The Right Man for the Wrong Title: A Lament for the Cruiserweights
May 2, 2006 by James Doherty
First off, as this is my first column, an introduction is in order so you can get a feel for where I'm coming from. My name is Jay D. and I've been watching the WWF/WWE and enjoying wrestling for most of my life. I am by no measure a tall man, and thus have a particular appreciation for Cruiserweight wrestlers and what they do. With this in mind, and in light of certain recent developments in the WWE, I am giving in to an overwhelming desire to finally quit being solely a reader of this site, and bridge the gap to columnist. I can only hope you find my style enjoyable and my views insightful. Here goes.
On July 25, 2002, Rey Mysterio Jr. debuted on WWE Smackdown! by defeating Chavo Guerrero. Small in stature but overflowing with speed, energy, and technical prowess, he was pretty much an instant hit. Rey's eye-popping arsenal of maneuvers instantly captured the attention of the audience, and for the next few years, he dazzled viewers with a style of wrestling that many WWE fans that hadn't familiarized themselves with WCW were not overly familiar with. He wasn't simply diving from great heights or pulling off one flashy move over and over, though he likely could have if he had wanted to; he was wrestling and reversing opponents' moves with a fluidity and intensity that was quite simply amazing. For a while, it seemed like every night he did something new, something you wouldn't have imagined happening until he showed you it was possible.
A great deal has happened for Rey since that night in July of '02, including three reigns as the Cruiserweight Champion and, most recently, a victory that awarded him the World Heavyweight Championship on the greatest stage of them all, Wrestlemania. Rey's title win has stirred the pot a bit amongst fans, for many different reasons. Some find it
difficult to accept the idea that a man standing 5'3" and weighing in at around 140 lbs could possibly be given the World Champion over the likes of Kurt Angle, the Undertaker, or Chris Benoit. Some feel that the storylines building up to his victory - storylines that used the name of the late, great Eddie Guererro (arguably) to excess so soon after his untimely death - were entirely inappropriate or unnecessary. While these and other beliefs may hold some ground, and many have taken on the task of arguing for or against them, I do not wish to focus on them in this column. I wish to focus, instead, on what I feel is a more important reason why Rey Mysterio Jr. should not have become the World Heavyweight Champion. I wish to express my regret that Rey Mysterio has risen to the pinnacle of the WWE... and has left the Cruiserweight Division in the dust.
In 2003 and 2004, Rey Mysterio was the star of the Cruiserweight Division. He wasn't always the champion, but whether it was a singles match or a tag team match, he was the main attraction seemingly every time he entered the ring. Whether it be Jamie Noble, Chavo Guerrero, Tajiri, Matt Hardy, Nunzio, Ultimo Dragon, or any other Cruiserweight, Rey's presence and talents made the match that much more exciting and that much more appealing to so many fans. His feud with Matt Hardy Version 1.0 in 2003 was particularly interesting, as the two big names drew interest from some that might not normally be as interested in the Cruiserweight bouts, and really seemed to provide some hope that the struggling Cruiserweight Division might finally be turning a corner in its seemingly never ending attempt to capture the attention of more casual wrestling fans.
As time went on though, Rey wrestled in less and less Cruiserweight matches, working his way into more tag matches, more mid card matches, and eventually more main event matches. While rumor continued to persist that Vince McMahon greatly desired to see the Cruiserweight Division succeed, possibly in response to the growing popularity of TNA's X Division, its main attraction was slowly being taken away. The bookers
distanced Rey from his fellow Cruiserweights, as if to acknowledge an unspoken feeling that Rey Mysterio was, in fact, getting "too big" for the division. Apparently, the Cruiserweight Championship was no longer worthy of attaching Rey Mysterio's name to it.
