WWE Raw 25 Rap Review
WWE announced that Enzo Amore abdicated the Cruiserweight Championship this past week on 205 Live. This comes following the allegations of rape that he failed to disclose to the company until the story broke on a national level. Daniel Bryan stared in the camera as serious as could be and spoke about his connection to the division going back to the days of the critically acclaimed Cruiserweight Classic, and it felt like it was WWE running 100 MPH in the other direction from the shadow that Enzo cast over 205 Live not only that night but the past few months. I’m not a legal expert so I don’t offer much in the way of analyzing his case, so I’ll stick strictly to the professional wrestling aspect of this story.
I’ve never been a fan of Enzo Amore’s whole act. For comparison’s sake, there was a point after Wrestle Kingdom where New Japan’s Jr. Champion was Will Osperay and WWE’s was Enzo Amore. His ascension was directly cast in the shadow of Neville’s excellence, and I just couldn’t get past it, neither could Neville from the looks of things. While the division seemed to get doomed to the pre-show no matter who was on top in the immediate future, watching superior wrestlers get turned into window dressing around an almost non-carryable wrestler who was the champion, was bound to create a disconnect. Eventually, the bell has to ring no matter how many catchphrases you have. For over a year and a half, he was a geek in wolf’s clothing as he was paired with Big Cass in a tag team that never really accomplished much despite their popularity. Getting Cass away from Enzo was WWE’s goal, and Enzo ended up on 205 Live following the conclusion of their feud, where they shot him straight to the championship. In the process, 205 Live was radically changed.
Looking back on it, the CWC created expectations that WWE wasn’t necessarily ready to live up to. They went with the lame duck champions of TJP & Brian Kendrick at first to anchor the division and both of those choices were huge swings and misses, as TJP submitted his name in the all-time dumb babyface pantheon, and annoyed the audience so badly they ended up turning him heel. Then there was Brian Kendrick, while still compelling in some ways, he was not the star to get fans excited about a relaunched division with its own show. Things stabilized with Neville, who for nearly 10 months was truly the King.
This past week’s episode of the show seemed like an apology for steering the show off of its natural course. The insertion of Bryan at the beginning was subconsciously an attempt to sprinkle some of the memory of the CWC back into a division that long ago broke away from its roots. With the announcement of a new General Manager that will be named next week, it seems like they aren’t fully going back to the days of the CWC, but they will allow an environment where the wrestling and simple stories will thrive once again.
Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali was the beacon of hope for what the new improved 205 Live could be. If you haven’t gone back and watched it I highly recommend it. At nearly 12 minutes, it was a classic babyface match between two guys still looking to carve out real estate in the large neighborhood of WWE. Ali and Alexander have both been highflying savants without much personality wise, but what they did was have a match that hinted at their friendship, but made it clear they were willing to destroy the other to get to the top. It felt like a big match that will help 205 Live re-establish positive expectations for their week to week shows that could potentially lead to show-stealing matches once again on PPVs. It was hard-hitting, athletic and would have been right at home in the CWC where they’ve only got 1 goal; to get over with your in-ring performance.
While there will be a new champion crowned in the short term, the long-term question for 205 will be who is the new blood that will make 205 a destination rather than a death sentence for one’s career? Will a Johnny Gargano or Ricochet come in and rise to that top position? Will they make 205 Live a more of an idea rather than a strict adherence? Meaning they could allow a Mustafa Ali to feud with the Intercontinental Champion on Raw for a few months at a time until he is ready to be inserted back into the Cruiserweight Title hunt. The cruiserweights can blend with the main roster to create a middle class within the mid-card, and maybe they find money in someone and do more with them.
WWE is in a perfect position right now with 205 Live. There is nowhere to go but up. Such a dramatic removal of the champion is a blessing in disguise because it starts everyone over while allowing fans to stick to their favorites even harder. I’ve never really been into Drew Gulak, but he’s organically gotten support over the last 6 months, and to fans of his he’s the obvious choice to lead the division. I’ve been a Cedric guy forever, and you can bet fans of each guy on the roster feel like their guy could be next. WWE would be wise to capitalize on this optimism, and not keep going down the road the show was going previously. I’m apt to give 205 Live another chance, are you?
Questions For You.
Who would you name as the new General Manager?
Who should be the next Cruiserweight Champion?
Rich Latta is a writer for LordsofPain.net & host of the One Nation Radio Podcast on www.SocialSuplex.com He appears monthly on Chad Matthews’ podcast The Doc Says after Raw PPVs. GFX by @SirMikeFergus Give him a follow on Twitter, @RichLatta32 or drop him a comment below. If you like hip-hop, check out his music here. www.Soundcloud.com/RichLatta Look Him Up On Youtube As Well.
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