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King: The Evolution Of 205 Live

Chris King shares with you how far the amazing Cruiserweights of 205 Live have come since their inception in 2016.

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Chris King shares with you how far the amazing Cruiserweights of 205 Live have come since their inception in 2016.

I can’t believe it’s only been three years since we were all watching the incredible Cruiserweight Classic Tournament where Cruiserweights from all over the world put their bodies on the line to become the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Champion. I remember holding my breath watching these insanely-gifted athletes blow my mind with their dazzling high-flying maneuvers.

In the finals, TJ Perkins defeated Gran Metalik after thirty minutes of high-octane action to become the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Stemming from the success of the Cruiserweight Classic, a handful of Cruiserweights were signed by WWE such as Brian Kendrick, Rich Swann, Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado, and Noam Dar were drafted to Raw. Each week the high-flyers were wowing the WWE Universe with their high-octane action in six-man tag team matches.

205 Live Has Arrived

Unfortunately, what appeared to be their greatest achievement of the Cruiserweights quickly turned into the downfall later on for the roster. Shortly after beginning to gain some momentum rumors spread that WWE was planning to water down the Cruiserweight style limiting the number of flips and high spots. Despite the restrictions, the WWE Universe got their first taste of a real feud for the Cruiserweight division, as Kendrick became the number-one contender to face his long-time friend Perkins at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view. This was also before the division was relegated to the pre-show as they are today.

What began as a friendly competition between two friends quickly disintegrated into pure jealousy and contempt as Kendrick revealed his true colors by viciously attacking his so-called friend following his loss. At the next month’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Kendrick would win the Cruiserweight Title after feigning a knee injury and blasting Perkins with a headbutt followed by locking in the Captain’s Hook.

On November 26, 2016, the amazing Cruiserweights would find a new home on 205 Live which aired after SmackDown Live all-the-while they would still be competing in Raw as well.

The King of the Cruiserweights Saves 205 Live

A month later at the Roadblock End of the Line pay-per-view, the Cruiserweight division would be given the spark it so desperately needed as Neville made his long-awaited return to WWE turning heel on the Champion Rich Swann sending shockwaves throughout the WWE Universe. For several consecutive weeks, this new disgruntled and vindictive Neville obliterated the 205 Live division ahead of his title shot at the 2017 Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

On the January 16, 2017 episode of 205 Live ahead of Swann’s match with Tony Nese the self-proclaimed King of the Cruiserweights viciously attacked him from behind. He then picked up a mic and verbally eviscerated the entire Cruiserweight division. To add the exclamation point Neville eradicated Swann to become the new Cruiserweight Champion at the Royal Rumble.

During this time the WWE Universe was introduced to a man known as A-Double Austin Aries who made his main roster debut as a commentator while recouping from an eye injury. Neville continued berating the entire division week after week until someone finally stood up to him. During an in-ring interview, The King of the Cruiserweights would find his next victim in the form of the interviewer himself A-Double.

At WrestleMania 33 Neville and Aries went to war in an incredible match perfectly mixed with technical wrestling and high-octane action. With The King of the Cruiserweights reeling he dug down low and poked his challenger’s eye and hit the Red Arrow to keep his Cruiserweight Championship. A few weeks later at the Payback pay-per-view, Neville and Aries did battle once again adding another chapter in their bitter rivalry. This time The King of the Cruiserweights won by nefarious means while he was trapped in The Last Chancery pulling the official on top to get disqualified.

A-Double would get his final chance at dethroning the King at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, except this time the stakes would be raised in a Submission Match pitting The Last Chancery versus Neville’s Rings of Saturn.

The King of the Cruiserweights prevailed at the pay-per-view but, at several points of the match, Aries could have easily walked out a champion as he had Neville tapping-out to The Last Chancery on the outside so it didn’t count. After the king disposed of A-Double, he would find his next challenge in the high-flying sensation Akira Tozawa.

Neville would retain his championship against Tozawa at the Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view. On the Go-Home-Raw for SummerSlam Tozawa was shock the WWE Universe by defeating Neville winning the Cruiserweight Championship. He would lose it mere days later at SummerSlam, a decision that is still a head-scratcher. I’m going to mention this once because I’m convinced this ridiculous decision led to Neville’s departure from WWE. Enzo Amore happened and was the one to dethrone Neville. Shortly after, Amore was released by WWE and we needed a new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.

