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  #1  
Old 11-01-2017, 09:55 AM
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Default Who Will Popularize the WWE Cruiserweight Division?

This has been a slow burn. From being completely irrelevant in a mostly ignored corner of the WWE Network to getting a spotlight shone on them with the addition of Enzo Amore, the cruiserweights are slowly starting to gain some traction. There are a lot of talented workers but it seems that the same guys who held the division together initially are the same guys doing a lot of the heavy lifting now (namely Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher, so it's cool to see them together as a unit). The others are starting to get some footing but still seem far away from being the breakout stars the brand needs.

Kalisto, in theory, would have been a great face for the brand but he had been so overexposed and undervalued in the public eye for so long that their hope of creating Rey Mysterio V2 isn't going to happen the way they wanted it to. It doesn't help that his costumes all look oversized on him which may be an attempt at making him look bigger but really just makes him look like he is too small to fit into normal clothes. It's quite distracting and so comical looking that it is hard to take him seriously.

Akira Tozawa had a little bit of hope with his surprise upset of Neville and how he has been treated like a top member of the division from day one but his association with Titus Brand hasn't exactly helped his image thus far (especially since the group is mostly made of jobbers). Plus, when he immediately lost the title back and the angle was quickly dropped, it snuffed out any flame that could have been lit. Had they built him as a major babyface and had him lose to Enzo instead then it could have been a bigger deal than the Neville loss. Hindsight I guess.

Neville, assuming he isn't already gone, becoming some sort of tweener instead of a full on heel would have some promise as well. If he fights both sides, good and bad, then he could easily create some interesting television. If one good thing has been shown from the cruiserweight project, it is that Neville went from a forgotten waste of potential to being legitimately viewed as one of the top performers in the company. I don't blame him for being upset if he really was being treated like he was a nobody by management, he easily could have walked out of the cruiserweight division and into a feud with someone like AJ Styles to launch his way even further up the path to true superstardom.

TJP and Rich Swann flopped, Cedric Alexander has been treading water, and no one else has shown any potential for being a major player since. Now, I will say, part of the problem with Cedric is that he has the potential to be a star but there is no one to make him a star. Guys like Kendrick and Gallagher may be two of the best guys in the WWE right now but neither are or have ever been main event level players. This isn't a knock on them, it is just that they don't have the necessary flame that can spark a white hot babyface.

So what needs to happen? Is it possible for the cruiserweight roster, as it is, to develop a star capable of carrying the flag and starting to make a big impact? Or does WWE need to start reaching out to other talent that can step in fresh and add some fire to the division? Or do they need to start groveling to someone like Rey Mysterio, who has all the star power and credibility necessary as well as the heritage in the division, to return in order to help bolster all of these guys up?

What do you think?
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2017, 10:44 AM
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Nobody. The Cruiserweight division is pointless. When you have a lot of main roster guys running around and doing flips all over the place, there's no reason to watch Cruiserweights. They no longer have the thing that makes them stand out.
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Old 11-01-2017, 10:47 AM
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It's never going to be popular. No cruiserweight/light heavyweight division has even been popular. People watch wrestling for larger than life characters doing larger than life things. Cruisers as a general rule do neither.

Giving the division Enzo is basically their last ditch effort to get people to give a fuck. If that doesn't work, it'll be curtains for a dedicated division for the little guys.
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  #4  
Old 11-01-2017, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaconBits View Post
It's never going to be popular. No cruiserweight/light heavyweight division has even been popular. People watch wrestling for larger than life characters doing larger than life things. Cruisers as a general rule do neither.

Giving the division Enzo is basically their last ditch effort to get people to give a fuck. If that doesn't work, it'll be curtains for a dedicated division for the little guys.
I see your point, and that of Snugglebites as well, but this is something that easily could have been said about the women's division too back in the day. Without the proper talent, or the proper efforts being made to help add to their credibility, there simply isn't any hope for success. However, as the women have proven, if you put those two things together then some real progress can be made.

As for the style, was it even the high flying that made the cruiserweights great? Sure, it was an element of their matches and helped add some extra flash, but if we look at the height of the cruiserweights popularity in WCW, who did they have? Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio, among many others. These were people who excelled at telling an in-ring story and building excitement in their matches where even the slower parts still felt meaningful.

I think the size limitation isn't even a limitation in many ways, it is a chance for smaller wrestlers to demonstrate what they are uniquely capable of that larger athletes are simply too bulky to pull off. Even the most athletic of them would struggle to do a lot of the faster segments that the smaller wrestlers excel at. The cruiserweights in WCW had some of the most intense, heated rivalries in the company and no one saw them as "second rate" during those moments; if the new crop of guys can piece together a more modern version of the same attitude that produced some of the top stars in the history of the business back then, I think that it is very possible that the cruiserweights can overcome the stigma just as the women have.
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2017, 12:55 PM
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Nobody.

First of all, the format makes if fucking impossible to get over. RAW is already 3 hours, SmackDown is 2 hours. Adding another hour long show dedicated to cruisrweights was a terrible idea in the already mind-numbing, over-saturated WWE ecosystem. Making things worse, 205 Live is taped AFTER the 2 hours plus of SmackDown. Fans are burnt out and have already seen the bigger names. So the crowd is basically dead.

