Sometimes, I feel like I’m one of the only people who watches WWE 205 Live, which is disappointing, as that show houses some of the most entertaining superstars in WWE today who aren’t being given enough attention and deserve a lot more of the spotlight.
However, that’s not the case. 205 Live is the D-show of sorts behind Raw, SmackDown and NXT. But hey, at least it isn’t Main Event, which WWE doesn’t even have on the website as a program that runs at all. It makes you wonder why that’s even still a show, but that’s a different point for a different article.
What I want to rant about today is just how chaotic things are right now with 205 Live and how it’s upsetting that WWE has been making weird (and in my opinion, wrong) calls regarding how to book it for success.
One aspect of this is how Drake Maverick and Lio Rush are suddenly on Monday Night Raw in roles that contradict what they do on 205 Live.
What’s happening now, for those who don’t follow both products, is that Maverick is a 100% unquestionable babyface General Manager of 205 Live, where he perpetually tells guys like Mustafa Ali that he doesn’t want him to compete until he’s healthy enough to, calls out the heels on their shenanigans, and is over the top in how happy he is to promote a positive atmosphere for the brand.
Yet, on Monday Night Raw, he’s the new manager of The Authors of Pain, who aren’t even The Authors of Pain anymore, they’re just AOP, which still stands for the same thing, I’m guessing, but Vince McMahon probably got upset one day that they sound like writers and shortened it to a nonsensical abbreviation because he always takes off names (see: Elias, Big E, Rusev, Cesaro, Apollo Crews for a few weeks, etc).
Lio Rush is a complete heel on 205 Live, showcasing his arrogance, talking down to everybody and dodging fights. And yet, on Raw, he’s now also the manager of Bobby Lashley and was put in a segment where a heel (Elias) was making fun of him and getting pops—which goes against how we’re not supposed to cheer heels, remember…that’s why the commentary team continues to tell us how bad of a person Becky Lynch is, to try to get that story over—and then, Rush was booked like a babyface again by evading both Elias and Kevin Owens and then posing with Lashley.
Why is this happening? What’s up with the giant divide in characters? It would be one thing if this was just a new direction going forward and Maverick was a heel and Rush was a babyface, but that’s not at all the case!
On this week’s 205 Live, they addressed how the two have been on Raw, but they kept up the babyface/heel dynamic and reiterated how Maverick is an honorable guy and Rush is a prick. So why is WWE telling fans to have the complete opposite reaction on Mondays versus Wednesdays?
My gut reaction is to say that Vince probably watched 205 Live for the first time in a long while a few weeks back before this move to Wednesdays and saw Maverick and Rush, liked them, said “we should put them on Raw”, put them in those roles (because AOP need a talker and so does Lashley, who has no personality) and if anybody were to ask about the lack of continuity, he’d lash out and say “nobody watches 205 Live” and that it doesn’t matter…which is awful, if that’s the case.
But that’s not all! There are more messes going on than just the disregard of character cohesiveness.
Last week, they had announced that Lio Rush would face Noam Dar. They even kept that in the previews on WWE.com on Tuesday. And yet, there was no match between the two on the show. Instead, it was TJP against Lince Dorado. They did address it with the backstage segment from the picture above where Maverick and Rush have that conversation, but it came off like a weak excuse.
1) They never told the WWE.com people that they changed their minds, so they ran with the original plan and didn’t want to update it, since we’re talking about a site that doesn’t even have separate photo albums for 205 Live matches like Raw and SmackDown, doesn’t have a Crown Jewel spot up (Smark Out Moment does in multiple places, though…and I’m only one man here) and, again, acts like Main Event isn’t even a show that’s on.
2) They didn’t realize until closer to when the show would air that they didn’t want to do that match and by that point, there wasn’t enough time for it to be worth changing the website’s description…but if that were the case, why announce it for next week? I think that rules this option out.
3) For some reason, they really want to push the idea of Rush being a heel and wanting to get out of the match, so the whole plan was to actually set it up and then have it not happen this week. But the downside to that is the question from above: why do you want me to boo him on 205 Live but cheer him on Raw?
And then there’s the whole move to Wednesdays in general…
Why was this recorded before SmackDown at a time when it wasn’t advertised? That’s what leads to the empty arena. If you tell people you’re recording at 6:30 CDT, record at 6:30. If you think you might record earlier, tell people you’re recording at 6:15, and if you end up recording at 6:30, then hey, at least you have a packed crowd, right? Run some stupid vignettes and commercials in the meantime if you need to stall.
And why is 205 Live being pre-taped and airing on Wednesdays anyway? Why isn’t this just airing live on the WWE Network at 7 o’clock on Tuesdays before SmackDown? It’s already on 7 o’clock on Wednesdays, so you can’t really make the argument that that’s “too early” for viewers. Plus, it’s an on-demand thing, so if that’s too early for people to watch it live, they can watch it whenever they want to. With it being taped ahead of time, there’s less of a reason to watch, because everyone will know the spoilers in advance.
I know this was done to accommodate Mixed Match Challenge, but that show is awful and it’s done just to get the Facebook Watch money, and moving 205 Live to Tuesdays at 7 live on the WWE Network doesn’t take anything away from MMC, does it? It’s the same amount of work.