The cruiserweight division debuts Monday. It should be – at least in theory — a more than solid debut, as the company will be unveiling it to the WWE Universe fresh off the Cruiserweight Classic finale aired Wednesday, which was arguably one of the best wrestling events of the year.
That can all be true, but so too can the fact that the WWE needs to make sure an emphasis is put on the division when it debuts.
It really comes down to a few questions:
- Will the division be highlighted by several matches?
- Will TJ Perkins get a platform similar to other champions on Raw?
- Does the WWE attempt to jam as many cruiserweights humanly possible into a singular match?
- Can the broadcast team come close to the CWC’s in being able to tell the performers’ stories?
We, obviously, don’t have answers to those questions yet. It will be very telling as to how the company will be treating the division moving forward.
Unlike the main event scene, the cruiserweights’ success will hinge more on the in-ring abilities of each wrestler than their characters. We aren’t going to fall in love with Luchador-X because of his gimmick, it will be because his in-ring work resonates with us in a way that makes our emotions swirl.
That is what made the CWC so special. Of the 32 participants, unless you are a diehard wrestling fan, most people knew who very few of the competitors were. However, after each match was given enough time to make people care about the wrestlers by just — think about this for second — watching them wrestle, those who consumed the CWC rooted passionately for whichever performer became their favorite.
This was all done with very little gimmick work, angle-driven stories, or anything other than a prepackaged vignette that introduced us to each of the people competing.
The WWE needs to debut the cruiserweight division in a similar light as to how it treated the CWC. No matter the amount of matches being had during the division’s debut, it must be given time to allow each person in those matches to showcase all of their abilities.
While donating a complete hour to the division seems unlikely, something as simple as debuting Perkins as the champion — by way of a match and promo — plus having a three-on-three bout can be enough. That’s debuting eight people from the division in a singular night, and, provided each of those things gets between 15-20 minutes, it should help in expediting the (perceived) importance of the division.
If the WWE goes the other way, as it did after its first attempt at the division (lightweight, back in the day) began to become lackluster, the cruiserweights will become more sideshow than engaging content. Sure, we will still enjoy all the flipping and flopping around by these athletic marvels, but they each need to be treated on an equal ground to that of a non-cruiserweight.
Here is to hoping this works out well. That the WWE gives the cruiserweights the platform they deserve. Honestly, if the division ends up being a fraction as good as the CWC was, Monday Night Raw is about to become leaps and bounds better — to the point of all three hours of programming becoming must-see TV.
Give me the cruiserweight division in all its potential glory, or give me death.
But not literally. I very much want to live.