So, the Global Cruiserweight Series is a thing.
WWE C.O.O and the most unassuming saviour to all internet wrestling fans, Triple H announced that a 32-man, ten week tournament will air on the WWE Network starting in July and also said that they are scouting wrestlers from all across the world to be a part of this, and they are willing to work with other promotions. This is a mouth-watering prospect for all concerned, imagining a literal dream super card of the best high flying and technical wrestlers brought to you in the glorious gloss that only a WWE created event can give you. This has potential to be the best tournament of the year, leaving things like PWG’s ‘Battle Of Los Angeles’ event in the shade.
But who should sign on the dotted line to be a part of this series. I have been wracking my brains for a few weeks and came up with many, many, many people who could be a part of this. I got it down to the necessary thirty two man limit and TRIED to keep them under the 205 pound limit set by the cruiserweight rules (although I am sure they’ll be a few floating around the 205-220 limit, WWE aren’t exactly ashamed to fudge the numbers on occasion).
There are some pretty big omissions in this list so I will address them here. There is no Ricochet/Prince Puma, as he is contracted to Lucha Underground and I feel after Del Rio jumped ship mid season, they probably would not be willing to do business with them any time soon. This also means no Trevor Lee (current TNA X Division Champion) or Andrew Everett (under contract to Global Force and TNA) and this makes me a sad panda. I also did not put in Sami Zayn, Finn Balor or Shinsuke Nakamura as feel the WWE want them seen as heavyweights, not cruiserweights for when they go onto the main roster. I also left out Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson but there is a method to my madness, as I will explain later.
The WWE Guys
It’s a WWE tournament, there will be a few WWE guys sprinkled throughout the field. The obvious choices are Sin Cara, Kalisto and Neville. The current United States champion and ‘The Man That Gravity Forgot’ are two of the best high flying talents in the world today, they NEED to be in this series. Sin Cara is a solid hand, can work with most talents and would be a nice fit (hey not everyone needs to be winner). Two other WWE guys that should be in this are Tyler Breeze (he is a fantastic talent, remember his match with Jushin Liger from Takeover Brooklyn) and Xavier Woods. Woods has been SO GOOD as the annoyingly entertaining New Day on the main roster, but a lot of people are forgetting how much of an amazing wrestler he is. This is a good way to showcase him as a real talent in ring, alongside having one of the bigger stars on the main roster in this tournament, to give it some legitimacy.
The NXT Guys
The home of NXT is hosting this tournament, so it makes have some NXT guys through this tournament as well. I would go for Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, Rich Swann, a recently debuted Austin Aries and a debuting La Sombra. Now, as you have seen on NXT television, Ciampa and Gargano are fantastic wrestlers but with other high flying talents they would both steal the show. Check out either of them in PWG; and then pick your jaw up off the floor. The same goes with Rich Swann; we have only had a slice of him so far. He is a phenomenon. Again, look him up in PWG or even CZW; the man is a supreme high flyer (standing 450, hello?) and this is a superb chance for him to show off alongside rising through the ranks on NXT. Do I need to say much about Aries? He is one of the best independent smaller guys in the last twenty years. Former ROH and TNA World Heavyweight Champion, he pretty much carried the X Division until his departure. Now, the man going under the moniker Manny Andrade is a fantastic luchador with 13 years’ experience so he knows the cruiserweight style to a tea, and with six months in the Performance Center under his belt at the time the series starts – you won’t have another Mistico on your hands. What a perfect way to introduce a new Mexican talent into the fold.
The former WWE guys
Another awesome thing about this series being world reaching is that there are a few former WWE stars that can roll in and give this thing some instant name recognition. Former WWE Cruiserweight Champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick surely must be shoo-ins for this, Kendrick has been on NXT in recent months and has been training Eva Marie (don’t hold it against him) and Paul London was cruiserweight wrestling in the mid 2000’s in my opinion, even he wouldn’t turn this down. Another is Matt Sydal AKA Evan Bourne. Since he left WWE, he has been reborn in PWG and ROH…and also took some bizarre hallucinogens, spoke about it on Colt Cabana’s podcast and became incredibly happy and positive about everything. He didn’t leave on terrible terms, and has said he’d be open to a brief return. Why not come in and wrestle in the weight class they should have brought back for him. Evan Bourne vs Neville…let that one marinade in your brain for a bit. Also there is this guy called Rey Mysterio that is angling for a return to the fed, don’t know if you’ve heard of him. He’s getting on but he’s pretty good.
So that’s 13 wrestlers who all currently wrestle, or have wrestled for the fed in the last 10-15 years. But what about the people who have never stepped foot in a WWE ring.
The American Independent Stars
Now, I know Triple H said some independent contracted stars will not be allowed to join the series, but I imagine ROH may loan a few talents or some talents at the end of their deal may force Ring Of Honor’s hand to appear in this tournament. In other words, WWE THE FIRST NON-ROSTER OR ALUMNI NAME YOU SIGN IS ADAM COLE YOU HEAR ME?! In my opinion, he is the closest thing we have to another Shawn Michaels. He is a a good firey babyface, a phenomenal heel and one of the best all round talents in the independent scene. If I was booking this, he’d be in, become a finalist and be the top heel in NXT. But I do have a teeny mancrush on him. Another negotiable ROH star I would try to sign is ACH. A man who is so fluid in the ring, his matches never look anything short of fantastic. He flows through sequences effortlessly, his moves are fantastic and showy and he is very charismatic. Another I would get in AR Fox, a huge stand out in CZW – he is a high flying megastar in a roster that gets a bad reputation. Remember, this company brought you Dean Ambrose and Adam Cole, so they are not just blood and guts. A guy who I first saw in CZW but is now a well-travelled wrestler is Mike Bailey, whose martial arts style mixed with awesome high flying leads to very entertaining matches.
