POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE 2/7 - Paul Levesque replaces Vince McMahon overseeing 205 Live, per report

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/02/07/pollocks-news-update-2-7-paul-levesque-replaces-vince-mcmahon-overseeing-205-live-per-report/


**We have this week’s edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown posted on the main page of the site and available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and the TuneIn Radio app. On this week’s show, Wai and I review this week’s SmackDown Live, the re-vamped 205 Live, and Wai takes us through the Mixed Match Challenge. We also discuss the main event announcement for Fast Lane, the Top 10 rankings, the Daniel Bryan vs. Shane McMahon story, a big return announced for next week’s episode, Jason Jordan’s injury and we take your feedback.

**Late Wednesday evening, we will have a new edition of the British Wrestling Experience available for everyone with Martin Bushby, Oli Court, and Benno returning for their bi-weekly show.

**Rewind-A-Wai returns this Friday for all members of the POST Wrestling Café. This week’s selection was chosen by Espresso Executive Producer Tyler Crane and he chose Night 3 of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament from 2017. Wai and I will review the entire show, featuring the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the three-way final, including the much-discussed match between Keith Lee and Donovan Dijak. That show will drop Friday morning for all patrons.


**Mike Johnson is reporting at PWinsider.com that there has been a shakeup regarding the management of 205 Live, which has been evident with the on-screen product over the past two episodes. Johnson is reporting that Vince McMahon is no longer serving as the showrunner for the series and it has been handed over to Paul Levesque. The philosophical shift coincided with the departure of Enzo Amore (Eric Arndt) from the company two-weeks with whom the show had been structured around. The 205 Live team consists of Levesque overseeing the show with Adam Pearce in the role of lead producer and Jonathan Baeckstrom as the head writer for the series, per the reporting of Mike Johnson. Baeckstrom has been with the WWE since 2013 and has ascended the creative ladder and was promoted to the position of the lead writer in November 2016. The past two weeks have featured the launch of a tournament with a heavy emphasis on great wrestling with strong performers, zero comedy on the show and the bulk of the episode consisting of in-ring matches and serious personality profiles. The shift is much more in line with the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, which was deemed a success across the board for the 2016 summer tournament that was produced out of Full Sail University and aired on the WWE Network.

Tuesday’s episode of 205 Live was one of the strongest episodes to date for the series. The show was paced by a tremendous match between Roderick Strong and Hideo Itami, that in any other environment would have torn down the house but this was a dead audience in Kansas City that displayed minimal engagement to a very sold 17-minute performance from the two. If this match had aired at Takeover last week in Philadelphia, it would have been the second best match on the show. While some can say it’s a cop-out to just blame the audience and responsibility should be placed on the performers to work to the crowd they are given, I don’t feel you will be able to eliminate the negative stigma of the show overnight. 205 Live is going to need consistently great matches and a directional change that is accepted and digested by the audience, which has sat through two hours of SmackDown and the Mixed Match Challenge. In time, I feel this shift will translate to the crowd reactions as the performers can go out and outshine everything that has preceded them with fewer restrictions than before. The other match on the show was another strong match with Kalisto pinning Lince Dorado after a tremendous sequence of Kalisto hitting a reverse springboard onto the shoulders of Dorado into a reverse rana followed by a Salida del Sol. This was a great episode and the best show the WWE produced this week from a match quality perspective.

Vic Joseph had the line of the week during Kalisto’s entrance when he stated, “Well, Nigel we are going to see some good Lucha things tonight.”

**As we reported here on POST Wrestling last week, AXS TV will be carrying the “Strong Style Evolved” show live on their network on Sunday, March 25th from the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California. The official announcement by AXS TV was made Wednesday following the news last week that the show sold out in less than 20 minutes with just over 4,700 tickets sold. The event will air that at night at 8 pm Eastern with Jim Ross and Josh Barnett calling the show. Thus far, no matches have been announced but they are advertising Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, and Kenny Omega for the show.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of NXT at 8 pm Eastern on the WWE Network from last week’s tapings at Center Stage in Atlanta:
*Bianca Belair vs. TBA
*Heavy Machinery vs. Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli
*Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Sanity for the NXT tag titles

Johnny Gargano will also appear on tonight’s episode.

**The fourth week of the Mixed Match Challenge saw a minor jump in the live viewership with the Goldust and Mandy Rose vs. Jimmy Uso and Naomi match peaking with 77,000 live viewers on Facebook Watch.

**Shelton Benjamin shared an insane experience with his rental car situation this week. On Tuesday night, Benjamin discovered a loaded gun in the glove compartment of his Budget rental car and posted a photo and was obviously upset that he was provided with a car that had not been checked over from its prior user. While it’s a strange story, the repercussions could have been significant in the small chance that Benjamin had been pulled over and an unregistered loaded gun was discovered in his car. At the very least, it would have likely resulted in media picking up the story because of his celebrity and if an investigation was necessary, could have resulted in a temporary suspension. Thankfully, he discovered the weapon and it appears to be a non-issue, but Benjamin has every right to be furious that he was unknowingly travelling with a weapon for four-days in his car.

