During the hype of the much anticipated WWE draft, the company announced that to fill the full 3 hour RAW time slot, they would be bringing back an exclusive cruiserweight division, which no doubt came as a result of the already popular Cruiserweight Classic, and will lead to the rebirth of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. (Thank God. Can you imagine if Hornswoggle went down in history as the last ever holder of that belt?) This is a useful tool, as it will help to continue the changing ideologies of WWE’s signing tendencies, with recent signings including Kota Ibushi and Gran Metalik, and it will give undervalued stars like Neville and Kalisto a purpose within the company, as they are outstanding performers, but have been hampered in recent times by lack of direction.
Whether WWE decides to bring in performers from NXT, the Cruiserweight Classic, Japan, TNA or anywhere else in the world, there is no doubt that they will need to bring in much more talent to make this division a true success. But if anyone can do it, looking at the outstanding brackets for the Cruiserweight Classic, it's Triple H. With that being said, here are 15 stars that WWE should definitely reach out to in order to make the upcoming cruiserweight Raw exclusive division as big a success as possible.
29 Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews is one of the youngest and brightest stars in Europe, and he has now begun to show what he can do within TNA, where he has been absolutely dazzling fans from an in ring perspective, and if he signed with WWE they would be able to hone his unique, boyish charisma into a superstar who can do just about anything in the ring. Under his skater gimmick, Andrews has proved to be one of the brightest young British stars in all of wrestling, and seeing him match up with the likes of Neville and Kota Ibushi would no doubt help in his overall in ring development and story telling abilities. The whole point of the draft and the ‘new era’ in WWE is to look to the future, as stars like John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar are all in the twilight of their careers, and with the changing philosophies and ideologies in the wrestling business, so WWE also have to do this and look to the future, and while some may be annoyed that a wrestler like Andrews skips NXT, he would be a good candidate to build the future of the division around.
27 King Cuerno
The Hunter has come on leaps and bounds in season 2 of Lucha Underground, where he was once seen as the most underrated and under utilized stars on the show, he now has a marquee match with main event star Mil Muertes at the upcoming Ultima Lucha dos, which reinforces the age old saying that talent will always find a way to get over, as he has lots of talent, both in the ring and with his character, which has always stood out, even in a promotion with as many wacky and memorable characters as LU. Cuerno is a star who would contribute to the division not just having ‘flippy stuff’ as you would see from other performers on this list, but he is very calculating and vicious in the ring, while also incorporating high flying moves, and is a veteran of 16 years in the Mexican wrestling business, which means he would have plenty to offer behind the scenes with the younger wrestlers, not only his in ring performances.
25 Matthew Riddle
One of the more interesting entries on this list, Riddle has worked the majority of his career in Mixed Martial Arts, only beginning his professional wrestling training 2 years ago, but his improvement working for EVOLVE has been rapid, and his intensity and energy would make him a fan favourite, as well as bringing an actual sports legitimacy to the division. In the space of just 2 short years, Riddle has evolved quicker than anyone in wrestling could have imagined, and in 2016 won EVOLVE’s Style Battle Tournament, proving that while quite new in the business, the sky is the limit, as he has the ability to work as a cocky heel, which will be much needed within the cruiserweight division. To see Riddle match up with technical wizards such as Zack Sabre would make for compelling viewing, as well as helping the development of the former MMA star, and with time he could develop his personality and mic skills, which could make him a big player within the cruiserweight division, and WWE as a whole.
23 Pete Dunne
Speaking of offering the WWE cruiserweight division something different, no man at this weight in the world offers a more unexpected style of wrestling than the “bruiserweight” Pete Dunne, which his name no doubt indicates. A British sensation (gee, isn’t there a few of them going around these days?), Dunne is a throwback type performer at this weight level who would much prefer to batter and bruise his opponents instead of flying around with them, which would offer a nice contrast to others and make this one of the better divisions in not only WWE, but all of professional wrestling as a whole. The signings of British stars like Dunne and Will Osperay (spoiler: not on this list due to his NJPW commitments) would give young aspiring wrestlers a hero to model themselves after, and would help the WWE to continue to do good business in that part of the world.
