The highly anticipated return of the Cruiserweight division and title is now one month born into this new wrestling world but it hasn’t gone exactly as expected. The WWE Cruiserweight Classic was nothing short of phenomenal but the transition to the WWE Network to weekly live crowds which 80-90% of the audience isn’t very familiar with your work; good luck. Headlined by Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins the newest edition to Raw features Brian Kendrick, Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Drew Gulak, Tony Nese and more from the field of the original 32 wrestlers that compete in two, usually time shortened matches that have been nothing short of great wrestling with story telling when there was no story to tell. As great as an idea of brining the cruiser weights back there is something that lacks, something that doesn’t transcend from the ring to the arenas and through our television screens. The big question isn’t what isn’t connecting for me, it’s why? Is it the fans or is it sabotage from inside?
September 19th, 2016 was going to be, supposed to be another big moment in this ever-changing WWE landscape. Another batch of Indy darlings were coming into the WWE to change things up once again. Things didn’t get off to a great start, Raw General Manager Mick Foley came out to introduce the first Cruiserweight match. Foley botched his lines, the champion crowned at the CWC Classic was barely on-screen and the four guys, Kendrick, Alexander, Swann and Gran Metalik wrestled to face Perkins, whom again was barely introduced to the WWE Universe, Kendrick eventually won and the precedent was set by the WWE. I can just hear it now, ‘fine they can go out there and steal time from the Big Show and Roman Reigns but don’t expect a good back story or much time, you 5’9 guys.’
Since that night one distinct difference between Raw and the cruiserweight segments is the presentation. It’s not Sin Cara’s backlighting during his matches, it’s completely different. The Cruiserweights are presented with a completely different ring apron and color scheme almost as if they are telling everyone watching live and at home that the WWE is presenting you with these matches and guys but if we squash the idea or towns other than Los Angeles, Chicago and New York don’t get behind them, a big sigh of ‘oh well’ will be heard at next weeks creative meetings.
The argument can and maybe should be made that these guys should have spent more time at NXT before debuting on Raw to really grasp the WWE way of professional wrestling. Even a month or two down at NXT would give the over one million WWE Network subscribers some time to get to know these guys; not everyone who watches the WWE consumes everything pro wrestling. They weren’t granted that time, instead, they have wrestled on Raw the past few weeks with little back story for each guy and typically not the best spot during the three-hour weekly Raw. They have been thrown into the quote un quote fire that is a 12,000 plus WWE fan attended Raw where most of the fans have short attention spans. The Cruiserweight division is kinda like your big brother telling you can play football with him and all his friends but when you get to the park they make you be the all time referee. ALMOST AS IF THEY’RE JUST TIME FILLERS FOR A THREE HOUR RAW BECAUSE BRAND SPLITS.
Until next week, leave a comment, tell a friend, follow me on Twitter @CamDougharty and let’s talk rasslin!