1. Overlapping With the Under 205 World
Drew Gulak rambled on about his vision for 205 Live on Tuesday night, proclaiming the show shouldn't feature chanting or elaborate costumes. An unlikely duo played the cavalry in Las Vegas, confronting and whisking away the heel—Breezango.
Tyler Breeze and Fandango are SmackDown Superstars. They each weigh over 205 pounds. They don't compete for the Cruiserweight Championship.
But here they were in the land of the cruiserweights hounding Gulak for his fashion choices. The Fashion Police cuffed and apprehended the bruiser in an amusing scene.
This was an invasion, a case of two worlds bleeding into each other.
WWE needs to do that more often. Breezango brought much-needed energy to the show. Their faceoff with Gulak was unexpected, fun and fresh.
And that moment seemed to intrigue fans. As of this writing, Breezango's interaction with Gulak had twice as many views on WWE's YouTube page than everything else from that edition of 205 Live.
When WWE reintroduced the division last year, it rarely allowed the cruiserweights and the rest of the roster interact.
The cruiserweight division existed so separately from the rest of the WWE landscape at first that its combatants wrestled in a ring with different colored ropes. There were no cruiserweight-versus-non-cruiserweight matches. Wrestlers like Tony Nese and Mustafa Ali lived on a separate plane than the rest of Raw's roster.
This approach makes 205 Live and the cruiserweight division feel like specialty products that can be skipped over, like C-level entities.
WWE is beginning to meld its roster more, however.
Titus O'Neil now serves as Tozawa's manager, allowing the Japanese pit bull to have a story that's not limited to his current division. Tozawa has a loudmouth advocate in his corner and an ally in fellow Titus Worldwide client Apollo Crews.
Sasha Banks briefly traveled to cruiserweight world when she aligned herself with Rich Swann. She brought her presence and her dance skills to a division in need of a spark.
More recently, Breezango showed up unexpectedly, and Enzo Amore freed himself from the boundaries of the cruiserweight division when he stepped up to The Miz on Monday's Raw.
It wasn't a good match by any means, but it paved the way for similar crossover opportunities. Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, for one, wants to see more bouts like this:
Ryan Satin @ryansatin
I hope Enzo being a cruiserweight who is allowed to wrestle main roster talent leads to all the others in the division being allowed as well2017-9-12 16:51:23
Should it go that route, WWE would open up a number of possibilities. Cedric Alexander could challenge Cesaro one night. Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick could challenge for the Raw Tag Team Championship in an impromptu match.
This infusion of talent makes the cruiserweight division more fun as well as makes it feel more important. Star power has a clear impact on the show.
And as the folks at Shoulders Up podcast pointed out, having Breezango and The Miz step into that realm is a sign of WWE's commitment to the cruiserweights:
Shoulders Up @Shoulders_Up
If Breezango and the Miz are both doing storylines on #205Live, it really sounds like WWE wants to save it???2017-9-13 03:07:27
The cruiserweights should battle each other often, but there's no reason not to toy with the numerous other options at WWE's fingertips. There are too many great matches and storylines to deliver with more mixing of these two worlds.
Breezango confronting Gulak shouldn't be an anomaly, it should be a sign of things to come.
2. 100-Day Man
The Miz as intercontinental champion has become a familiar sight.
The A-Lister has now held the Intercontinental Championship for 100 days and counting, per WWE.com. That's the second longest of his seven IC title reigns. Seven other wrestlers have worn the IC title that long this decade, but only The Miz has done it twice.
He has now held that championship for a combined 453 days.
With every red-faced rant and bit of heel trickery in the ring, The Miz is strengthening his case as one of the greatest IC champs of all time. He's got miles ahead of him in the journey to become the longest-reigning IC titleholder ever, though.
The Miz would have to retain the title for over 350 additional days to catch up to The Honky Tonk Man.
3. Throwback Video of the Week: Charlie Haas
Dolph Ziggler has begun to work an impersonation gimmick, mocking a number of Superstars from Naomi to Ultimate Warrior in recent weeks.
The Showoff, though, is far from the first WWE wrestler to go this route. Charlie Haas of The World's Greatest Tag Team built his solo act around Superstar impressions.
In 2008, that landed him a role in a WWE Mobile commercial as Bret Hart:
Haas didn't stick around with WWE long after this gimmick as he and the company parted ways in 2010. We'll soon see if Ziggler follows that same pattern when his impersonation phase is over.
4. From Empress to Princess
Just when it looks like NXT is going to take a step back in terms of its talent pool, it reloads. Asuka exited the brand as Kairi Sane arrived.
The Empress of Tomorrow is now headed to Raw. And after winning the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament, Sane is now set to challenge for the NXT Women's Championship at TakeOver: Houston on Nov. 18.
