205 Live (WWE brand)
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|Product type||Professional wrestling|
|Produced by||Paul "Triple H" Levesque|
|Introduced||November 29, 2016|
April 4, 2018
|Discontinued||February 15, 2022|
|Tagline||The Most Exciting Hour on Television|
(January 30, 2018 – April 12, 2020)
(April 12, 2020 – January 5, 2022)
205 Live was a brand of the American professional wrestling promotion WWE that was established in April 2018 and discontinued in February 2022. Brands are divisions of WWE's roster where wrestlers are assigned to perform on a weekly basis when a brand extension is in effect. Wrestlers assigned to 205 Live primarily appeared on the brand's weekly television program, 205 Live. From October 2019 to February 2022, the brand served as a sub-brand of WWE's developmental territory, NXT, which allowed 205 Live wrestlers to also appear on its show, NXT.
205 Live originally only centered on male wrestlers that were promoted as weighing 205 lbs. and under – designated by WWE as cruiserweights. The cruiserweight division was revived by WWE in 2016 and was originally exclusive to the promotion's main brand, Raw, with 205 Live serving as a supplementary show for Raw's cruiserweight wrestlers until 205 Live was established as its own brand in April 2018. 205 Live then merged under NXT in October 2019. Following the merger, the 205 Live show featured women's matches, and occasionally some non-cruiserweight wrestlers from NXT and NXT UK. In February 2022, the 205 Live program was replaced with NXT Level Up, marking the end of the 205 Live brand.
WWE 205 Live was established following the success of the Cruiserweight Classic tournament to feature wrestlers who competed in the tournament and others who became full-time members of WWE's revived cruiserweight division (the original cruiserweight division had been dissolved in 2007). Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE executive producer and wrestler, stated the brand was designed to serve as a showcase for the division, with its own distinctive feel and style compared to WWE's other brands.
The Raw brand was originally established as the exclusive home of the division during the 2016 brand extension, with all cruiserweights being assigned to Raw following the 2016 WWE draft. While still under the Raw brand, the 205 Live show premiered on November 29, 2016; the main event of the inaugural episode saw Rich Swann defeat The Brian Kendrick for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Cruiserweights would appear on both Monday Night Raw and 205 Live for the next year and a half. However, following WrestleMania 34 in 2018, cruiserweight wrestlers ceased to appear on Raw, becoming exclusive to 205 Live and thus establishing the 205 Live brand as a separate brand from Raw.
In January 2018, Triple H took over the creative side of 205 Live. On January 30, 2018, Drake Maverick was announced as the first on-screen General Manager. Maverick would announce a 16-man tournament for the vacant WWE Cruiserweight Championship, which was won by Cedric Alexander. Once the tournament begun, WWE's cruiserweight division began to wrestle exclusively on 205 Live and ceased to appear on Raw with select exceptions. Namely, Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado) began competing in Raw's tag team division while Lio Rush and Drake Maverick began managing Raw superstars Bobby Lashley and AOP (Akam and Rezar), respectively, and occasionally competing in matches on Raw. Even though Maverick portrayed a heel while managing AOP on Raw, he was a face General Manager on 205 Live.
Although 205 Live had been separated from Raw, the brand was still featured on several of WWE's main pay-per-view (PPV) events with Raw and SmackDown until late 2019. That year's Clash of Champions was WWE's final main roster PPV to include 205 Live.
Prior to NXT moving to the USA Network in September 2019, NXT head Triple H spoke with Newsweek and said that "You'll start to see 205 [Live] begin to" become part of NXT. He said that 205 Live's talent would start moving towards NXT, that 205 Live had "become lost in [the] limbo", and that the Cruiserweight Championship would have more meaning on NXT where it could create more opportunities for the cruiserweight wrestlers. It was then reported that the NXT creative team would be in charge of 205 Live. The following month, the title began being defended on NXT and was renamed to NXT Cruiserweight Championship, officially becoming part of the NXT brand.
Since October 18, 2019, 205 Live began to include talent from NXT and vice versa. On April 12, 2020, Maverick would compete in the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship tournament, while he was replaced as General Manager by William Regal, who also served as NXT's General Manager.
