The Cruiserweight Classic has earned praise from wrestling fans since it first aired in July. The tournament has provided stellar matches, with each seemingly topping the last one.
WWE has also provided a platform for Superstars who you wouldn’t necessarily see on its programming. Since NXT’s emergence, the company has put ability over size when signing talent.
But even still, having an all cruiserweight tournament seemed like the most non-WWE thing to do. Yet the CWC has been such a success that it’s likely been the main cause of Raw adding a cruiserweight division.
But that’s not the only way the tournament’s given Superstars a chance that they’d likely not have otherwise. It’s also put an emphasis on recruiting talent from all over the world, many of whom would have likely never been given a look by WWE.
Sure, guys like Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi and Akira Tozawa would have been on the company’s radar. But those guys are the three of the top Superstars in the world. Others like Jack Gallagher, Ho Ho Lun and Mustafa Ali would have likely faced much different odds.
The Cruiserweight Classic has done an excellent job at introducing wrestling fans to international talent. Even the bigger names were given more exposure to the American audience. Sure, many of us knew who Sabre and Ibushi were from watching clips of their matches online, but we never got to witness a full length match on a weekly program.
What’s even better is how much the Superstars’ styles vary depending on where they’re from. Japanese wrestlers use strongstyle kicks, Mexican wrestlers use aerial lucha libre attacks and English wrestlers are more of grapplers than anything. What we’ve seen is much different from the “WWE style” that even established indie stars take on in NXT and the main roster. The tournament has done an excellent job at exposing the American audience to other wrestling cultures, rather than watering them down with the WWE style.
In turn, the CWC is a great way for WWE to expand its market. Let’s be honest, the decision to sign Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows one day prior than the launch of WWE Network in Japan was no coincidence. The company had that move planned out even sooner and knew that each Superstars’ contract would expire after WrestleKingdom 10.
It’s the same reason why there has been a healthy number of Australian wrestlers signed during the last few years. WWE wants to be a global brand and tap into new markets. To do so, it will have to bring in talent from those respective countries.
Earlier this summer the company did a Far East tour and announced the signing of Bin Wang, the first Chinese talent to sign a developmental contract. Next time the company returns to China, you can guarantee Wang will appear in a match regardless of how green he is.
Not only does the CWC provide American audiences with international talent, but provides more incentive for WWE to reach an international audience.
Regardless of what the company’s motives are, fans have been given great wrestling throughout the tournament. The CWC has been excellent so far and should continue to exceed expectations in the remaining rounds.