Since the birth of the cruiserweight division from the highly-acclaimed Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE Network, it would be fair to say that it has failed to reach the same heights that the tournament achieved and has resulted in the division being somewhat overlooked and swept aside by the creative team.
The inclusion of Neville gave the division some legitimacy, while making him a dominant champion and turning him heel being the only true highlights of what has been a forgettable 11 months for the high-flying superstars.
— Tights and Fights: The Perfect Wrestling Podcast (@TightsFights) September 26, 2017
But since Enzo Amore’s debut and the subsequent decision to make him the Cruiserweight champion, it seems that a reshuffling of the pack and a bit of star power could be what is needed for the rebirth of the division.
Rebuilding 205 Live & Enzo Amore
For the past few months, 205 Live (the hour of programming dedicated to the cruiserweights after Smackdown Live finishes) has continued to stagnate and falter as there have been no top-tier superstars to rival Neville, whether that is down to in-ring ability, work on the microphone or, more importantly, getting over with the crowd.
Enzo Amore’s time on the main roster seems to have mimicked 205 Live’s lifespan, by starting off brightly and then nosediving. The eccentric personality has been shunned by other superstars after reports revealed that the self-proclaimed ‘Realest Guy in the Room’ has been causing rifts backstage, while his demotion to the cruiserweight division continues to add to his fall from grace.
Despite all of this, WWE has decided that it’s time to mix things up as Enzo cheated his way to victory with a kick to the balls for Neville during the finish to their match at No Mercy (which is somewhat fitting as this is how most fans feel about the booking decision.)
— @Andreadreacotru (@TheAndreaNikki) June 6, 2017
It’s not just the fans that feel unhappy with the decision to put the title on ‘the Certified G’. A couple of weeks ago on Monday Night Raw, Enzo was celebrating his title victory in the ring when he was interrupted by every other cruiserweight wrestler, who had banded together to show their disapproval of their new champion. Enzo responded by calling out a select few of them and picked apart their flaws.
Shortly after, the Newcastle-born Neville appeared from backstage to lead the protest. The Geordie pointed out Enzo’s fall from the main roster and claimed that he has made a joke out of the division, the championship and his fellow colleagues.
Enzo retorted by pointing out that the cruiserweights were featuring in the last hour of the company’s flagship show, something the division had never achieved while Neville was champion.
He has a point too. Enzo brings something to the show that has been missing for a long time. A larger than life character that can finally give Neville a bit of competition with drawing in the crowd – a skill set which Amore possesses with his memorable catchphrases and his off-the-cuff smack-talking.
The cruiserweight division has consistently failed to capture the audience’s attention, whether that’s down to the lack of charisma or depth when it comes to how the wrestlers are booked by management.
Even when they might have a good gimmick or story, it may not work due a lack of investment from the crowd. This isn’t necessarily the talents’ fault as they’re often performing to an audience that has already had to sit through two or three hours of wrestling that will certainly be higher on the pecking order.
This is where Enzo comes in. While he lacks in-ring ability (especially when it comes to the luchador style often seen at this weight class) Enzo can really draw in his audience and allow them to invest in him, whether he’s a face or heel – he can always gauge a reaction.
But let’s not get this confused – Neville is the poster boy for the division and he deserves to be. An immensely talented wrestler who has found his feet after having a slow start to his career in the WWE.
However for the future of the cruiserweight division, having the title on Enzo is good for everyone involved as it provides some much needed competition during the purple-themed hour that is desperately crying out for it.