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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The State of the Cruiserweight Address
Why the Cruiserweight Division Belongs in ECW
June 14, 2006 by Mark Chalmers


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Cruiserweights are not only defined by their weight, but by their uncanny, over-the top (rope), do or die-trying style. Each one brings a different perception of ability, a unique death-defying personality, and a certain level of creativeness to the squared circle. Their athleticism is incomparable to those outside the division, and their heart, passion, and desire to please the audience is unrivaled. And so I ask, "Why do they not succeed in World Wrestling Entertainment"" Quite simply, they are restricted, limited to their abilities and style. They are forced to adhere to a toned-down mentality of creativity and like Jell-O, molded to a specific form against their will. Is there really a need anymore for those cruiserweight in training to learn how to perform a 450 Splash or a Shooting Star Press" Of course there is. TNA and ROH gladly allow their talent to push the limit and use the skills they spent years developing.

Cruiserweights were meant to be reckless, rebellious, and relentless, but WWE has a major concern with that. Not only is there a concern over the wrestlers' health and well being, but also a fear that these stars will overshadow or "steal the limelight" of the heavyweights and the "main eventers". Last year, in a WWE stockholder's meeting Vince McMahon addressed (tiptoed) around this issue by saying that they would "leave it to the professionals" when it comes to the high risk, death defying acrobatics. In other words, Paul London , a professional wrestler, can't perform a 450 Splash, but Shane McMahon can jump off a Titantron. Because of this delirious mindset by the higher-ups, the cruiserweight division has been seen as a failure to many. Every time it seems like the higher-ups begin to have an inkling of confidence in the cruiserweight talent and treat them as professionals, they pull back, and the fans are left with meaningless matches with no reasons for ever occurring other than time fillers for the soon-to-be defunct Velocity web show.

So how should WWE handle this situation" Simple: Why not bring the cruiserweight division into ECW. If done correctly, it would work out well for all parties in the end. ECW and Paul Heyman together are the embodiment of "being your self" in professional wrestling. The cruiserweights could finally be themselves through ECW programming. With Paul Heyman booking the show, the cruiserweights would undeniably see more action, TV time, microphone time, and gain some more freedom in the ring. Also, they would obtain the ability to showcase their personalities for the audience. But there has to be a compromise as well. There seems to be this struggle between fans that some believe the weight limit is 225 lbs. (which was evident in Matt Hardy's title run) and 215 lbs., which was admonished by WCW as the official weight limit years ago. WWE hasn't acknowledged the cruiserweight qualifications in some time now. Although it's not about weight limits, Mike Tenay makes it a point to address the X division style constantly on TNA programming. That, my friends, is a good thing. Fans should be educated in what the exact qualifications are to be a cruiserweight title contender. If the weight limit was reset to 220 lbs. today, there would be 23 wrestlers on both the main rosters and in Deep South and OVW who qualify to be cruiserweights, which would provide plenty of competition without the repetitiveness we see now on Smackdown!.

Remember the Spike Dudley position" The days of feeding the cruiserweights to the likes the Great Khali or Mark Henry would be all over. Heavyweights would then need to do a lot more than simply beat up a couple 215 lbs. guys to make a statement. It would be a struggle for these big men to get over with the crowd and they would be seriously motivated to showcase some skills. This would undeniably help eliminate the unnecessary talent on both the RAW and Smackdown! rosters.

The style will also reflect what ECW is all about now. It is no secret that the WWE has been on a talent hunt for amateur wrestlers or those who are professionals with amateur backgrounds for the new ECW. This will compliment one angle (no pun intended) of ECW. Kurt Angle is going to be the head of a pack of technical and scientific wrestlers who are indeed wrestlers. They are not sports entertainers of actors, but real, bona-fide wrestlers and will develop a side of ECW where real wrestling will return. Aside from that will also be the hardcore sector in which most of the former ECW talent will probably reside. Between the technical/scientific, the hardcore, and the cruiserweights, there is something for everyone with little room for fans to lose interest.

Below is a list of wrestlers who qualify for Cruiserweight Title Contention in the 220 lbs.. limit.

Steve Lewington - - Mike Mizanin - - CM Punk - - Tony Santorelli - - Ray Gordy - - Mike Taylor - - Sonny Siaki - - Kenny Omega - - Jimmy Yang - - Shannon Moore - - Joey Mercury - - Little Guido - - Jamie Knoble - - Kid Kash - - Gregory Helms - - Funaki - - Super Crazy - - Psichosis - - Brian Kendrick - - Paul London - - Chavo Guerrero - - Johnny Nitro - - Tony Mamaluke - - Scotty 2 Hotty - - Thank you for reading!

by Mark Chalmers ..


