Back in March, we bought you news of WWE’s newest endeavor, a tournament involving the best cruiserweights in the world, and that endeavor has become a reality. Starting on July 13, the WWE Cruiserweight Classic will begin, exclusively on the WWE Network
This tournament represents a number of touchstones. It is the first ‘open’ tournament to be held by the WWE. The WWE typically does not acknowledge other promotions, even when stars of another promotion come into the WWE. That tone has changed recently with the talent influx of performers like Finn Balor (Prince Devitt), Samoa Joe, and Shinsuke Nakamura. Out of the 32 competitors in the tournament, only 4 have associated with the WWE, the rest are out of the independent scene or work with promotions in their home country.
32 professional wrestlers representing 16 different countries will perform at Full Sail University, showcasing their talents to an audience that may not have seen performers of this caliber. In our March column, when this tournament was coming together, we discussed two of the competitors. Akira Tozawa and early favorite Zack Sabre Jr. were some of the first competitors announced. The full field of 32 was introduced this past Friday and if you are a wrestling fan, you’re excited for this.
This tournament represents a number of styles. Lucha Libre, strong style, catch wrestling, striking. Every one of these performers brings a different aspect of pro wrestling and there is a competitor for every fan here.
There are some names you may be familiar with. WWE veterans Brian Kendrick and Yoshihiro Tajiri are involved. Rich Swann has had a couple of matches on NXT. Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano have recently joined NXT, and Gargano is one of the favorites in this tournament. Here are some competitors you may not be all that familiar with, but may want to keep an eye out for.
Ho Ho Lun
Home: China (Hong Kong)
Style: Traditional, favors grappling and suplexes
Ho Ho Lun is a star in his native Hong Kong. Influenced by the WWE from a young age to become a wrestler, he has performed throughout Asia and Europe. He also founded the Hong Kong Pro Wrestling Federation, the first promotion in Hong Kong.
Home: Puerto Rico
Style: Lucha Libre
Dorado has performed all over the world. Japan, Europe, and all across Mexico. One of a few luchadors in the CWC, Dorado is looking to impress the crowd with his high flying style
Known as the ‘Hard Hit Prince’, Kota Ibushi is an outright superstar. He has won the New Japan Cup and Best Of Super Juniors Tournaments. He’s gone toe to toe with Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura. Expect to see him face Zack Sabre Jr. in either the final, or in the WWE later down the road.
WWE’s Crusierweight Classic is currently taping the opening rounds at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. A ‘bracketology’ special will air on July 6, with the opening rounds of the tournament set to begin airing on July 13, exclusively on the WWE Network.