Tonight’s introduction of the Cruiserweight Division to the main roster of WWE via Monday Night Raw was an unsurprising success. It was an exciting four-way match which helped build-up anticipation for the first-ever Cruiserweight Title match, which will be taking place at the upcoming Clash Of The Champions event.
Aside from this being a great match — especially by Raw standards — here are some ways how the cruiserweight division can solve a lot of the problems that WWE currently experiences:
– Variety – For decades, WWE was known as an organization primarily for larger-size talent. Although there have been plenty of exceptions when it comes to top-tier talent — Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio being a few examples — there were limited opportunities in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s for a cruiserweight to shine. But if one were to think of a wrestling card as being like the circus, where there are a variety of attractions and offerings, then the cruiserweights certainly provide an interesting alternative to what the WWE is primarily known for.
– Character Introductions – Had you not watched the Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE Network — and not regularly attended indie shows — odds are that you would not have been familiar with three of the four wrestlers that competed in tonight’s match. Yet the announcers were able to introduce these new characters in an appealing way. They told you that Rich Swann was multi-talented and fun, as an example. If WWE creative were to pay attention to this, they may realize that it does not necessarily take squash matches, pyro or vignettes to get talent over with the WWE Universe if there are good workers involved.
– Crossover Potential – While many of the people reading this website did watch some of the Cruiserweight Classic, and do enjoy other WWE Network programming (e.g. NXT), the fact is that the rabid die-hard fans do not make up the majority of the WWE fanbase. This is proven every time a NXT talent debuts on the main roster. However, in seeing an exciting match like tonight’s on Raw, this may help some of the WWE Universe realize that the WWE Network is a destination for tomorrow’s stars. The William Shatner-narrated Breaking Ground and the ESPN special should have done that, but in today’s segmented marketplace, sometimes it takes more effort to get casual fans to do their homework.
– Globalization – As many people have pointed out, it is only a recent development in which WWE has acknowledged other wrestling companies, as was done in tonight’s match where CMLL was directly named. It is also a relatively-new development for WWE to let talent use names that they used on the indies; Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson and Shinsuke Nakamura are examples of this, while Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Sami Zayn and Asuka are not. But with WWE spotlighting other organizations and their heritage, it leaves more room for WWE to incorporate more in-ring styles, to acquire more worthwhile talent, and also appeal to fans that had previously thought of WWE as the “fast food” version of wrestling.
– Independent Scene – By incorporation top (previously) indie talent, the Cruiserweight Division is also giving signs that there is no longer going to be a “WWE style.” A.J. Styles is going to put on a very different match than The Big Show, and both of them vary drastically from what one thinks of when NXT comes to mind. There is now far more variety than “big guy versus little guy,” “big guy versus big guy,” and “little guy versus little guy.” With so much talent coming from Ring Of Honor, TNA, New Japan, CMLL and other indies (e.g. PWG), you are bound to see more creativity as everyone mixes and matches styles.
– Creative – Who’s to say that the cruiserweight division is just going to stay the way it is? Maybe there will be an “invasion” like The Nexus. Maybe the cruiserweights will be phased into regular matches when not going for the division’s title. Maybe the cruiserweights are going to get a real heel, which Brian Kendrick is sort of hinted to be.
While Raw was an uneven show overall, it is encouraging to see that WWE has hungry new talent that can simply get over via in-ring talent. However, with all of the recent returning talent from the 1990s and early 2000s, fingers remain crossed that Oklahoma does not return for another Cruiserweight Championship reign.