Cheers, WWE universe.
Good day everyone. Hope it’s been lovely for one and all. Here in LA it’s hot. Real hot. Talking 100 degrees four weeks into September. Stay inside weather. Good thing I got Hulu.
See, I haven’t watched RAW live in I can’t tell you how long. And up until recently, I hadn’t watched RAW at all for months. But thanks to Hulu, not only can I watch RAW, I can watch the stripped down streamlined 90 minute version. Oh look, it’s week two of the cruiserweights appearing on RAW, wonder how this is going to go….
Yeah, not well.
But let’s back up for a second. Let’s go back 3 months to the start of the cruiserweight classic. A 10-week tournament that would air exclusively on the WWE network. Did you watch it? You should have, it was great. It was so good that you could argue it produced half of the top 10 best matches to come out of the WWE this year. But let’s be honest, if you did watch it, you were a part of a pretty hardcore, niche group. It’s wrestling for people who can enjoy a match without previously established storylines or characters. It’s like WWE’s version of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. “Wrestler A is really talented, wrestler B is really talented…. Let’s have them wrestle each other.”
And in front of that small group of hardcore fans in that intimate setting, the tournament came off really well. But as we’ve learned time and time and time again, NXT and the main roster are two completely different beasts.
But hey, people have been clambering for the WWE to have a legitimate cruiserweight division for the last 20 years; it has to be great, right? It will be the second coming of WCW’s cruiserweight division. Guys like Chris Jericho have said for years it was the backbone of that company. Plus, I mean, this is the in-ring era. People want wrestling, not all that chatty stuff. There’s no way modern fans would reject it.
And that brings us to last night. Independent wrestling veterans TJ Perkins and Tony Nese square off for the first ever time on RAW. The stage is set for both men to ‘steal the show’ and wow us with their ‘unprecedented athleticism.’ And what do they do? They go out and have a pretty darn good match.
The chants echo through out the arena and you just know that somewhere in the back Vince McMahon was flexing his biceps and thinking out loud, “I knew these midgets doing cartwheels would never get over.”
“But wait,” you say. “This isn’t the fans fault. This is WWE’s fault. They didn’t introduce these men as well as they should have. Not everyone watched the CWC or even last nights PPV. Only a few people know TJP and even fewer know Tony Nese.” And hey, that argument does have some merit, I won’t lie. But fans need to take responsibility too. It can’t always be “the WWE’s fault.” You wanted this for sooooo long. You begged and begged for it and now you have it. And this isn’t some half assed cruiserweight division. It’s a legit cruiserweight division with top-level talents. And you shit on it week 2?
From time to time I’ll denounce wrestling fans for doing things I believe are detrimental to the wrestling culture. And the usual response I’ll get in return is something like, “when you pay money to see [X Event] you have the right to express yourself in whatever way you want. It’s called free speech.” Fair enough. If you want to go to a live event and sandbag the new cruiserweight division, it is certainly within your rights. But don’t come back crying when Vince starts feeding these guys to Braun Strowman and you’re left thinking, “hey, maybe I should have given those cruiserweights a chance.”