Now Rey Mysterio Jr. is the World Heavyweight Champion, and an unfortunate injury has forced Gregory Helms out of action while he holds the Cruiserweight Championship. If Rey Mysterio is good enough to win the World Heavyweight Championship though, how easy would it be for him to strip Helms of his title at any moment" Surely, the Cruiserweight Champion can't be better than the World Heavyweight Champion, even if they are in the same weight class. Rey gains the title in Eddie's name, and is surely a prodigy and an unbelievable talent worthy of being a champion. But how much does the World Heavyweight Championship need Rey Mysterio right now" How much better served would it be to have Kurt Angle hold it" More importantly, how much more important is Rey Mysterio to the Cruiserweight Championship than to the World Heavyweight Championship"
Bursting with talented wrestlers such as Gregory Helms, Kid Kash, Jaime Noble, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Super Crazy, Psicosis, Sho Funaki, and Nunzio, with other possibilities also present in the forms of a returning Shannon Moore, Daivari's untapped skills, possibly Nova if he lost a couple pounds, and a likely Draft Lottery looming capable of providing Chavo Guerrero, the Cruiserweight Division has the talent to put
on simply outstanding matches, it just needs that star potential to draw the attention of the fans. It just needs that one big name, that one main attraction that would remove it from its indefinite funk. It just needs Rey Mysterio Jr. to return to its ranks (and maybe a lift of a certain ban on high risk maneuvers like the Shooting Star Press).
Rey Mysterio is a deserving World Heavyweight Champion as well as a truly inspirational entertainer, but his current role and continued absence is detrimental to the success of the Cruiserweight Division on Smackdown! He is a superstar capable of revitalizing a division that sees most of its action on Velocity, despite being fully deserving of more recognition on Smackdown! Rey Mysterio is a great World Heavyweight Champion, but he could be the greatest Cruiserweight Champion if given the chance to make it a weekly highlight of every episode of Smackdown!
by James Doherty
Steve H. wrote:
Sadly - the Cruiserweight Division will never be taken as seriously as it should.
To help though - recognise them as what they are 'World' Cruiserweight Champions. By having the main title called the 'World Heavyweight Championship', it makes the CW title sound lesser simply by refering to it as the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
I knew that Cruiserweights were in trouble when the US Title was bought back. Each show (Smackdown! and Raw) had its own main Championships & Tag Team Titles, Raw had the IC Belt - why not make the Cruiserweight Title the second best on SmackDown"
Sure, mid-carders wouldn't have a title to fight for, which is the purpose of the US Title. But what is the other available title on RAW" Thats right - the Womens Championship. So is the Cruiserweight Division Smackdowns equivilant of Raws Women's belt in value"
Ok - maybe not a great argument, but look at boxing - each guy fights in his own weight category - and whoever is the best is a World Champion, and is recognised as great because of it. Maybe we should recognise Helms as the best Wrestler in the world right now... for his weight.
To help - PPV's could be arranged better - the CW Title being the match before the Main Event for the World Heavyweight Title"
Or maybe not - hard to give an argument for this, after all - its a soap opera right" Everyone wants the top billing and to have a good story and some spotlight - Lets enjoy Rey Reys.
I agree with you that if Rey was put back into the cruiserweight division then he would be the greatest cruiserweight champ of all time but he already is. WWE bought the rights to the US title and the Cruiserweight and the World Heavyweight title from WCW. those all are WCW belts with a WWE twist. Rey was already well known in WCW even by people who didnt watch it. he held the cruiserweight title in WCW i think about 5times or more. WCW Was like the turning points for people like the late great Eddie Guerrero and Rey and Chavo when they got their chances and got noticed by other wrestling businesses like WWE and NWA. WCW made Rey what he is today and although he was never even looked at to be a World Heavyweight contender in WCW he was the best and biggest Cruiserweight champ in WCW. He defined the Cruiserweight Division in WCW and was basicallly known for the Cruiserweight division making new stars like Billy Kidman, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, helms, kash, psicosis(with the body suit) and shannon moore. This was when you could basically do anything off the top rope like the shooting Star press. If the WWE wants a competitive cruiserweight Division then they need to create the division between both brands like a interbrand league or something like the X division where you create innovative matches like a TLC a week or a triple cage match since the WWE owns WCW and ECW. Vince is going to start losing alot of fans if TNA gets the Monday night spot and a friday night spot because its just more interesting than WWE and its actually wrestling. This weeks Raw was filled with more talking and promos and mic spots than more wrestling and the matches werent even that good. Oh and by the way I have said before that Just because Rey has been in the Business fro 15 years doesnt mean that he deserves to get a shot at the WWE title and