21 Jack Evans
One of the most innovative high fliers of this generation, despite being small even by cruiserweight standards, Evans continues to amaze fans all around the globe with his down right crazy maneuvers. One can see Evans in Lucha Underground as a part of a trio with PJ Black and Johnny Mundo, PWG is where he has done his best work, during the annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament, or with long time partner Angelico, every Evans match, while maybe not a story telling masterpiece is must see, which is what the WWE must strive for in the cruiserweight division. His 630 senton along with other amazing moves have led him to becoming a fan favorite around the world, but, as seen in Lucha Underground, he has a great ability on the microphone to turn fans against him, which could see him become a real player in the division.
19 Cedric Alexander
Another competitor in the Cruiserweight Classic, fans have already witnessed some of what Alexander can do in the ring with his first round victory over Clement Petiot, but that just scratched the surface of what the former Ring of Honor stand out can do inside a ring. A hybrid between technical and high flying wrestling, Alexander has charisma in spades to go along with amazing skills inside the ring, which make him an ‘entertainer’ in every sense of the word, and if WWE were smart, they would follow up the signings of Kota Ibushi and Gran Metalik with that of Cedric, where he could become a key performer on either NXT or Raw in the cruiserweight division. Alexander has faced all types of competitors throughout his career, from Jay Lethal to Michael Elgin, which makes him one of the more versatile performers that WWE would have, and he could become the block which WWE builds their entire cruiserweight division on.
17 Noam Dar
The youngest competitor in the WWE Cruiserweight classic, Dar has been performing as a wrestler for 8 years despite the fact he still has not turned 23, and his signing at such a young age would no doubt help ensure the future for WWE and its cruiserweight division, and again would offer up diversity as Dar is Israeli by heritage and Scottish by residence, which means he will bring a large fan base with him to the company. In his 8 years in the business, Dar has competed and stood out for Progress Wrestling, ICW, Dragon Gate, GFW and TNA, which is as many promotions as many 30 year olds wish to have starred in, yet Dar is just 22, signaling that he has one of the brightest futures of anyone in the entire wrestling industry.
One of Lucha Underground’s break out stars, Fenix has improved throughout the first 2 seasons of the program, and has become a fan favorite due to his likeable look, which WWE would also capitalize on, and his consistently incredible matches. While bringing in Kalisto to replace masked sensation Rey Mysterio has failed miserably, Fenix could take up this mantle if handled properly, which is more possible now due to less wrestlers and story lines for the writers to focus on, and this would help him get over, like Mysterio with casual fans, children and the ‘marks’ alike. Like many other competitors on this list, Fenix also combines an amazing amount of experience (11 years) with the youth (25 years old), and putting him in the ring with either younger guys like himself or veterans of the business will result in pure magic, and if his star is allowed to shine as bright as he potentially can, he could succeed beyond just the cruiserweight division.
13 Cody Rhodes
A somewhat controversial entry, due to his recent, unhappy departure from the company, Rhodes however is the perfect star to lead the cruiserweight division, due to his star power, in ring ability and charisma/personality, and while this may not happen so soon, it would be good to see the son of Dusty back in the good graces of the company, being treated like the star he is. While in comparison to others on this list, Rhodes in ring ability may not be as overwhelming, he can tell a great story in the ring, and can help lead the division to becoming more than just in ring brilliance, as he can construct a good rivalry with his skills on the microphone, and this will help engage the casual audience. Don’t expect to see Rhodes in the very near future, as his independent bookings seem to be piling up, but a surprise return could be good for a pop and star power in the division from 2017 and beyond.
The South African dare devil may be best known for his work as Trios Champion in Lucha Underground alongside Son of Havoc and Ivilesse, but his body of work as both a tag team and singles competitor goes far beyond that, competing in his home land of South Africa, England, all the way to most notably PWG in the U.S, with his partner Jack Evans or on his own he never fails to amaze whatever crowd he is performing in front of. With a martial arts background, Angelico employs vicious kicks from every possible angle to damage his opponents with his long legs, and as we have seen in Lucha Underground, he will take any risk necessary for the sake of the crowds and his championships, which would make him a valuable member of the Cruiserweight division, and he would help WWE give this new division the ethnic diversity that they are so proud of.