 

We Need A New Champion

In January 2018, 205 Live moved back under the guidance of the creator of the Cruiserweight Classic and the first order of business was to add a general manager Drake Maverick. One of the main downfalls of 205 Live and the Cruiserweight division as a whole is no character development. Wrestling can only go so far there must be a great story told between the ropes and to do that you need to build strong characters for the WWE Universe to invest in.

Maverick quickly announced that there would be a HUGE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament where the finals would take place on the WrestleMania 34 kick-off show. For the next few months, the WWE Universe was dazzled with what brought the amazing Cruiserweights to WWE in the first place, fantastic high-octane action and a plethora of flips and high spots. At WrestleMania 34 Mustafa Ali went one-on-one with Cedric Alexander in the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals in a five-star classic for the coveted prize. Both amazing performers gave everything they had to become the Cruiserweight Champion but a missed O54 Splash from Ali allowed Alexander to capitalize and hit the Lumbar Check to claim the title.

The Age of Alexander Is Upon Us

 

During the tournament a new face arrived on 205 Live, WWE’S Best Kept Secret Buddy Murphy who made to the second round but was eliminated by Ali. On the March 27, 2018, episode of 205 Live, Murphy defeated Tozawa, Kalisto, and Perkins to become the number-one contender for whoever won the Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania 34.

On the Post-Mania episode of 205 Live, Murphy interrupted Alexander’s championship celebration and dropped him with Murphy’s Law and made his intentions crystal clear. At the Greatest Royal Rumble, Alexander successfully defended his title against Kalisto in a great back-and-forth match. On the May 29, 2018, episode of 205 Live, Murphy finally got his one-on-one match for the Cruiserweight Championship.

Alexander was proudly defending his title in his hometown of North Carolina in front of his family and friends, while Murphy was ready to bulldoze through him and walk away with the biggest win of his career to date. Both competitors delivered an A+ terrific thriller of a match with dozens of near-falls that left the WWE Universe holding their breath. Murphy gave the Cruiserweight champion the fight of his life but not enough to secure the championship.

On the July 24, 2018, episode of 205 Live, Drew Gulak won a stellar fatal-four-way to become the number-one contender to challenge Alexander at SummerSlam. Gulak has been portraying a more aggressive character thanks to the GM Maverick’s criticism over his loudmouth megaphone antics about the “No Fly Zone.” A week later, Alexander would battle one of Gulak’s allies Kendrick in the main event. Due to outside interference, Alexander got the quick win, afterwards, Gulak, Jack Gallagher, and Kendrick delivered a three-on-one assault leaving the champion unconscious.

At the SummerSlam pay-per-view, Gulak gave the Cruiserweight champion a hell of a fight methodically dissecting his body limb by limb furthering his more serious demeanor. Alexander mounted a comeback with his repertoire of dropkicks and high-octane offense and stacked his challenger up for his Lumbar Check for the victory.

Over the next few weeks, a relentless Gulak brutally attacked the champion including interfering in scheduled matches. On the September 11, 2018, episode of 205 Live, Gulak earned another title shot for next week’s episode after a tag team match with Gallagher on his side. The two competitors faced off in an outstanding SummerSlam Rematch where Gulak came so close several times to become the champion by locking in his dangerous Gu-Lock submission but, Alexander was willing to put his body through unimaginable anguish to keep his title in his grips.

The Best Kept Secret Is Here

 

On August 29, 2018, WWE announced via Twitter that The Best Kept Secret would receive another chance at the Cruiserweight Championship in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia at WWE Super Show-Down. I’m sorry folks words can’t describe how fantastic this match was I’ve watched it at least two times. Both Alexander and Murphy finally gave the Cruiserweight division the spotlight they were seeking at WrestleMania 34.

The WWE Universe was fully invested in watching their hometown hero battle for the Cruiserweight Title. He received the loudest pop of the night, As soon as the bell rang Murphy nailed Alexander with a stiff shot and got a long near-fall, in-ring chemistry doesn’t even do these two justice as both champion and challenger created magic in front of 70,000 fans. It didn’t matter how much of a comeback Alexander mounted the end result was academic with Murphy hitting Murphy’s Law for the HUGE victory for the hometown boy giving Alexander his first loss in 2018.

