Although it has only been in the form of rumors (that can mostly be brushed away), the idea of Daniel Bryan moving to 205 Live was brought up and we realized that it was a far more intriguing prospect than first imagined. 205 Live has had a stigma attached to it from the very start, with WWE not exactly doing their best to boost the reputation of the brand and the perception of the cruiserweight superstars.
If anything, being brought up as a Cruiserweight star only seemed to hamper a superstars’ chances at growing bigger, but as we’ve seen, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. However, Daniel Bryan being brought over to 205 Live could be the biggest game-changer that the brand desperately needs.
Since its inception in 2016, 205 Live has generally revolved around a rotating cast of superstars. Rich Swann, The Brian Kendrick and TJP were at the forefront in the beginning of it all, but soon enough, Neville made his much-anticipated jump over to the Cruiserweight division, changing things drastically. He reached a whole new level as a heel and it was clear that despite a lack of eyes on him, he was having one of the very best runs of his career.
Being the King of the Cruiserweights greatly helped the brand and slowly, things started to grow with the arrival of Austin Aries. Aries’ run, unfortunately, turned out to be brief and after that, WWE stuck with Neville, until the arrival of Enzo Amore into the Cruiserweight division. Amore’s arrival, as it turned out, was only detrimental to the brand and its superstars rather than elevating it. While the brand had gotten a main roster star with a big personality, centering the division around him turned out to be a huge mistake.
Neville dropping the title to him turned out to be the final straw and the Englishman had ended his run with WWE, much to the disappointment of fans. Amore’s run in the division was far worse than anticipated and the controversy he got into saw WWE left with no choice but to release him.
With all of that done, WWE realized that 205 Live needed a fresh start and they began a tournament in the beginning of 2018 to crown a new Cruiserweight Champion at WrestleMania 34. The tournament was filled with talent, including NXT names such as Roderick Strong. The fantastic tournament was primarily centered around Cedric Alexander and (Mustafa) Ali.
This turned out to be the perfect call as Alexander had his coronation at WrestleMania 34. For the remainder of the year, 205 Live’s product would drastically improve, with a renewed focus on the high-flying style and the new talent emerging. With Triple H having taken over the reins of 205 Live, it became a byproduct of NXT and the quality, similar to NXT, had gotten incredibly consistent over time. The quality of matches improved, the stars had gotten bigger and more eyes went to the product.
Alexander would pass the torch to Buddy Murphy, who helped carry the division as Ali transitioned into SmackDown Live. Murphy’s talent was recognized on the main roster and after WrestleMania 35, Tony Nese became the poster boy for 205 Live while Alexander and Murphy went to RAW and SmackDown respectively.
With the three biggest stars having gone, 205 Live needed to rebuild and Chad Gable presented another major addition to the show – a place where he could legitimately showcase his extraordinary potential. However, Daniel Bryan would take it to a whole new level.
We wouldn’t blame WWE if they wanted to keep Daniel Bryan on SmackDown Live. After all, they are moving in a new direction as the FOX deal edges closer, but if Bryan is willing to jump brands, there is no reason for WWE not to oblige. After all, not only would he bring the attendance, reactions and attention to 205 Live up, but he could help the Cruiserweight division on a smaller scale than how Ronda Rousey helped the Women’s division during her time there.
Bryan fits the billing and can compete with the very best on the brand. Not only this, but it would be a huge career-changer for him and a new phase of it as well. Even if it’s a temporary one-year-long experiment, it’s worth trying out and it can help boost 205 Live viewership beyond what it had ever seen. He is the right man for the job and he’ll get to wrestle with some of the very best Cruiserweights on the planet.
Perhaps it’s worth trying for WWE and it may have long-term dividends that even they didn’t expect.