WWE’s Cruiserweight Problem

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A lot of work is needed before that belt means something.

The Cruiserweight Classic was brilliant. It not only had match after match of astounding quality but it told stories. From TJ Perkins beating the odds to Jack Gallagher becoming a star. It felt like the start of something special.

That hasn’t been the case, though. Instead, it’s all gone a bit wrong. The cruiserweights are on Raw, and they are still putting on good matches, but no one seems to care. The crowds are dead and reports suggest that before the first taping of the new Cruiserweight only show, 205 Live, a quarter of the audience went home.

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Perkins has a story that is worth telling.

What went wrong? Well, a lot of things. Firstly, WWE ditched all the stories and instead tried to rely on the match quality. The problem is that when you take away the stories and only have the matches, it becomes a lot harder to stand out. Most of the guys on Raw are capable of having incredible fights. When Cesaro can hit a 619 and Owens a moonsault, what do the cruiserweights do to stand out?

Something which is accentuated by the matches being alright but nothing more. How many times have we now seen the same six-man tag? The cruiserweight roster apparently only has three heels who aren’t Brian Kendrick, and I’m not even entirely sure why they are the bad guys. It’s got dull already and if there is one thing that I never thought cruiserweight wrestling would be it is boring.

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Gallagher could be a star.

How does WWE go about fixing it? Well, they had one chance that they already missed which was moving the division to SmackDown. Not only does it make more sense for the taping schedule (205 Live is filmed directly after SmackDown in the same arena) but it would also allow the wrestlers more of a chance to shine. Despite having three hours, Raw is overcrowded. On the flipside, SmackDown struggles for content. The cruiserweights would fill that gap nicely.

In saying that, I’m about to contradict myself because the first thing I’d actually do is stop taping 205 Live after SmackDown. Instead, I’d move it down to Full Sail. It doesn’t have to be a live show (the wrestlers can still go on the road), the Classic wasn’t, and it didn’t bother anyone. What’s important is that you get those wrestlers in front of a crowd that appreciates them. I have my problems with the NXT crowd but they are loud, and they have already embraced these wrestlers.

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Kendrick is the only true heel in the division.

Next, I would stop the Code of Honour shite. This is a wrestling division and if the rest of the company doesn’t do it why should the cruiserweights? While we are at why are they depicted as being chummy? Stop showing them hanging out together. Faces chilling with faces is cool occasionally, but heels and faces mingling is a no no. It doesn’t matter that they are a bit smaller, they are still wrestlers and that is wrestling 101. If you had the entire Raw roster stand on the stage before the show would they get along? Of course not.

Does all of that make everything perfect? No. It takes a while to build a division, and you need to work on the characters to get them there. The heels have to be hated, and the babyfaces have to be loved before it works. However, WWE has shown with the women that they can still do that. It’s not completely beyond them. These cruiserweights are incredible wrestlers, and they deserve an opportunity to show that. Go on, give it to them.

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