Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
Neither the Cruiserweight division on Raw or 205 Live on the WWE Network have been able to capture the wrestling magic of last year’s Cruiserweight Classic tournament. On Raw, their matches are often throwaway 5 minute fillers, while on their dedicated 205 Live show, a large portion of the audience leaves once Smackdown ends.
But even with WWE effectively conditioning their audience to not care about the cruiserweight division, I cannot condone this fan at ringside on his mobile phone while Akira Tozawa did a senton off the top rope through a table on the outside.
Why even leave your house and waste a good seat? Loser! pic.twitter.com/9McWn8YVET
— Tony Nese (@TonyNese) May 24, 2017
Unless the fan was watching the latest episode of the WrestleTalk News and then making sure he subscribed to WrestleTalk’s YouTube channel, of course. In which case – winner.
This isn’t the only Cruiserweight wrestler who’s become frustrated with the WWE Universe as of late. On last week’s episode of Raw, the New Jersey crowd hijacked the Austin Aries & Jack Gallagher vs TJP and Neville tag match, chanting ‘this is boring’ and letting BeachBallamania run wild.
The following day, Aries sarcastically tweeted:
Thank you New Jersey. Classy as always. #RAW
— Austin Healy Aries (@AustinAries) May 16, 2017
Although the crowd hijacking matches with their own entertainment, or being completely disinterested in rather good 205 Live main events is disrespectful to the wrestlers involved, WWE must share a large portion of the blame. By putting the Cruiserweights in the show’s dead spots – kicking off the rough third hour of Raw, or immediately following Smackdown – the crowd have been conditioned not to care about them. And when the audience is already restless after a long, mostly dragged out night, featuring the same wrestlers fighting each other in repetitive match-ups from the last several weeks, with uninspiring stories and poorly built up stars, maybe the promotion should take this crowd disinterest as constructive feedback rather than having its performer’s feelings hurt.
Arguably Smackdown has listened to the fans that want something new, by giving them a WWE Champion nobody would’ve expected even just a month ago: Jinder Mahal.
It appears the post-pay-per-view bump of The Maharaj winning the title at Backlash helped Smackdown bounce back from its lowest rating of 2017 so far last week, with Tuesday’s episode drawing an average of 2.33 million viewers.
You ratings thought the show pretty good, with 65% awarding it SmackTastic, while 25% agreed with me that the episode was Smack Bang in the Middle.
The onscreen partnership of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho was responsible for getting most of us through many dark episodes of Monday Night Raw last year – the chemistry between the two often being the only highlight of those long, three hours shows. It was a relationship in which fans got so invested, that many wanted Jeri-KO to main event Wrestlemania 33 for the Universal Title.
Jericho is currently on hiatus from WWE, touring with his band Fozzy, and he’s revealed to Busted Open Radio that was actually originally the plan, and one of the reasons he agreed to work through until April this year:
“Around December maybe, Vince called me in and he had a big idea. I can probably say this now; the original idea, as things change all of the time, exclusive for Busted Open, was for me and Kevin Owens to work at Wrestlemania and for me to win the title, and then to lose it to Brock in Sacramento at the next pay-per-view, which was April 30th. And so when you get presented with that idea it’s like ‘well sure, of course I’ll stay for that.’ Then as things go, the Goldberg factor started and Vince changed his mind.”
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