WWE News: New Backstage Details Surrounding The WWE Cruiserweight Classic

The WWE Cruiserweight Classic is set to begin this Thursday, June 23 from Full Sail University in Florida, also known as NXT headquarters. Fans and WWE officials alike will get a glimpse into perhaps some future WWE superstars when 32 of the top cruiserweights from around the globe compete in an elimination-style tournament, complete with a full bracket.

According to PWInsider (via Daily Wrestling News), most of the participants have already arrived in Winter Park, but WWE has also booked more talent in case of an emergency or if one of the wrestlers does not pass a physical or the required blood tests. Much like the sport of MMA or boxing, WWE is making the 205-pound weight limit a legitimate requirement, and again, if one of the participants is unable to make weight, they will be replaced. This tournament is said to have a very “sport-like presentation” and will be taken extremely seriously by those that put it together.

[Image via WWE]

As noted, the WWE Cruiserweight Classic begins on June 23, with three ensuing days worth of tapings on July 14, August 26, and September 14. The first actual air date (presumably of the first round, or at least half of it) on the WWE Network is July 13. WWE has invested a major marketing campaign for this tournament, venturing into waters they’ve been reluctant to navigate in recent years. They’ve profiled many of the participants, with bios, write-ups, Q&A sessions, and qualifying match videos. One of those that they’ve spotlighted is international star Zack Sabre Jr. featuring him as one of the favorites in the event.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish in CWC, Sabre says gaining the exposure is a big plus.

“Obviously, with the scope that WWE reaches, this is the biggest platform, the biggest audience I’ll have the opportunity to perform in front of so far. Being in the environment of a very professional company with incredible production, along with a lot of people I can learn from, it’s going to be a great learning experience. Also, because I’m passionate about the way that I wrestle, I see it as my duty to showcase it in a positive light. I hope that I can show that there’s still something unique about British wrestling.”

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Sabre’s most recent high-profile match came against Kurt Angle in London. Angle came out of the match saying that he’d be shocked if Sabre wasn’t one of the top stars in all of wrestling in the next five years. It’s an ironic connection seeing how WWE is actively looking for more and more talent to help bolster a roster that will soon feature two unique rosters, one exclusively for RAW and one for SmackDown. Sabre should be on the short list of guys in this tournament who might parlay it into an official WWE contract. Angle is one of several legends who appear to have some interest from WWE management.

Of the rest of the 31 participants, Kota Ibushi, Da Mack, Cedric Alexander, Johnny Gargano, and TJ Perkins should garner some attention from WWE as well. Tajiri and Brian Kendrick are among those in the tournament with a past stint in WWE on their resume who could very well help with the roster expansion next month too.

Here is the complete list of all 32 participants in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.

  • Kota Ibushi
  • Gran Metalik
  • Tajiri
  • Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Noam Dar
  • Da Mack
  • Zumbi
  • Clement Petiot
  • Fabian Aichner
  • Harv Sihra
  • Gurv Sihra
  • Rich Swann
  • Brian Kendrick
  • Cedric Alexander
  • Akira Tozawa
  • Jack Gallagher
  • Johnny Gargano
  • Tony Nese
  • Tommaso Ciampa
  • Ho Ho Lun
  • TJ Perkins
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Drew Gulak
  • Tyson Dux
  • Lince Dorado
  • Sean Maluta
  • Raul Mendoza
  • Kenneth Johnson
  • Alejandro Saez
  • Damien Slater
  • Jason Lee
  • Ariya Daivari

[Image via WWE]