It’s a great time to be a fan of professional wrestling right now. NXT is a showcase for young, different, and new talent. The biggest event in the industry is upon us as it is Wrestlemania weekend, and even if you don’t like WWE, you have options. Tons of options. Lucha Underground, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring Of Honor and various promotions in and out of the United States are accessible online or on TV. WWE is now taking things to a new dimension. Recently, WWE’s Head Of Talent Development Paul Levesque (better known as WWE Champion Triple H) has announced an event that will air exclusively on the WWE Network. Announced as the Global Cruiserweight Series, the event being produced in cooperation with the EVOLVE, PROGRESS, and Revolution Pro Wrestling organizations. This will be a 32 man tournament, taping will begin at Full Sail University (where NXT shows are taped) beginning in July with the finals scheduled for September.
For those who may not be familiar with the term ‘cruiserweight’, that usually signifies a performer 205 lbs. or less. Cruiserweight talent like Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, and Psychosis were a big part of WCW Monday Nitro in the mid-nineties, gaining acclaim for its technical superiority and fast pace, as compared to the main event talent. In this current era, the cruiserweight talent are becoming the main event and this tournament will show the world what these performers can really do.
The GCS does not start until July but 7 names have already been announced, and if the level of talent holds steady, this might be one of the most dynamic events ever. Current NXT talents Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, and Rich Swann will be participating but let’s look at two others who you may not know, but will once this event kicks off.
Debuting in 2005 in the Dragon Gate promotion, Tozawa would find moderate success going into 2010 and 2011 when he would head to the U.S and begin performing with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Chikara. Tozawa wrestles a traditional Japanese “stiff” style mixed with grappling and a variety of suplexes. He may not go far in the GCS but is worth a look if you are interested in international talent. He has also had matches against talent like The Young Bucks, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn.
Zack Sabre Jr.
The best thing to come out of Great Britain since Colin Firth, Sabre is the early favorite to win here. He’s had battles with Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan in the WWE), Sami Zayn, and Prince Devitt (Finn Balor in NXT). He has won the Wrestling Observer ‘Best Technical Wrestler’ award in 2014 and 2015. He throws a serious penalty kick and his Sabre Driver has helped him notch victory after victory.
The WWE Global Cruiserweight Series will begin airing July on the WWE Network