**Jim Ross and Josh Barnett are in Los Angeles this week to voice episodes of NJPW on AXS TV from last month’s New Year’s Dash and the recent New Beginning shows in Sapporo for a quick turnaround. This Friday night, AXS will be running the Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito title match from Wrestle Kingdom and then the New Year’s Dash matches will air the following Friday on February 16th.

**The main event for New Japan’s second of four shows in Australia will feature Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and Rocky Romero vs. Kenny Omega and the Guerillas of Destiny. The six-man tag will headline the Saturday, February 17th card in Melbourne at Festival Hall.

**Here is the first episode of this week’s UFC Embedded series going into UFC 221 on Saturday night from Perth, Australia:

REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 2/6/18: Top 10 List, Owens vs. Zayn, 205 Live…Great?

REWIND-A-RAW 2/5/18: Jordan Screws Up Again, Women’s Chamber Participants Announced

ASK-A-WAI #1: Ask Us Anything (February 2018) – https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/8cm67s/180204_ASK-A-WAI.mp3


KEEP IT 2000: Ep. 23 – “The Red Liquid” with Damian Abraham (June 5, 2000)

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Good news for 205… even in the death slot, post SD… Hunter should be able to cultivate something watchable and quite good each week… looking forward to 205 going back to a full hour after mmc is over.

Hunter’s workload is going to be interesting between NXT, 205, and that British Brand if that ever gets launched.

That’s only the beginning for Paul. Soon he will also have control over Smackdown and Raw. I am crossing my fingers.

The entire tone of 205 live switched over night. Shows Vince has no idea what to do with lighter guys. He can book giants but is behind the times on different styles and diversity.

I hope a newbie from nxt like Roddy wins the whole tournament

Why Vince was even in charge of this brand to begin with makes no sense. Too bad damage has been done but at least it still salvageable with some new engery pumped into it. Why can’t they just tape the show before SmackDown and air it right after SmackDown?

John said it best on rewind a smackdown when he said that smackdown fans aren’t there to see great wrestling, they’re mostly there to see stars and sadly nobody on the 205 live roster is considered a star, even if they bring in NXT and British guys to fill up the roster, nobody is seen as a star, case in point, Roderick strong vs hideo itami had a awesome match and fans continued to sit on their hand and watch their cellphone.

The only way HHH can save the 205 live product is to take it out of the smackdown environment and put it in a NXT environment. That way, they will get the type of reaction they want to get and it will help the product feel like a bigger deal.

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Really enjoying the reboot of 205 Live with the tournament format, but what about after a WrestleMania? I think the ranking system being used on Smackdown would be better served being tested on 205 Live after ‘Mania as it lends itself to more of a sports-style presentation.

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If they manage to establish a reputation for delivering high-quality matches I think they’ll be able to transition into a more story-driven format just like NXT. I think the tournament is a great annual gimmick, though.

Watching WWE main event yesterday, i also realise that the other problem with this is that While HHH is overseeing 205 Live and he’S trying to give a product that the NXT fans would love, you still Get Vince Mcmahon overseeing them on Raw and Main event, so you can’t have both. If you throw them in a meaningless match on Raw or Main event and then you try to convince the fans that the cruiserweights matters on 205 Live, you have a uphill battle to fight. Also now that it’s official and that all PPV are dual Brand, that pretty much think that if they want to keep that division on Raw, they will probably be getting the Kickoff spot on most PPV shows, so again, it’s counter productive.

The point is If one guy (Vince) don’t think the cruiserweights are important and Another one (HHH) thinks they are, then you’re pretty much stuck at the same point you we’re at the beginning so either let HHH take the division off the main show and let them shine on they’re own and maybe have them have a match on those takeover specials or just scrap the whole thing.

We’re the cruiserweights on Main Event this week? It’s been noted on the last couple of Rewind-a-Raw’s that they haven’t been on Raw since the reboot and it’s probably to avoid this very reason.

Yeah they we’re. Cedric Alexander had a match against aria davari. It was you’re typical meaningless match that last 5 or 6 minutes and Cedric won the match while nobody cared about it. I don’t know about week before because I miss last week’s episode but they we’re on this week.

People watch Main Event?

…but seriously, you make a good point about the cruiser’s getting the gold treatment from Hunter and being treated like an afterthought by McMahon. I’ve heard others talk about 205 being turned into basically the SmackDown to NXT’s RAW and getting to tour on their own, in smaller venues and having their own specials like TakeOver. I’d say maybe take them off the main roster touring schedule and stick them in Full Sail when NXT is touring, start them off with one match on TakeOver for the cruiser belt and work them up to getting their own specials in the months between TakeOver’s.

I’m pretty over the main roster product as a whole, it feels uninspired and unimaginative to me, whereas this new 205 and NXT feel fresh and focused - and at an hour a piece each week, they don’t over stay their welcome like RAW and SmackDown do - so I’d welcome that kind of schedule.

Vince McMahon was reported to be focused more on the cruiserweights characters instead of in ring action and Triple H was opposite and focused on in ring. …based on my viewing experience and what was the most successful things during my life time…I would think having a character is infinitely better at getting over than having a great match.