Wrestlers come in all shapes and in all sizes. For a very long time in the business, however, the phrase, “land of the giants” was all too commonplace. Men like Bruno Sammartino, Superstar Billy Graham, Andre The Giant, and Hulk Hogan ruled the day. The differently shaped came more in the form of men like King Kong Bundy and the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. Any wrestler who weighed less than 250 was either part of a tag team or a journeyman for the big guys to lob around.
While smaller guys like Ric Flair ruled down south for years, up north, little by little (no pun intended), smaller wrestlers started to break through and get noticed. It began with medium-sized Rowdy Roddy Piper proving to be a credible foil to Hogan. It really jump-started when the Macho Man captures the championship. Following a few more runs with Hogan, Warrior, and Slaughter, it was time for Ric Flair to come over too. Then Bret and Shawn followed. However, even those guys were in the 225-230 range. There exists an even smaller crop of guys that have since broken through, made their mark, and are borderline legends. Here are the 10 best wrestlers under 200 pounds in WWE history.
10 Rey Mysterio
For fans of both ECW and/or WCW, by the time Rey Mysterio debuted on Smackdown in 2002, he was already the most influential Luchador superstar since Mil Máscaras. The 175-pounder simply became the most famous Luchador ever once he signed when the WWE.
Once the most innovative high flyer ever seen, now he is the most well-respected one. Beloved by fans of all ages and still no signs of slowing down Mysterio recently made his return to WWE and is hopefully here to stay.
9 Ultimo Dragon
Despite having a less than stellar WWE career, it would be wrestling sacrilege to not include him on this list. If the 185–pounder had been born just ten years later, he would have been a massive headliner instead of just a Cruiserweight.
In his heyday, the Ultimo Dragon wasn’t just the WCW Cruiserweight Champion, he held every single lightweight title you could hold at the same time! That is a record that will never be broken. He even held the WWF Light Heavyweight title without ever being on WWF TV when he had it - the belt was part of the UWA at the time.
Standing Shooting Star Presses, Hurricanranas that look right out of a video game, and the impressive 630° Senton Bomb are some of the many reasons that Ricochet has taken the WWE by storm. Barely six months into the main roster and he’s already the US champion and in the midst of a program with AJ Styles.
Vince McMahon is showing a lot of confidence in his “resident superhero,” booking him with both Samoa Joe and Styles in back-to-back programs.
7 Spike Dudley
Little Spike Dudley had a massive cult following in ECW. As the runt of the Dudley Family, the extreme fan base used to revel in crowd surfing him around the arena when guys like Bam Bam Bigelow heaved him into the crowd.
Spike made his debut in WWE, trying to help his brothers during TLC II at WrestleMania X7. During his time in the WWE, Spike dated Molly Holly, won the Cruiserweight championship, and even began acting like the boss of his two older, bigger brothers.
6 The Brian Kendrick
Fun fact - The Brian Kendrick is actually a former World Champion. He won the title as part of a scramble match so it’s debatable if his reign actually counts.
Aside from that though, the graduate of the Shawn Michaels academy had made a name for himself all over the world before coming back to the fold during the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic. He has been a respected trainer and competitor for the 205 and NXT brands ever since.
5 Daniel Bryan
Since the moment he laced up his boots twenty years ago, Daniel Bryan has had the respect and adoration of wrestling fans around the world. He’s just that good and just that dedicated.
The Yes Movement only strengthened that love from the fans. A forced retirement nearly ended his career right when it finally took off. Thankfully, he worked hard and safe to make a grand return and become "The New Daniel Bryan," showing the nasty heel side he developed over a decade ago. Daniel Bryan is technically billed at 210 pounds, but WWE has a habit of advertising wrestlers to be around 10-20 pounds heavier than their actual weight.
4 Finn Bálor
Getting injured stinks. Getting injured in the very match that gave you the keys to the kingdom can take the wind right out of you. Luckily, that was just a minor setback for the Demon King and his fans.
Bálor worked his way back and is the current Intercontinental champion. It remains to be seen if the first ever Universal Champion will get back to that promised land, but the OG BC founder is actually one of the few superstars that are over with or without the gold.
Yes, she’s a lady, but Chyna was also a barrier-smashing amazon the likes of which we haven’t seen before or since. The Hall Of Famer bucked all of the trends of the Divas of her day. She’s also the first ever female to compete in the men’s Royal Rumble, a two-time Intercontinental champion, and the WWE Women’s Champion.
Chyna's time in the WWE was filled with memorable storylines, like being the apple of Mark Henry’s eye or Eddie’s Mamacita, but she was always the most dominating person in the ring whenever she entered the squared circle.
At one point, the Man That Gravity Forgot seemed to forget that a lot of the business is all for show. Neville got frustrated with the way he was being treated and decided to head home. But that didn’t mean that Neville didn’t amaze the WWE universe while he was there.
Neville was the first NXT champion of the Network era, bringing prominence to that title. He then did the same thing for the Cruiserweight title, still holding it for a record-setting 197 days. But feeling slighted, the technically and aerially gifted star walked out on the promotion.
1 Billy Kidman
In many ways, everyone on this list owes a huge debt of gratitude to Billy Kidman, and not just because he’s currently an agent for WWE. While many other superstars have pulled off a Shooting Star Press over the years, Kidman was the one who popularized it.
Kidman was also one of the most popular superstars of WCW, Cruiserweight or not. Had the roster not been littered with older, more established legends, Kidman would have been right on top.