Let us begin by stating that WWE's Cruiserweight Classic has been nothing but a hit, as far as a new concept for a wrestling show has been in recent memory. The tournament format, the concept of pure wrestling matches, the backgrounds of the participants, and the commentary of Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo have made for a unique, yet very old-school wrestling experience. The CWC is arguably the favorite programs of wrestling fans everywhere at the moment.
So, let's be clear on one thing. This list of the 15 Wrestlers You Wish Were in the CWC isn't to undermine the wrestlers currently participating. After watching the first round and getting a taste of the second round, it's clear that everyone in the tournament deserves their spot. This list is purely a fun look at some Cruiserweights you may have forgotten or never heard of, in the sense of "what if" they were around.
We definitely don't want to imply that any of these guys may belong in the tournament over say, Cedric Alexander or Kota Ibushi, the two guys who have probably put the best foot forward in the tournament showcase thus far.
Here 15 Cruiserweights You Wish Were in The CWC.
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15 Jack Evans
Jack Evans has wrestled all over the world and has a resume as long as any Superstar performing in the CWC tournament. He has a very unconventional look, which he pulls off due to his amazing in-ring talent. He's one of the most exciting high flyers we've ever witnessed and would certainly add an extra degree of excitement to the tournament.
He has had great matches in ROH, PWG, and even CZW, as well as many other promotions. However, it may have been his match at TNA Destination X 2011 that really sold the mainstream audience on Evans. Not to mention, he won a match against Tony Nese, a talented CWC participant, to qualify for the Destination X four way match, where Evans would take the pin from the victorious Austin Aries, who is now a star in NXT.
Here's a recommendation. If you're unfamiliar with Jack Evans or never paid that much attention to him, check out the ROH DVD, Defying Gravity: The Best of Jack Evans. This will surely drive home the point made by putting Evans on this list.
14 Chuck Taylor
Chuck Taylor has been training to be a pro wrestler since the tender age of 16. It's fairly evident that he's become a master of his craft since that moment in time. Taylor has seen success in Chikara, PWG, Evolve, Dragon Gate, as well as several independent promotions. Billed at 210 pounds, it's safe to say Taylor would have slid right in at the weight requirement for the CWC by dropping some additional water weight.
It's not just Taylor's wrestling ability that makes him must-see. He also brings an excellent skill set of hilarious antics which add another crucial component to the tournament. Most notably his knack for frightening children into tears at ring side would be a sight to behold, though it doesn't really fit the WWE's style.
Although, it's not these antics alone that would qualify him for the CWC. It's the fact he has paid years and years of dues to the wrestling business and is the total package of a great in-ring worker and someone with the ability to entertain on such a large stage.
13 Dean Malenko
While Tajiri and Brian Kendrick are great as the two nostalgia acts in the CWC, one must imagine that Dean Malenko could probably still go if he'd train a year in advance. His conditioning levels do look problematic but his wrestling skills are most certainly still there and ,with some fine tuning, he'd surely be ready.
Known as not only a great Cruiserweight, but one of the greatest mat technicians ever, it wouldn't be surprising to see Malenko put on a great match by any standard. Also, Malenko has the tendency to bring out the best in his opponents.
Malenko vs Jack Gallagher would have been an outstanding match. However, with the recent success of the CWC and the popularity it has gained, we can safely assume we may be treated to another CWC at some point, maybe even next year. Let's hope that Malenko, who is employed by the WWE, can possibly find himself as a veteran talent. It would be great to see The Man of 1,000 Holds in the ring just one more time.
12 Hurricane Helms
The former multi-time Cruiserweight Champion, who reigned under both the WCW and WWE versions of the title, means more to Cruiserweight wrestling in America than people may realize. Helms began wrestling at the age of 16, winning his first Lightweight Championship at the very same age.
Helms was somewhat of a trailblazer and he certainly garnered more popularity than anyone could have ever fathomed. He had a great blend of styles that consisted of high flying and technical wrestling, while he also incorporated some of heavyweight-type maneuvers during his time as The Hurricane.
Helms, like Brian Kendrick and others on our list, would have been a great veteran for the tournament. However, the CWC is about new and unknown stars.