By June 2021, the brand's roster had shrunk significantly due to several wrestlers being released; including Ariya Daivari, The Bollywood Boyz (Samir Singh and Sunil Singh), Ever-Rise (Jeff Parker and Matt Lee), August Grey, Curt Stallion, and former Cruiserweight Champion Tony Nese. In August 2021, Jake Atlas, Asher Hale, and Ari Sterling were also released.
On January 4, 2022, as part of the New Year's Evil episode of NXT 2.0, the NXT Cruiserweight Championship was unified with the NXT North American Championship. The Cruiserweight Championship was immediately retired after the match with the winner going forward as North American Champion. The following day, 205 Live General Manager William Regal was released from WWE. On February 15, PWInsider reported that WWE was ceasing the production of 205 Live episodes, replacing the series with NXT Level Up, which premiered in 205 Live's former Friday night timeslot on February 18. This marked the end of the 205 Live brand.
- WWE.com staff (September 30, 2019). "WWE 205 Live moving to Fridays". WWE.com. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
Beginning this Friday, Oct. 4, The Most Exciting Hour on Television is moving to Friday nights.
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- "Rich Swann def. The Brian Kendrick to become the new and third WWE Cruiserweight Champion". WWE.com. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- "WWE 205 Live results, Oct. 10, 2018: Mike Kanellis delivers a statement". WWE.com. October 10, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
- "10 best WWE 205 Live brand matches". WWE.com. October 24, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
- "WHY 205 LIVE STARS DISAPPEARED OFF RAW, WHY IMPACT CONTRACTED TALENTS CAN WRESTLE ANYWHERE AND MORE". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "205 Live results: A GM to be announced next week". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
- Powell, Jason. "WWE Clash of Champions Kickoff Show results: Powell's live notes on AJ Styles vs. Cedric Alexander for the U.S. Title, Drew Gulak vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- Martinez, Phillip (September 10, 2019). "TRIPLE H DISCUSSES NXT'S MOVE TO USA AND THE BRAND'S CONTINUED EVOLUTION". Newsweek. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
- THE FUTURE OF 205 LIVE REVEALED | PWInsider.com
- Johnson, Mike (October 3, 2019). "CHANGE TO WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE & MORE NXT NEWS". PWInsider. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- Csonka's 205 Live Review 10-18-19 - 411 Mania.com
- Vishwakoti, Anish (October 18, 2019). "10/18 WWE 205 Live results: Anish V's review of Tony Nese vs. Oney Lorcan vs. Ariya Daivari in a Triple Threat, Jack Gallagher vs. Brian Kendrick, The Singh Brothers vs. Justin Alexander and Justin Morris". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
- Harris, Jeffrey (April 12, 2020). "Drake Maverick: 'I'm Gonna Be the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Champion'". 411mania. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- Middleton, Marc (August 14, 2020). "Dewey Foley And Adam Pearce Are Reportedly The Top Writers For WWE 205 Live". Wrestling Inc. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
- Nason, Josh (June 25, 2021). "WWE releases 14 wrestlers". f4wonline.com. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
- Lambert, Jeremy (August 6, 2021). "Jake Atlas Released By WWE". Fightful. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
Faria, Colby (August 6, 2021). "Asher Hale Released By WWE". Fightful. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
Lambert, Jeremy (August 6, 2021). "Ari Sterling Released By WWE". Fightful. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
- Coulson, Josh. "WWE's Latest Releases Have Reduced 205 Live's Roster Size To Single Figures". TheSportster. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
- Currier, Joseph (December 21, 2021). "TITLE UNIFICATION MATCH ADDED TO NXT NEW YEAR'S EVIL". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
- WWE (December 28, 2021). Diamond Mine gets last laugh at Championship Unification contract signing: WWE NXT, Dec. 28, 2021. YouTube. Event occurs at 1:52. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
Wade Barrett: The winner of that matchup will go forward as the North American Champion.
- Guzzo, Gisberto (January 5, 2022). "Road Dogg Among Multiple Performance Center Staff Released By WWE, SVP Released". Fightful. Archived from the original on 6 January 2022. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
- Johnson, Mike (February 15, 2022). "SAY GOODBYE TO 205 LIVE, NEW NXT SERIES TO BEGIN TAPING TONIGHT". PWInsider. Retrieved February 15, 2022.