One of the first questions WWE fans had in light of the draft and brand extension was how would the championships be split among both RAW and Smackdown Live. For the most part, answers came rather quickly. Dean Ambrose retained his WWE World Championship in the main event at Battleground and brought the title with him to Tuesday nights. The Miz and his Intercontinental Championship were drafted to Smackdown Live as well, with Rusev and the United States Title the exclusive property of RAW.
We’d soon find out that RAW would have a World Champion as well, one that won’t be crowned until SummerSlam when Seth Rollins faces Finn Balor for the WWE Universal Championship. Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley, Commissioner and General Manager of RAW, respectively, also drafted the WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Day, as well as the WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, leaving Smackdown Live with just two titles to RAW‘s four.
Smackdown GM, Daniel Bryan, has since inferred that his show will be getting their own versions of the tag team and women’s championships in due time. Whether it’s a work or a shoot, Bryan has actually insulted RAW and their hasty decision to create the Universal Championship, mocking Monday nights by joking that he and Shane McMahon are considering introducing an “Interspecies women’s championship” and the “Milky Way Tag Team Championships.”
So, Smackdown is in no rush to add gold to their tag team or women’s divisions, which might be smart considering the lack of depth coming out of the draft. But now RAW is set on adding a fifth title to their brand, according to Wrestling Inc. It’s been confirmed that in addition to the Cruiserweight Division competing exclusively on Monday Night RAW, the WWE will re-introduce the Cruiserweight Championship on the red brand, as well.
There has yet to be any confirmation in regards to when the belt will first reappear on RAW, but the overwhelming assumption is that the winner of the Cruiserweight Classic will be awarded the title after the tournament finale and then bring it with him the following week to RAW. Most of the 32-man tournament was taped, but the finals will air live on the WWE Network on September 14, leading many to assume that we might see the Cruiserweight Championship back on the main roster for the first time on September 19.
The CWC has been a major success for the WWE, and another feather in Triple H’s cap. It’s expected that many of the CWC participants will or already have sign(ed) contracts with the WWE, with a certain amount set for a run in NXT. But with the Cruiserweight Division set to debut on RAW next month, we should expect the majority of the quarter-finalists, semi-finalists, and finalists to bypass developmental and head straight to the main roster.
The decision to put the Cruiserweight Division on RAW raised some eyebrows, considering how many expected Smackdown to present a vision more dedicated to the new era and that both the tag team and women’s championships were already heading to Monday nights. Smackdown‘s roster still appears thin, despite re-signing Rhyno, Curt Hawkins’ return (though he has yet to appear on camera), and the announced return of Shelton Benjamin. The latter will have to wait, however, as a torn rotator cuff was discovered during his WWE medical testing.
Ironically, the last WWE Cruiserweight Champion was released earlier this year during the company’s annual talent purge. Hornswoggle last held the belt in 2007, but won’t be around to see its triumphant return. Former cruiserweights Tajiri and Brian Kendrick are in the CWC, and are expected to be added to the division, but the favorites to win it all have been narrowed down to Zack Sabre, Jr. and Kota Ibushi. The two could meet in the CWC finals and offer a glimpse of what’s to come on Monday nights.
[Image via WWE]