When the return of WWE’s cruiserweight division was announced last year, the majority of wrestling fans I knew were very excited. They remembered the excitement of WWE’s old cruiserweights and also appreciated the variety that the cruiserweight division helped bring to WWE programming. On top of that, the Cruiserweight Classic was a great tournament, full of talent from all over the world.
Before 205 Live launched, the cruiserweights were peppered into Raw last year with proper matches and storylines. T.J. Perkins and The Brian Kendrick were initially the featured attraction in their “student versus teacher” feud. Neville dubbed himself “King Of The Cruiserweights.” Jack Gallagher was involved in all sorts of hyjinks with William III. The cruiserweights seemed to get two segments each week on Raw.
Nowadays, with both 205 Live airing weekly and the cruiserweights still getting airtime on Raw, the division is in an awkward place. On Raw the past few weeks, we have been getting six-man and eight-man tag matches. The only storyline related to that seems to be that Neville still proclaims himself to be superior to the other wrestlers.
Now that Enzo Amore has been integrated into the cruiserweight division, there seems to be even more confusion, since Amore clearly still needs a lot of in-ring improvement and is not very compatible with the other wrestlers’ aerial maneuvers; he also isn’t a traditional babyface or heel like the rest of the roster.
From where I stand, there are a few things that can be done with the cruiserweights:
1) 205 Live can integrate a few more WWE Superstars into its roster who are already suitable to the weight class. Kalisto, for example, would be a proper fit. As a former U.S. Champion, he would also lend more credibility to the cruiserweights as a whole.
2) Speaking of weight, why not eliminate the 205-pound requirement for one to be a cruiserweight. Apollo Crews is billed over 205 pounds, yet he looks short when compared to a lot of the roster. In Japan a lot of the promotions have a Light Heavyweight Champion — “light heavyweight” seeming to be interchangeable with “cruiserweight” — yet the weights of that division’s participants aren’t so regularly focused upon.
3) Rather than giving Raw viewers a more simplistic version of what they see on 205 Live, why not mix up the cruiserweights with non-cruiserweights into “mixed” matches on Raw? If R-Truth isn’t otherwise booked, why not throw him and Akira Tozawa together into match against another cruiserweight and main roster talent? It gives everyone something to do while the main roster talent gives a rub to the struggling division.
4) While on the topic of putting talent together, why not add the cruiserweights into an “invasion” storyline a la The Nexus? It’s not like Justin Gabriel, Daniel Bryan or Heath Slater were super-heavyweights.
5) Add some of the cruiserweights onto house shows. NXT talents often get added onto house shows for the sake of giving them more experience, so why not expose the cruiserweights to other audiences with hopes of growing their popularity.
6) Speaking of NXT, why not throw some of the cruiserweights onto NXT programming and house shows? Wouldn’t that be the same audience?
Whatever the plans are for the cruiserweights and their 205 Live show, the bottom line is that the division is full of talent, but the cruiserweight division has not yet proven to be successful. It will be interesting to see if Enzo Amore is exactly what the division needs to succeed on a grand scale, or if the Mae Young Classic steals its thunder as the WWE’s new network-exclusive tournament.