Over the next month, a resilient Ali ascended his way to the top of the Cruiserweight division and earned himself a title shot at the Survivor Series pay-per-view by defeating Murphy’s right-hand man Nese. Ali and Murphy are no strangers to each other having fought in a chaotic no disqualification match that’s been dubbed as one of the best matches in 205 Live history.

The gutsy challenger gave the champion a decent fight with several aerial attacks and high-octane offense but, the champion fought back valiantly brutalizing Ali all over the ringside area. Murphy had evil intentions in mind as he took apart the announce table, Ali countered and executed a stunning Spanish Fly sending both competitors crashing to the floor! Murphy blocked an O54 attempt and landed a nasty-looking Powerbomb for a near-fall. Ali bounced back with a Springboard into the knees, Murphy hit his finisher to secure his Cruiserweight Championship.

After weeks of Alexander mentally handling his first few losses on 205 Live, he decisively battled back to the top of the division. Handing Lio Rush his first loss since his arrival, followed by pinning the Cruiserweight Champion Murphy in a tag team match to finally gain his rematch for SSD at the TLC pay-per-view. At TLC the amazing Alexander and Murphy tore the house down and stole the whole show even before the event officially began. There are only a certain amount of competitors that are incapable of having a bad match.

Alexander flew into a stiff knee strike reminiscent to their previous encounter in Melbourne. Alexander valiantly fought back mounting a comeback and hitting a Michinoku Driver for a long near-fall. Murphy answered back with a thunderous sit-down powerbomb for a two-count, Alexander went back on offense and hit the Lumbar Check but Murphy got his foot under the rope. Alexander went up top one too many times and got dropped from the turnbuckles, Murphy immediately pounced and hit Murphy’s Law for the three-count.

Murphy’s next title defense was not of one man but three where Hideo Itami, Tozawa, and Kalisto all attempted to strip The Australian of his Cruiserweight Title at the 2019 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. This match was not up to the level of Murphy’s previous one-on-one encounters with Ali and Alexander but, it was still a fun opener. Each competitor got their opportunity to shine in this fast-paced high-octane match that 205 Live is terrific at delivering. Murphy prevailed convincingly by dropping Itami with Murphy’s Law to retain his championship.

On the February 5th episode of 205 Live, Tozawa earned himself a big win to challenge Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Tozawa opened the contest with the hopes of being the first-ever two-time Cruiserweight Champion in history.

He came out of the gate firing on all cylinders until a suicide dive was countered by Murphy into a nasty-looking Suplex on the outside. From there the confident champion took the fight utilizing his strength to maul his opponent. Tozawa hit his Senton Splash landing on the champion’s back for a near-fall. Tozawa went back to the playbook and pulled out his Octopus submission but, Murphy retaliated back with his finisher to retain his championship.

On the February 19th episode of 205 Live, GM Drake Maverick announced the return of the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament to determine Murphy’s next challenger for WrestleMania 35. On the March 19th episode of 205 Live, Alexander and Nese clashed in the finals to meet The Best Kept Secret at the Grandest Stage of Them All. After a hard-fought battle, The Premier Athlete punched his ticket to WrestleMania. Moments later Alexander celebrated Nese’s victory followed by his long-time friend and training partner Murphy. Murphy held his friend’s hand before cleaning his clock with a vicious boot to the face. The Cruiserweight Champion hoisted his title up to close the show.

 

Five days before their WrestleMania match, Nese and Murphy came to blows in a backstage brawl that ensued and carried on to the stage. WWE officials came out to break things up but to no avail. Nese slammed his former friend’s skull into the Tron and hit a THUNDEROUS Running Nese! At WrestleMania, Nese and Murphy both brought their athleticism and strength to the squared circle in a battle over the coveted Cruiserweight Championship. The action started fast-paced with Nese prevailing through the storm and hitting a stunning moonsault for a two-count. The champion fought back and drilled his challenger with a massive superkick and facebuster for a two-count of his own. Nese countered Murphy’s Law with an inverted spike rana.

The Premier Athlete quickened the pace again as the action spilled outside executing his twisted senton splash to Murphy. The champion mounted a comeback and successfully executed his finisher but his former friend got his foot on the rope. The overconfident champ mocked Nese’s Running Nese in the corner and got blasted with a Superkick. Nese finished him off with a Running Nese and the biggest victory of his career to date winning his first Cruiserweight Championship.

