This is my top ten WCW cruiserweight list of all-time and before you read this list I wanted to tell you how I decided the placement of each of the wrestlers. I firstly looked at the overall quality of the wrestler’s matches and moves they performed, as the division was heavily based on the matches and moves as opposed to storylines. Secondly, I looked at the wrestler’s impact on the division and their successfulness within it. Finally, I looked at the wrestler’s championship successes (only in WCW) and their influence on the WCW Cruiserweight Championship as well as WCW as a whole. And with that out of the way let’s begin the countdown of the top ten WCW Cruiserweights of all-time.
10. La Parka
Ah “the chairman of WCW”. La Parka was by far one of the coolest of the cruiserweights in WCW. With his signature chair, comedic dancing and original attire, La Parka truly was what the WCW Cruiserweights were all about. While La Parka didn’t sadly achieve any championship success in WCW, he did get hugely over with the WCW fans due to his theatrics and over the top taunts. While the WCW cruiserweight division is renowned for being full of small, quick wrestlers, La Parka was over 6 feet tall and of a much bigger frame than the rest of the WCW cruiserweights, again helping him stand out and creating his over the top character. Often on the side of the rudos (heels) in tag-team matches, he was one of the wrestlers the fans liked to see break the rule book, most notably see him hit people with his famous steel chair. Probably La Parka’s most remembered WCW match was not against the cruiserweights, but instead against Goldberg in June 1998 on Nitro. Goldberg was in the midst of his now famous winning streak, dismantling every WCW wrestler who was put in front of him. So it was only a matter of time before the WCW cruiserweights would be up to face Goldberg and unluckily La Parka got this very duty. In a match what lasted all but a minute La Parka was speared and jack hammered along with the other 93 hopefuls who sadly failed to stop the streak before him. While he sadly didn’t gain the championship or television success he deserved, La Parka is synonymous with the WCW cruiserweight division and added a great deal of fun to WCW as a whole.
While the cruiserweight division is fondly remembered as the springboard for Rey Mysterio Jr’s international fame, let us not forget his sparring partner who was just as instrumental in making Rey Mysterio Jr. a success, Psychosis. Psychosis much like La Parka never got the credit he deserved back in WCW. And out and out rudos Psychosis was dressed in all black and white, with high-flying ability mixed in with some violent brawling. Psychosis’ most famous rivalry was with his arch-nemesis Rey Mysterio Jr. Before joining WCW, the two had famously fought in Japan as well as their native Mexico, and even having a best of 3 series in ECW (as well as one tag-match) but it was WCW where the two would have their most famous wars. A mainstay in the WCW Cruiserweight division he held the Cruiserweight title twice, and has the distinct honour of the shortest reign, one hour! While he never met his full potential, he did have some classic encounters in the division, and will be forever remembered for his great attire, cool name, tag team with La Parka and classic opening match at Bash at the Beach 1996 against Rey Mysterio Jr.
8. Alex Wright
The WCW Cruiserweight division is mostly remembered for its influx of lucha-libre and Japanese wrestlers into North America, but Alex Wright was an exception. A wrestler of German origin, he became known for his dancing before matches and comedic antics but is also remembered as being one of the most fluid wrestlers in WCW, having a ton of great matches. Joining WCW in 1991, it would be six years later in 1997 when he would win his first (and only) cruiserweight championship before losing the title fifteen days later to Chris Jericho, the man he beat for the title. But that wouldn’t be his only championship success in WCW, Wright would go onto hold the WCW Tag Team Championships (with General Reaction) and the WCW TV Championship, breaking away from the cruiserweight division and becoming one of the few WCW stars to do so successfully. While he isn’t one of the most remembered stars of the cruiserweight division, Alex Wright’s short stint as WCW Cruiserweight champion as well as his great matches and technical ability, definitely argue why he should be on this list as one of WCW’s top ten cruiserweights of all-time.
7. Ultimo Dragon
Out of all the Japanese talent to come to WCW, no one had more championship success than Ultimo Dragon. A holder of the prestigious J-Crown when he arrived in WCW, Ultimo Dragon was already holding nine Junior Heavyweight Championships, and it was only a matter of time before he won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship putting this record up to ten! Although his stint in WCW only lasted two years, Ultimo Dragon became one of the most influential wrestlers in the cruiserweight division. An innovator of the Asai Moonsault and DDT, his revolutionary style mixing Japanese and Mexican Wrestling, amazed the WCW audience, who saw him have classic battles against the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr., Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Psychosis, Eddy Guerrero and many more. Distinguishable by his dragon inspired attire and entrance, he brought a Japanese element to the WCW Cruiserweight division which had not been seen since the debut of Jushin “Thunder” Liger. A two-time holder of the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, he would only hold the title for a combined reign of 31 days. He would however go onto also win the WCW Television Championship twice for a combined reign of 72 days, making up for his disappointing reigns as WCW Cruiserweight Champion. While he only wrestled in WCW for a couple of years, the impact and matches Ultimo Dragon had in the WCW Cruiserweight division, more than make up for his short stint in WCW.