11 Joey Ryan
Joey Ryan, a current member of the Lucha Underground roster, is still very much in his prime and still puts on quality matches. He has wrestled for dozens of promotions. From TNA to Ring of Honor, and even a few brief stints as an enhancement talent in the WWE, Ryan has done a little bit of everything.
There was a lot of talk in early 2015 about the possibility of Ryan coming to NXT, however it wasn't in the cards for Ryan. It's also noteworthy that Ryan was also one half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions with current WWE Superstar, Karl Anderson.
Although we won't be seeing the entertaining "El Gallinero" in WWE or the CWC this year, there's hope for the future and the current success of the CWC will hopefully be leading to the event becoming an annual thing. We can safely say that with guys like Joey Ryan lurking around, WWE will never be short on talent to fill the brackets.
10 Evan Bourne
Matt Sydal, better known by the WWE Universe as Evan Bourne, had a great run in WWE before some unfortunate circumstances that led to his dismissal. This doesn't change the fact that Bourne had his own highlight reel during his time in the WWE. He had one of the smoothest, seamless set of moves and an amazing agility than made everything he did look polished.
Fans clamored for his return and there were even rumors that it would be happening. It's too bad, at least for now, that Bourne's bridge with the WWE remains a pile of ashes.
Bourne would have actually made a great asset to the CWC, as more than just a "big name" or enhancement guy. It's the opinion of man, that Bourne could fall into at least the Top 20 Cruiserweights to ever step into a WWE ring, or any ring for that matter.
Our fingers are crossed that we'll see Bourne in a WWE ring again.
9 Chavo Guerrero
Having a Guerrero involved in an event centering around Cruiserweight wrestling just feels right. We all know the storied legacy of the Guerrero family, especially Chavo's contributions to it. With six Cruiserweight Championships under his belt, or around his waist, Chavo was one of the many figures responsible for the Cruiserweight revolution in WCW, which is largely credited for a great portion of their ratings during the Monday Night Wars.
Chavo is still an active wrestler which makes it feasible that he could still participate. Plus it would be nice to see Chavo on WWE television as himself, not stuck with a silly gimmick or losing to Hornswoggle. However, it seems as Chavo has found a home with Lucha Underground and is very happy with his position. His goal was to resurface his brand outside of the WWE and he has succeeded in that endeavour.
However, don't be surprised if the WWE hasn't seen the last of Chavo.
Just because he's on the WWE roster doesn't mean Neville's participation in the CWC should be null and void. We all know what a great contribution he would make to the tournament with his one of a kind high flying skills, which are arguably the best on the current WWE roster.
It seems the company maybe wanted to keep Neville separate from anything pertaining to a lower weight class, as he is often pitted against much larger wrestlers on Raw. Interestingly enough, with WWE reviving the Cruiserweight division soon, we could to see Neville join their ranks. Imagine the depth of the Cruiserweight division with current stars like Neville, along with CWC hopefuls and even a few legends in the mix.
7 Jay Lethal
Since his billed weight is 230 pounds, Jay Lethal would likely have to drop a few pounds to qualify for the CWC, which wouldn't be a huge issue. At 31 years of age, one would imagine that Lethal would be a prime candidate for the CWC, if not for his prior obligations.
Lethal has been ROH Champion, TNA X Division Champion, and, at times, was easily the most popular guy in either promotion. His legendary impersonations of Ric Flair and Randy Savage garnered much adoration and attention to the young Jay Lethal.
Lethal's theatrics are the least of his abilities, however. He could be compared to a smaller version of Shelton Benjamin. Imagine that set of athletic and aerial abilities in the CWC. Lethal would likely be heavily favored to win the tournament, if not by management, but definitely by the fans spectating the event.
It's only a matter of time before Lethal makes a WWE appearance. It remains to be seen on which WWE platform that would be on (chances are NXT), but it would be outstanding to see him take part in a future CWC.
6 Chris Sabin
Former TNA X Division Champion, TNA World Champion, and world renowned Superstar, Chris Sabin is a name that NXT and WWE fans have wanted to see for a long time. Sabin has always been exciting and is viewed as a hard worker in the ring.
