There was once a time when cruiserweight wrestling was taken seriously and was the best part of World Championship Wrestling programs that aired on cable television and pay-per-view telecasts. World Wrestling Entertaining is apparently looking to turn the clock back and bring a return to those days. WWE Network is airing the Cruiserweight Classic tournament during the summer months. This competition features competitors who otherwise wouldn’t receive opportunities underneath the WWE umbrella. It was also announced during the summer that the WWE is bringing the cruiserweight division back to the Raw brand as a result of the WWE Draft that occurred in July. The cruiserweight division will be exclusive to the Raw brand, and it is assumed top cruiserweight contests will take place at major events such as Survivor Series and WrestleMania.
It should not be forgotten that the WWE dropped the ball in multiple ways regarding the cruiserweight division the last time that the company attempted to run with the idea over a decade ago. Learning from those mistakes is a must if the cruiserweight division is to be taken seriously by casual fans and if it is to become what it was in WCW in the mid-1990s. The Cruiserweight Classic is giving fans reasons to believe that the WWE wants to use cruiserweights as more than just fillers during three-hour weekly shows. Here is hoping that is the case, as cruiserweights can serve as some of the more entertaining performers on a roster. These wrestlers can also draw for the WWE so long as they are pushed properly.
15 Show Highlights Of The Cruiserweight Classic
This is the first thing that the WWE could do for the cruiserweight division before it even debuts on an edition of Raw. The WWE has all kinds of footage of the Cruiserweight Classic already saved in the company vault. Every episode of Raw should feature at least a minute or so of Cruiserweight Classic highlights as a way to promote the upcoming cruiserweight division.
One part of what is being referred to on WWE programming as the “New Era” that began in 2016 is a return of jobbers to shows such as Raw and SmackDown. Jobbers help performers such as Braun Strowman and Nia Jax, two wrestlers who need some seasoning before they are able to hang with the better wrestlers on a roster, get over among fans and also get more comfortable in their own skins.
13 Promote The Official Debut Date For The Cruiserweight Division
This one sounds simple enough and yet it is something that the WWE has not yet done as of the posting of this piece. The WWE runs promos and vignettes for wrestlers who eventually will debut on the company’s main roster. That same thing should occur regarding the start of the cruiserweight division. There is no such thing as too long of a countdown for something that excites fans. The WWE should remind fans every week that they are seven days closer to seeing some of the best and most-skilled wrestlers in the world appearing on Raw.
12 Multiple Cruiserweight Matches Every Raw
Every episode of Raw runs for over three hours on live television. Yes, a weekly three-hour show is too much for any single wrestling promotion, but it is what it is. The WWE and USA Network are not cutting back at any point in the foreseeable future. With all of this available time on episodes of Raw, there is no reason that the WWE should not feature at least two cruiserweight matches on every show.
11 Adequate Time For Cruiserweight Matches
The previous idea mentioned in this piece will only go so far if the WWE turns cruiserweight matches into brief segments that are forgotten about almost as quickly as they occur. Cruiserweight matches should, by nature, be quicker and feature more athleticism than what fans would expect to see from others on the main WWE roster.
10 Take From the Best Parts Of The Cruiserweight Classic
The Cruiserweight Classic is a hit for multiple reasons. Most importantly, of course, are the men who put together matches inside of the ring. One must also give credit to the WWE for making the Cruiserweight Classic stand apart from Raw and SmackDown and also from NXT shows that air on the WWE Network.
There is something unique and special about watching the two wrestlers shake hands and receive instructions from the referee in the center of the ring before they start a match. Knowing there is a set time limit gives fans something to think about as they notice that a match has gone on for several minutes. Last but not least, having the two wrestlers stand in the center of the ring as the referee raises the hand of the victor at the end adds a sense of realism and is straight out of mixed martial arts organizations such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Wrestling fans love tournaments. It doesn’t matter if those fans are located in the United States, Mexico, Japan or anywhere else on the planet. Give wrestling fans a tournament that includes brackets and they will eat that competition up with a spoon. That is why the WWE ran with the King of the Ring idea for as long as it did and also why the company tried to bring King of the Ring back during the 2000s.
8 Have Cruiserweights Beat Heavyweights (Occasionally)...
We do not love the idea of the WWE mixing cruiserweight wrestlers with heavyweights and other members of the roster. There is a right way to do it in certain circumstances, though, such as to elevate cruiserweights and show that they can hang with the best of the best regardless of size.
7 ...But Keep the Cruiserweights Separate Long-Term
Having the cruiserweights interact with heavyweights and with other members of the main WWE roster every now and again is fine. For the most part, however, it is in the best interests of the cruiserweight wrestlers and also the cruiserweight division for these performers to be kept as separate entities in the long-term.
6 Have The Announcers Put The Cruiserweights Over
There are so many things outstanding about the Cruiserweight Classic. Two of the best parts of those programs are Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan. Ranallo is the best play-by-play man signed to the WWE today, while Bryan seems to be a natural working as a color commentator.
5 Learn From Mistakes Made By X-Division
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling had an opportunity to differentiate itself from the WWE when TNA first formed following the death of WCW. TNA promised fans matches they wouldn’t see on WWE programming, specifically with the X-Division that had “no limits” and that featured noteworthy workers such as A.J. Styles, Low Ki, Chris Saban and Samoa Joe.
4 Let Cruiserweights Work Main Events Now And Then
In 2015, the WWE kicked off what the company referred to as its “Divas Revolution” regarding the female wrestlers signed to the company. Ironically, this revolution resulted in the company abandoning the term “Divas.” It also led to Bayley and Sasha Banks working in the co-main event of the 2015 NXT Takeover: Brooklyn show when those two women should have closed that show.
3 Don’t Relegate Wrestlers To The Cruiserweight Division
One concern some WWE fans may have about the upcoming cruiserweight division is that the WWE will use it as a way to feature certain talents who have no existing spots on the main roster. That, after all, occurred in the WWE following the original brand split during which the cruiserweight division was featured on the SmackDown brand.
2 Sign Additional Cruiserweight Talent
The WWE Draft and brand split that took place in July 2016 not only created two products for WWE fans to consume on a weekly basis. It also depleted the impressive NXT roster, as talents such as Finn Balor and American Alpha earned deserved call-ups to main shows.
1 Build A Strong Champion
The WWE realized that simply calling something a “Divas Revolution” was not enough to turn things around for the women’s division. Thus, the WWE placed that division’s championship on Charlotte, a proven talent who held the NXT Women’s Championship and who has repeatedly had entertaining matches while working underneath the WWE umbrella. Sasha Banks, a great worker who is beloved among fans, won that championship in July of 2016.
In that same light, the WWE needs to build a strong champion for its cruiserweight division. This individual should be a talented in-ring worker fans want to see regardless of if he is a babyface or a heel. A strong champion does wonders for an entire division, as he gives legitimacy to a title and also to contenders. So long as the WWE gives us a strong Cruiserweight Champion coupled with interesting feuds, we will have no problem buying into that division as something to watch every Monday night.
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