Now, WWE have a deal with Evolve to look at their talent (they’ve become the NXT to NXT, it seems) so I expect a few of their stars to be a part of this. Tony Nese will be a lock, he has an impressive physique and is amazingly athletic. I will be surprised if he is not in this. To flip the idea of a cruiserweight, we go from high flying to ground and pound, pure brute force. Timothy Thatcher would be the Dean Malenko to these band of Rey Mysterio’s. High impact, ground and submission style would give a different shade to all the flip-de-dos. ‘Hot Sauce’ Tracy Williams is seen as a breakout star, and he is a real all-rounder. Now, I haven’t seen Tracy Williams this way, but I have seen him under a mask and he has impressed for a while. But, you know, kayfabe and all that. Speaking of masked stars, Chikara wrestlers Frightmare and Shynron should be in the fold. Shynron is unreal. He does things off the ropes that I can’t even describe. In the mould of Neville, Kalisto and an early 90s Rey Mysterio – the boy deserves a bigger stage. Frightmare doesn’t deserve the bigger stage – he should be in the WWE already. He is extremely talented, a great high flyer and extremely marketable. Now that isn’t a big deal here, but once kids see Frightmare, they’ll want the masks and the figures. WWE like that.
The International Superstars
Going back to Evolve, another seemingly courted by WWE is one Zack Sabre Jr, a British technician who is currently one of the hottest properties on the scene. Used in the aforementioned Evolve, Pro Wrestling NOAH, PWG and Rev Pro in his native United Kingdom. He is one that will be in NXT sooner rather than later, but this would be a good way to try before you buy, so to speak. He is a hard-hitting, joint manipulating, old fashioned British wrestler whose matches are very realistic. One between him and Chris Hero in PWG I saw was so stiff and hard hitting, I had to turn away as the way they were twisting each others joints made me cringe. A fantastic talent. Sticking with Britain, there is a seemingly never ending pool of top, young talent for them to take a look at – someone like Marty Scurll, the reigning Progress Champion. The man who was once a fun loving guy nicknamed ‘Party Marty’, has now done a complete 180 and became ‘The Villain’, a psychopathic, hard hitting sawed off monster who uses the Crossface Chickenwing as a finisher. He is a great wrestler with charisma oozing out of every pour, another must have.
Noam Dar, a man who is making a huge name for himself in PCW and Progress, companies where Finn Balor also made his name. Charismatic, rapid quick with a stiff, submission style – he will bring another style to this cruiserweight series. I would also take a man called Paul Robinson, who has broken out impressively in Progress. He had a war, and I mean a war with Jimmy Havoc last year and since splitting from Will Ospreay (who I have omitted due to him being on TNA TV lately, and him signing a NJPW contract recently) he has broken out as a vicious technical, but still high flying heel.
Moving up north, PCW’s Bubblegum and El Ligero are two to be considered. Now, I haven’t seen much of Bubblegum, but what I have seen – he’s been brilliant. A fantastic chavvy heel in the UK, he is a born villain and a fantastic cruiserweight talent, he can tell a hell of a story in the ring. El Ligero has been a stalwart of British cruiserweight wrestling for years. A lucha style, he will fit right in to this whole series, and his experience would be vital to have in this tournament.
My final two are from New Japan Pro Wrestling. I am going against my own rule, but seeing as we there appears to be some kind of deal between the two, I am going to borrow two talents and two talents only from the number two promotion in the world. The first is Jushin Thunder Liger because, come on – It’s Liger! He is the O.G of cruiserweight wrestling and if they don’t have him, there is literally no point in holding the tournament. The second is Kushida. A former NJPW Junior Heavyweight Champion, he was one half of the Time Splitters with Alex Shelley before breaking out and having some superb junior heavyweight matches with Kenny Omega and Kyle O’Reilly. A fantastic high flyer and all-round wrestler.
Those were my 32 wrestlers that I feel should be in the Cruiserweight Series – but there are others that came to mind. People like Trent Baretta, Chuck Taylor and Joey Ryan, three of the best comical but competent cruiserweights in the indies, David Finlay Jr, the son of Finlay has been impressive as a young boy in the New Japan dojo and some of the smaller NJPW events, the legendary character of Tiger Mask could make an appearance, Rush has been tearing up in CMLL, maybe even lure El Generico out of retirement? A one time appearance to get some extra cash for the orphanage would be too good to be true for ‘The Generic Luchador’ – a man can dream.
There is more than enough talent for Triple H and company to pick from for this tournament in the summer. One thing is for sure’ this has potential to be one of the best things the WWE has ever produced.
And what of Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks? Well, they’d need some non-tournament matches right on the final show…
BOOK IT TRIPS.