The WWE introduced the cruiserweight division on the go-home edition of Monday Night Raw this week. It was done in such a typical WWE fashion too, as it jammed four of the division’s wrestler into a single match to determine the new No. 1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship.
That was it.
There were no other matches coming from the division, or promos, or platforms given for a single wrestler outside of those four men competing for a spot at Clash of the Champions to face the Cruiserweight Champion, TJ Perkins. Perkins wasn’t even on the go-home edition of Raw.
Allow that to sink in for a minute. Let it wash over you like a cold shower. The WWE, in all its infinite wisdom, debuted what should be the foundation of Raw moving forward by not featuring its first champion in any way, shape or form.
Hell, we didn’t even get a backstage promo of him or just someone giving him a random high-five.
Instead, we merely got the four-way bout to find out who Perkins is facing first. That’s a rather anticlimactic way to not only debut the division on Raw, but a puzzling decision considering many casual fans will head into Clash of the Champions having never even seen the champion wrestle a single match.
How does the WWE expect fans to care about a guy it refused to introduce six days before his first title defense? I mean, save for the CWC faithful, no one knows who he is.
We already learned a lot about how the WWE feels about the cruiserweight division and how it will be utilized future.
Sure, the WWE allowed the four men competing in the No. 1 contender match enough time to put on a stellar affair, but imagine any other division’s titleholder not being used in any capacity in a go-home edition of either brand before the next Network Special.
Removing a key piece to a storytelling puzzle is absolutely absurd.
With Raw being three hours of mostly ho-hum programming, this is unacceptable. Excuses can be made given the short time period between the division’s debut to Clash of the Champions, but the reality is that a sense of urgency should have set in and forced the company to book Perkins — as well as the entire division — far stronger heading into its introduction phase to the WWE Universe.
Maybe the WWE (stupidly) thought holding off the debut of Perkins for a Network Special would give him that big event feel. But that would be idiotic, since not enough fans know of the wrestler to even realize if his matches are meant to feel that way.
Hopefully this is not a harbinger. Maybe the WWE simply dropped the ball. It could have been something as simple as that. They over (or under) thought the entire debut of the division to the point of not actually knowing what to do and tried to jam as many guys into one match as humanly possible; you know, hoping that the in-ring work would be enough to get fans jazzed. It probably did to a degree.
Moving forward, however, it is vital that the cruiserweight division gets a better platform on Raw. It can’t only be a singular match — even if featuring multiple guys — if the company wants the division to grow and reach the potential it obviously has, as highlighted by the CWC.
Here is to hoping it dawns on the WWE that not utilizing its Cruiserweight Champion in any way in the last event heading into his first title defense was foolish.