win over more deserving people like the undertaker, Mark Henry, Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, JBL, others who actually earn their spots to compete for these titles. Well JBL has got a title shot at Judgement Day and the odds are lookin in Rey's direction because the WWE will probably make him another long runnng tired Champion. Rey is already getting booed because he is the Champ and frankly people just dont like seeing a 5ft 3 175 pound Heavyweight Champion who cant lift anybody and uses the ring to defeat his opponents. And plus if you put Rey in the Cruiserweight division he would basically lose his popularity and hype and you cant jump from the Heavyweight title to the cruiserweight title because it wouldnt look right on his part and on the WWE's part i mean they already look stupid becasue they have Benoit wrestling on Velocity(WWE minor leagues) all im sayin is if they were to put Rey back into the cruiserweight division he would be dominant and nobody would beat him and then he would be the longest running Cruiserweight champ of all time because nobody would beat him unless they get somebody like AJ styles or Christopher Daniels
I agree with you on most of your points, however, while Rey Mysterio may be a deserving world champ, I think it's blatantly obvious that the only reason he became it was because of Eddie's death. The WWE planned for Randy Orton or someone else to win the title at Mania. While Orton's negative actions may have contributed to him not getting the belt, I think it's a shame the WWE keeps trying to play off Eddie's death to get more juice in storylines. The Royal Rumble was actually a good storyline off Eddie's death, and was a huge shocker that Rey won when most expected either Triple H or Randy Orton to win. However, ever since then, it got extremely old when they would mention Eddie everytime Mysterio/Chavo/Benoit won a match or were in a match.
While I like Rey and think he is a deserving world champion, I just think it was a wrong time for it. Also, I do not think it's that good for the WWE to have a guy like Mysterio as champ, as it makes the WWE less believable and in my opinion, if Rey has a long reign, people will turn off and the WWE will cease to getting as many new fans because of how hard it is to believe a guy like Mysterio could beat guys like Angle and whomever he may defend against on the road ahead in a real fight/wrestling match. I think he should just be a cruiserweight champ for now, however, I seriously doubt he'll ever go back to competiting or holding that title as it would just seem like a negative on Rey, going from the world belt to a cruiserweight belt.
Tyler Keef wrote:
I finally found somebody who has a different point why Rey should not be champion, instead of the storylines, but this one is a load of crap too. I'm not saying Rey is too good for the Cruiserwieght division, but Rey would overshadow all the wrestlers. He has beaten all the names you have mentioned, on more than one occasion. There can't be a main attraction to something like the Cruiserweights, because all eyes would be on Rey, not the Cruiserweights. Rey is too popular to enter the CW division, and why is this" Because he is far more successful that any other Cruiserwieght/X division wrestler in the world, which is why he needs to move on to wrestling people bigger than him, because that is where his star belongs. Rey is a great representative as champion, because he can have a good match with anybody and can have a show built around him, which is what has been happening for 4 years, ever since he got to the WWE. Christian is technically a CW too, and nobody complains about him being NWA champ. Saying Rey Mysterio can't be champion because he is a cruiserweight is like saying Booker T can't be champ because he's black. And that, is a load of crap.
Adam Watson wrote:
Im afraid i have to sit on the fence slightly, and say that i agree with various points from almost all of the contributions to this column, but here are my thoughts on the situation.
In my honest opinion, i think Rey Mysterio is one of the most talented guys on the WWE roster, and arguably the most talented cruiserweight. But therein lies the problem of giving him a run with the World Heavyweight Championship - he is a talented Cruiserweight, and although his in-ring ability can be topped by very few, the fact remains that he is, at heart and in style, a
By moving Rey Rey from the Cruiserweight division to the top of the WWE, the WWE have shot themselves in the foot, big style. The main problem, in my opinion, is that this doesnt bring any credibility to the belt, and in fact rather diminishes the aura for it. The supposed "top honour" in the company won at the biggest wrestling extravaganza of the year by...a 5'3" 140 pounder with the 619"
Please dont get me wrong, i very much admire Rey Mysterio, but as a CRUISERWEIGHT. Imagine a title defense for Rey against, say, The Undertaker, or Mark Henry, or even Batista (upon his return). Can you imagine any of these men succumbing to the might of the West Coast Pop" Unequivocally, the answer is no. The fact is, it will be extremely hard for Rey to defeat virtually ANY challenger to his title and make it look convincing. The Wrestlemania victory was plausible - but only just. The WWE find themselves in the position where for the champion to retain his title, they need either some underhand activity (but then Rey is a face, so no dice), an outside interference, or Rey to sneak out a surprise victory. Not an enviable situation.
