WCW, may it rest in peace, had a lot to offer to the mainstream wrestling audience. There were the villainous antics of the nWo, the great heritage of the Four Horsemen, legendary superstars such as Flair and Sting, but one thing that stands out the most for many wrestling fans is WCW's Cruiserweight division. During the mid 1990s, the Cruiserweight division afforded us the opportunity to see a unique type of in-ring action that many in America hadn't seen before.
The Cruiserweight division introduced fans to an array of international superstars and their different styles. From Mexico. we saw the migration of the Lucha-Libre style to the mainstream. We were introduced to their amazing characters and stylish high flyers.We also witnessed the emergence of several great Japanese cruisers. Let us not forget, many great Cruiserweights still hailed from the U.S. and Canada.
The melding of styles, characters, thrills, and, of course, many masks are a few aspects of what made the Cruiserweight division stand out to become arguably one of the most entertaining aspects of WCW Monday Nitro. There was very seldom a lackluster match involving these competitors. It should be noted, that anyone under 225 pounds was considered a Cruiserweight.
While there are so many great talents to choose from, after much deliberation we have come up with the top 15 members of WCW's Cruiserweight division. From around the globe, these superstars came together to bring us a showcase of great wrestling and entertainment. Some of these wrestlers even went beyond the limits of the "mid-card" status that was commonly set as a limit for many small competitors in the history of pro-wrestling. A very select few, went on to achieve success as world champions. We hope you enjoy the list.
15 Super Calo
14 Prince Iaukea
13 Kaz Hayashi
12 Lash Leroux
11 Shane Helms
10 Elix Skipper
9 Chavo Guerrero
7 Eddie Guerrero
6 Billy Kidman
5 Juventud Guerrera
4 Ultimo Dragon
3 Dean Malenko
2 Rey Mysterio
Forget for a moment that Rey isn't number one on the list. We will come back to that.
1 Chris Jericho
Remember the part about forgetting for a moment that Rey wasn't number one on the list? It's time to let that go. It's time to lay any question or angst concerning the ranking to rest.
Chris Jericho is the absolute greatest Cruiserweight in WCW history. Jericho was well received by fans immediately, debuting as the baby face Lion Heart character. His in-ring style was great, but the character was a mere footnote to how far Jericho's range could go. He became a sniveling, temper tantrum throwing character who cried conspiracy over decisions made by the fictitious WCW Championship committee. His work as a bad guy made him the most popular Cruiserweight in the division's history.
He had memorable feud with every top Cruiserweight in WCW, most notably against Dean Malenko and Rey Mysterio. He also had a collection of masks he acquired from other wrestlers during a time when he was gunning for identities of masked superstars. Jericho's ridiculous antics, sense of humor, and rock star attitude made him a must see wrestler and television personality.
Who didn't have a home made Jericho Personal Security shirt at home? Who didn't love his televised listing of his "1,004 holds"? Mind you, that's four more holds than Dean Malenko. Who didn't love his weekly attempts at calling out Goldberg? (a move that earned him legitimate backstage heat from Goldberg).
Jericho was entertaining in every aspect of wrestling. His character development and in-ring skill are what set him apart from all others, even Rey Mysterio. Jericho was becoming more than the most popular Cruiserweight, he was becoming the most popular wrestler in WCW.
As the story goes, WCW didn't want to move Jericho to a higher level than the mid-card which caused him to become frustrated and leave the company. He would later be signed by WWE and debut in the most memorable fashion. Jericho achieved so much success in WWE, but it was his work in WCW that caused fans to fall in love with him, giving WWE all the fuel they needed to continue Jericho's launch to super stardom.
As a future first ballot hall of famer, Chris Jericho may have provided some of the best banter, matches, and moments in the entire history of the WCW Cruiserweight division.
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