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.
So now, we bring 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 III will take many familiar men who call the WWE Network their home: NXT Superstars. So without further ado, here are four NXT names who should join the Raw cruiserweight division.
Andrade “Cien” Almas (Mexico, 180 lbs.)
Whether you believe it or not from his time in NXT so far, Andrade Almas is definitely one of the best cruiserweights in the world. The problem? He debuted in his first two matches against the wildly popular Tye Dillinger, won those matches and somewhat came off as a heel with his antics. It’s what has already hindered his ability to get over. Furthermore, he needs to revamp his character. He’s a good-looking guy, which is why WWE likely took his mask from him. However, in their place they game him ridiculous garb, which has made him look like a combination of Latino “Magic Mike” (Miguel Magia!) and the Godfather. He already is in need of a makeover. Potentially, his move to the main roster for the cruiserweight division could lead to a much needed makeover. His matches will have to do the talking for him, as he doesn’t speak English. All things considered, his inclusion in the Raw cruiserweight division is essential.
Tommaso Ciampa (United States, 195 lbs.)
Honestly, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano could be brought to the main roster as a tag team, but they could also be a big help to the cruiserweight division. Ciampa is the bigger and stronger of the two. While he is not as technically gifted as Gargano, he is more physically imposing and has extremely brutal striking ability. His matches are stiff and he works extremely well with other wrestlers. He would be one of the bigger cruiserweights, so he would have that going for him. He’s improving on the mic as well, so he could be a good, experienced hand on the main roster cruiserweight start up.
Johnny Gargano (United States, 170 lbs.)
Gargano, known as “Johnny Wrestling,” is a technically gifted wrestler that can have a good match with a mop handle (don’t get any ideas, creative). Like Ciampa, he has improved greatly on the mic, which has helped his recent development in NXT. He could be in the cruiserweight title picture from the onset and chase the title throughout his time in the division. He’s that good, and I think fans will take to him on the main roster.
Hideo Itami (Japan, 182 lbs.)
Hideo Itami’s return to NXT has been spectacular and it appears that he hasn’t missed a beat. I expect him to re-establish himself on that brand before he’s even considered for the main roster. That said, given his size and penchant for having unbelievably good matches, he would be a perfect fit for Raw’s Cruiserweight Division. He’s a hard striker, a technical mat wrestler and a good submission artist. He has all the skills and intensity necessary to have success at a higher level. He is just one of the many exciting, skilled Japanese cruiserweights that could put on masterful matches under the bright lights of Raw. Itami in this new division is definitely on many fan’s wishlist.