205 Live Is Now Premier 

On the Post-Mania episode of 205 Live, the new Cruiserweight Champion Nese and the former champ engaged in a wild and crazy WrestleMania rematch that gave these amazing Cruiserweights the allotted time warranted to finish telling their story inside the ring. This was an A+ battle that not only solidified why the WWE Universe needs to tune in to watch 205 Live but, it also was the perfect manner for Nese one of the first Cruiserweights since the inception to prove that his win at WrestleMania was not a fluke.

On the April 23rd episode of 205 Live, Nese found his next challenger The Persian Lion Ariya Daivari defeated Oney Lorcan to become the new number-one contender, moments the champion and the challenger had an intense staredown ahead of their clash at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. After weeks of mind games between Nese and Daivari, on the May 14th episode The Persian Lion viciously attacked the Cruiserweight Champion just days ahead of their championship match.

At Money in the Bank Daiviri arrived in style driving an extravagant car. The Persian Lion came right out of the gate as vicious and aggressive as ever pummeling The Premier Athlete. Daivari continued the methodical dissection as the action carried back into the ring. The Cruiserweight Champion bounced back and mounted a comeback and executed a jaw-dropping 450 splash to earn a long two-count. The challenger came back and blasted the champ with a nasty-looking lariat. Nese fought back and drilled him with the Running Nese and the victory.

On the June 4th episode, the state of 205 Live would never be the same again as Drew Gulak made his return by viciously attacking Noam Dar ahead of a match with Akira Tozawa. The GM Maverick sanctioned the new match as two long-time rivals went to war. Tozawa stood no chance against a relentless and vindictive Gulak.

One week later both Tozawa and Gulak pinned each other in a chaotic fatal-four-way match to determine the number-one contender. On June 18th WWE announced that both Tozawa and Gulak would face Nese for the Cruiserweight Championship at the Stomping Grounds pay-per-view.

At Stomping Grounds, all three competitors came out of the gate firing on all cylinders that was until the sadistic and vindictive Gulak began to pick apart his opponents. While most of the action was methodical dissection, the champion still fought valiantly to keep his title. Tozawa inadvertently blasted Nese with a dropkick and Gulak took advantage hitting his Cyclone Neckbreaker for the pin and new Cruiserweight Champion.

A New And Improved 205 Live

 

At the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Nese received his one-on-one rematch with his former friend and ally Gulak. Nese brought a good fight to the champion but he was no match for this new and improved Gulak. After picking apart The Premier Athlete, Gulak hit his finisher for a convincing win to retain his Cruiserweight Championship. At the SummerSlam pay-per-view, Gulak’s newest challenger would come in the form of The Fury of 205 Live Oney Lorcan. Gulak immediately blasted Lorcan with a dropkick which left the field right open for Gulak to capitalize.

The challenger picked up the pace after hitting a nasty-looking neckbreaker and a series of hard knife edge chops to Gulak. The clever champion locked in the Gu-Lock and almost secured the victory. Gulak attempted the submission again but it was countered into a near-fall. Lorcan came back with his blockbuster and slaps to Gulak but, the champion used a throat punch to stop his comeback and hit the Cyclone Crash for the pin to retain his championship.

On September 10th Triple H spoke with Newsweek clarifying what his vision for 205 Live might look like:

“You’ll start to see 205 begin to,” Triple H revealed. “I think it always existed as an island onto itself, a little bit, and it’s become lost in this limbo. You’ll begin to see it move more towards the NXT banner and the talent there. We have a lot of talent. For them to begin to compete either open against anyone or in the Cruiserweight division, but have that title sit under the NXT brand is more meaningful. It creates more opportunities for more people. As for RAW and SmackDown, it’s an open division for them. When you’re on both shows, everybody is competing against everybody.”

At the Clash of Champions pay-per-view, Gulak put his Cruiserweight Championship on the line against both Humberto Carrillo and Lince Dorado in an outstanding triple-threat-match. Both high-flyers showcased their talents while the champion was more concerned about dishing out pain and punishment to his opponents to keep his title in his grips. The methodical and clever Gulak picked his moment to strike after a failed Shooting Star Press and Aztec Press. Gulak tossed the Lucha Libre outside the ring and used a modified roll-up to continue his dominant title reign.

On September 18th on the debut episode of NXT Live, a HUGE number-one contender match took place where the returning Man of the Hour Lio Rush defeated Oney Lorcan to become the number-one contender for the Cruiserweight Championship. This Wednesday on the first-ever two-hour episode of NXT, an overconfident Gulak puts his title on the line against Rush. This will mark the first-time-ever the Cruiserweight Title will be defended on NXT let alone in front of millions of the WWE Universe watching on the USA Network.

