Rich Swann, while well-known to independent wrestling fans, is about to get the biggest spotlight of his career as he competes in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.
Rich Swann, while well-known to independent wrestling fans, is about to get the biggest spotlight of his career as he competes in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. (Craig Ambrosio/WWE)

On Monday's show, Rich Swann beat Noam Dar before sending a message to cruiserweight champion Brian Kendrick. He said that when 205 Live debuts on the WWE Network on Tuesday night, he would be taking that title.

205 Live debuts tonight, right after SmackDown at 10 p.m. on the WWE Network, and will be a live one-hour show featuring all of the cruiserweights. While the cruiserweights have some time on RAW these days, this show is a chance to truly spotlight some of the guys who maybe haven't been able to get on screen on RAW.


Some of the wrestlers have been on RAW, like Cedric Alexander, TJ Perkins, Tony Nese and Drew Gulak. However, many of the other wrestlers who competed in the Cruiserweight Classic, but haven't had a lot of time --like Gran Metalik, Akira Tozawa and Ho Ho Lun -- will also be part of the show, which will air every Tuesday night after SmackDown.

One guy who is looking forward to that opportunity is Rich Swann. I had a chance to talk to him before the Cruiserweight Classic started, where he said he was looking forward to showing the world what he could do. Now, a few months later, he joined me on my podcast, Jobbing Out, to talk to me about his opportunity in the Cruiserweight Classic and on Monday Night RAW, what he's looking forward to as far as 205 Live goes and the recent influx of wrestling talent from Maryland:

What have the past few months, starting with the Cruiserweight Classic, been like for you?

The past few months have been a roller coaster, you know what I mean? Dating back to Memphis, my debut on Monday Night RAW, hearing the reaction from the crowd and how they've been taking to the cruiserweights. And now we're getting our own show. You won't only be able to see us on Monday nights, but you'll be able to see us on Tuesdays as well. It's a ton of action. They also have us on NXT. We're bouncing around. I'm loving it.

If someone, years ago when you were in Baltimore, told you one day that you would be where you are now, what would you have said?

I would have told them they were a liar. You know how Baltimore is. I love Baltimore to death, but it definitely can be tough. That's one reason why I always seem so happy. Taking the things that I've gone through, you have to keep a smile on every single day.

What was it like for you to get the reactions you got in the Cruiserweight Classic, particularly when the fans would sing to you?

For me, that was a dream come true. For every sports entertainer, for every wrestler who dreams of that one moment to come out and perform like that with that sort of energy from the fans, it's indescribable. And it's not just for me. Just a few weeks ago, I got to experience that feeling with someone else when Noam Dar debuted in Scotland. He came out, the crowd was absolutely electric. To feel something like that, that's what the WWE is all about.

How do you feel the start of the Cruiserweight division has gone?

I think the cruiserweight division has definitely made an impact. I think the people are getting to know some of the superstars, like TJ Perkins. People are falling in love with Cedric Alexander. People ... well ... they may not like Brian Kendrick, but he's a focal point of the division. He's the cruiserweight champion. We're definitely making waves on Monday Night RAW, and with the new show, there are so many possibilities.

What will 205 Live do to help build those possibilities?

205 Live is going to be an extra hour to elevate some of these guys. Guys like Akira Tozawa, TJ Perkins, myself, the Bollywood Boys, Lince Dorado, Ho Ho Lun. The list goes on and on. Gran Metalik! This roster is going to excite the WWE Universe. We're going to defy limitations. We're going to do things that people never would have thought would happen. It's going to be something that you're not going to want to miss.

How much are you still connected to Baltimore?

I would never turn my back on my people. My cousins still live in Baltimore. One of my best friends still lives in Baltimore. We actually got into wrestling together. He decided to leave professional wrestling, I decided to pursue it. He calls me every Monday, and he's so hyped about the cruiserweights being on Monday Night RAW. I always stay connected to my people in Baltimore.


There has been a recent influx of Baltimore and Maryland talent in wrestling, guys like James Ellsworth on SmackDown, or Patrick Clark in NXT and others. What do you think that stems from?

We're just bred different. We got the entertainment factor, the skills, the ability and people just love a Marylander. I met up with James Ellsworth in Scotland, and we just looked at each other and said, 'Man, this is crazy.' I used to go see James Ellsworth when I was about 14 or 15 years old. He's got some skill man, I'll tell you that.

What's your top goal right now, besides winning the cruiserweight title?

Definitely my No. 1 goal is to wrestle at WrestleMania. There's nothing in the world I want more than wrestling at WrestleMania. That's where every person in this profession wants to get to, getting on that card. That's the No. 1 goal right now for me.

Do you think the cruiserweights should interact more with the rest of the roster, or should they stay more in the bubble that has been created?

I'm happy wherever. If I'm wrestling someone that's 205 and under, that's awesome. If they weigh more than that? Sweet. I'd like to take my chances, but right now my main goal is to focus on the division and to get the division to where it needs to be.

Should we expect more of a wrestling-oriented show with 205 Live, like the Cruiserweight Classic was?

205 live is going to be exciting, like the Cruiserweight Classic. The Cruiserweight Classic inspired 205 Live. So you're going to want to tune in to 205 Live. You're going to get some crazy action, that's plain and simple. You're going to get great entertainment, crazy action, high flying, great technical wrestling. You're going to see guys from all over the world honing their craft and their skills for the WWE Universe. You're not going to want to blink.

Obviously you guys will be getting a little more time to show your stuff on 205 Live. Who do you want to have a big spotlight match against?

Akira Tozawa. I would love that. We've competed against each other all over the world, and to get to do that in front of the WWE Universe would be amazing.

I gotta ask, your theme right now is one of the best in WWE, but you also used to come out to Lionel Richie's "All night long." I know it will be a tough choice, but if you had to come out to one, which would it be?

Man, that's a tough one. Obviously, "Can you handle this," I love it. The beat's amazing. The people get into it. I get into it. But Lionel Richie is a classic. I don't know! That's a tough question.


You can watch 205 Live on the WWE Network starting tonight, Tuesday Nov. 29, at 10 p.m. following SmackDown.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout

Recommended on Baltimore Sun