Sabin's work has definitely seen him achieve notoriety, as he was won nearly 40 championships since his career began in 2001. Sabin is currently 34 years old and the fact that the brunt of his championships came in his twenties should be very telling to wrestling fans.
Sabin brings a complete package and a great representative sample of the skills currently being displayed in the CWC. He also has a reputation as an all around nice guy out of the ring and for having a great personality outside of the ring.
Sabin is definitely someone we wish we could see in the Cruiserweight Classic.
5 Prince Puma
Best known as Ricochet, Lucha Underground's Prince Puma has been a jewel in many crowns across a variety of promotions. Wrestling Observer voted him as the best flying wrestler in 2011, 2014, and 2015. He also won best finisher with his double rotation moonsault in 2010 and 2011. He and the aforementioned Matt Sydal also won the Super Jr. Tag Team tournament in New Japan in 2015.
It's no stretch of the imagination that the current Lucha Underground Superstar would have made an earth shattering impact on the CWC. He is unique in many ways. With nicknames such as "Mr. High Fly" and "The Future of Flight," it's obvious what he's best at in the squared circle.
4 Taka Michinoku
At 42 years of age, Taka wouldn't even be the oldest contestant in the CWC. as that title still would be reserved for Tajiri.
Taka was the focal point of WWE's Light Heavyweight division during The Attitude Era, as he was extremely talented and beloved by fans. The winner of WWE's inaugural Light Heavyweight Championship in 1997, Taka set the tone for the short lived Light Heavyweight division in WWE.
Taka has a long list of championships and accomplishments, and amazingly enough has an even longer list of signature maneuvers.
Since Taka has retired from active wrestling and puts all of his current efforts into running his training dojo, it's unlikely he would be called upon for the CWC. However, especially for old school wrestling fans, Taka's return would have received a very warm reaction and he could have even possibly steered some interest back to the WWE, if only for a short time.
A mat based wrestler, with a ton of suplexes in his arsenal, topped off with some great high risk wrestling is just the kind of guy you would have expected to see in the CWC. ACH has all that and is quickly becoming one of the most popular independent stars in the country, with his work in AAA and ROH turning heads.
ACH seems to be popping up all over the place, for independent promotions everywhere. He seems to have taken a liking to bookings in the Midwest, but that doesn't mean he can't be seen elsewhere, like the CWC.
Whether or not you will ever see him in the WWE or a future CWC remains a mystery, although we know most of us certainly wish we will. Expect big things from ACH for the rest of 2016 and especially in 2017. The former World of Wrestling Cruiserweight Champion has many more championships to add to his resume and hopefully a WWE Cruiserweight Championship is in his future.
2 Rey Mysterio
The guy everyone expected to come in at number one is here at number two. We'll explain that with our number one entry.
You don't think of Cruiserweight wrestling without thinking about Rey Mysterio. We'd like to believe that if Mysterio had a better current relationship with WWE that he would be included in the tournament in some capacity, whether as a wrestler or a broadcaster.
Mysterio helped put the terminology of Cruiserweight wrestling into the limelight during a time when the wrestling business was booming harder than it had ever before. He had legendary matches with Ultimo Dragon, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, and several others. Rey was, and still is, synonymous with Cruiserweight wrestling.
It would have been largely appropriate for both Rey and Taka Michinoku to have at least been mentioned during the CWC so far, but we don't bickers over small things. Rey's legacy stands on its own and he is a large part of the reason this tournament is going on today.
1 Cedric Alexander (To Win)
I know what you're thinking. He's already been in the CWC, made it to round two, and lost to Kota Ibushi. He lost to Kota Ibushi in what has easily been the greatest match in the tournament thus far and it's arguably the match of the year in the WWE so far. The point here is that we wish he was STILL in the CWC. It was sad to see Cedric go, especially after he wowed everyone in the first two rounds.
While it would have been great to see Cedric go further in the tournament and STILL be active within it, one thing is true, WWE has big plans for him. After his second round loss, to the tune of chants, "Please Sign Cedric," Triple H appeared on stage to embrace the amazing, young talent.
His progress in the tournament would be great to watch, but at least now we know WWE has stock in Cedric and hopefully we will see many more amazing matches from this amazing wrestler to come.
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