I think it’s pretty fair to say that the Cruiserweight division has reached new leaps and bounds since arriving back in 2016. We’ve all witnessed a plethora of fantastic moments that will stand the test of time. While these amazingly gifted athletes have relegated to the pre-show for several years, there’s a great chance they will be competing on TakeOvers and will finally be given the recognition they truly deserve. 205 Live is staying alive and well under the leadership and guidance of The King of Kings HHH!!


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Opinion

Greg DeMarco’s 2024 WWE Royal Rumble Reaction

It’s the Royal Rumble! A favorite of many fans, the Rumble kicks off the Road To WrestleMania. Greg DeMarco is here with his live reactions to the event!

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WWE Royal Rumble 2024 Results

It’s the Royal Rumble! A favorite of many fans, the Rumble kicks off the Road To WrestleMania. Greg DeMarco is here with his live reactions to the event!

The WWE Royal Rumble is upon us, and while the Men’s Royal Rumble Match isn’t for the World Heavyweight Championship like I suggested, it’s still the most anticipated event of the year.

Why? The Unknown.

That’s right–in this age of the internet (usually incorrectly) telling us everything it possibly can about what is going to happen in the world of wrestling, the Royal Rumble stands out because despite what we’re told (or, more importantly, what we choose to listen to), the event is always full of fun and surprises.


Check out Steven Mitchell’s 2024 WWE Royal Rumble Results & Review!


Women’s Royal Rumble Match

  • They really are driving home the “main event WrestleMania” point this year–strengthens my thought that women will main event Night 1. Triple H would catch a ton of heat if he keeps women out for the third straight year.
  • NAOMI! Good to see her back, and the emotional response she had.
  • Love Michael Cole calling out Naomi’s time in TNA, and recognizing her as a former Knockouts Champion.
  • Entering #3 doesn’t bode well for Bayley. I honestly don’t think she is gonna win.
  • JORDYNNE GRACE! I saw the reports earlier today. This is a much bigger deal than Mickie James, because Mickie was a returning legend.
  • “TNA HAS A WEAPON!” So glad to have Pat McAfee on the call.
  • Honestly, Jordynne Grace belongs in WWE.

  • Asuka comes in, and they sell the surprise of Bayley. STORYTELLING, people!
  • Something tells me when we get Kairi Sane in there, The Kabuki Warriors will eliminate Bayley.
  • Ivy Nile enters, and I immediately want to see her go toe-to-toe with Jordynne Grace.
  • What if they pulled some crazy sh*t and had Jordynne Grace win???
  • Just step through the ropes next time, Bianca.
  • When I first saw the C4 clock, I thought I would get tired of it But I am already used to it.
  • Here’s Kairi Sane, time to set the plan into motion!
  • This crowd does not appear to like Tegan Nox.
  • Welp, there goes my idea o Asuka and Kairi eliminating Bayley.
  • That was a hell of a way for Jordynne Grace to go out.

  • I think Michael Cole secretly loves to call a Meteora.
  • There’s a reason Maxxine Dupri doesn’t wrestle much.
  • That tandem Code Red was very Young Buckish. And that’s not a compliment.
  • Hair,…gear…this might be the messiest Royal Rumble yet.
  • Ah, here comes the winner, Becky Lynch (I am calling Becky eliminates Bayley to win her second Royal Rumble).
  • LOVE the scoreboard of time in the Rumble for selected wrestlers.

  • R-TRUTH?!?! (Funny story, it was Truth’s spot that Nia Jax took in 2019.)
  • If you push Mia Yim, she’ll take it further than you could imagine.
  • “How is everybody the most athletic person on Earth?” – Pat McAfee
  • Surprising that Roxanne Perez, at #27, is the first NXT entrant. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Tiffany Stratton of Blair Davenport since we only have 3 more to come.
  • Amazing reaction for Jade Cargill. Give her time, she’s definitely going to be a huge star.
  • JUST GIVE HER TIME.
  • Seriously, Nia Jax had to help Jade eliminate her–A LOT.

