to help 205 Live grow into its own brand, more than just a weekly WWE Network TV show.
The product we’ve seen over the last few weeks is said to be very much in line with the original plans for 205 Live before Vince became personally involved with the direction of the show and the development of the cruiserweight talents.
While WWE is still considering non-televised 205 Live live event shows in the future, there are currently no plans to run more cruiserweight-exclusive events as the plan is to focus on re-building the brand by presenting strong athletic characters with strong in-ring competition.
Vince finally made the decision to let Triple H run the show back in mid-January as a way to reboot the brand, or fix it. Triple H is running the show, making all decisions, while Jonathan Baeckstrom is the current lead writer. Baeckstrom has worked on the WWE creative team since August 2013 and has been a lead writer since November 2016. Former WWE Performance Center Coach Adam Pearce is still working as the lead producer for the brand.
Regarding roster changes, there may be more additions in the coming weeks. WWE NXT Superstar Roderick Strong was brought up to help freshen the roster and the show. As noted, Strong defeated Hideo Itami last night to advance in the 16-man tournament.
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