The cruiserweight division had a very hard long struggle to become a global wrestling success. It started off in the form of lucha libre, perfected and showcased in the likes of Mexico by the likes of the legendary Mil Mascaras. The form was developed on in various different countries like Japan before the high-flying cruiserweights were introduced to America, through the ever-so-daring ECW.
With the likes of Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrera having high-flying, explosive matches that put American audiences on the edge of their seats, the cruiserweight division was further established by WCW and eventually was widely accepted as the replacement for the tried-and-tested Light-Heavyweight division. Eventually, this high-flying style made its way to WWE after the WWE bought-out WCW and their talent, with the likes of Billy Kidman and Tajiri being introduced to the WWE audience. However, after the Cruiserweight Championship’s prestige was hugely damaged by poor booking and joke champions like Hornswoggle, the championship and the division was scrapped in 2007.
But seeing how popular the division had been among the wrestling world, it begs the question of why WWE failed to see the division’s potential. I mean TNA when it was first formed in 2002, made the cruiserweight division (which they renamed the X-Division) the main feature of their shows. TNA put the spotlight on high-flyers like AJ Styles and made the division the cornerstone of TNA. At times, the X-Division Championship was the most important championship in the company… even more so than their actually main title the NWA Championship.
But of course, because of some poor financial and booking decisions TNA will never be able to surpass WWE in wrestling. After they took the spotlight of the division and put it on the superstars signed from other wrestling companies like Kurt Angle and Sting, the interest in the company started to crash. The X-Division eventually became nothing more than just another division in the company… just like WWE.
So if TNA could put themselves on the map because of the division, why isn’t the division at all been featured at all in WWE? You could blame it on Vince McMahon’s supposed ideology of “the bigger they are, the more successful they’ll”, but that’s becoming a lot less untrue with wrestlers like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan competing for the WWE Championship. But that’s just TWO wrestlers… let’s have a look at the rest of the high-flyers. The “cruiserweights” of the WWE…
Sure, Rey Mysterio is nowhere near the high-flyer he was 10 years ago and the Sin Cara project has up until this point been a complete failure, but there are plenty of other high-flyers just waiting for an opportunity. Kofi Kingston… after spending his entire WWE career chasing mid-card titles, he needs something different. Evan Bourne… coming back off an injury, he needs something. Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Tyson Kidd when he comes back. These guys are really suffering and are in the middle of nowhere with their WWE careers. They need something. They need the cruiserweight division.
You’ve got plenty of guys within the cruiserweight category that can help build it up. I think CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are a couple of guys that are too much of a main-eventer to go to the cruiserweight division, but mid-carders and upper-mid carders can help give the division and the talent in the division a boost. Christian, Rob Van Dam and Seth Rollins are just a few of the guys that’ll do wonders for the likes of Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel wanting to breakthrough. But just putting them in matches with top superstars in the WWE is not going to be nearly-enough. Put the division in the spotlight on RAW and SmackDown! Give the talent the ability to put on a show, don’t try to treat it as a coffee break for audiences.
If they were going to bring back the cruiserweight division, they do need to sign some bodies to help it along. They are plenty of guys in Ring Of Honor, Japan or on the unemployment if you ask them to help you rebuild a division, they’ll be on board within a heartbeat. Do you know why? Because they want these guys that have been put on the back-burner to get that opportunity to shine. These talented guys are eventually going to get fed-up of being pushed aside and when that happens, they’ll want to leave. Ask Trent Barretta, he left to join TNA.
Triple H jokingly stated on RAW a week or two ago that he could bring back the Cruiserweight Championship for wrestlers like Daniel Bryan to compete for. But you know, why don’t you? With enough booking and a lot of exposure, the division could set the WWE alight. A lot of wrestlers in WWE and in NXT fit the category, and many fans would want to see these wrestlers given the chance. Start with NXT, experiment with the wrestlers there and given them a cruiserweight Title and when the time is right, call the division up to the big league. If WWE would prefer to have entertainers than wrestlers, why not showcases wrestlers that are entertaining to watch? Why not have the cruiserweights?
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This article was first posted on September 13, 2013