  • Greg Was Wrong: It is indeed Tiffy Time in the Royal Rumble.
  • Back to Jade–she is insanely over.
  • I know it won’t be, but this should be Tiffany Stratton’s official main roster call-up.
  • Liv Morgan returns at #30, and good for Liv. She nearly went wire-to-wire last year.
  • Liv Morgan: “Thank you!” Pat McAfee: “No problem.”
  • Tiffany Stratton eliminating Roxanne Perez is, to me, an invitation for a match with them on Raw this Monday.
  • Still love the scoreboard as Naomi passes an hour.
  • The camera is catching a lot of in-ring communications right now.
  • And Jade Cargill eliminates my pick to win. Bye Becky.
  • Jade Cargill in the final three of the Royal Rumble (with Liv Morgan and Bayley) is huge for her.
  • Hell of a debut for Jade Cargill.
  • And a huge win for Bayley.

Winner of the 2024 Women’s Royal Rumble Match: Bayley (eliminating Liv Morgan to win)

Fatal 4-Way Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Randy Orton vs AJ Styles vs. LA Knight vs. Roman Reigns (champion, with Paul Heyman)

  • Glad to see AJ Styles got his tights back. Pants AJ Styles (but still with the football gloves) was not working. Not just bring the beard back to your face Allen–the think beard also ain’t working.

  • Pat McAfee campaigning for Roman Reigns to be given at least a 26% chance is amazing.
  • Say what you want about LA Knight, he’s a damn star and totally belongs in this match.
  • Roman completely sandbagged Randy on the table drop. I don’t think it was on purpose, but he definitely didn’t jump.
  • Roman Reigns is very much like Gunther in that he does the simple things SO WELL, like a jumping clothesline. That’s how you do it.
  • Yes, I compared Roman Reigns to Gunther. Don’t @ me, I’m right.

  • RKO City, Bitch.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand here’s Solo! (At some point, Solo will get tired of saving Roman’s ass.)
  • Solo ’bout to go through that barricade.
  • Solo indeed went through that barricade.

  • Yes, we had the Solo interference mid-match, but honestly in the end Roman won that clean.

Winner, #ANDSTILL your Undisputed WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

WWE United States Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Logan Paul (champion)

  • Kevin Owens wearing Zubaz shorts in the Performance Center fight makes me very happy.
  • Logan Paul talking about a full time run, and now he’s putting on size.
  • Logan’s headband didn’t list very long.
  • I honestly hate it when modern-day wrestlers bust out a crotch chop.
  • If you were watching the Royal Rumble and didn’t know who Logan Paul was, you’d just assume he was a pro wrestler. That says everything you need to know about how good he is at this.
  • ANOTHER crotch chop. Now we’re at 2 too many.

  • Cue the “Better Buckshot Than Hangman” tweets. But they might be right.
  • I love the idea of a Logan Paul, Austin Theory, and Grayson Waller stable.
  • C’mon, there’s NO WAY Ryan Tran could see the knucks on Kevin Owens’ hand given his placement. It’s the little things.
  • Finish here tells me we’ll see KO vs. Logan Paul again. I’d guess on TV, if not in Australia.

Winner by disqualification, #ANDSTILL WWE United States Champion: Logan Paul

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

  • Jey Uso coming at #1 was expected thanks to the internet reports. But I still think Jimmy should be #1 and Jey #2, for the reaction shots on Jimmy.
  • Grayson Waller talking himself to the ring is perfect.
  • “No Yeet!” Grayson is a brilliant performer. I’d make a Roddy Piper comparison here, but y’all would get at mad at me.
  • Good to have Andrade back in WWE. Great reaction for him when the mask came off.

  • SmackDown superstar Carmelo Hayes! I really really really hope Trick is also in this match, just for the chants.
  • Melo pointed to the sign, C’mon, man.
  • Do you send Andrade to Smackdown, or do you send him to Raw and let him do his own thing?
  • Oh goody, Karrion Kross is here. Yay.
  • (Yes, that’s sarcasm you read.)
  • Dominik Mysterio is so good. Give him time, he’s going to be a huge star.