Jose Aguirre wrote:
ECW should not have Cruiserweights because they already are going to be defined by Hardcore wrestling. The Cruiserweights should remain on SmackDown! because they are really the show's only hope at staying alive. SmackDown! is starting to put more emphasis on The Cruiserweights and I doubt they'll go anywhere else.
Cody Rochel wrote:
I noticed one man you excluded from your Cruiserweight list. That man is Daivari. Although he is not doing much now, he may be back wrestling again in the near future.
Ryan Gregg wrote:
Good article, however, we disagree on the possibililty of a ECW Cruiserweight division. Like Jose, I don't believe bringing the Cruiserweights over to ECW would be a smart move. I realize that many cruiserweights coming out of ECW would love to go back home (Psicosis and Super Crazy for example) to where they came from, but lets not forget that ECW is still under the creative control of the WWE and Vince McMahon. Because it is still under WWE control, the cruiserweights will most likely still be toned down to the level they would be on either Smackdown! or RAW. They may be in action more often because of Paul Heyman, but it would still be action restricted by the rules of the WWE officials.
JB wrote:
Paul London has demonstrated that he is capable of being a crusierweight, saying he can't pull off a 450 splash is a bit unfair. The WWE has recently being cutting down on the high risk element of their shows. Billy Kidman as far as I am aware is responsible for the banning of the Shooting Star Press, a move that London had perfected into his own London Calling.

To make a point that Tazz brought up on ECW ONS. Super Crazy has never done his trademrak Triple Moonsault, RVD has never hit the Split Moonsault in the last two years on RAW/SMACKDOWN!. Its getting ridiculous with people like AJ Stlyes performing high risk moves on ladders on top of cages, ROH doing hardcore matches properly...the fans are gonna start to look elsewhere. Whats gonna happen when CM Punk joins the WWE...will he actually be allowed to do the Pepsi Plunge " Probably not.

As for sticking the Crusierweights, why bother " They'll be ignored. All through the 2003/4 years the plug that SMACKDOWN was the only place you could see the cruiserweights. That was when there were matches like Tajiri/Mysterio, one of the greatest matches in my opinion Noble/Kidman (Survivor Series 2002). Its a shame when talent goes to waste....
Tom Roper wrote:
I personally think neither a shift to ECW or a full retention on Smackdown will happen (excluding my personal theory on the two shows merging/brad split ending), and its for the worse. Really, there is not any emphasis on the Cruiserweight division right now with eight of the main contenders in tag-team combat (Mexicools, Pitbulls, Hooliganz as champs, Scotty/Funaki). Even with the impending split of the Mexicools, that only frees Super Crazy up as a contender as Psicosis' heel turn can't pit him against fellow heel Helms.

One problem: Super Crazy WILL go to ECW. They wouldn't be splitting them up otherwise.

With Nunzio and Super Crazy looking like shifting to ECW and London/Kendrick as tag-team champions, it just appears to me that the WWE doesn't really care about the Cruiserweight division enough to rectify it with a solution. I don't think they will start soon either if they're willing to dedicate so many cruisers to tag action. It's good to show optimism, but this time I don't think its warranted. Between this and the watering down of the movesets, if you want cruiserweight action it may be better to turn to TNA.
Tyler Nelson wrote:
Quite a few months back, I emailed OWW a column (which was not posted unfortunately) about the degrading of not only the value of the Cruiserweight Championship, but also the United States Championship. WWE, fortunatley, began pushing the U.S. Championship and the wrestlers who compete int hat "bracket." But like you said, the Cruiserweights are held back. I agree with you 110% that they should be pushed, as TNA and ROH have done. I'm not too sure about the Cruiserweights going to ECW, but it isn't a bad suggestion. These guys go out every night, job to the "professionals" and get no credit for even being in the WWE. You have guys like Chavo Guererro who have the potential to be Intercontinental Champion, yet Vince McMahon is afraid to push someone like Chavo because he might "steal the spotlight"" It's completely ridiculous, and WWE needs to do something with these guys soon. Cruiserweights like CM Punk, Gregory Helms, Chavo Guererro, and Kid Kash have just as much talent as any Shawn Micheals or Triple H in my book. Think about this.... what would WWE if they hired someone like..... oh let's say ROH World Champion "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson" He's a "mere" 190 pounds... so would Vince throw him into the Cruiserweight Division" In my opinion, Dragon is better than 75% of the WWE roster (including ECW, OVW, and Deep South.) Good article overall! -
Mark Chalmers (Original Author) wrote: I just wanted to send along a rebuttle to my State of the Cruiserweight address to JB who wrote:

"Paul London has demonstrated that he is capable of being a crusierweight, saying he can't pull off a 450 splash is a bit unfair. The WWE has recently being cutting down on the high risk element of their shows. Billy Kidman as far as I am aware is responsible for the banning of the Shooting Star Press, a move that London had perfected into his own London Calling."

To this comment I want to say: Obviously he is capable of being a cruiserweight. I'm not new to wrestling. I never said Paul London can't perform the move. What I said was..."In other words, Paul London , a professional wrestler, can't perform a 450 Splash, but Shane McMahon can jump off a Titantron" Based on the context and structure of this sentence, it reads that Paul London is not allowed to perform, but Shane McMahon is allowed to perform moves of higher or equal risk. Get it" How many times has Paul London done a 450 Splash in his WWE days, and then how many times has Shane McMahon jumped off a titantron" Roughly, there's about a 4-1 advantage to Shane-o-mac. That is what's unfair and that is the point of what I said.
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