Roderick Strong vs Hideo Itami: Game Changer

There have been matches over the years that have been able to change the course of WWE programming. In ninety-seven, there was Bret Hart v Stone Cold at Wrestlemania. In 2014, we had Charlotte v Natalya at NXT: Takeover which was really the match that pushed forward this idea of the women’s revolution. This past week on 205 Live, we may have just witnessed another game changer between Roderick Strong and Hideo Itami.

When the WWE re-introduced the cruiserweights with the Cruiserweight classic (CWC) in 2016, they did so with great effect. In today’s wrestling world, there are not a lot of things cruiserweights do that some of the main roster talents cannot do. However, in the CWC, the 205 pounders were presented in an almost sports like presentation.

From the pre-match handshakes to the simple concept of wrestlers just going to the ring and wrestling (I know, crazy idea, right?) – The CWC became an incredibly entertaining alternative wrestling show for a lot of fans.

Fast forward almost two years, and countless forgettable 205 Live episodes later, WWE finds themselves once again trying to re-introduce the cruiserweight division to the WWE faithful. While there have been some promising moments over the last two years, it felt like a sinking ship only months into the divisions main roster introduction.

That was because the WWE got away from what made the CWC so successful. Some ridiculous and overly dramatic storylines were instantly injected into the division, and the title even ended up in the hands of Enzo Amore – a man capable of doing just about everything, except putting on good matches.

Recently, thanks to the departures of Enzo, Rich Swann, and even Neville, who I thought did a wonderful job but was perhaps a little too animated and cartoony for the division – WWE finally seems to be getting back on track with the cruiserweights.