I get it. You’re a wrestling fan. Maybe you’re new to the Universe, maybe you remember the days of Bruno Sammartino. Maybe you’re someone who watched in the Monday Night Wars and Attitude Era. Maybe you’re just someone who is cautiously amused by this athletic soap opera that entertains the world. Each week, there seems to be a whirlwind of things to watch. Even if you just partake in WWE programming, you have NXT (1 hour), RAW (3 hours), Smackdown (2 hours), sometimes a pay-per-view (3+ hours), and any other miscellaneous content you want to watch from the network. For some of you more hardcore folks, throw in a live show (8 hours counting travel for me this past weekend), a PWG or two (3 hours), a NJPW show (4 hours +), that’s not even to mention all the local indie matches you could check out, Lucha Underground, AAA, or even the dumpster fire of TNA. To be honest, there’s a ton of choices! It’s established, it has high quality standards, and it is easily accessible. Flip on your cable box, or use a website and you can watch all the things I listed and more. So with so much time needed to just consume the wrestling that is already being produced, why should you be excited about this Cruiserweight Classic thing? Isn’t it just guys who didn’t make the cut in WWE vying for attention? Aren’t they all just going to be Daniel Bryan or Rey Mysterio ripoffs? Won’t I have to go out of my way to get the network for this? From the way things are looking, the CWC is about to be the most interesting thing WWE has been a part of since, well, ever. Let look at some reasons shall we?
1. It all starts with the talent. The list of 30 competitors is varied in style and training from all over the world. Whatever style you like: Japanese, American, Lucha, or European they all have several representatives. Not 1 guy just to represent, but several. You have grapplers, high flyers, brawlers, comedy, and just straight up ass kickers. You have guys who have been on the indie scene for years, and guys who are a little bit fresher. There is literally something for everyone between these 30 guys.
2. The potential for all-time great matches. There are guys who have never faced each other in this tournament. There are guys who have gone toe to toe in the squared circle who knows how many times. But if you put guys of this caliber together, magic happens. For example, let’s look at my two favorite competitors in this: Zack Sabre Jr and Cedric Alexander. They went up against each other in a National Guard Armory in Hickory NC (courtesy of PWX, thanks Brian). I was lucky enough to be there live and words can’t describe how good it was. There wasn’t a crazy spot off a ladder, it wasn’t a hardcore match, it wasn’t some crazy refreshing ending to a story. It was two of the best in the world in the same place and putting on a show. The possibility is there for them to meet again in this tournament. I’m already fantasy booking this tournament in my head.
3. WWE isn’t afraid of discussing the indies on the network. Some of these guys have long histories with pre-established stories. Many of them qualified at indie events. Let me repeat that: WWE allowed people to qualify for an event of theirs at 4 separate indie shows. This is revolutionary. Imagine if you will a world where WWE and the indies aren’t totally separate universes. Where they facilitate and assist one another with one solitary idea in mind: entertain the fans. I know some purists will say WWE was the death of the territories and they’ll never forgive them but look: Vince will be gone someday. They have the biggest budget and highest production value. If a mutually beneficial relationship can be acquired, all that will mean is more great matches for us to watch.
4. The announced commentary team is Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo. In the past few months, Mauro Ranallo has become a refreshing commentary alternative on Smackdown. Even through usually worse matches (which will have to change after the draft), Mauro’s delivery just raises the in-ring work to an excitement level that hasn’t really been around since the days of JR in WWE. Then, add in you have not only a former WWE champion, but a guy who travelled the indies for 10 years, being THE draw. Being THE guy people came to see based solely on his ring work. He knows what these guys go through, he knows the work inside and out, and I personally can’t wait to see how great this commentary team can be.
5. The stories that could be told. Tournaments are natural story vehicles. It’s part of why my podcast mates and I enjoy them so much. Think about March Madness every year. Basketball is completely unscripted but how many stories weave its way naturally into the commentary of NCAA basketball each and every year? WWE knows ahead of time what is going to happen and can prepare. I expect the video package team to be heavily involved and when have they ever done a bad job?
6. To see where it all leads. I want to see if this tournament reaches casual fans or just hardcore smarks. I want to see if the exposure for some of these guys leads to bigger and better things (I’d love to see Cedric Alexander vs. Sami Zayn). I want to see if this can revolutionize the way things are done in the world of professional wrestling. I think it just might.
Those are my 6 main reasons. What are your reasons to be excited about the CWC? Let us know on Twitter or anywhere else you can find us!