WWE’s Cruiserweight experiment has had some ups and downs since the brand split in 2016, but finally seems to be catching its stride in the new year. While Rich Swann, TJ Perkins, Jack Gallagher and others have created and maintained a buzz, no one came out the gate like Neville. Since his return, the UK star has been cutting scathing heel promos, launching opponents from the top turnbuckle with superplexes and claiming to be “The King of the Cruiserweights.” The latter statement may be a sign of things to come for the entire division.
The “King of the Ring” moniker is cherished by fans but often bungled by the WWE. Before Bad News Barrett won it in 2015, the last winner was Sheamus in 2010. Winning the tournament used to be a way of pushing a superstar. The last winner of any true consequence was Booker T over a decade ago. The concept certainly is right for the Cruiserweights. The Cruiserweight Classic was truly a must-see event for WWE last year, and now with 205 Live, a KOTR tournament could be just what the division needs. The company has been successful with tournaments as of late, but so has the rest of the wrestling industry. WWE knows how captivating tournaments like New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors and G-1 Climax have been for their hardcore audience. The CWC was a direct response to NJPW’s growing American audience. With the return of KOTR, WWE can give fans the nostalgia of a classic PPV and the excitement of the CWC rolled into one.
WWE isn’t very good with subtlety, and with Neville constantly stating that he is “The King”, at some point he’s going to have to prove it. The tournament is a great way to introduce new talents and create more stories for the guys that haven’t been used as much on television. For example, Kalisto would be perfect for the tournament. Austin Aries entering the KOTR would be a big deal. Whether Rich Swann, Neville, or someone else holds the Cruiserweight title, the champ could enter the tournament or simply face the winner of it.
With WrestleMania swiftly approaching, the concept of KOTR might be better for that weekend. Instead of having the division succumb to a meaningless battle royal, WWE could use 205 Live or Monday Night Raw for some tournament matches, Fan Axxess for the semifinals, and the winner gets to face the champ at WrestleMania. Sounds great doesn’t it? All this from what is likely just a throwaway line from the division’s top heel. But if Neville had an opinion, he’d want the competition. After all, what’s a king without a crown?
Follow me on Twitter @willmarelle
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