There aren’t many great memories to write about WCW but one element that I always enjoyed in WCW was the cruiserweights. The WCW cruiserweight division would regularly steal the show and tear the house down which is why today I pay tribute to the Top 10 WCW Cruiserweights.
The cruiserweight division in WCW came from the light heavyweight division of past booking regimes. Eric Bischoff recreated the division and gave lighter wrestler from all over the world the opportunity to come to the United States and dazzle American pro wrestling audiences on a weekly basis. In my opinion, the WCW cruiserweight division was the best element of Nitro and later Thunder.
The division generally featured professional wrestlers smaller than 220 pounds. Several cruiserweights would later put on weight and enjoy success as a heavyweight champion in either WCW or the WWE. Unfortunately many of these great talents got lost in the shuffle following the WCW sale and struggled to find a spot in the WWE.
Rey Mysterio Jr. – It is hard to argue against Rey Mysterio. For those newer WWE fans that never saw Rey in his glory days, you have no idea what you missed. If you thought this guy flies now, you need to go find some old Mysterio matches from WCW or even ECW on You Tube and block out 30 minutes of your day.
Juventud Guerrera – One of the most underrated wrestlers of this era was Juventud Guerrera. Some would argue that Guerrera was the best wrestler in the world during this time period. His matches with Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, and fellow cruisers are some of the most fun matches you’ll ever see. Unfortunately unlike Rey, Juventud was never able to catch on in the WWE the way the “Juice” did in WCW.
Eddie Guerrero – Eddie was a daredevil in WCW and was arguably the greatest cruiserweight in the division for a short period of time. Guerrero was able to blend his mix of international styles to adapt to all opponents and deliver intense matches in the division. His match with Rey Mysterio from Halloween Havoc is regarded by some as one of the greatest matches in WCW history, maybe the best in cruiserweight history.
Dean Malenko – Unfortunately Dean Malenko entered the WWE at the twilight of his career. However, Malenko came into WCW during his prime. What I always loved about Malenko is that you never saw the same match twice from him. Everything was different and rarely was there a slow moment in a Dean Malenko match.
Jushin Liger – If Liger was more of a regular during his time in WCW, I think he’d be in the top three of the list. Unfortunately Liger was a part-time wrestler here, which in my opinion drops him down a few notches on the list. Additionally, he rarely seemed to let loose the way he would in Japan. But when he did, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Ultimo Dragon – Ultimo Dragon was a star waiting to happen here. He wasn’t necessarily as fast as Malenko or Mysterio, but he was as crisp as they came. His matches with Eddie Guerrero were just off the charts. Injuries unfortunately took a toll on the masked flyer by the time he arrived in the WWE.
Chris Jericho – It is funny because when most people speak about Jericho in WCW, they talk about his feud with Goldberg. However, before he challenged Goldberg he was a hell of a cruiserweight. He was young, raw, and incredibly hungry during this time in WCW. His international experience allowed him to hang with everyone from Juventud Guerrera to Psychosis to Chavo Guerrero Jr. His ascension years later should be no surprise to anyone who watched him steal the show weekly on Nitro.
Shane Helms – Shane Helms was one of my favorite cruiserweights to watch. He had this raw, athletic, believable style to him that made him standout above the rest in my opinion. He had some great matches in particular with Chavo Jr. His diving crossbody and somersault plancha were awesome. It appeared that Helms was on his way to big things in the division before the company was sold, and rightfully so.
Billy Kidman – How can you not include the guy that introduce the Shooting Star Press to the American audience on the list? The guy had some truly insane cruiserweight matches on Nitro. Plus, his three reigns as WCW cruiserweight champion were particularly impressive given the competition.
Elix Skipper – Elix Skipper was always a favorite of mine to watch in WCW towards the end of the company. Like Helms, it appeared that the company had big plans for Skipper. He didn’t fly around like the luchadores, but he had this raw athleticism that stood out to me from the rest of the pack. You could certainly argue for guys Psychosis, Chavo Jr., or even Kaz Hayashi over Skipper, however he was always one of my favorites to watch, it’s my list, so he’s getting on.