This may be a question that comes to mind as people watch the cruiserweight division in the WWE today: What direction is the division heading in? Personally as I’ve been watching it, it seems like the people in charge don’t really know what to do with them. Now this isn’t to say the performers in the division are bad and it’s not like we’ve got a situation with Hornswoggle as champion, thank goodness. But people like Rich Swan and T.J. Perkins can really shine when they are left to their own devices. However, something needs to change. We need to see something other than just what their gimmicks are. What can we do? Well, I have a few ideas.
Now before anyone gets upset, I’m not saying that these guys don’t have any personality. The Cruiserweight Classic showed off their budding characters well and you could get invested into the match. The tournament even gave each competitor a decent amount of respect by having them compete to earn their spot on the show. Presenting to us all the hard work and effort they put in. However, since the move up to Raw their personalities haven’t exactly been presented very well.
It’s reasonable to go as far as saying that they are one dimensional or have no personality whatsoever, a key example being TJ Perkins. What do we know about him if you’ve just tuned in to watch him on Raw? He likes video games… he’s also a baby face… That’s pretty much as far as his character has gone since joining the roster. I mean look at Rich Swan, his character stands out because he can dance… That’s deep people! Thanks to the power of the video package, we’ve come to learn a little more about what motivates some of the cruiserweights. Take Swann for example, having overcome the loss of his parents in his early teens, he sites wrestling as his life’s salvation. More of these please!
Now it could be argued that it’s early days for these performers and they need time to develop their characters. Given the right environment they could prosper. This leads us onto the next subject.
So with the conclusion of Survivor Series, Raw is the official home of the cruiserweights. So case closed? No more discussion… right? Well there’s a slight issue. It would seem that the division is sleeping around with some other WWE brands. You can see these guys perform on NXT as well as Raw, which is probably okay considering it can give some guys more exposure and develop their characters a little more. Moreover, now you’ll be able to watch all the cruiserweights on their new show WWE 205 live.
I’ve just finished the first couple episode of 205 Live and I believe it is a step in the right direction. If this is a reboot for the cruiserweights, then this could be the right way to start doing it. We are introduced to the roster one by one – We even get video packages for specific wrestlers like the Bollywood Boyz and Lince Dorado in order to detail their motivations and goals. This can work well as now we know more about these people and can develop a connection to them, whether it be troubles in their past that they’ve now overcome or how they are going to make an impact in the WWE. As the programme has only just begun, only time will tell if this works out in the long run.
What felt like a major kick to my balls was the prospect of having the cruiserweights on Smackdown Live. I mean if you really think about it, doesn’t it make perfect sense? With 205 Live broadcasting straight after Smackdown Live (by the way, they didn’t take off some of the Smackdown related branding quick enough while the show started… oops) and Smackdown’s reputation in the past of having great cruiserweights like Eddie Guerrero, Matt Hardy, Gregory Helms, and Rey Mysterio, surely it could have been a match made in heaven.
But ultimately there is one more factor stopping the division from reaching its potential, and that is…
Let’s face it, when the cruiserweights come out it seems like they are from a different show. The purple ropes, purple banners – All of it needs to go because, in all honesty, it feels like they aren’t a part of Raw. Even when we get backstage segments they never really interact with anyone on the main roster, and the fact that they keep themselves in a small little bubble means that we are more than likely going to get the same combination of matches. How quickly can six man tag matches become stale? In the case of the WWE, really bloody quickly.
It’s bad on a viewer level as well – If you’re a main stream fan of WWE and aren’t able or willing to buy into the WWE Network, then you’re limited to what you can watch from those guys, as they’d probably only make one or two appearances on Raw. If you want to watch them actually performing at their best, then you’re going to have to fork out £9.99 in order to satisfy your high-flying cravings.
The conclusion seems to be that the WWE are aware of some issues with the cruiserweight division. With the creation of 205 Live, they are taking steps to rectify these problems, which is a good sign. However, because the potential of these performers is vast, there needs to be a focus on merging them with the main roster. Giving them the opportunity to be themselves and perform to the best of their ability is what makes these guys entertaining to watch.
I want to see them do well. After all, what was the point of the cruiserweight classic in the first place if we weren’t going to give these guys a chance?