Rey has been given his push for a few possible reasons: due to the constant name dropping of Eddie Guerrero, and because of his obvious popularity in the Cruiserweight division - only the most stalwart of critics can watch a Rey match and not lap up all on show. Rey is popular as a Cruiserweight, so they bump him up to the main title scene. Does this mean we can expect to see Trish Stratus / Mickie James capture the Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania 23" You couldn't make it up...
As an aside, when (or should that be if") Rey makes his way back down to his rightful home in the Cruiserweight ranks, say he embarks on a feud with Psicosis (just for the sake of a name), and during the course of the feud cleanly puts him over a few times. Psicosis has then beaten a former World Heavyweight Champ. Does that then mean Psicosis is Heavyweight Championship material" I sincerely doubt it.
Rey is wasted in the Heavyweight division. I adore his high-flying style, but the attraction of Cruiserweight matches is one high flying move after another, with counter moves into equally high flying maneuvers. Rather than in the Heavyweight Title picture, where Rey's moves are simply countered by picking him up and throwing him halfway across the ring!
For the WWE's sake, i hope Rey's reign is as short as possible, and he respectfully returns back to the Cruiserweights, where he can remain a believable top star, and the big belt can return to a credible champion.
Peter Sawyer wrote:
I have to agree with almost everyone above. Rey is too good for the Cruiserweight Division. Theres two obvious solutions:
1) He stays where is, taking on and beating the bigger guys, or
2) He goes back to the Cruiserweight Division where the WWE dredges up some decent cruiserweights from somewhere.
There are plenty of TNA/ROH wrestlers that fall in the Cruiserweight band that compete for big titles and surely a few of them could be stolen by the WWE. I'm thinking CM Punk, Elix Skipper and dozens of ROH tag wrestlers, not to mention Jody Fleisch and his compatriots on promotions like FWA.
Then again, Rey's beaten Kurt Angle, Randy Orton and so many others at the top level, is it fair to demote him to the minor leagues again"
I guess the fans won't do anything to influence Rey's position but personally I'm gonna keep chanting "619" and "Eddie" when Rey comes out with HIS title. I'd much rather have a 175-pound Rey as champ than a self-obsessed pratt like Kurt Angle.
Jose Aguirre wrote:
I have to disagree with you. WWE has good talent all that they have to do is develop, the highflyers and they should have a credible division, unlike the X division which is sort of cheap and "innovative" a term I am using very loosely. Mysterio should be a World Champion, but what needs to happen is to take away the Heavyweight part out of the name.
Nefmar Cruz wrote:
Okay first off I'm no writer, but if I was....
Here's how I'll write this out (hope you'll like it) in recent weeks we saw Mysterio get brutally beaten night after night by SUPERHEAVYWEIGHTS!!!
(Judgement Day) A poor battered & broken champion slowly walking, barely able to hold his head as he drags the World Title to the ring. Nothing more by a shell of the beloved Rey Mysterio standing in the corner, not batting an eye or even doing his taunts for his fans, instead... He waits for DEATH (aka JBL) to judge his fate, while he live another as champion or die trying" JBL's limo drives out & (hell you know this
part) so the match is under way.
Match Layout: JBL starts beating the HOLY HELL of Rey, using every power & underhanded he can think of by Rey unwilling to go out without a fight! Rey slowly tries to make a comeback, Mysterio reaching deep to find strength to go on (hopefully the fans will cheer Eddie, 619, Mysterio or JBL Sucks!). Rey builds up steam, hitting an assault of high-flying moves that only he can do.... then Rey sets up the 619 on JBL, just to get caught & thrown across the ring by strong Last Call (Fallaway Slam). Mysterio gets whipped hard & meets a stiff boot to the face, JBL tears Rey's mask open as he smashs Mysterio's face into a BLOODY MESS!!! The Ref tries to call off JBL but JBL ignores him, so the Ref tries to pull him off, JBL gets pissed & mouths off... then Rey low blows & rolls JBL for a....
