The Cruiserweight Classic was easily the most exciting thing to come out of WWE in recent months (Sorry NXT). It provided a platform for some up and coming professional wrestlers and added to the exposure of some true greats of the sport adding a breath of fresh air to WWE programming and I for one am very glad that it happened and can’t wait for the second one. I have no doubt TJ Perkins and the other Cruiserweights will go on to do great things but for now I’m looking towards the future of the tournament. Triple has said that the Cruiserweight Classic was never going to be a one-time thing and that we can look forward it becoming a staple of WWE programming in the future. With that said the question of who will join the next Cruiserweight Classic immediately comes to mind. With so many talented Cruiserweights around the world there is no shortage of options for Triple H and his scouts but before they head out, I’m going to try my hand at predicting some of the competitors for Cruiserweight Classic 2.
My first choice is a name that is synonymous with Ring of Honor. Roderick Strong is a man best known for his time with ROH, where he spent 13 years holding various championships and putting on some real barnstormers. His name has been floating around as a potential WWE/NXT signing since early June when he announced his departure from ROH. The man is only just over the weight limit for the CWC, and shedding the weight (or perhaps billing him at 205) would be easy. If WWE were to sign him this would be a fantastic way to bring him in and it would give the second Cruiserweight Classic some of that Indy star power the first tournament had so much of.
If you’ve never seen him in action check out this video and be amazed.
Now this choice is a little out of nowhere and it’s mainly on here because of how big a fan I am, but the Cruiserweight Classic is made for people like Amazing Red. Most commonly known for his work in TNA, Red is small even for a Cruiserweight, standing only 5ft 6in and weighing only 150lbs but what he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in ability. Few people in the world fly like Amazing Red, and watching him hit his “Infared” will no doubt be a welcome sight in the CWC. He is currently wrestling the Indies and running his own wrestling school so contracts shouldn’t be an issue, and with people like AJ Styles and Austin Aries flourishing in WWE his history with TNA shouldn’t hold him back.
Something else to consider when signing for the CWC is how to create the international feel. The tournament had 32 competitors representing 16 countries and Red could represent another nation in his native Puerto Rico to help the international feel of the tournament.
For those unfamiliar with Red, this video should provide a little context as to why I’m such a fan.
Rey Mysterio Jr.
A name familiar to nearly all wrestling fans, Rey Mysterio has been rumoured to be returning to WWE since he left in 2015. Now the rumours may not be true but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be available for the tournament. Since leaving WWE, Rey has put in some of his best work in years in Lucha Underground and watching him wrestle, it would be hard to believe the man is the wrong side of 40. He can always play the ultimate underdog but his recent work has shown him bringing some really innovative offense to the ring. He would have no problem making the cut as he is currently billed at weighing a trim 175lbs and he would no doubt be a huge draw and help pull in the Latin American market utilising his Lucha Libre style. To not at least try and get Rey Mysterio for this tournament would be a huge oversight and a big mistake.
If you haven’t seen much of Rey’s post WWE work check this out.
Another big name in Lucha underground is Prince Puma, otherwise known as Ricochet. Ricochet seems to be making his mark all over the world at the moment having held championships in the aforementioned Lucha Underground, NJPW, PWG and Dragon Gate. He has reportedly been on WWE’s radar for quite some time and the cruiserweight classic would be a quick and easy way to introduce people to Ricochet’s high-flying style. He is a great worker with a good character that has had success in a tournament setting before having won NJPW Best of the Super Jr’s tournament in 2014. He was also at the center of a wrestling controversy earlier this year after his match with Will Ospreay sparked outrage from WCW legend Big Van Vader. The legend criticised Ospreay and Ricochet’s athletic and acrobatic styles which lead to their match getting some huge exposure, and showing ricochet to more of the world. He makes the cut at 197lbs but is currently competing for NJPW, though I’m sure with the right offer he would be more than willing to take part in the tournament. With the CWC being so focused on the in ring side of wrestling it would be a crime to not at least try and get Ricochet involved.
