One of the big open questions in the wake of the official announcement about Mixed Match Challenge (MMC), the live Facebook Watch series premiering from WWE after SmackDown on Jan. 16, 2018, involved the show that used to film live right after the blue brand wrapped on Tuesdays.
In its just-over-a-year in existence, 205 Live has struggled to find its footing, to the point fans and observers were wondering if the rollout of MMC was a sign the company might pause or stop production on WWE Network’s cruiserweight showcase.
Fear not, fans of smaller wrestlers! PWInsider has confirmed with WWE that 205 Live will still
be produced and*air on Tuesdays after SmackDown... just at a now later start time of 10:30PM Eastern.
This will be an interesting challenge for the company and their production team. A write-up about the mixed tag tournament series in Variety features WWE executive VP of digital and social content Jayar Donlan promising the Facebook show will have its own “‘look and feel,’ incorporating tighter shots of the action, ‘bolder, brighter graphics’ and 360-degree video.” MMC will only be 20 minutes in length, but also ad-free... so no commercial breaks. Changing out sets for three shows in the course of an hour* is ambitious - and that’s before whatever hurdles the newest show might present in delivering its promised “social interaction”.
All this also means an increase in the amount of wrestling sports entertainment content WWE will be pushing at us in the new year. Will you add the mixed tag tourney to your rotation? At the expense of something else?
Moving back the start time of the (mostly) cancelled interview show Talking Smack reportedly led to a drop in viewership for that series. Will fans stick around for a later 205 Live? Swap devices and channels/services multiple times to keep up with WWE?
We’re about to find out. That’s why it’s being labeled an experiment, I suppose.
* UPDATE: According to Pro Wrestling Sheet, WWE has not yet decided when 205 Live will film. It’s possible it could be taped before SmackDown for broadcast later. In that case, it wouldn’t be “Live” for the 12 weeks of the MMC, but... we’ll let you know when we hear of an official decision.