Previously, I theorized what the NXT roster would bring to the table with an Elimination Chamber match this year, so in part 2, I’ll be taking a look at the redheaded stepchild brand of WWE that is always overlooked and sadly underappreciated, which is 205 Live.
This brand doesn’t boast the same depth of the NXT and NXT UK rosters, as it only has one division, one title, and a dozen or so people on the roster to pick from, which limits the options even more.
However, technically speaking, WWE has the ability to put any superstar on any brand that is under the 205 lb weight limit and put them onto the 205 Live show, no matter if they’re on Raw, SmackDown, NXT, NXT UK or in the Performance Center developmental stage.
Keeping that in mind, let’s get the biggest issue out of the way first…
Does Buddy Murphy Defend the Cruiserweight Championship or Not?
The Elimination Chamber has to be for something other than just bragging rights. Every single one of these has been either for a championship or for a title shot, with the majority being that a title is on the line.
In that situation, Buddy Murphy would be the only guaranteed competitor, as it’s his title he’s defending. Duh. But that means he only needs five competitors to fight for his title, whereas with the other scenario, a sixth man needs to be chosen to fill in Murphy’s spot and the match would be to determine who the No. 1 contender is, presumably to set up a match at WrestleMania 35.
Determining the Field of Five/Six
Right out of the gate, I’d say Ariya Daivari doesn’t make the cut, nor does Lince Dorado. I like both guys, but they clearly aren’t priorities for long stints of time and there are enough alternative people to pick from that I feel these two wouldn’t stand a chance.
For example, why would WWE go with Dorado over Kalisto or Gran Metalik? Kalisto is a former champion and Metalik made it to the finals of the Cruiserweight Classic and may be leaving WWE, so they might want to keep him happy by giving him a prominent spot. I’d lean more towards Kalisto, but he also just wrestled for the title at Royal Rumble, so I’d actually rule him out, if I were running the show.
For that matter, I’d do the same with Akira Tozawa. I’m a fan of his, too, but he was just in a multi-man match and there are other options available to give a spotlight to someone else. Namely, The Brian Kendrick would be one of my go-to picks for this, as he could fill that role that Tozawa was in. I’m actually surprised Kendrick was never in one of these matches over the years.
I feel like there would need to be a representative from the Drew Gulak and Gentleman Jack Gallagher front, so since Gulak was at Royal Rumble, I’d shake things up by giving Gallagher a boost. The guy needs it and he isn’t getting it from this tandem, as he’s fallen way down the totem pole from his original spot in 205 Live. Maybe this could get him back on track. Or, maybe it’s just time to turn him babyface again and go with what was originally working.
Cedric Alexander is an obvious choice. I don’t think I even need to explain that one, do I? He’s a former champion and one of the top guys on the brand, as well as a babyface who could conceivably win. Enough said.
That’s three out of five or six names and still plenty of options to pick from.
I don’t see much in Humberto Carrillo, sadly. WWE seems to want the guy to be over with the crowd with as little effort as possible, including not even allowing him to win or showcase any personality. I’d pass on him.
I’d also say no to Tony Nese, unless the intention was to split him from Murphy. If Murphy were in the match, it wouldn’t make sense for the two of them to be fighting each other as a team, nor would it be believable that he’d win a title shot at WrestleMania against Murphy. In fact, I’d probably book the Nese and Noam Dar match to be a qualifier, with Dar winning and getting a spot in this. He’s another babyface, which is good for balance.
Part of me says you need to have an outsider, just to spice things up. My selfish pick would be Ricochet, although I’m leaning less toward the idea of him fighting in 205 Live than I used to be. I thought he would elevate the brand, but now, I think it’s too beneath him and he needs to be in the midcard of Raw or SmackDown in a few months, so I’d actually opt to save him from losing OR winning this.
There are still lots of people available from Raw, SmackDown, NXT and NXT UK.
Oney Lorcan could be fun. Finn Balor would be huge. If Tyler Breeze could drop a few pounds, this could finally be the breakout brand for him. Chad Gable is criminally wasted in his tag team with Bobby Roode. How fun would it be to see Xavier Woods in this role? Maybe this is a means to bring back Sin Cara?
Realistically, I can’t put in a guy like Johnny Gargano, who is busy with other storylines, as much as I’d enjoy that, but there’s nothing saying Tyler Bate couldn’t be in this match, or Jordan Devlin, or Flash Morgan Webster as a bit of international flavor.
For that outsider spot, I’d probably pick Devlin. WWE seems to like him quite a bit and he’s certainly talented, and I’d like this to be 3 heels and 3 babyfaces. Right now, with Alexander, Kendrick and Dar on the babyface side, I need another one or two heels to go with Gallagher and the possibility of Murphy. He fits the bill.
To round out the list, if Murphy wasn’t in the match and we’re still looking for another heel, we’re down to either Lio Rush, Mike Kanellis, TJP or another outsider from another brand.
I’d go for someone in-house, as we need to feature these guys and not make it seem like 205 Live is only interesting if we have other people come in and invade the territory. That is my rationality for not picking Lio Rush, too, as he’s more of a Raw manager for Bobby Lashley these days than a 205 Live competitor.