I’ve discussed the cruiserweights before and how they weren’t finding their place due to lack of talent (except for TJ Perkins and Brian Kendrick.) Over the course of the last three months, the cruiserweights have brought life to their division. The progression of stars has been outstanding as well.
The return of former NXT Champion Neville was the first building block in restoring the crumbling division. When Neville returned to WWE TV at Roadblock: End of the Line and turned heel in the process, he turned that division upside in a good way. WWE found a credible star, who not only flourished with a new character but could deliver top tier matches every time he steps in the ring. If he didn’t return so late in 2016 to make his impact in 2017, he definitely wins the Slammy for Return of the Year. That’s how valuable Neville has been to the division.
Neville may be the King of the Cruiserweights, but every king needs his bishop, knights and rooks. Jack Gallagher, Rich Swann, Tony Nese and Noam Dar are some of the names that stick out this year. Without question, Gentlemen Jack has been the most popular face in the division, and WWE rewarded him with a good feud and decent buildup for a PPV match with the champion at Fastlane. Swann, a former Cruiserweight Champion, has been another force on the face side of things, putting on high caliber matches with the likes of Nese and Dar. All the pieces were filling the board, but there was just one missing: The Queen.
The King may be the most important piece on the board, but the most influential piece to winning a match is the Queen. And she was there in plain sight the whole time.
Austin Aries, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived, was the final piece needed to correct the cruiserweight problem. His return to the ring and subsequent feud with Neville is the answer. One great star can make a division, but two will make it great. Aries provides star power and a high skill set just like Neville. If the two of them face off at Wrestlemania, that will give the cruiserweights their much needed check mate to be a credible division in the WWE. Certainly more credible than Raw’s floundering women’s division.
The cruiserweights have all the pieces on the board and can make Raw more entertaining when the part timers and Roman aren’t hogging the spotlight. It worked for WCW Nitro, so it can definitely work for WWE Raw. Check Mate.