6. Billy Kidman
Originally part of Raven’s Flock, Billy Kidman looked like a skinny jobber up to the rest of the WCW roster. But once he broke his allegiances with the Flock, Billy Kidman became more than just a skinny jobber; he became one of the shining original stars of the WCW Cruiserweight division. Famous for his daredevil manoeuvres and awesome shooting star press, Billy Kidman made WCW fans jump out of their seats with excitement and awe at the risks he would take. A three time WCW Cruiserweight champion, Billy Kidman was one of the longest reigning WCW Cruiserweight champions and brought a much needed legitimacy to the championship. But the WCW Cruiserweight Championship wasn’t Billy Kidman’s only WCW Championship success, Billy Kidman would go onto hold the WCW Tag Team Championships twice with Rey Mysterio Jr. and Konnan as a part of the Filthy Animals and was along with Rey Mysterio Jr. one half of the final and short-lived WCW Cruiserweight Tag-Team Champions. A mainstay in the cruiserweight division from 1997 up until WCW’s demise in 2001, Billy Kidman will always be remembered as a part of the division and his stunning Shooting Star Press.
5. Juventud Guerrera
Juventud Guerrera was the quintessential cruiserweight. He had a great mask, charisma, a cool entrance and a move set right out of a comic book. Nicknamed “The Juice”, Juventud was from the same school as Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psychosis, with who he would have some of his most memorable encounters with in the division. Arguably, Juventud’s greatest (and most memorable) match was at Superbrawl VIII against Chris Jericho for the cruiserweight championship, with the added stipulation of hair vs. mask (a famous stipulation in Lucha-Libre). Juventud would lose and lead him to unmask at Superbrawl VIII, which instead of making him less popular with the crowd, it actually made him more popular and made him even more successful than he was under his mask. A three time cruiserweight champion, and one time WCW Tag Team Champion with his former rival Rey Mysterio Jr. Juventud Guerrera won his share of gold in WCW, but it was his winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in 1999 which would be his most controversial moment in WCW. In a match in which Jushin “Thunder” Liger’s IWGP title was on the line, Juventud controversially won the championship as of the result of Liger being hit on the back of the head with a tequila bottle. The championship was not meant to change hands and especially not in the fashion in which it happened, leading New Japan Pro-Wrestling not to release the information of the title change to the Japanese media, but luckily by this time Liger had regained his championship from Psychosis (Guerrera was out due to an arm injury) and all was thankfully forgotten. Juventud Guerrera will always be remembered as one of the most successful, charismatic and exciting WCW cruiserweights of all-time.
4. Eddy Guerrero
The one and only Eddy Guerrero. Eddy Guerrero would have been higher on this list, but when I was making this top ten and all things considered he deserves to be at number 4. But that’s not saying Eddy Guerrero doesn’t deserve to be in this top ten. Eddy Guerrero was one of the most charismatic, technical, all-around wrestlers in the WCW cruiserweight division. And his matches are by far some of the greatest in WCW history. His impact on the division was vital; legitimacy. If it wasn’t for Eddy Guerrero, the cruiserweight division would be branded as nothing more than a glorified spot-fest full of no selling and high-spots. But Eddy Guerrero changed this; Eddy Guerrero brought a mix of high-flying and technical wrestling to the division and in the process helped make it one of the most entertaining and exciting divisions in all of pro-wrestling history. Wrestling everyone in the division from Rey Mysterio Jr. to Syxx, Eddy Guerrero was all about telling stories in the ring and on the mic, as well as making the division the best in the world. Holding the WCW Cruiserweight Championship twice, he helped legitimise the championship with this successful defences and the way he carried the championship. As well as this, Eddy Guerrero was a onetime holder of the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship and the founder (and leader) of the Latino World Order, showing how he could have been so much more to WCW as a whole but never was given the opportunity to go as far as he deserved. One of wrestling’s all time great wrestlers, the WCW cruiserweight division owes a lot to Eddy Guerrero for not only making the division popular, but in the process making the division a legitimate part of pro-wrestling history.
3. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho was by far the most underutilised wrestler in the WCW roster when he was part of it. A great wrestler and talker with tons of charisma, Chris Jericho was made for the main event scene, but sadly due to politics he never met his full potential in WCW’s main events, but instead did meet his full potential in WCW lower and mid-card events. Chris Jericho brought a much needed depth to the WCW Cruiserweight division which otherwise would have been missing. Jericho used his natural gifts on the mic, as well as in the ring to create some truly memorable feuds and moments in the WCW cruiserweight division. His classic 1004 moves promo against Dean Malenko was not only comedy gold, but also a brilliant piece of feud building and storytelling, something which helped keep the cruiserweights interesting and relevant, as opposed to staying in the background. Not only this, but Chris Jericho was also a decorated champion in WCW as well. He held the WCW Cruiserweight Championship four times in WCW, as well as holding the WCW Television Championship once, making him one of the WCW’s most recognised Cruiserweights. Notable for having classic matches with Eddy Guerrero, Juventud Guerrera, Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko and his old rival Ultimo Dragon, Chris Jericho was by far one of the most all-around greatest cruiserweights in the history of WCW.
2. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey Mysterio Jr. was the franchise of the WCW Cruiserweight division; nobody became more popular and recognised with the cruiserweight division than Rey Mysterio Jr. The innovator of some of the most breath-taking and amazing moves in wrestling history, Rey Mysterio Jr. was the man in the WCW Cruiserweight division. People would come from anywhere and everywhere to see what moves Rey Mysterio Jr. would perform next. Notable for his range of attires and masks, Rey Mysterio Jr. was one of the few wrestlers who just had a natural coolness to him. Everybody was a fan of Rey Mysterio Jr., whether you were a man, woman or child, everyone was into Rey Mysterio Jr. and he took the cruiserweight division by storm. Wrestling everyone you could think of in the history of the division, Rey Mysterio Jr. put on classic after classic after classic and had arguably the greatest match in the history of the division against Eddy Guerrero at Halloween Havoc 1997 for the Cruiserweight Championship. Rey Mysterio Jr. was the antithesis of 1990’s WCW. Out of the glory days of Flair, Sting and Steamboat in the 1980’s, Rey Mysterio Jr. was what WCW competition and wrestling was all about in the 1990’s. A true WCW icon, he made a household name of himself in the cruiserweight division, leading him to his record breaking five cruiserweight championship reigns, the most in the history of WCW. He would also hold the WCW Tag Team Championships three times with Billy Kidman, Konnan and Juventud Guerrera, as well as being the final WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champion along with Billy Kidman. Nobody was more instrumental to the success of the WCW cruiserweight division than Rey Mysterio Jr. He was the face of the division from its start to its very end and along the way had some of the most enthralling, exciting and amazing matches in the history of not only the cruiserweight division, but the history of WCW.
1. Dean Malenko
Out of all the cruiserweights I could have chosen for number 1, I had to go with Dean Malenko. Now before people think it is an attempt to be controversial, I have many reasons why I chose Dean Malenko as my number 1 WCW Cruiserweight of all-time. When I look back at all the great cruiserweight wrestlers, nobody stands out to me more than Dean Malenko. Dean Malenko didn’t have a colourful attire, he didn’t have an exciting entrance, he didn’t even have many (if any) high-flying moves. So looking at it this way, Dean Malenko should have ultimately failed in the cruiserweight division against the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr, Psychosis, Chris Jericho and Juventud Guerrera. But he didn’t, Dean Malenko instead became one of WCW’s most popular stars of all-time. His outstanding technical wrestling ability, mixed with his innovative (and varied) use of manoeuvres gained him the name “The Man of 1000 Holds”. Dean Malenko could do things in a wrestling ring, wrestlers could (and can) only dream of. His technical style was the great counteract to the highflying and daredevil moves of the rest of the cruiserweights and in many ways brought the division back down to reality in terms of hard-hitting, solid wrestling. And it cannot be overlooked that Dean Malenko was nearly a fifteen year pro when he made it into the cruiserweight division and to be that successful, so late in a person’s career, I think says a lot about Dean Malenko’s ability. Dean Malenko was a four time WCW Cruiserweight Champion and had countless classic matches against Eddy Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Ultimo Dragon, as well as the distinct honour of wrestling Rey Mysterio Jr. in his debut match in WCW at The Great American Bash 1996. And he was also onetime WCW United States Champion, a onetime WCW Tag Team Champion (with Chris Benoit) as well as being the only cruiserweight to be PWI’s number 1 wrestler in their PWI top 500 countdown while in WCW (in the year 1997). But all that pales in comparison to what I believe is the greatest honour any WCW cruiserweight had; being made a member of the legendary Four Horsemen an accolade what I believe nothing can diminish. Dean Malenko was by far the greatest WCW cruiserweight wrestler of all-time; his accolades speak for themselves as do his matches and his impact on not only the cruiserweight division, not only WCW, but on wrestling itself will live forever.
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