Former WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJP has discussed Vince McMahon’s relationship with 205 Live and when he thinks the WWE Chairman “checked out” of the show.
TJP became the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion in almost a decade when the company revived the title in 2016. A Cruiserweight Classic tournament was held to crown a new champion with TJP winning the day by defeating Gran Metalik in the final. The Cruiserweight tournament gave rise to a new show in WWE with 205 Live beginning in November 2016 as a standalone programme to showcase the company’s new cruiserweight division.
This was to be the high point of TJP’s WWE career as the former TNA X Division Champion was released from his contract with the company in 2019.
Ahead of MLW’s Fightland TV Special, available to watch October 7th via Vice TV, Inside The Ropes’ writer Liam Alexander Stewart spoke with TJP about a range of topics. TJP gave his take on the perception of 205 Live within the company and thinks initially the show had some steam behind it. This was in contrast to Asher Hale who previously said the show existed purely as “filler.”
TJP didn’t agree with that assessment, at least in the early days of 205 Live:
“Not initially No. In fact, it was kind of the opposite the I don’t know that they knew or thought that it was going to be a standalone show when we were doing the tournament but when that became apparent I think and it’s funny this in is sort of a side thing like the tournament ended up being sort of this like gateway in a lot of different directions I think for the company and one of the ways as far as content goes like what you’re saying I think that it turned out so well that when they were creating the show it became like it was really more of Vince’s show like the first year or two.”
TJP then went on to give his thoughts on when Vince McMahon took his eye off 205 Live as the show seemed to slip down the pecking order of priorities:
“I want to say he probably checked out like maybe part of the way through PAC’s run [as Cruiserweight Champion] and he was like over it. I don’t know but it seemed like that’s when it sort of changed. But initially, it was almost like this is more than just filler, like I really want to make this work sort of thing. Like I really liked this it’s like it became this commodity that he was maybe excited to play with I don’t know. I definitely saw maybe the evolution of it or rather the devolution so maybe towards what like Asher [Hale] was talking about.”
It was this “devolution” that prompted TJP to consider his future away from WWE and says the handcuffs are off in one of his new homes – Major League Wrestling:
“That’s for me personally that’s kind of what sparked my decision after three years of that to want to chase other projects and to kind of express that I wasn’t really that happy and maybe I’d like to get out because of stuff like MLW for example where it’s the complete opposite. Court [Bauer] has no handcuffs for anybody and creatively everybody’s on the same level. Everything is seen as ‘yeah we can make that work’ whereas [in WWE] the mindset is if you don’t see how it will work immediately it’s not going to work. It’s like well maybe it could you know and that’s sort of what I enjoy being where I am now. In the number of places that I am and you know MLW is becoming primary just because of how much freedom there is in that regard.”