It’s an oft-repeated refrain that we’ve heard since the first few weeks after TJ Perkins, now known as TJP, won the Cruiserweight Classic in 2016 — the WWE doesn’t care much for its Cruiserweight Division, and fans, in turn, couldn’t care less about it either. And the latest possible proof of this belief comes in the form of reported attendance figures for the first-ever non-televised 205 Live house show, which took place on Saturday.
Citing a pair of correspondents who attended the live event at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts, Wrestling Inc. wrote that both insiders reported seeing a house that wasn’t even half-full, regardless of the account. The first correspondent estimated that there were about 800 fans present for the event’s first match, a figure which rose to about 1,000 to 1,100 during the halfway intermission. The estimated attendance figures were even worse, based on the second correspondent’s account — only about 800 to 900 fans for the duration of the show. Either way, that’s less than half of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium’s 2,800-seat capacity.
Based on the six matches lined up for the 205 Live house show, it wasn’t like WWE randomly pitted the cruiserweight against each other, as most of the matches were between competitors with ongoing storyline feuds. Before intermission, Hideo Itami defeated Jack Gallagher in the opener, Gran Metalik and Kalisto defeated TJP and Drew Gulak, and Matt Hardy beat Bray Wyatt in non-cruiserweight action. The post-intermission matches included Akira Tozawa going over Ariya Daivari, Mustafa Ali beating Tony Nese, and WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore retaining his title over Cedric Alexander, with special guest referee Nia Jax landing a Samoan Drop on Alexander to help her onscreen love interest win the match.
As documented by the WWE in the company's third quarter 2017 financial report, live attendance figures are still on the decline, both in the United States and overseas. While revenue and ticket prices had both gone up on a year-over-year basis in Q3 2017, average domestic live show attendance was down eight percent to about 4,900 fans. International live shows had taken an even bigger hit of 17 percent but still drew more people to arenas, with an average attendance figure of 6,800.
Considering the above numbers, and how Saturday's event at Lowell was the first time 205 Live was featured on the house show circuit, only about a thousand fans, give or take a few, is a surprisingly low number. The cruiserweight division badly needs a shot in the arm, and as we're seeing right now, not even Enzo Amore as Cruiserweight Champion and a non-cruiserweight match pitting "Woken" Matt Hardy against Bray Wyatt was enough to seriously stoke interest in audiences ahead of the show.