On Monday’s episode of RAW, Shane and Stephanie McMahon revealed their new General Managers and the WWE Championship match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins ended in controversy. Very little else about the upcoming brand split was exposed, leaving the majority of the questions to be answered during Tuesday’s Smackdown Live featuring the brand extension draft.
However, Stephanie did drop a minor bombshell in RAW‘s opening segment, declaring that the WWE was resuscitating the Cruiserweight Division on the main roster. The cruiserweights will perform exclusively on RAW, despite SmackDown being portrayed as the flag bearer for this new era. The WWE released the following statement, all but confirming that roster spots in the division have yet to be filled.
“In an extremely bold move, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon opened a whole new wing of the New Era by announcing that – following the success of the WWE Network exclusive Cruiserweight Classic – Monday Night Raw will be the exclusive host to a trailblazing WWE Cruiserweight division! Although little is known about which competitors might be a part this exciting initiative, it is clear that newly-empowered Raw General Manager Mick Foley plans to utilize the fast-moving, high-flying athletes to help bring Raw to new heights. How high will the longest running episodic television show in history soar? Find out each and every week at 8/7 C on USA Network.”
Stephanie is still the top heel in the business, but she made some babyface decisions on RAW, appointing fan-favorite Mick Foley as her GM, and appeasing a niche portion of the WWE fanbase with the cruiserweight declaration. Details of the reborn division are still being ironed out, but it’s becoming more and more clear what resource the WWE will use to stock it.
According to Daily Wrestling News, the success of the WWE Network exclusive Cruiserweight Classic was the driving force behind bringing it to the main roster. Much of the tournament airs on tape delay, but the CWC finals will air live on the Network on September 4, with the winner expected to be crowned the new Cruiserweight Champion, a title he’ll bring with him to RAW. That may be a good indication of when the cruiserweights will officially begin performing on the flagship show.
The WWE has already signed CWC competitors Gran Metalik and Kota Ibushi to contracts, and hope to come to agreements with other participants like Akira Tozawa, Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado, Jack Gallagher, and of course, Zack Sabre, Jr. After wrestling Sabre in England recently, Kurt Angle said he would be shocked if the British wrestler wasn’t a major star in the next five years.
WWE will also be looking to add some experience to the cruiserweight division when it debuts, as they have had discussions with former WWE superstars Brian Kendrick and Tajiri about a full-time reunion. Aside from Metalik and Ibushi, no deals have been signed, but expectations are that details are being worked out and we should be hearing about agreements shortly.
One of those details may be an interesting wrinkle that would force the company to have them bypass NXT altogether so they can get the division off the ground as soon as possible on the main roster. However, if the Cruiserweight Division isn’t completely unveiled until September, that gives most, if not all of the potential signees a couple extra months to get acclimated to WWE protocol.
Tuesday is a big night in the sports entertainment landscape, where a draft will certainly shake the foundation of the company, or so they hope. There is a big lineup scheduled for the WWE Network, building up to SmackDown Live, including a pre-show and second screen experience. Interestingly enough, leading up to all that is in fact, the Cruiserweight Classic.
[Image via WWE]