Ranking The Remnants: WWE Cruiserweight Classic — Five Years On

Half a decade has passed. Half a decade since all the thrills, chills, twists, and turns of the Cruiserweight Classic. One of the finest pieces of television little old me has had the pleasure of witnessing.

It’s a shame we ain’t seen another one, but it does make me appreciate this one a whole lot more — and the individuals who took part in it.

Over the past five years, I’ve looked in and seen who’s left, be it 20 of them in 2017, or 19 of them in 2018, or 18 of them in 2019Or 17 of them in 2020… But this year, we have our lowest tally yet.

We are down to just 12.

Twenty sparks, firecrackers, and dynamites have moved on.

They’re not dead, they’re just not with WWE anymore. And that ain’t no thang. I hope they’re doing great and that they can eat at whatever restaurants they want and all the other stuff happy people do.

Last time out, in the midst of the Thunderdome, our list looked like this.
17. Sean Maluta
16. The Brian Kendrick
15. Ariya Daivari
14. Sunil Singh
13. Samir Singh
12. Raul Mendoza
11. Lince Dorado
10. Noam Dar
9. Gran Metalik
8. Cedric Alexander
7. Drew Gulak
6. Mustafa Ali
5. Tony Nese
4. Akira Tozawa
3. Tomasso Ciampa
2. Johnny Gargano
1. Fabian Aichner

That’s right, bit of a shock winner.
But as I mentioned, we’re down to 12 this year. Daddy Dinero Daivari and poet-laureate Tony Nese were released along with The Singh Brothers. Plus, out of the fifteen matches that Sean Maluta has wrestled since the previous list, eleven of them have been for AEW, so it just didn’t feel right to keep him as a fixture on the bottom of this list. Goodbye my lover.

But we got twelve still fighting the fight in Winter Park, so let’s rank the remnants of the Cruiserweight Classic five years on.

Six matches since the last list and nothing since October. That is down to the fact that The Brian has transitioned to the role of producer, but he stated that he was only semi-retired from in-ring action, so as long as he’s with the company, he’s on this list ’til he tells me otherwise!
And he also moves up four places, so bully (choke) for him.

Difference: +4

Since The Classic, Drew has proven himself to be a bright spark wherever he’s been needed, a real multi-tool player. In the past year, he’s been entertaining in the mixes for the 24/7 Title, and along with those title reigns, he might be the only guy on the roster to have had a rose shoved up his arse.
Gotta make yourself stand out, and I’ve heard his farts smell lovely now.

Difference: -4

Lucha House Party have been a bit rudderless in the past year, somehow getting lost in the near-nonexistent tag team scene on RAW. Which is akin to getting lost on a coffee table. They have had matches, I cannot dispute that fact, but many have been filler with no rhyme or reason to them. Lince and Metalik have had crackers in there though, competing in the Dusty Classic and for the RAW Tag Titles, but there’s gotta be so much more they can do.
The Golden Lynx is only pipped by his teammate ‘cos he had one match fewer.

Difference: +1

Lucha House Party have been a bit rudderless in the past year, somehow getting lost in the near-nonexistent tag team scene on RAW. Which is akin to getting lost on a coffee table. They have had matches, I cannot dispute that fact, but many have been filler with no rhyme or reason to them. Lince and Metalik have had crackers in there though, competing in the Dusty Classic and for the RAW Tag Titles, but there’s gotta be so much more they can do.
The King of the Ropes pips his teammate here ‘cos he had one more match.
The fact that I can copy and paste this for guys of their quality is upsetting.
And lazy! But I’m not being paid to write for them. Which is also upsetting, but for different reasons.

Difference: NO CHANGE

The 24/7 mainstay has been giving his all to everything he’s doing. Not to say that no-one else on this list is, but Tozawa’s all is so much more frantic and jagged, that ya cannae help but take notice. He’s still a ninja, but he can still go, so as long as he’s happy, I guess, but there’s been a bit of regression in the character…
I am talking about a cowardly ninja, however.

Difference: -4

He lost the NXT Tag Team Titles on the eve of this list last year and then there were some breaks this year, understandably, but nonetheless, last year’s number one has been toppled. Off a career year, there is a year of repair and Imperium are now fully in North America and ready to strike again. Aichner’ll be back up this list next year, I’m sure of it.

