One of these days I’ll get back to being historical about these “What If Wednesdays”, though it does bode well that the current product is so good, its hard to talk about anything else.
On one edition of “The Chief’s Briefs”, I spoke about a cruiserweight division. It seems to be a popular topic in the NAIborhood, so why not expand on it.
I’ve spoken about this a number of times - the size of the WWE superstar is falling. The age of the Super Heavyweights is over, and will be even more done with once Kane, Henry and Big Show lumber off into their respective sunsets. Today’s talents are smaller - the average weight of a WWE talent (including NXT guys) is 244 pounds. Take out the three guys I just mentioned and it goes down to 237.
So, you might be saying, if the guys are that small already, why have a ‘lightweight division’ to begin with? I bet you’re expecting one of my traditional “lists” here, but really, there’s only one reason.
Cruiserweight wrestling puts a focus on other superstars.
Rey Mysterio. Dean Malenko. Eddie Guerrero. Chris Jericho. Before these guys were main event talents (OK, Malenko never became a main event talent, but I love him so BACK OFF!), they had their success in the cruiserweight division. The talents that we all assume are going nowhere in WWE - The Nevilles, the Kofis, the Itamis - could all benefit from a title that they can easily compete for. If they run with the ball and can move up to bigger and better things, so much the better!
So there is definitely a reason to have this belt. Let’s hypothesize what would happen.
The belt would be a novelty act, just as it always has been.
Some people on Twitter have said that if a Lightweight belt is brought back, it should be done in a UFC fashion, meaning the title should have as much meaning and importance as the Heavyweight title.
This will never, ever, EVER happen. Not in WWE.
Besides just the long term significance and history of the heavyweight title, compared with the lack of such in a LW belt, you’re not going to be able to conVince McMahon (HA!) that there are now 2 belts at the “top” of his company. It just won’t work.
This belt will be, like the Hardcore and European titles (along with the other LW belts) before it, just something for the “lesser / lighter guys” to vie for. Nothing more. It’s not the end of the world - we’ll still get some fun action out of it. But we can’t expect it to matter.
The belt would be defended both in WWE and in NXT
We’ve never had a title that’s “crossed brands” between developmental and the main roster, but this one could change all that. For starters, let’s just look at the talents who qualify for a cruiserweight belt.
Note: After online deliberation, I’ve decided to set the cut-off at 225 pounds. This gives us the widest berth of names while also allowing some slightly heavier talents (Curtis Axel at 228 or Bo Dallas at 231) a storyline opportunity to “cut weight” to make it into the division.
That’s a pretty fair split of WWE to NXT talents - Why couldn’t you have Neville win the tournament for the title (more info to follow) and decide to defend it on both shows? You’d have some logistics to figure out with the NXT taping schedule, but it could happen and it would be great!
Neville vs. Itami one week on NXT, then taking on Adam Rose the next in WWE? Or losing it to Kofi, so now we can see Kofi vs. Finn Balor, or a Kofi / Ziggler match that matters?
Tell me how this is a bad thing!
No, seriously, this is the end of the column. I want to know YOUR thoughts. Would a cruiserweight division work? If so, who would you want to be the stars? Could certain WWE talents be born with a new title to battle for?