The wait is nearly over! We’re less than a week from WWE’s first ever Cruiserweight Classic, a 32-man tournament pitting the world’s top cruiserweights against each other. Last night’s Bracketology special ran through the field and went in-depth on some of the competitors. Hosted by Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan, here are a few things this preview taught us.
Chilean competitor Alejandro Saez had to cut major weight to qualify for the tournament. WWE’s cruiserweight cutoff (at least for this tournament) is 205 pounds. Known as “Xtra Large” in South America, Saez went from 230 pounds to 205 on the nose, and it reportedly took him just two weeks.
Bollywood movies and Eddie Guerrero were both influential for brothers Harv and Gurv Sihra. Seeing Guerrero embrace his Latino heritage in a proud and non-stereotypical way was important to the Sihra siblings. When they became wrestlers, they decided to show their Indian lineage as the Bollywood Boys. “They want to see a hero come down the snow-clad mountain with a pink scarf, sing songs to the heroine, and beat up all the bad guys at the end,” Harv says.
Rich Swann’s path to the Cruiserweight Classic has been lined with tragedy. Both of Swann’s parents passed away when he was young: His father when he was 13 years old, and his mother when he was 16. “I feel like I was never supposed to make it,” he says, “but I did.”
The visual presentation of the CWC broadcasts is looking amazing so far. With 16 countries being represented, I’ve been joking that the Cruiserweight Classic is Triple H’s personal Street Fighter tournament. Look at these matchup graphics, these are absolutely fighting game loading screens! I bet the last match of the tourney is on Final Destination with no items. Also, I think Corey Graves was trapped inside the Chikara Event Center for this.
Brian Kendrick views the Cruiserweight Classic as his path to redemption. “When I had the world in my hands, I let it slip through my fingers because I was busy patting myself on the back. I was released [from WWE] because I was an animal… To have a second chance, it gives me a new lease on life, because without wrestling I’m just living.”
Daniel Bryan has some very high praise for Kota Ibushi. “I can remember two people kicking me to the point where I can still feel it,” Bryan says. “One is Hideo Itami, the other is Kota Ibushi.” Apart from his strong style expertise, Bryan showed concern about Ibushi’s recent neck surgery.
Triple H says there’s more cruiserweight action to come. When asked if the Cruiserweight Classic is “one and done,” Triple H was quick to deny it. “This is the very, very beginning of an opportunity. I think we’re scratching the surface. What exactly that opportunity is, I’m not 100 percent certain, but I know the opportunity is there.”