  • The Royal Rumble was a great place for the Apple Spot.
  • Here comes Bob Lashley–please just eliminate Karrion Kross.
  • Lashley wearing the WrestleMania white gear more than 2 months early.
  • Austin Theory still gets his concussion effect entrance, despite it being the Rumble.
  • What if–hear me out now–Finn Balor wins the Royal Rumble to get the shot at Seth Rollins, and Priest uses his briefcase to make that match a triple threat at ‘Mania?
  • I know he didn’t, but it sure looked like Jimmy was swerving while he drives in that interaction with Gunther.
  • Kofi did tell us the Rumble Magic wasn’t happening anymore.
  • Give me Ivar vs Gunther!
  • Bron Breakker is a star. It’s inevitable.
  • Of course Omos would be in the Rumble. Good to see MVP on my TV as well.
  • “I didn’t know humans came that big!” – Pat McAfee
  • I half think Pat McAfee didn’t know he was entering the Rumble.
  • Nice moment for Bron Breakker eliminating Omos. WrestleMania match?
  • R-Truth trying to get Dominik (Tom or Nick?) Mysterio to tag him in is brilliant.
  • DOM MADE THE TAG!!!
  • “And now R-Truth is the legal man.” – thank you Michael Cole.
  • Michael Cole delivers multiple TNA references tonight, along with a Dolph Ziggler reference. God Bless Michael Cole.
  • Imagine for a second that this was CM Punk’s actual WWE return.
  • The reaction to Drew McIntyre’s entrance is a reminder that they don’t actually need him.
  • Sami Zayn enters at #30, also known as “Not The Rock.”

  • In the ring, Drew McIntyre is amazing. Just keep the microphone away from him. (And stop the damn counting!)
  • And there goes my choice for the Men’s Rumble!
  • Love having both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in the press boxes watching to see who wins.
  • Punk kinda looks like Chris Jericho in there. Seriously.
  • Between Punk and Cody, Cody is the right choice. I really don’t want to watch Punk right now–he needs to hit the cardio, and hard. Given Seth Rollins’ injury and Punk’s conditioning, WWE would be smart to make the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 40 a multi-man match.

Winner of the 2024 Men’s Royal Rumble: Cody Rhodes


Overall thoughts on the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

For at least the second straight year, the Men’s Royal Rumble Match was kinda disappointing. Not the result–that’s fine. But the match itself. It just wasn’t nearly as exciting as the Women’s. Of the four matches, I would place it 4th in terms of enjoyment.

Great moments for both Bayley and Cody Rhodes. Logan Paul continually shows that he deserves to be considered a pro wrestler, not a celebrity who is wrestling. Pat McAfee is a joy on commentary. Jordynne Grace is a WWE Superstar, regardless of what company she is signed to. Bron Breakker is a star.CM Punk is very out of shape. Cody Rhodes is about to become THE guy, and he deserves it.

Overall I give the event a thumbs up, but they have to do something about the Men’s Royal Rumble Match moving forward.


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WWE Raw Heads To Netflix: What Does It Mean?

Monumental news drops as WWE RAW is moving to Netflix. Is it truly a game changing move? Greg DeMarco analyzes this shift for the TV wrestling business.

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Monumental news drops as WWE RAW is moving to Netflix. Is it truly a game changing move? Greg DeMarco analyzes this shift for the TV wrestling business.

Being a wee little kid in the 80s, I am “lucky enough” to remember having 3 TV channels, and my dad explaining what an 8-track is, how shocked I was when I say a laser disc for the first time, when I bought a 6 CD changer, installed my own car stereo, and all the way up to the fact that I have now been watching WWE pay-per-view/premium live events on the WWE Network and Peacock for 10 years. Hell, in the same month (February 2014) I signed up for the WWE Network, cut the cord to drop cable and got Sling TV. I have since moved onto YouTube TV which is highly recommended.

Over the last two years the NFL has put Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime, simulcast to various streaming services, and less than 2 weeks ago put a playoff game exclusively on streaming when a Wildcard Weekend showdown between the Chiefs and Dolphins was only shown on Peacock.

And now it’s fully permeated into pro wrestling.

WWE and AEW are both in the midst of a very important time on the business side, with all of their TV rights up for grabs. The first domino fell when SmackDown On FOX became SmackDown on USA Network, and soon after we learned that WWE NXT was moving to broadcast television and joining The CW (which is also rebranding, but just to CW).

The AEW suite of programming that includes Collision, Rampage, and their most successful show Dynamite is up for renewal with Warner Bros/Discovery, and Tony Khan has been optimistic about the relationship and potentially an increase in rights fees.