9 Andrew Everett
One of the youngest stars in the wrestling business, TNA’s Andrew Everett was trained by the Hardy Boyz in their OMEGA wrestling promotion, and at just 24 years of age, WWE would be able to mould him in their image, where he could use his athleticism to rise to the top of the division. Despite being a main stay in the TNA X Division, Everett would be silly to turn down and offer from WWE to compete on their flagship show to be seen by millions each and every week, and with plenty of time to grow and improve as a performer, there is no doubt that if it’s not this year, the young star will one day make his impact (pun very much intended) on WWE whether it be in NXT or the cruiserweight division.
7 Akira Tozawa
A stand out name in the upcoming WWE Cruiserweight Classic, as soon as many saw the name Tozawa on the bracket they pushed him straight to the finals, despite considerable opposition from stars such as Kota Ibushi, Tajiri and Zack Sabre Jr. which speaks to the level of respect that people within the industry have for the Japanese born Tozawa. While WWE don’t have the best history of treating Japanese stars the way they deserve, with the arrivals of Hideo Itami, Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura and Kota Ibushi, this proves WWE (or at least at the NXT level) have somewhat changed, Tozawa’s wrestling ability will help him rise to that same level, as his abilities in the ring match any in the Cruiserweight tournament, or any that the newly revived Cruiserweight division have to offer. Look for Tozawa to go far in the cruiserweight tournament, which could lead to a WWE contract, as the signings of Kota Ibushi and Gran Metalik indicate.
5 Marty Scurll
Perhaps the most underrated professional wrestler in the industry, ‘The Villain’ can do it all inside and out of the ring, and brings a brutal technical style to his matches which would help give the cruiserweight division the diverse feel that it needs to keep it from becoming predictable. The 27 year old has been travelling the world from Impact Wrestling to PWG to ICW and Revolution Pro, he is a true veteran in the industry, yet is only now primed and ready to break out on a global scale, and this revitalizing of the cruiserweight division is the perfect time for him to break out and be respected the way he deserves as a wrestler. Ever since discovering his new look and character, Scurll has taken over promotions such as Progress and Rev Pro as their true top heel, and in a division that is based on crowd pleasing offense and sequences, a genuine heel like Marty would balance it out and make it a true spectacle on Monday Night Raw.
For years, Ricochet (or Prince Puma in the critically acclaimed Lucha Underground) has been known as the undisputed best high flier in all of professional wrestling (which is now challenged by Britain’s Will Osperay), and with contract disputed with Lucha Underground and mutual interest between himself and WWE, Ricochet would be the perfect star to sign to deliver high flying, death defying matches with the likes of Neville, Sin Cara and Kota Ibushi. From his 630 senton, to his double rotation moonsault to his countless innovative outside dives, Ricochet has redefined what it means to be a high flier in recent memory, and with the look, the charisma, the 13 years of experience (despite only being 27 years of age), and the aforementioned jaw dropping move set, to sign Ricochet (although his contract situation is quite murky at the moment) would be the ultimate for WWE, and would no doubt help RAW in the competiton with the newly live Smackdown.
1 Zack Sabre Jr.
The favourite to come out of the left hand side of the CWC bracket, the British Sabre has been plying his craft for a decade all around the world, and has taken the mantle from the recently retired Daniel Bryan as the best technical wrestler around the world, which has led to a revival in British wrestling as a whole. For fans who have not seen the technical wizard in action, his matches in the upcoming tournament will win them all over, as Sabre can apply a hold just as well as counter it, or he can kick your head straight off with a lethal penalty kick, which has seen him to victory in many major wrestling tournaments around the world such as PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles and WXW’s 16 Carat Gold tournament. At the age of just 28, with a wealth of experience under his belt, now is the time for WWE to captilize and sign the super star, as it would bring real legitimacy and excitement to RAW for the brand split.
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