The first episode of the Global Cruiserweight Series will begin on the WWE Network on July 13th, now this is amazing news not just for WWE, not just for the fans but wrestling as a whole.
For the first time WWE has openly stated it’s intentions when it comes to Wrestling Promotions across the world and their talent. WWE will be inviting cruiserweights from all over the world to be part of the inaugural Global Cruiserweight Series. The plan is for thirty-two of the best in-ring competitors under 205 lbs. to wrestle during the period of ten weeks, the winner will then be the best cruiserweight in the world.
In addition to this, before the series begins WWE will be featuring the talents on their website and social media to gauge on what the fans think, for Triple H to gain exactly what the fans think, this is another unique stance WWE has placed on this tournament.
“I’m excited about this. I really am. It’s a really great opportunity for us to tap into what’s a really exciting talent pool. I believe, sort of an underutilized talent pool. There are just numerous, numerous, numerous Cruiserweights around the world that are great performers that have not fully had the opportunity to be seen around the world and that’s something that hopefully, WWE can give them. I would say the vast majority will be non-contracted or long-term contracted WWE talents. We haven’t finalized the selection process, watching tapes and seeing who we want to work with and all of that. It’s going to be a discovery process. Look, I want to have the best in the world. I don’t want to negate anyone from that process because they are under contract to us. At the same time, I’m looking for the best in the world and the brightest around to give them a platform that they’ve never had. I’m certainly looking at the vast majority from being from the outside of WWE. When I say Global, I mean Global. We are recruiting from everywhere. UK, Japan, China, to find the best talent. That doesn’t mean we are going to find someone everywhere, but we are really trying to turn things over and really find someone from every part of the globe to be part of this and show the world who they are and what they can do.” – Triple H.
Now reading from this, you can tell WWE isn’t playing around, they have solid intentions and they know that this time they can’t rely on pushing a talent to get public opinions as this has backfired or gained mixed reactions. For years, fans haven’t had a Cruiserweight Division or during the time it existed, it never had the right Champion to represent it, step forward Hornswoggle.
Triple H stated WWE’s plans for the Cruiserweight division and Championship itself after the tournament, he said:
“I think it is slightly the cart before the horse. I think.. I want this to be something that is repetitive. I would like this tournament to be a recurring thing where we take the best talent from around the world and let them do their thing. Does that morph directly into a Cruiserweight division right away? I don’t know about right away…and it might…but we’re clearly looking at all the guys in this tournament and saying, ‘who do we want to work with long-term? Maybe we give this guy a year and we’ll work with him long-term next year’ and who are all these talents. I think where it lands is sort of a work in progress. If you look at this tournament, it’s going to be a platform where somebody and it could be more than one person, is going to be seen as one of the best Cruiserweights in the world or the best Cruiserweight in the world. It’s a hell of a platform and it’s going to get bigger and better but just not sure 100% what that is.”
Now with the previous statements, Triple H has also mentioned UK wrestling promotions as possible targets for Cruiserweights to be entertained into the tournament. This wouldn’t be the first time he has expressed interest in the UK talent pool as he singled out PROGRESS and Revolution Pro Wrestling who have excelled in events seen across the world via their separate On:Demand services.
“I think with something like this, we’re opening it up a bit more. We are going to allow these guys to come in. I’m not just trying to find the cruiserweights that are the obvious ones. I think those guys will be there, the top guys in the world” – Triple H.
One thing among others that made Triple H’s statement interesting regarding the use of the amazing Cruiserweight talent was that he was keen on letting the fans and the promoters themselves know that their idea is to benefit Wrestling and the Promotions as a whole.
However, while WWE has experienced something of a renaissance during the development of their talent (NXT) and the unique individuals they recently have signed and promoting (Finn Balor & Samoa Joe) it should be noted of the previous experience WWE has had with the Cruiserweight Division or the latter known Light Heavyweight Division.
