Piggybacking off our previous discussion on whether the winner of the Royal Rumble should have a choice to challenge either brand’s world champion, I thought of another issue that I feel is up for legitimate debate: should the cruiserweight division be allowed to compete in the Royal Rumble match, or should they continue to remain a separate entity?
So far since this new division’s inception, we haven’t seen much of any crossover between the cruiserweights and those outside of the weight limit. Sure, there have been a few instances where Sin Cara went back and forth, and Kalisto once had a title shot against Brian Kendrick but has seemingly went back to the midcard on SmackDown, but that’s still quite a difference in comparison to having Noam Dar challenging for the United States Championship or Tony Nese and Drew Gulak being in contention for a tag team title.
In general, there’s a disparity between the sectioned-off divisions in WWE, but sometimes in the Royal Rumble, there’s room for a crossover. For instance, Harvey Wippleman and Santino Marella are really the only two men to truly compete in the women’s division at any given time, yet Kharma, Chyna and Beth Phoenix all entered the Royal Rumble in the hopes to earn a shot against the male world champion.
While we won’t be seeing super heavyweights compete on 205 Live, there’s nothing preventing the 16 superstars on that show from branching out into other divisions. In theory, they should be just as eligible as anybody else, seeing as how The Bollywood Boyz are back in NXT instead of in the cruiserweight division, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa are in a similar situation and Neville recently transitioned from true main roster midcarder to so-called “King of the Cruiserweights” with no problem.
For all intents and purposes, there’s no logistical reason why they couldn’t compete. Hell, if Michael Cole and Drew Carey could enter the fray, anybody can.
But the question isn’t so much could they, but should they.
With only 30 spots to fill, there’s more than enough talent on Raw and SmackDown to meet those requirements, particularly if you include any returning legends wrestlers who aren’t on the regular roster. When you add the possibility for some NXT guys to make their debuts, there’s even less of a reason to need to put cruiserweights into the mix.
An argument can be made that at least for the first year or so, the cruiserweight division should stand alone so they can really solidify an identity with the WWE Universe before things get muddled up and people become confused about how the rules operate. Necessity is the mother of invention, so if a problem comes up in the future that the cruiserweights can fix, then is the time when WWE could figure out a way to navigate those waters and implement some kind of rule where the division doesn’t need to be exclusive to itself and everyone can also aim for the standard titles.
That being said, these guys are fantastic performers, so wouldn’t it be fun to see them compete against the other guys? I know I’d be quite disappointed if I never get to see Cedric Alexander against Dolph Ziggler or Jack Gallagher against Chris Jericho, wouldn’t you? The Royal Rumble might be the only time of the year where some of those wrestlers can lock up, as they’d otherwise be busy with feuds.
And who’s to say just because they’re cruiserweights, they aren’t worthy of fighting for the WWE Championship or Universal Championship? Just a few months ago, this division didn’t exist and the mentality wasn’t calling into question why people like Tyson Kidd and Xavier Woods could challenge for a “heavyweight” championship despite being at WWE’s cruiserweight level, so why should they suddenly be handicapped now? There’s nothing stopping Kofi Kingston from fighting Big Show and if Kingston were to lose 7 pounds, he’d be at the 205 limit, so if The Brian Kendrick was good enough before, he should be good enough now. Even if WWE wants to paint the portrait that they will always be outclassed by the people bigger than them, I don’t know about you, but I’d enjoy watching HoHo Lun get completely wrecked by Braun Strowman just the same as having Strowman toss James Ellsworth around.
At the moment, I’m leaning towards the option remaining on the table to have them compete, but to not necessarily play around with it too much. A happy medium in my mind would be to have a qualifying battle royal on 205 Live where one member of the division gets to earn the opportunity to compete in the Royal Rumble, if not just to allow them to put a spotlight on the division for that guy’s entrance and to allow for a high-flying superstar to liven up the energy somewhere around the middle range where the crowd starts to die down a bit.
What do you say about this issue? Should the cruiserweights wrestle in the Royal Rumble or is it better to leave them off on their own, separate from the main roster?
Keep the debate going in the comments below!