Okay right here is where we can see two things happen.
1.) Rey gets the pin fall & lives another day as champ. Which would work out as a great win but a lucky one... Rey would still have to fight for his life & his belt each night from now on, which would end like Batista. Getting hurt to the point that he is unable to go & then vacating the World Title. Storyline or for REAL, Rey is sideline & on his return, he wrestles in the Cruiserweight ranks to start a new.
(making fans HAPPY!!!)
2.) JBL kicks out of a two count, Rey goes to the apron & waits to nail a West Coast Pop... JBL stands groggy & turns, Mystrio springbroads & gets caught. POWERBOMB!!!!! JBL drags Rey's broken little body to the center of the ring & lays back with toothy grin. 1-2-No! Rey crucicified JBL's shoulders 1-2-No! JBL kicks out, JBL whips Rey, Rey springbroads for a moonsault press & gets in a shoulder-breaker! Rey grabs his shoulder as he slowly picks himself off the mat & BAM, he gets clocked with the Clothesline From Hell!!! 1-2-3 JBL new champ, come Smackdown JBL shows off his two belts & talks forever about his ass... eh l mean himself. Then GM Long comes out & tells JBL that his newly won title is on the line in the main event... with Rey Mysterio in a Rematch.... but that's not all playa, the King of the Ring himself (who that maybe) will added for Triple Threat! Which the King wins to be the New World Champion. The Next Week: JBL (who will now fight the King of the Ring for the World Title at the next PPV) fights Rey Mysterio for the U.S.
Championship, which Rey WINS!!! & then at the next PPV, JBL loses the World Title Match but gets to have a rematch with Mysterio for the U.S.
title..... making 'em feud for awaile for the U.S. gold & JBL can go to his old "He's a Mexican not an American" bit like he did with Eddie.
BOTTOM LINE: Rey's NOT the World Champ & NOT in cruiserweight match stealing the other thunder, but NOW Rey would be the NEW U.S. Champion & Smackdown!'s Grandslam Champion for holding all the belts in the brand, plus he sti|| gets to fight for Eddie by feuding with JBL & the World Title can now go freely to deserving wrestlers.
It'll take awhile to untie the all knots the typing monkeys at WWE made but l think plan number two in my storyline is the way go, Hell even plan one ain't bad, if only I were the writer of the WWE so we can enjoy some more wrestling (or Hell even wrasslin' would best then the what the typing monkeys poop on paper each week) & get REAL entertainment .....not Yakky Yakky Yakky & Boo hoo hoo whoo cares of a bunch of lacks like John Cena who wrestles (if you call that wrestling) like a retard, HELLO his moves a corny as hell.... like The Rock.... unlike Hulk Hogan who may a simple leg drop but Hell he's 6'7" 300+ the man's huge! He's very very very basic with his wrestling, you can learn all his moves in one month or even week or day.... but are you as BIG as Hulk Hogan" He maybe to old school but he never looked retard... until he Hulks Up! SO THERE!!! (rasberry!)
We|| l'll get on Cena & other stuff next time... maybe is my first
time... hahaha shut up! that's not what meant! Anyway thank for reading & I hope you enjoy my idea, maybe I'll get a job as a writer so I can move out of my parents house... I'm 57!!! ....just kiddy... I'm 24, oh and single ladies.... okay let me stop typing. GEEZ
How many matches has Rey Mysterio actually won since become World Heavyweight, excuse me World Champion" I can't think of any unless you count the hapless Gregory Helms as a victory" Making Mysterio the top champion was not only ridiculous but an outrage. As Bradshaw was nice enough to point out, the belt is bigger than the man who holds it! What a joke. That title, held by so many great wrestlers of the days of old, such as Brett Hart, Sting, Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Ronnie Garvin, and a host of others is now meaningless. Thank you Vinny Mac for killing the World Heavyweight Title and Mysterio's career along with it................
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