Now that the Cruiserweight Classic tournament is finished and we have our new champion in T.J. Perkins, the division will make its debut on Monday Night Raw this upcoming week. We’ve seen a number of people advertised to appear on the roster over the past few episodes, but what about everybody else? Obviously, there isn’t enough room for all 32 competitors to suddenly find time to wrestle on Raw, but there are still some other talented wrestlers who shouldn’t be pushed completely aside.
NOTE: Zack Sabre Jr. and Kota Ibushi aren’t included in this list, as they haven’t been “overlooked” as everybody is talking about them—they just seem to not be signing with the company for whatever reasons. Surely, if WWE could lock them into deals, they would have. This is more about the other people who likely would have signed if given the option, yet for some reason, weren’t.
Who is on this list, though? Let’s start running them down…
My first impression of Aichner was that he looked like a typical WWE star and was out of place in the cruiserweight division. Meeting that weight limit and being able to pull off some of the moves he did surprised the hell out of me, so I’m shocked to see that he not only didn’t make it further in the tournament, but that he isn’t being tossed onto the roster in at least a developmental capacity. Aichner could suit the cruiserweights as one of the powerhouses or he can just go to NXT as a regular star. In either scenario, I think he should be picked up.
At first, I scoffed at the idea that Tajiri was coming back. My thought was that he would lose in the first round and was there just to fill up a spot, similar to how The Headbangers performed in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship tournament. However, Tajiri seems to still have it, so why not just bring him back into the fold? Someone with veteran status who has already gone through the company should be less to worry about than the newer guys and he could even help them with their transition to the roster.
The Bollywood Boyz (Harv Sihra & Gurv Sihra)
WWE can use as many tag teams as they can afford to put onto the roster for absolutely any of the three divisions: Raw, SmackDown and NXT. The Bollywood Boyz were both quite entertaining in their first-round matches and since they’re somewhat of a package deal, why not just bring them both on board and put them on NXT? Right now, the yellow brand just has The Revival, The Authors of Pain and TM61, which just isn’t enough to sustain the show for the next 6 months.
Few people looked like they knew exactly what they were doing and were as smooth as Tyson Dux. In fact, for a good couple of minutes into his match with Zack Sabre Jr., I was under the impression that I had seen him before in NXT and just couldn’t quite remember him. Looking back at the bracket, I don’t quite understand why he lost in the first round and Drew Gulak made it to the second, as Dux came off much more impressive to me in comparison and much more on par with what WWE stars are, while Gulak gave off that “indie vibe”.
As mentioned before, WWE needs more tag teams and as soon as Ariya Daivari showed up and impressed me, I’ve been thinking about how much I’d like to see him either be paired up with Jinder Mahal or for his brother Shawn Daivari to return—or hell, the three of them can become a stable. There’s a connection built in already with Daivari managing The Great Khali, who was supposed to be related to Jinder Mahal. Sure, WWE has done the whole “group anyone of a certain background together” thing blindly before, but this wouldn’t be as much of a stretch, and it would give Mahal a better spot on the card instead of being a total jobber while also allowing some room for Ariya Daivari to go between the tag team and cruiserweight divisions.
Screw the cruiserweight division, Tony Nese needs to just be an NXT wrestler in general. Clearly, WWE likes him enough to use him here and there, as he’s made some appearances beyond the tournament, so I’m very curious as to why he’s not on the list to come to Raw. The only thing I can think of is because WWE wants to put him in NXT and not pigeonhole him as just a cruiserweight wrestler, which I’m totally okay with. Nese is over with the audience already, has a good look and seems to have a good reputation as well. What’s the downside?
Supposedly, Dorado has signed a contract with WWE, yet he hasn’t been announced as part of the division. The reason why could be any number of things from medical clearances, visa issues, or WWE wanting to hold back and make him a singles star outside of the division similar to Kalisto, who hasn’t really panned out too well in 2016. Dorado was one of my favorites to watch perform throughout the Cruiserweight Classic, so it would be a shame not to see him find some kind of home on the roster.
I had never heard of Sean Maluta until his first-round match with Kota Ibushi, and after seeing him perform, I thought he would definitely end up on the list of the guys that would be brought into the division. It’s kind of sad to not hear more buzz about this guy, and I think he would be perhaps the best example of someone being “overlooked” in the tournament. Of course, I’ll echo some of the statements I said earlier about some of the other guys by bringing up the idea of his familial ties and the tag team division. I’m up for Maluta joining up with The Usos (and for that matter, Roman Reigns, Tamina and Naomi as well). The Usos can be the representatives of the tag team division, Roman Reigns can stay in the main event, Tamina and Naomi can be in the women’s division while Maluta can be their go-to for the cruiserweight and midcard matches.
So much good came out of this tournament and I’m very excited to see what the future has in store not just for Raw’s cruiserweight division, but these performers who aren’t involved in that as well. In the span of a few weeks, roughly 32 new stars came on my radar that I had never been exposed to before, which is astounding to think about. If WWE can continue to bring in talent like this, that will put a lot of smiles on a lot of happy faces, and hopefully we’ll be able to see even more of the guys in the tournament rewarded for their efforts in making the Cruiserweight Classic a rousing success.