As huge of a star as Asuka was for NXT, the brand has little to worry about moving forward. Sane is just as charismatic and just as skilled in the ring, perhaps more so. The Pirate Princess is a special talent.
Sane will be a tremendous asset for WWE's developmental territory and be a hell of a flag-bearer for women's wrestling.
5. Microsoft in the Gulak Fan Club
While 205 Live struggles with viewership, it's clear folks from Microsoft Office were paying attention to what unfolded on last week's show.
Gulak began a Powerpoint presentation on how he would make 205 Live a better place. Akira Tozawa interrupted.
The Microsoft Office Twitter account wanted to hear more from Gulak:
Microsoft Office @Office
@WWE .@DrewGulak What’s slide 3, Captain?! https://t.co/ixppoVsJtZ2017-9-8 19:11:01
It's surprising what elements of WWE trend and get mainstream attention. Breezango's Twin Peaks parody generated a good amount of buzz. And it looks as if Gulak's campaign is getting a bit of love, too.
6. Get to Know New Japan
New Japan Pro Wrestling consistently puts out tremendous content, and a good number of WWE fans never see a second of it. The Japanese promotion is working to expand more into the U.S. market, but it remains more of a niche product than WWE for now.
For those curious about what wrestling's diehard fanbase is so often raving about, the NJPW YouTube channel is offering many a peek into its world.
In addition to highlights from Road to Destruction, NJPW has uploaded a ton of matches in their entirety. There's a wealth of wrestling to soak in.
This is an excellent chance to check out Minoru Suzuki's bulldozing style, to find out why Hiroshi Tanahashi is considered to be among the top wrestlers in the world and to watch the magnetic Tetsuya Naito at work.
7. Rusev Has Been Getting Crushed
In a backstage interview on Tuesday's SmackDown, Rusev talked about his record being poor of late, of needing to regain his edge.
He's not making that up. The Bulgarian Brute has not been familiar with victory lately.
On top of that, Rusev hasn't won two consecutive matches since 2016.
That has to change in a hurry. Rusev is too good of an in-ring predator to be so low on the food chain.
8. The Usos
The Usos' resume fattened on Tuesday's SmackDown with a stirring clash against The New Day.
The Street Fight in Las Vegas was the latest of Jimmy and Jey's standout contests. After being a lower midcard team for much of their early career, The Usos have since established themselves as one of the best duos on the roster.
For proof of that, check out the matches below to revisit some of their best work to date:
- The Usos vs. The Shield: Money in the Bank 2013
- The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family: Battleground 2014
- The Usos vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. The New Day: TLC 2015
- The Usos vs. American Alpha: SmackDown, March 21, 2017
- The Usos vs. The New Day: SummerSlam 2017
SmackDown, unfortunately, doesn't have a ton of options to play The Usos' foils beyond The New Day. Once that feud is over, it promises to be a long while before The Usos' next great showing.
That is, unless Luke Harper and Erick Rowan reunite and restart their 2014 feud with the brothers.
9. Clarity for The Eater of Worlds
Bray Wyatt has condensed his message and narrowed his focus. And it's working wonders so far.
Wyatt's promos are often meandering, dizzying rants that are too esoteric for much of the audience.
In his pursuit of Finn Balor, though, Wyatt has zeroed in on the idea that he wants to reveal the man under the mask, so to speak. He's intent on exposing the mortal underneath Balor's demon persona.
WWE Universe @WWEUniverse
"You're just like @FinnBalor. Your paint is...your weapon to protect you from the truth." - @WWEBrayWyatt to @Goldust #RAW https://t.co/yKWbtFdcnk2017-9-12 01:16:40
Against Goldust on Monday's Raw, he had similar intentions. The Eater of Worlds rubbed off The Bizarre One's face paint as he tried to show the crowd that Goldust was simply a man, not some larger-than-like figure.
The more WWE Creative keeps things simple for Wyatt like this, the better. His character is one brimming with potential. But convoluted storylines have held him back.
He needs to continue to be as fixated on a clear, single goal as he is right now
10. The Miz on Fatherhood
A little Miz is on the way. The Miz and Maryse announced on Monday's Raw that the couple is expecting.
On Instagram, The Miz posted a moving message about becoming a dad.
"There are moments in life that I will never forget. My wife placing a pregnancy test in front of me saying 'Congrats daddy' will always be on top," The Miz wrote. "I have no idea what I'm doing but I will listen, learn and love the best way I know how."
The Miz certainly has the right attitude about this new stage in his life. He seems hugely excited about what's to come, and it's hard not to feel happy for him, villainous onscreen persona and all.
Best of luck to Miz and Maryse. Welcome to the club.