Tony Nese On Frustration With 205 Live Booking; Triple H Wanting An Annual Cruiserweight Classic

Tony Nese says Cruiserweight superstars believed that 205 Live was “Raw-Lite.”

When the Cruiserweight division was relaunched after nearly 10 years in 2016, WWE emphasized a new focus and creative vision for the new roster of wrestlers including Cedric Alexander, TJP, Tony Nese, and Gran Metalik.

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Following a critically-acclaimed Cruiserweight Classic Tournament, WWE had a new Cruiserweight Champion in TJP. Shortly after that, it was announced that the entire division would be a part of Monday Night Raw moving forward in addition to getting their own show, WWE 205 Live.

Speaking with Chris Van Vliet, Tony Nese expressed frustration with how the Cruiserweights were booked, saying that it felt as though both Triple H and Vince McMahon had different ideas for the brand that differed greatly from one another.

"It would get frustrating at times. To us, it never made sense. We would pitch all these ideas and we thought it would be awesome of like, 'every once and a while, bring a guy onto our show that's a name.' It'll help the 205 Live brand and it'll also help the talent and help elevate us as stars. I would understand their mindset and how they wanted to do everything, but there were other things that you just didn't understand and it would get you frustrated. It's like, 'Why don't you want to help everybody?' I feel like they just have the core group of people where these are the ones we're going to care about and the rest of you just hang in limbo. If we decide to care about you one day, something will happen. If we don't....that's just how it felt. Maybe that wasn't it, but it's how it felt."

Continuing on, Nese would say that Triple H had grand plans for the brand including an annual tournament, emphasis on wins and losses, and more.

"We would always say we were in this weird wrestling purgatory. Even though I was there, when it comes to the company's decisions, I'm on the outside looking in too. Don't take my word as gospel. This is all speculation, but it seemed like they had an idea for the show, we all know it was Triple H's idea, it was his baby, his concept to do the tournament and build it into a show. He wanted to do a yearly tournament and have the show have win-loss records and all that stuff. He wanted a different feel. As soon as it was announced that the cruiserweights would be part of Raw, that's where Vince was like, 'It's my show now.' All of that kind of went out the window."

Nese continued, "We even joked about it, 'this is just Raw-lite.' Just smaller versions of Raw. We had our backs against the wall and are competing after all the stars of WWE are competing. It was very difficult for us. Vince had his control and after a while, he started feeling like, 'I'm done playing with this toy' and he gave it back to Triple H. He was like, 'No, you guys are Vince's boys now, you're tainted to me.' Again, this is my speculation, but he just didn't care about it anymore either. We were just in this limbo of; the show has to be booked and has contracts in other countries to be on TV and it was content for the Network, so it has to be done and filmed, but it was just 'put whatever on it and move on.' We started losing the concept of storylines and all that stuff. No matter how much we would fight for it, they would just be like, 'No, go out there, have a good match and that's it.' That's all we were allowed to do. We said, 'Alright, let's put on the best possible match and if the crowd who definitely doesn't want to see us, at the end are standing up and cheering then we did our job.' I'd say 95% of the time we did that."

Ultimately, Nese would be released from WWE in 2021, the 205 Live brand still going strong as a companion show to NXT has live coverage of 205 Live every Friday after SmackDown.

Elsewhere in the interview, Tony talks about signing with AEW. Learn more here.

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