There's no denying the talent of the performers on the 205 Live roster, or their abilities to tear the house down in the ring on any given night. But something was missing. Sure, some of the storylines had compelling elements, but few, if any, truly stood out as being particularly memorable.
On top of it all, the division has had to move on without the star power that accompanied two of its most recent champions, Neville and Enzo Amore.
It was time for a change and a glimmer of hope, and that's what Tuesday edition of 205 Live had to offer. Last week, SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan announced that 205 Live would debut its first General Manager on this week's show. The decision was a critical one, as this individual would be tasked with restoring order to the division and provide a much-needed spark.
The topic of who would become GM has been discussed and debated all week and superstars within the division have been floating out their preferred candidates on social media. Everyone had their predictions and suggestions, but no one really knew who would walk and claim the role until Bryan opened Tuesday's show alongside a face familiar to U.K. and TNA/Impact Wrestling fans -- a man now formerly known as Rockstar Spud.
The new 205 Live General Manager, now called Drake Maverick, represents the start of a new era for the cruiserweight division.
"I have worked my entire life and dedicated my entire career to stand here in front of you in the WWE," Maverick said. "I am even more proud to stand here in front of you as the 205 Live General Manager."
Maverick's debut had been recently rumored, so the decision to roll with him as the 205 Live General Manager wasn't completely out of left field, but this was a smart call. Maverick is an excellent talker and his in-ring prowess opens the door for him to get involved in future storylines from a physical perspective, if need be. He was a two-time X Division Champion while with Impact Wrestling and meets the weight requirement to perform as an active competitor on 205 Live.
While we don't know which way he'll go personality wise as of yet, Maverick's first order of business was determining how a new cruiserweight champion would be crowned. He announced a 16-man tournament, which started Tuesday night, that will take place over the course of the next couple of months and culminate with the finals taking place at WrestleMania.
It's a predictable, but fun path to a new champion being crowned, and while the match has preshow written all over it, being at WrestleMania in any capacity cranks up the perceived importance of the title and the division.
The Road to #WrestleMania is taking a little detour to MUSTACHE MOUNTAIN as @Tyler_Bate takes it to @megatjp in the first round of the @WWE #Cruiserweight Championship tournament! #205Live pic.twitter.com/IXYFCMuDBQ
— WWE (@WWE) January 31, 2018
Hits & Misses
The first match in the 16-man tournament was a good one. Cedric Alexander and Gran Metalik traded innovative offense en route to a competitive match. Not surprisingly, Alexander, who has to be considered one of, if not the, favorite in this tournament won via a lumbar check.
The second match of the tournament featured the first ever United Kingdom champion Tyler Bate and the first new era cruiserweight champion, TJP. It was a welcomed surprise to see the ultra-talented Bate perform on 205 Live for just the second time in his career, though result made it seem pretty clear he won't be a permanent fixture within the brand. The two put forth the match of the night -- something we've grown accustomed to seeing from Bate -- and saw TJP score a cheap pinfall victory with a school boy roll-up aided by the hooking of Bate's tights.
Two more enticing first round tournament match-ups will take place next week. Former cruiserweight champion Kalisto goes one-on-one with Lince Dorado, while Hideo Itami will take on his former NXT compatriot Roderick Strong.