That brings us to Tuesday morning, and the likely groundbreaking WWE announcement that Raw is moving to Netflix, starting in January 2025. Triple H tweeted that they’re changing the game, and TKO President and COO Mark Shapiro (who knows a thing or two about shifts in media consumption) used the word “transformative” in his statement, and I really think he couldn’t be more right.

But what does it all mean?

Wrestling Remains A Strong Media Product

I have been claiming this for over a year now. As many online will cite a decline in TV viewership for both WWE and AEW, the TV product has been a strong value to networks. Even in dropping SmackDown, FOX themselves said they didn’t pump enough resources into the show, and that the advertising return wasn’t what they wanted. That doesn’t mean the product (TV value, we’re not talking about creative here) isn’t strong. It’s so strong that USA Network picked up SmackDown for $280 million per year, giving WWE an increase over the FOX deal. CW is paying $20-$25 million annually for NXT, and now Netflix is paying $500 million for RAW.

Why? Because wrestling isn’t just a strong media product, it’s consistent. And that is key.

Look at this quote from Netflix Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria:

“Raw is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live action 52 weeks a year and we’re thrilled to be in this long-term partnership with WWE.”

Now cross reference that with a comment from CW President Dennis Miller from back when the CW/NXT deal was announced:

“We are thrilled to welcome the WWE brand into the CW Sports portfolio as they play an integral role in our mission to bring live sporting events to the network year-round.”

What do those statements have in common? The year-round, 52-week nature of wrestling programming. It’s an unbeatable value for networks. It’s cheaper than a deal with a major sports league, and it’s not finite. Wrestling joins news, talk, and sports talk as the only year-round programming available to networks. And WWE and AEW have shows that essentially always land in the Top 5 after you factor out live sports. You can’t beat it.

What Does This Mean for Netflix?

Don’t get it twisted, this is also a huge leap for Netflix. Prior to the WWE Raw deal, Netflix has only experimented with live events, streaming the live Chris Rock “Selective Outrage” special, and showing The Netflix Cup live (a golf event featuring athletes from their F1 series “Drive To Survive” and their golf series “Full Swing).

WWE is the perfect partner for Netflix as it gets into live programming. It’s sports entertainment: sports like programming (which Netflix has done) that focuses on storytelling (which Netflix has obviously done). And no one does it better than WWE. It’s essentially plug-and-play for Netflix, the perfect solution for their live programming aspirations.

The perfect solution that they were willing to pay $5 billion for.

What Does This Mean for AEW?

The biggest risk to an AEW renewal with Warner Bros Discovery was WBD picking up WWE Raw–and that risk has been eliminated by Netflix. Don’t discount that fact–Netflix did Tony Khan a huge favor by throwing $500 million per at WWE. The path is clear for AEW to remain on the Turner networks.

But at what price?

I know I usually write as if I have all the answers, but I have zero idea either way on this one. WBD no longer has any other options if it wants to keep wrestling (except for TNA, who recently expressed a desire to be on a bigger network), and AEW (at least, Dynamite) is a weekly Top 5 program for them on Wednesdays, on cable.

On the other hand, AEW doesn’t exactly have another network begging for their services. The reason WWE could get a yearly increase for Raw, SmackDown, and NXT is because it was truly a bidding war. Unless Tony Khan gets another network involved, any threat of walking away from a deal doesn’t really hold water.

So if I were a betting man (and who would ever bet on this) I would expect an announcement of a renewal for AEW and WBD relatively soon. We may not know the terms of the deal, I will take a shot in the dark and say that AEW gets a small increase (not the “nearly double” that had been reported last year).

Regardless of the increase (or not), given AEW’s recent attendance challenges, this likely renewal would have to be viewed as a win for the company.


Personally, this is simply an amazing time to be a fan. We’ve seen WWE go from one live TV show per week with Monday Night Raw, through the Monday Night Wars, the addition of SmackDown and later NXT, to being this global juggernaut that is commanding half-a-billion dollars per year for Raw. I also think this makes Raw the flagship once again. All of this comes after Vince McMahon is largely out of power, Triple H has taken over creative (and holds a pretty good success rate so far), and the company was sold to Endeavor, and merged with the UFC as a business entity under the TKO banner.

If you know me, you know I am a huge follower of the business side of the wrestling business. I often care less about WHAT wrestling companies do, but HOW they do it. I have always gravitated towards that, since middle school. And for the past near 24 months, I have been like a kid in a candy store.

The Peacock deal for the WWE Network runs out in 2026, right? The fun never stops!


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