The 205 Live roster doesn't help matters either. They're mostly bland guys that do flips. Guys like Seth Rollins and Finn Balor also do flips, are generally better at it, but have other character aspects that make you care about them. Rollins is a great worker because he uses his athleticism at the right time in the right way.

The WWE crusierweight division is a niche thing being filmed in front of a general audience and it just dies an embarassing death for that reason. A vast majority of the fans watch RAW on TV or even in the arena aren't following up on any characters or angles on 205 Live, and RAW's reliance on 205 Live to try and build up the cruiserweights is completely pointless for that reason.

205 Live was a concept that should have been killed as soon as it was proposed, mainly because the last thing WWE needs is more guys having matches every week. But if it HAD to exist then the way forward would be to truly treat it as a separate entity and not even take it on the road to larger arenas to begin with. The guys in the Cruiserweight Classic torunament got over because they were in front of an indy mark crowd at Full Sail University. Taping 205 Live alongside NXT, in the same venue, would have been the only way for it to have a chance at succeeding.
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  #6  
Old 11-01-2017, 01:49 PM
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Nobody.

It has nothing of difference compared to the rest of the WWE.

If anything, WWE sould do a Super Heavyweight Divsion. That's different.
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Old 11-01-2017, 02:23 PM
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I have to go with the consensus on this in that nobody is going to popularize the Cruiserweight Division in its current format, with its current format being that it's ultimately a group of guys, most of whom are well under 200 lbs. who're ultimately doing the same thing as the rest of the roster. If you're expecting something like the WCW Cruiserweight Division of the 90s, that featured high flying, fast paced, innovative matches in which at least some of the wrestlers were able to develop personas, then you're probably not gonna have a chance to see that until after Vince McMahon no longer runs things.

When Triple H restarted it via the Cruiserweight Classic, it was obvious that what Vince and Kevin Dunn have done is the polar opposite of what his vision was. The talent of 205 Live work hard, they do their very best with what they're given and told to do, I respect that because it's ultimately all ANYBODY is able to do. The problem is that they're mostly told to go out there and wrestle against the same guys week after week in matches that don't matter and the few who are involved in some sort of storyline are in the middle of angles that nobody is invested in.

My guess, and that's all this is as I obviously have no means of proving it, is that Vince looks down on these wrestlers as they truly are "little guys" that you can just tell aren't going to get chances to move out of the division and further up the card. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he thinks he's doing them a favor by having them work for him in his company. Looking back, it's a good thing that Kota Ibushi and Zack Sabre Jr. didn't sign with WWE; maybe they had an idea on what was coming before anyone else did.
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2017, 02:36 PM
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They will never be able to recapture what WCW had. You can point to guys like Rey and Eddie and Jericho to an extent who went onto hold World Titles and say that WCW was just filled with superior cruserweights, and you wouldn't be completely wrong. THe issue is that when WCW did it, it was the first exposure to that style of wrestling that a lot of US based fans had ever had. It was new and exciting and a change of pace from the main event scene.

Now a lot of top guys can pull off most of those moves in their sleep. It is still exciting and a change of pace from time to time, but guys like Rollins, Balor, Styles, ect have worked so many of those moves into their move set that it isn't special. You have small guys playing big roles these days. Being small isn't the death sentance it once was in the industry.

So when you throw that in with all the other issue plaguing the division, it is on borrowed time. If it hadn't been for Stephanie drafting the entire division to Raw, it would have been Old Yellered a long time ago.
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  #9  
Old 11-01-2017, 04:43 PM
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1) Every TV/wrestling show/brand need at least 1 established and popular star, that this show can dance around, get audience attention and make new stars. So until they will hire someone like Mysterio and Pentagon Jr. 205 will not have any attention. Seriously SD have Styles, Owens and Nakamura, RAW have Braun, Brock and Shield. Who 205 have to offer? Enzo Amore? Who was a jobber all his main roster career?

2) Every show need to know it's fansbase. NXT crowd will be more interested in them, than RAW and SD Universe.

3) Every show need to become bigger and better and understand it's goal.
RAW and SD exists to get sponsorship, and to sell PPVs (shows that makes the most money income)
NXT exists to create future stars, so these future stars can sell PPVs 5-10 years from now.
Main brands have like 15 PPVs a year today + network specials, NXT have Takeovers.

Now what the goal of having 205 and how this show can grow in todays format?

4) every show need personalities that people will want to see much more than 1 time. People tune in because of the big names, but if someone really able to catch their attention, people will return to see this guy. (like in WCW, fans tune in for nWo, but "hey, this Jericho guy is fun to hear, to watch and he wrestle better than these old guys, i will watch him"). Is there anyone who can talk, have great charisma or memorable personality and can wrestle better than others, all at the same time? I don't think so.

So, to summ it up, 205 need to change: they need stars like Mysterio or Pentagon, they need new talent who can catch fans' attention with their charisma and other skills, they need other audience to perform in front of, then they will have a chance.
...
you know what, give them to Heyman, his SD 2002-2004 work was fantastic and he will know what to do with these guys.
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Old 11-01-2017, 05:22 PM
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Neville. Hear me out - First, Shane says he has signed someone to be the final member of team Smackdown Live. Then, Neville is introduced as the surprise team member. He gets the winning pin fall for SD Live. And just like that, he has a fresh start, momentum, and can go after any belt on the show. In doing so, they show that a Cruiserweight can compete at any level (including going back to 205 Live). Also, it opens up door for other Cruiserweights to do the same.
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