Difference: -6

I know the Retribution thing wasn’t his fault. Like I said about Mia Yim on my MYC articles, commitment is key — they gave themselves to it and they weren’t rewarded with anything to work with or any faith. Ali came out of it looking shiniest though — his promos never faultered, and nor did his in-ring work, it was essentially just a heel-turn for him. Aside from that, he’s been an MVP of Main Event, been challenging for the United States Title, and has been a consistent part of the stories he’s been a part of.
He cannae be faulted even if the situations around him can.
Also, re-reading this series, I was bemoaning Ali’s lack of gold two years ago. GIVE HIM EVERYTHING

Difference: NO CHANGE

Since NXT UK has returned, The Supernova has been just that. He’s exploded into the new existence and has been a charismatic lead of the brand. Though his matches are few and far between, we know they’re gonna be a quality, it’s his chat-show The Supernova Sessions that have lit up shows, getting himself and his mates neatly chugging along while sparking feuds or friendships with his guests.
It’s a wonderful thing.

Difference: +5

It’s been frustrating being a Cedric fan this past year. He feckin’ wrecked it with The Hurt Business and the tag team with Ricochet, winning the RAW Tag Titles with the former. He became ‘Prime’ Alexander, looking as smooth and perfect as ever in the ring. Then, it all turned to dust and Cedric looked like an afterthought. They gave his character purpose and then they took it away and forgot all about him.
If it’s frustrating being a fan, I hope it’s not frustrating being Cedric.

Difference: +4

There was a bit of a scramble a year ago, finding his place in NXT again. And then he found Timmy Thatcher. A tag team I reckoned would be short-lived has turned into one of the best things going. Unique matches and interviews with the two have been must-see stuff and you’d swear they’d been a team their whole lives. But Ciampa ain’t just a tag-man, his United Kingdom Title match against Walter was a feckin’ spectacle with Tommy Ciamps proving he can do it all, all over again.
But he can’t crack the top two again just yet…

Difference: NO CHANGE

Fat Dog has been quietly sneaking his way up this list, and a tag title reign might have just seen him top of it. Maybe not, but it would have capped an excellent year for the Mexican stand-out. His part in Legado del Fantasma is perfect for him as he gets to show off the fact that he can literally do everything in the ring with a new attitude about him. It felt odd when they were in the chase for the tag titles, but now, there couldn’t be anything more natural.
From unheard of in the CWC, to can’t miss in NXT.

Difference: +10

Back on top for the third time in five years. Was anyone actually worried about this guy getting bland? Yes. Yes they were. But as soon as his NXT Title pursuits at the start of September were up, he cranked things up a notch. His run-around with the NXT North American Title was cracker; he was entertaining, proficient, efficient, and good at whatever he was doing. Then The Way came along, and everyone shone there, proving themselves the most consistent part of NXT for months.
When you wanna see where a performer goes next, that always says to me that they’ve done a bang-up job.
All this while keeping his family in check is one helluvan accomplishment.

Difference: +1

— —

There it be.

Classic.
Quality.
Controlled.

BIGGEST MOVE UP: +10 — Raul Mendoza
BIGGEST MOVE DOWN: -6 — Fabian Aichner

Well, the job security might be whack, and it might not be the healthiest work environment ever, and the main roster writing might not be kind to them…

I thought there’d be a ‘but’ to that…

Regardless of where they are, they’re still doing something they love. And though at times the governing forces might be tyrannical and occasionally downright evil, these are the guys we watch for. Not just these 12 or these 32, but all of the guys who went all in and made a career out of pro-wrestling. The wrestlers make the wrestling, and I’d watch it in a muddy field from the middle of butt-fuck nowhere if I had to.

I’ve been there many times, lovely place.

I hope all these guys keep doing what they love, and I wish the same to Anthony Bennett, Kenneth Johnson, Zack Sabre Jr., Sean Maluta, Alejandro Saez (STILL the best facial expressions in wrestling), Rich Swann, Jack Gallagher, TJP, Da Mack, Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese, Hoho Lun, Jason Lee, Kota Ibushi, Clement Petiot, Damian Slater, Tajiri, The Bollywood Boyz, and Tyson Dux.
Within reason.

Keep it streets ahead,

C.L.R.

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