With a history dating back to 1981, the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship was engaged in a partnership with the UWA, a Mexican lucha libre based promotion, which due to this alliance resulted in the creation of the Light Heavyweight Championship for the UWA. However, the partnership ended in 1995 when UWA was forced to close and WWF allowed NJPW to use the Championship to help promote both companies, however, the relationship during this time went sour and their partnership terminated during 1997.
After reclaiming the Championship, WWF would then host a tournament to crown their first Champion, the winner would be Taka Michinoku in
December 1997. Despite being used poorly in the latter years of the Attitude Era, Michinoku was a superb Champion, a fantastic talent before and after the win. Later on during the years, amazing talents would capture the Championship, like Dean Melenko, Jerry Lynn, Jeff Hardy and X-Pac before the title was replaced by the WWE Cruiserweight Championship in 2001.
Looking at WCW and their Cruiserweight Championship Title began in 1991 (that was known as the Light Heavyweight Championship until being changed in 1992) with the winner of an amazing tournament being Brian Pillman. The Championship was vacant until 1996 until the division was electrified by talents like Shinjiro Otani, Dean Malenko, Ultimo Dragon, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and the late great Eddie Guerrerro. The division was one of the main reasons why WCW was such as hit in the late 90’s, as chaos loomed in the booking system regarding the Heavyweight Championship, fans could rely on the Cruiserweights to provide the best action around until the WWE/WCW takeover in 2001.
Uniting both Championships, the title would be known as the WWE Cruiserweight Championship in 2002 became exclusive to SmackDown. The Cruiserweight Title did allow amazing talents like Jamie Noble, Gregory Helms and Chavo Guerrero to have their chance to shine before the Title was vacated in September 2007 and then retired later on.
But as I’ve stated, the landscape of WWE has changed, the company has experienced the highs and the lows of underestimating fan interest in the Cruiserweights. The wrestling world is looking to be excited and entertained in equal measure, something WWE’S main product RAW isn’t providing consistently but it’s clear WWE’s NXT is. And the reason for this is that it operates on indy style wrestling with “indy” style wrestlers mixed with WWE trained wrestlers to get the best results something that has clearly influenced WWE’S decision to re-evaluate it’s interests in the Cruiserweight Division.
Wrestlers and fans alike across the world over social media have made it clear who they believe should be represented in the tournament, I’ll focus on the UK talents and the list immediately starts with:
Zack Sabre Jr who is an SPLX Wrestling representive also has made his name in PROGRESS, NOAH, Rev Pro, PWG and EVOLVE. Their is no doubt that he is an odds on favourite to be part of the tournament.
Next up would be, Will O’spreay, for PROGRESS Champion and another UK talent who had made his name all over the world with his amazing stunts and wrestling capability but he has recently signed for NJPW and may not may not be available for WWE.
Marty Scrull is another man who has been slowly making his name all over the world as well as being the current PROGRESS Champion, he has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would be an amazing addition to the tournament as well. One wrestler who has consistently been a phenomenonal talent, with multiple years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, that man is Bubblegum and in the last few years fans have really been able to see what he is capable of. Other amazing possible Cruiserweight talents include Flash Morgan Webster who in the UK has developed his skills and his matches are always a must see event and El Ligero, this man is the talisman of British Wrestling, his experience in wrestling commands respect and his adaptability to any style of match is something to be witnessed.
In Scotland, he may not be seen as a Cruiserweight in the UK, but he does fit the credentials, that man is BT Gunn, known primary for his matches in ICW and PBW, he is a unique and incredible talent that certainly should be un-noticed. Next up is Stevie Boy Xavier, another ICW and PBW talent, this man is a wrestler who must be seen and can do bring must see entertainment for the fans in the ring. And finally, Noam Dar. Engaging and multi talented, Dar already has a connection with the fans and would be an amazing addition to the tournament given the chance.
Now these are only a selection, I’m sure you can think of more, but one thing is certainly for sure, the Cruiserweight Tournament and the months leading up it will be an exciting and unpredictable event.
Written by Craig Hermit.