It’s a clash of champions of sorts as the three men who have held the WWE Cruiserweight Championship since it’s resurrection following this summer’s stunning Cruiserweight Classic face off in a triple threat to decide the face of the division, tonight at WWE Roadblock: End of the Line. Who will win and what will come away from the match?
Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann has emerged as one of the first Cruiserweights of the New Era to strike a chord with the masses. A rocky start to the division, after such a strong showing with the CWC, left many wondering if the Cruiserweight Division was an outdated concept in the larger WWE Universe. But Swann has won the crowd over, especially after a stunning classic on the debut episode of 205 Live where he won the title from Brian Kendrick. While many argue that 205 Live should be filmed at Full Sail University amongst the NXT fans who helped drive the vibe of the CWC, it’s clear that the audiences – while maybe smaller than the Smackdown Live audience that they’re filmed after – are starting to get behind them. Swann is a great ambassador to help keep that momentum.
Brian Kendrick was the feel good story of the entire Cruiserweight Classic. Sure Perkins tugged on the heartstrings, but Kendrick had more of a story of the wunderkid who had had it all only to lose it. The actual titles that New Day hold – the WWE Tag Team Championship – are not the same ones that Demolition held (those were the WWE World Tag Team Championships, that were ultimately unified with the WWE ones in 2010 by the Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd)). Until New Day shattered the record, the longest reign was actually by Kendrick and his legendary tag team partner Paul London, who held the belts for 331 days. And while Perkins was greeted by crickets by the majority of the WWE Universe on initial debut, Kendrick’s name still rung with familiarity. His heel work as the Cruiserweight Champion laid the foundation of eyes starting to pay more attention to the Championship.
Not to say TJ Perkins isn’t a talented individual. Clearly he’s got skills that can captivate once the eyes are on him. But despite his great story in winning the inaugural CWC, it didn’t translate as hoped when he debuted on Raw as the brand new Cruiserweight Champion. Now that that is away from him, he should develop at a better pace and it won’t be long before he’s truly embraced, and perhaps gets another run. He’s very similar to former WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman. Kidman’s lack of pop in the charisma arena lead him to a slower build than guys like Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio Jr, or Eddie Guerrero in WCW’s division, but once the fans got used to seeing his ring work, he became a star.
These three are going to try and blow the roof off. No question about it. They know the Cruiserweights are the elephant in the room with a lot of fans and they intend to prove that they belong. While they may not have the spot that a match-up like this may have had where it held in PWG in 2014, they’ll still be given the chance to shine tonight at Roadblock.
They’ve done a good job the past few weeks in setting up some dynamics of the Cruiserweight Division, with Noam Dar emerging as the next top heel, followed by Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese and Drew Gulak. Jack Gallagher and Cedric Alexander are becoming faces that are getting some real crowd reaction now, with Alexander crossing over to the main storylines in the middle of the Bayley and Alicia Fox feud. So it only makes sense that this match solidifies Swann’s role as the new leader of the division by retaining the belt and moving on to showcase someone not named Kendrick or Perkins, most likely the feisty Scot Noam Dar.
As for Kendrick and Perkins, these two can move on and perhaps continue their own feud, this time without the pressure of having a belt on the line and instead work on solidifying Perkins’ character within the WWE Universe.
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