The brand split is upon us, and with that, many additions are being made to both Raw and SmackDown to assure that the rosters have enough talent. The WWE has committed to fill out the rosters by bringing back old wrestlers like Rhyno, Jinder Mahal and Curt Hawkins.
That said, the Raw brand is making a huge move by bringing the cruiserweight division to its show. This is a brilliant move, given how exciting and popular cruiserweight wrestling is in both modern wrestling and in the past.
With that, Today’s Powerbomb brings you a new, five-part series examining 25 wrestlers who should inhabit this new cruiserweight division. They are some of the best in the world that would surely make the cruiserweights the must-see men on Raw.
Part I will take many familiar men who currently call the WWE Network their home. Those men are some of the competitors in the Cruiserweight Classic. So without further ado, here are 10 CWC competitors who should join the Raw cruiserweight division.
Cedric Alexander (United States, 200 lbs.)
In terms of pure athleticism and agility, there are few that match that of Cedric Alexander. Alexander was one of the biggest names brought in for the CWC, and in his two matches thus far, has not disappointed. He especially stood out in his phenomenal match with Kota Ibushi, which saw him nearly upend the Japanese star multiple times in an edge-of-your-seat affair. He has the in-ring ability and personality to get over on the main roster if given the spotlight. He’s one of the many cruiserweights that could help put on classic matches.
Gran Metalik (Mexico, 175 lbs.)
The WWE is always looking for Latin stars to connect with their large Latin audiences. They should look no further than the amazing Gran Metalik. Metalik is the master of the ropes, and has proven it in his matches. His unique ability to walk the ropes and commit high-flying maneuvers has earned him a ton of admiration from fans around the world. He is also inventive with his move set, which makes him unpredictable. The WWE tried to make Sin Cara its mask merchandise king, but his tenure in the WWE was disappointing at best. Give Gran Metalik a main roster spot in the cruiserweight division and not only will he give you great matches, but he will give you that masked wrestler needed on the main roster to sell masks and give children a wrestler to root for.
Jack Gallagher (England, 167 lbs.)
Sometimes, personality and charisma come before in-ring skills (see Enzo Amore). When the personality and skills are combined with actual in-ring ability, you have yourself a guy to give a shot to. Jack Gallagher is one of those guys. His gentleman persona has been used in the past, but he pulls it off so well. He also is very technical and precise in the ring, moving like an old school wrestler when using holds and reversing holds. What’s great about him also is that he does have a professional mixed martial arts background. Sure, he’s no Brock Lesnar, but people could play up the fact that he has the skills to enter the cage and compete with pro fighters. Overall, he’s been a great surprise in the CWC and would greatly benefit the cruiserweight division.
Kota Ibushi (Japan, 189 lbs.)
The most popular and world-renowned of the CWC combatants, it would be criminal if Kota Ibushi were not one of the focal points in the Raw cruiserweight division. Ibushi has already proven in NXT and the CWC why he is considered the best cruiserweight in the world. He has a brilliant combination of high flying, technical mat wrestling, submissions and charisma. He can have a good match with pretty much anybody he steps in the ring with. He is renowned as well, so there wouldn’t have issue introducing him to main roster fans.
Lince Dorado (Puerto Rico, 168 lbs.)
Masked wrestlers and the cruiserweight division are often synonymous with one another. That’s one reason Lince Dorado should be on Raw. The other is that he’s simply incredible in the ring. Dorado can be a face (no pun intended) of Latin American wrestlers in the WWE. He has one of the coolest masks, something that can drive potential merchandise sales. Outside of that, he is an amazing high flyer with a breath-taking arsenal of moves. He can have a great match with many of the wrestlers on the main roster, not just cruiserweights.
Rich Swann (United States, 165 lbs.)
In terms acrobatics and quickness, there are few that are as strong in those categories as Rich Swann. Swann has an infectious personality and likes to have fun in the ring. That includes dancing and showboating, much to the delight of fans. Now, the WWE doesn’t have to turn that into a dancing gimmick, but he should continue to show off. His in-ring skills speak for themselves. He is electrifying in everything he does, despite being a very undersized man. His exciting brand of wrestling would be a great addition to the Raw cruiserweight division.
TJ Perkins (Philippines, 167 lbs.)
When it comes to experience, especially at a high level, TJ Perkins may have the most of the CWC competitors. That’s why he should be brought to the Raw division. He was Manik aka Suicide on TNA, which at the time was the second biggest wrestling promotion running. That shows he can handle the bright lights that many of these men in the CWC have not yet faced. Perkins has charisma and swagger that can make a connection to the audience, as seen in his first-round match in the CWC. He also has the ability to have a great match with most wrestlers he faces, whether they are a cruiserweight or a heavyweight. Overall, he’s just a great hand to have on the Raw cruiserweight division.
Tony Nese (United States, 196 lbs.)
It’s hard to find cruiserweights that are aesthetically muscular and look like they should be bigger than the cruiserweight limit, but Tony Nese is definitely one of those guys. Most of the cruiserweights in the CWC are slimmer, less muscular wrestlers with great athletic ability and agility. Nese has that athleticism and agility, but has the muscle and size not typically seen in a cruiserweight. He’s also a unique high flyer, as seen in the moves he uses in his matches. He finished his CWC opening round match with a beautiful 450 splash, showing he can be a very exciting entity. He’s definitely a guy that the WWE is going to want to bring to the cruiserweight division, especially given their history of hiring men of muscle.
Zack Sabre Jr. (England, 181 lbs.)
Often considered one of the best technical wrestlers in the world, it’s a no-brainer that Zack Sabre Jr. should be a part of the Raw cruiserweight division. He has indicated that after the CWC, he would not immediately sign with the WWE, as he has things he still wants to accomplish on the indies. That said, it would be criminal if he wasn’t brought to Raw to help build the cruiserweight division. He is smooth in the ring, his submissions and transitions are flawless and he reminds many of a younger, lankier version of Daniel Bryan. I don’t know if he holds up to Bryan’s charisma, but he certainly has the ring skills to mirror the legend. He would be a top cruiserweight in the division if brought to the main roster.
Akira Tozawa (Japan, 156 lbs.)
The smallest of the bunch, Akira Tozawa may be among the fiercest of the CWC competitors in terms of intensity and stiffness in the ring. There may be a handful of others from the CWC that may be more popular options than Tozawa, but his strong style of wrestling and stiff style bring him a following of fans that admire his toughness. He may be on the bottom of the cruiserweight division if brought to Raw, but he could be a great surprise through his strong match ability. He would be another great Japanese wrestler that could continue to draw eyes from the Pacific rim.