The current WWE Cruiserweight Classic Tournament has been one of the best tournaments in terms of match-quality in WWE history. Not only has the tournament to crown a new champion been a hit online, it has reinvigorated the 205 Live brand and given the Tuesday night time slot a big push in terms of viewership – jumping up to the #3 position on the WWE Network’s Most Popular section in a steady weekly incline.
The current tournament has felt like a callback to the WWE Cruiserweight Classic from the Summer of 2016. In terms of pure wrestling, the Classic was one of the best things WWE has done in years. A great lineup of talent from all over the world with plenty of great physicality and athleticism, a multitude of wrestling styles showcased, and even some memorably emotional moments.
And here we stand nearly two years later, the momentum of the tournament finally carrying over to the Cruiserweight division. After a very difficult transition period from the Classic to 205, the division is finally returning to its moment of glory.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look back at the Cruiserweight Classic and the various aspects that made it work.
This week, we’re going to begin looking at the competitors of the inaugural tournament and take a look at where they have gone and done since the Classic. Many of them are still on the 205 roster, many of them have risen to superstardom elsewhere on the biggest stages of the world, and some of them have faded away and classified as obsolete.
The dabbing dynamo, the Fil-Am Flash, the first ever Cruiserweight Champion and the winner of the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Classic. Since beating Gran Metalik in the finals of that tournament back in 2016, TJP quickly dropped the title and hasn’t reached the top of the Cruiserweight division since. He has had some good feuds with Neville and Rich Swann, but otherwise has been treated as a second on the show. Things seem to be changing for the Fil-Am Flash, as his character development has been a key storyline for the newest version of 205 Live. 2018 should be an exciting year for the Classic winner.
Gran Metalik had multiple standout performances in the Cruiserweight Classic and was the runner-up of the entire tournament. And then the Cruiserweights moved to the main roster and he fell off the face of the earth. It was such a shame that the 205 Live of old rarely used the luchador, but things have recently turned around for Metalik. He is currently aligned with fellow luchadors Kalisto and Lince Dorado, known unofficially as the Lucha House Party, and they have been killing it in trios matches. Let’s hope Metalik has a breakout year and finally moves to the top of the division like he deserves.
There is no redemption story better than Mustafa Ali’s. Ali entered the Cruiserweight Classic as a replacement for Brazil’s Zumbi. Ali was eliminated by Lince Dorado in the first round and was nearly sent back to the independent scene… that is until fan support forced the WWE to offer the competitor a contract. Since then, Mustafa Ali has been a highlight on 205 Live and has silenced his doubters in great match after great match. 2018 is Mustafa Ali’s year.
… oh, and he cuts killer promos on Twitter. Check this out!
Cedric Alexander has been, as Mauro Ranallo would state, en fuego!!! since the beginning of the year. Alexander is one of the best success stories from the original Cruiserweight Classic – a loss to Kota Ibushi in one of the best matches I’ve ever seen led to the Full Sail faithful chant so loud that it forced Triple H to come out and basically sign Cedric on the spot. Cedric has been having great match after great match on 205 Live and should be a heavy favorite for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament heading into WrestleMania.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
- The aggressiveness shown in the Gulak vs. Andrews match was very well-done. Gulak’s new mean streak was a great contrast to Andrews’ never-give-up DIY attitude. That clothesline spot was insane! The right guy won, and Gulak is constantly building this great character every time he is on screen. Give me more of this Drew Gulak.
- It pains me to see so many empty seats in the crowd for this show. They really need to tape this show before Smackdown if they are adamant on having them in these big arenas.
- I sense this new Itami and Tozawa team is to build teams ahead of the introduction of the rumoured WWE Cruiserweight Tag Team Championships. I still think a Trios title would be unique to the brand and give more guys opportunities on the show.
- I AM SO GLAD THEY SHOWED THE MUSTAFA ALI PROMO! Mustafa Ali is clearly the best promo on the show right now and these promos are kicking the ass of the heavily scripted ones of Raw and Smackdown.
- I can get behind this team of Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa. The squash was a good showcase of what they can do as a duo. I think they would be a good team to be the first Cruiserweight Tag titles if they do bring those to the show.
- Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali was a great match! Buddy Murphy’s selling is incredible. The work on Buddy’s arm was a great Achilles heel for the bigger Murphy. These two can do no wrong in the ring, and I want Mustafa Ali to get to the finals in a match against Cedric Alexander. Check out this match if you haven’t watched 205 Live!