It’s way too early to determine if the pairing of 205 Live General Manager DRAKE MAVERICK (formerly known as Rockstar Spud) and AOP (formerly known as the Authors of Pain) will lead to great things for their act or the Raw tag team division.
But it’s not too early to think about what it means from MAVERICK’s existing job.
Prior to showing up in military garb with former NXT Tag Champions Akam and Rezar on the Sept. 3 episode of Raw, DRAKE’s WWE career has consisted of playing a babyface in flashy suits with a penchant for fair play and promoting cruiserweight action. His promo from Columbus and subsequent tweets point to his continuing to play that role while also overseeing the purple brand on Tuesday nights.
How will that work?
As the show-closing assault of the Shield last night reminded us, AOP are heels. They very well may be part of Braun Strowman’s “Pack”. The DRAKE MAVERICK character viewers of 205 Live are familiar with would never condone, let alone advocate, for that kind of behavior. Akam and Rezar were in there taking shots alongside Drew Gulak, a cruiserweight heel MAVERICK has sanctioned in the past for precisely that kind of lawless behavior.
Will we see new DM THE GM on Tuesdays? Was this an across the board heel turn? There’s been no in-story hints or justification for that kind of character change, and it would be a pretty jarring shift for 205 Live, but we can’t rule it out.
Is he not long the role authority figure role? Despite rave reviews from its regular audience, 205 Live hasn’t reached new heights of popularity in its current form. Perhaps the brass has decided to go another direction... maybe someone who’s already a known quantity to main roster audiences?
The other option, and in my opinion the one they’ll most likely go with, would be to have DRAKE explain he saw an opportunity to advance his overall fortunes by managing AOP and intends to keep the two roles separate. He’ll be a less scrupulous figure while trying to guide Akam and Rezar to tag gold while still vowing to bring us the best cruiserweight action every week after SmackDown.
Any of those options are fine, I suppose. But they’ll all pretty radically change a character and show fans of 205 Live enjoy as is. And they’ll send a message that his character - and more importantly, someone backstage - thought DM’s talents were being “wasted” by having him work exclusively with the cruiserweights.
It’s an opportunity for fka Spud, a gifted performer who’s made the best out of crappy jobs and subpar material throughout his career, to strut his stuff in front of more viewers and really make a name for himself. So I’m definitely excited for that.
However, it’s another sign WWE is content to use 205 Live as a holding area for talents they don’t see as Raw and SmackDown stars but who they don’t want to let work elsewhere.