For the uninitiated.
Zumbi is probably one of the lesser known names on this list and truth be told I hadn’t heard of him until the first Cruiserweight Classic but after looking into the Masked wrestler I can see a man with some real potential. He’s on this list because he was actually scheduled to compete in the tournament until via issues prevented him from making it in to America for the tapings. A Brazilian Luchador, Zumbi captivated William regal in the run up to the original CWC with his unique style that mixes Lucha Libre with the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira. Such an original style would thrive in the environment of the CWC and it would provide Zumbi with some much deserved exposure and perhaps an NXT contract if things went well. Add to this the fact that as previously mentioned, he is from Brazil, it adds another country to this international tournament.
A little Zumbi Taster.
The man once known as Biff Busick is an Indy darling who hasn’t seen much TV time since joining NXT. Despite being popular on the indy circuit, his popularity seemingly hasn’t translated to his new persona of Oney Lorcan. If WWE are looking to get people behind Lorcan, the best opportunity to do it would be to put him in the Cruiserweight Classic. The man who was once ranked 147 in PWI’s top 500 wrestlers, should have no problem in an environment like this and his aggressive smashmouth style would add something of a contrast to all the high flyers bound to take part. The CWC would give him valuable TV time and allow him to show off what he can do in the ring without the same time constraints as an episode of NXT. It’s hard to see a downside to having Lorcan in the Tournament.
Learn about Lorcan by watching this video.
Andrade “Cien” Almas
The man formerly known as La Sombra has somewhat floundered since coming to NXT, he lacks the ability to speak English which does hurt in the WWE, (Asuka being the exception) and fans have struggled to connect with him. What’s strange though is when Andrade wrestled as La Sombra, he was one of the biggest names in Lucha Libre, wrestling all over the world and helping form one of the biggest professional wrestling stables in “Los Ingobernables”. Although it may not seem like it now, Manny Andrade was actually a huge acquisition for WWE. The man has held a host of championships around the world and is more than capable in the ring. So to see him suffering in NXT is a real shame. A change of pace could help Almas in a big way, putting him in the CWC could focus on his biggest attributes and downplay his weaknesses, invigorating him for a big NXT push after the tournament. He too has previously ranked highly in PWI top 500, coming in at Number 52, he is without a doubt a fantastic Cruiserweight who could perhaps even win the tournament if utilised properly.
A little of Andrade Almas NXT work.
Hiromu Takahashi is not the most well-known name in professional wrestling, nor does he have the storied history a lot of the competitors on this list do, but the New Japan Dojo graduate has a lot of offer besides adding another country (Japan) to the Cruiserweight Classic. Takahashi graduated from the NJPW Dojo in 2010, before spending three years as a “young lion” (Rookie) until being sent on a New Japan Excursion to learn about other styles of wrestling. It was on this excursion he spent time in Mexico and formed the character of Kamaitachi. As Kamaitachi, Takahashi has put on some incredible matches with his combination of Strong style and Lucha Libre wrestling. He has recently ventured into the United States hungry for experience, WWE could do a lot worse than signing Kamaitachi for the CWC.
A sizzle reel of Kamaitachi’s best moments.
There are a bunch of guys that I would have loved to have put in this list but truthfully I don’t think there is a chance of them being involved in the tournament this year. That being said I’d like to address some of the greats that I have neglected to mention thus far. Will Ospreay, Kushida and Kenny Omega are all fantastic talents that could do incredible things in the CWC but unfortunately I just don’t see them being involved.
That’s it. My list of who I think will be in the second Cruiserweight classic. This is by no means a definitive list but a list of people that could make the Tournament live up the high expectations set by the first. Regardless of who is involved next year, I feel that the CWC will once again be a highlight of WWE programming. Now you’ve seen my list who would you put in the CWC? Let me know in the comments or by telling me on twitter @Jabroni_Josh