Gentleman Jack vs. Neville Set for WWE Fastlane 2017 After 205 Live Fatal 5-Way

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2017

Credit: WWE.com

Gentleman Jack Gallagher is the new No. 1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship after winning a Fatal 5-way match Tuesday night on 205 Live.

205 Live provided a look at the winning moment:

205Live @WWE205Live

WHAT A DROPKICK by @GentlemanJackG!!! ONE TWO THREE!! Gallagher faces @WWENeville for the #Cruiserweight Title at #WWEFastLane!! #205Live https://t.co/08K9FB42aD

Neville will defend the title at Fastlane on March 5. He captured the gold after beating Rich Swann at the Royal Rumble in January.

Neville provided a much-needed shot in the arm to the cruiserweight division when he attacked Swann and TJ Perkins at Roadblock: End of the Line.

That has provided only a temporary boost, however, as the division has struggled to find its feet, largely through no fault of the wrestlers themselves.

When it announced the creation of the Cruiserweight Championship, WWE was likely trying to recreate the cruiserweight division that was so successful in WCW in the mid-to-late 1990s. Through its implementation, though, WWE has demonstrated a failure to understand what set WCW's cruiserweight wrestling apart from the rest of the company's in-ring product.

The likes of Rey Mysterio Jr., Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Juventud Guerrera, Ultimo Dragon and Eddie Guerrero all offered a refreshing contrast to WCW's aging stars. They were doing things many American wrestling fans had never seen before.

WWE's cruiserweight division, on the other hand, has become an extension of the WWE style of wrestling. The wrestlers are unable to show off the athleticism and move sets that would potentially draw fans to cruiserweight wrestling.

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As former WWE star Sean Waltman also argued on his podcast, X-Pac 1,2,360, in December (h/t Wrestling Inc's William Windsor), WWE's decision to have a specialized ring apron and purple ropes has backfired in a big way: "Who gives a s--t [about changing the color of the ring ropes]? I mean, why are we changing ropes? Well, I guess I understand why. But, like, yeah, it does signify it's time to go to the bathroom, or get some popcorn, or it's time to just leave. Right?"

Uproxx's Brandon Stroud showed the mass exodus of fans from their seats at the Royal Rumble ahead of Neville's match with Swann:

Brandon Stroud @MrBrandonStroud

Suddenly half the arena is empty and in the bathroom, because cruiserweights :/ https://t.co/k5WUT8ykxa

Because of those problems, it's difficult to see how Neville vs. Gentleman Jack at Fastlane moves the needle. 

Gallagher was the most intriguing of Neville's five potential challengers. The Extraordinary Gentleman's more light-hearted nature makes for a nice foil with the champion, who has made no apologies for his stern demeanor and determined destruction of the cruiserweight division.

Their rivalry should be entertaining but will likely do little to provide a long-term boost to the division.

At this point, nothing short of a complete reboot will rejuvenate the cruiserweight division, which is essentially what WWE did with the women's division. Following the failure of the Divas Revolution, WWE sent a clear message when it scrapped the Divas moniker and introduced the Women's Championship at WrestleMania 32.

Since then, the women's division has thrived.

In order to shake cruiserweight wrestling out of its current funk, WWE would be wise to consider a similar change in direction.

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