WWE 205 Live is now a thing of the past, as the purple brand has been repackaged into WWE NXT Level Up. Among other performers, Drew Gulak was one of the faces of 205 Live, so he has a unique perspective on the show’s ending.
During an appearance on “Casual Conversations with The Classic“, Gulak looked back on the origins of the program, which the company launched due to the success of the Cruiserweight Classic. The former WWE Cruiserweight Champion shared his belief that the tournament and the foundation of 205 Live were “pivotal” for the future of WWE and wrestling itself because the show was the first program that aired exclusively on WWE Network.
“Every experience I had with WWE in the beginning was very surreal to me because of the history I had watching it and growing up with it,” said Gulak. “But looking back on 205 Live, and it does not get talked about enough, is like how kinda pivotal everything that was going on with the Cruiserweight Classic happening and then 205 Live becoming its own brand, that was kind of for WWE and the future of pro wrestling. And I don’t mean to sound braggadocious about that. I’m saying like no for real, like technologically, it was the first exclusive streaming show on the network. Then NXT UK became a thing a year or two later.”
Gulak went on to compare how the success of independent wrestling stars like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan encouraged WWE to showcase some unknown talent in the Cruiserweight Classic. He then recapped how he earned a spot in the bracket through his work with EVOLVE and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
“Everything that guys like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson getting hired by WWE initially being like these independent wrestlers, kind of pushing through the barriers and breaking through the glass ceiling and making it, ultimately it led to them wanting to an entire tournament full of guys who were these journeymen pro wrestlers that for the most part, the WWE hasn’t heard about or seen,” said Gulak. ” And just by luck, I happened to be affiliated with EVOLVE, which was one of the American locations they scouted from. And I happened to do a little bit of work with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and it just worked out.
As for the NXT Level Up rebrand, Gulak stated that he was glad he got to be a part of the initial push to create a show like WWE 205 Live. He described the purple brand’s experimental nature and called it the “ultimate learning experience.” In a general sense, he emphasized his gratitude for his time there.
“I’m super grateful for it,” said Gulak. “And I know all the other guys who were part of that show, for the most part, were very super grateful [for] that experience.”
Gulak is currently a member of the WWE SmackDown roster; he last wrestled on the Christmas Eve episode, where he competed in the 12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet match.