It's been almost a year since WWE announced and held it's first ever Cruiserweight Classic tournament in the Summer of 2016. That groundbreaking tournament lead to the inclusion of cruiserweight division matches on both brands of the WWE televised product (Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live) as well as launching a whole new WWE network show for the division, 205 Live.
Like with the NXT developmental brand, there are a certain subset of fans who appreciate the technical style wrestling enough to follow 205 Live and the cruiserweight division with equal fervor as the main product. But for most casual viewers it's a bright purple intermission between the "real action" or a time-filler between SmackDown and Talking Smack.
But the Cruiserweight Challenge represented more than a mere ratings experiment or brand expansion. The event introduced us to a whole new class and style of competitors, and brought back a Championship division we hadn't seen since '90s WCW, and over a decade in the WWE.
Following in the success of that tournament, the WWE has since announced similar network specials in its mold, such as the recent United Kingdom Tournament and upcoming Mae Young Memorial Women's Tournament. Like the CWC, these events may only appeal to fans looking for something new beyond the main brand, but will also result in plenty of fresh talent being recruited to the WWE and NXT rosters.
Now that the cruiserweights have made their mark and secured their place in WWE history, the company needs to hold the fans interest and get more on board with the cruiserweights. We've got a few suggestions on how to shake up the division before things grow too stagnant for the 205lb and under class.
1. Dethrone The King
No knock against Neville. Quite the opposite, in fact. The King of the Cruiserweights has excelled as the face of the division ever since his return as a menacing heel. But as much as the former main eventer has done to elevate the brand, he really deserves a bigger push and greater opportunities. But the question remains, who will take his crown?
Austin Aries may have run out of chances as the main contender. So for the time being, all eyes are on Neville's own protégé, TJP. But could Gentleman Jack Gallagher steal the honor, keeping the Cruiserweight belt among royals? Perhaps by the time Neville is ready to surrender it, more names will have entered the picture, but for now expect the champ to Watch the Throne with an iron fist.prevnext
2. Give Enzo Amore the Mic
Weighing in at just 206 lbs *with* jewelry and footwear included, Enzo Amore should be a perfect fit for cruiserweight division. And though he reminded us just recently that "the only time he cuts carbs is with a pizza cutter," he may want to consider a change in company the way things are going between him and Big Cass.
There's a reason Enzo's earned nicknames like "Smacktalker Skywalker" and "The Jordan of Jargon" (okay, he might have dubbed himself both of those) and with a roster heavy on technical talent but light on promo presence, the cruiserweights could absolutely use his skills on the mic. Not to mention the huge boost in crowd attention he'd bring, both in fans and h-h-h-haters alike.
Considering the current King of the cruiserweights can certainly project heel heat, but can hardly get through a scripted promo, Enzo could absolutely rule 205 live with a silver tongue, rather than an iron fist.prevnext
3. Bring in the Balor Club
On the other hand, many see Enzo as nothing more than big-mouthed comedic support. In a division that already has plenty of colorful characters and Rich Swan's dance moves, perhaps it will take a Demon to topple the goblin-esque Neville's reign. At 190 lbs of fury, Finn Balor would bring an unmatched caliber of skill to the cruiserweight contest that no one would take lightly.
Besides, who wouldn't want to see Balor in a program against fellow former NXT stand-outs like Neville and Austin Aries? Considering how he's been underused on the main roster (between periods of injury) it would have made more sense to bring Finn up gradually through the ranks of the cruiserweights.
Though he's held his own against larger opponents like Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe, his presence now would still do the Cruiserweight division more good than it would any harm to his white hot heat with fans.
Or with Paul Heyman potentially taking over as advocate for The Demon King on the main roster, let Finn speak for himself as guest announcer/commentary (as he did for the UK Tournament).prevnext
4. Let the Singh Brothers Shine
Now moonlighting as WWE Champion Jinder Mahal's enforcers (and possibly limousine chauffeurs), we've hardly seen the Singh bros, aka "The Bollywood Boyz" in division ring action since the CWC tournament.
Like Balor, Enzo, and Neville, they could be instrumental in bringing viewership from the main product to 205 Live, and some always needed heel heat to the cruiserweight matches. These brothers have a great mic presence, in-ring skill, and their own story to tell. Let them do more than just interfere from ringside and carry Jinder's belt!prevnext
5. Recruit More Foreign Talent
Just as the CWC brought a wealth of new talent to both WWE and NXT from abroad, the recent United Kingdom Championship Tournament has quickly become a highlight of the last NXT Takeover, bringing a wealth of new talent from the indys.0comments
With the success of the UK Tournament, the abundance of British wrestlers now dominating in the cruiserweight division leaves a surprisingly noticeable lack of luchadors and Japanese high fliers. Despite those being the class of wrestler many first associate with lightweight and cruiserweight competition, as well as the success of rival promotions like Lucha Underground and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Just as NXT functions to develop young talent, the Cruiserweight division should truly be a showcase of some the top talent from around the world, especially parts where the biggest behemoths aren't always the ones pushed straight to the top.prev