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Abandoned: The History of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Kyle SchadlerChief Writer IDecember 7, 2011

Abandoned: The History of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

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    Throughout history, professional wrestling has seen many championships.

    In WWF/E there are six major titles. Not many know that the company has had a total of at least 19 different titles, 13 of which have been abandoned for one reason or another.

    The other two major companies owned by WWE are WCW and ECW, which have at least 15 abandoned and forgotten titles between them.

    For as long as it takes I will be concentrating on those forgotten titles.

    Each slide will feature the champion, who they defeated, where and when they won it, the length of their title reign, any special circumstances that happened during their reign, and a bit of commentary.

    Belts with a lengthy history will get their own articles and may be broken up into two depending on the length. Titles with a short history may be featured in a standard article, but if they’re really short they’ll be at the end of another title.

    As voted by the readers, for this edition of Abandoned I present the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.

    The title first appeared in 1991 in WCW. At the time it was known as the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship.

    After the title was abandoned a year later it returned in 1996 as the WCW Cruiserweight Championship with a new belt design.

    It was defended regularly on WCW television and pay-per-view until Vince McMahon bought the company.

    In 2001 the title became exclusive to the WWF/E. It was renamed as such and another new belt design was introduced.

    Throughout its 17-year existence the title has seen 82 champions.

    So let’s get started!

Brian Pillman

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    Defeated: Richard Morton

    Where: Chattanooga, TN

    When: Oct. 27, 1991

    Title Reign: 59 days

    Brian Pillman defeated Richard Morton in a tournament final to become the first World Championship Wrestling Light Heavyweight Champion.

    WCW didn’t actually include this title in with the future Cruiserweight Championship. When the title became property of WWF/E, they gave recognition to these champions.

    Brian Pillman would win multiple titles throughout his career in WCW.

    With addition to this he has won the NWA US Tag Team Championship with Tom Zenk as well as the NWA and WCW World Tag Team Championships with Steve Austin.

Jushin Thunder Liger

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    Defeated: Brian Pillman

    Where: Atlanta, GA

    When: Dec. 25, 1991

    Title Reign: 66 days

    Jushin Thunder Liger is an extremely accomplished wrestler from Japan. Throughout his career he has won over 20 titles in New Japan Pro Wrestling as well as a slew of other belts from around the world. 

    He has also appeared in the United States having worked in WCW and TNA.

    Liger was last seen in the states earlier this year in Jersey All Pro Wrestling.

    The legendary junior heavyweight also still wrestles in his native Japan.

Brian Pillman

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    Defeated: Jushin Thunder Liger

    Where: Milwaukee, WI

    When: Feb. 29, 1992

    Title Reign: 112 days

    Flyin’ Brian would find himself in the big leagues when he signed with the World Wrestling Federation in 1996 and became known as “The Loose Cannon.”

    There he took part in the controversial angle on Monday Night Raw where he pointed a gun at his former partner Steve Austin.

    Pillman’s WWF career was unfortunately cut short when he passed away on October 5, 1997.

Scotty Flamingo

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    Defeated: Brian Pillman

    Where: Mobile, AL

    When: June 20, 1992

    Title Reign: 15 days

    Believe it or not, this is Raven.

    Every wrestler is stuck with at least one ridiculous gimmick throughout their career.

    Raven would go onto became a very accomplished wrestler having later won the United States and Tag Team Championships in WCW, the World and Tag Team Championships in ECW, as well as the WWF Hardcore Championship 26 times.

    Raven was last seen in TNA last year before moving back to the independent circuit.

Brad Armstrong

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    Defeated: Scotty Flamingo

    Where: Atlanta, GA

    When: July 28, 1992

    Title Reign: 59 days

    The title was declared vacant on September 2, 1992 due to Brad Armstrong sustaining a knee injury.

    A tournament was supposed to be set up to decide a new champion but it was apparently forgotten about. The WCW Light Heavyweight Championship was considered abandoned by most as a result.

    Brad Armstrong has had a long and successful career with most of it coming from the NWA.

    He would also hold the WCW Six-Man Tag Team Championship as a member of the Fabulous Freebirds while with the company.

    He was last seen as a producer of WWE’s version of ECW.

Shinjiro Ohtani

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    Defeated: Wild Pegasus

    Where: Nagoya, Japan

    When: March 20, 1996

    Title Reign: 43 days

    Four years later the title was renamed the WCW Cruiserweight Championship and a new belt design was introduced.

    Shinjiro Ohtani defeated Wild Pegasus in a tournament final to become the first champion.

    Ohtani has had a successful career in Japan winning many titles. This would be the only WCW title he would hold but would capture the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship about a year later.

    Shinjiro Ohtani can still be seen wrestling in Japan.

Dean Malenko

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    Defeated: Shinjiro Ohtani

    Where: Lake Buena Vista, FL

    When: May 2, 1996

    Title Reign: 67 days

    Dean Malenko’s career got it’s big start in ECW where he captured the Television and Tag Team Championship.

    When he was noticed by WCW he was brought into the cruiserweight division.

    This would be the first title win in the company for the “Man of 1,000 Holds.”

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Dean Malenko

    Where: Lake Buena Vista, FL

    When: July 8, 1996

    Title Reign:  111 days

    Mysterio got his start in the AAA promotion down in Mexico but got national exposure when he was hired by Paul Heyman to work in ECW.

    Mysterio would only last a year there having memorable feuds with Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera.

    He was then signed by WCW and stayed with the company all the way up until its buyout by WWF.

Dean Malenko

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    Defeated: Rey Mysterio

    Where: Las Vegas, NV

    When: Oct. 27, 1996

    Title Reign: 63 days

    A year later Malenko would capture the WCW United States Championship.

    This and the US title would be the only singles titles Dean Malenko would hold while in WCW.

Ultimo Dragon

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    Defeated: Dean Malenko

    Where: Nashville, TN

    When: Dec. 29, 1996

    Title Reign: 23 days

    Ultimo Dragon is one of the most decorated Japanese wrestlers of all time. He has won titles all over the world and won a total of four titles in WCW.

    He won this title twice as well as the Television Championship twice.

Dean Malenko

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    Defeated: Ultimo Dragon

    Where: Milwaukee, WI

    When: Jan. 21, 1997

    Title Reign: 33 days

    Towards the end of his WCW run, Malenko found himself as a member of a new version of the Four Horsemen.

    Along with fellow member Chris Benoit, he won the World Tag Team Championship before heading to the World Wrestling Federation.

Syxx

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    Defeated: Dean Malenko

    Where: San Francisco, CA

    When: Feb. 23, 1997

    Title Reign: 125 days

    This would be the only singles title Syxx would hold while in WCW.

    The man who would later be known as X-Pac would also win tag-team gold as a member of the nWo.

    As X-Pac he found his way to WWF as a member of D-Generation X and has won multiple titles there including the Tag Team and European Championships.

Chris Jericho

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    Defeated: Syxx

    Where: Inglewood, CA

    When: June 28, 1997

    Title Reign: 30 days

    Much like many other wrestlers, Jericho got his first national exposure wrestling in ECW. While there he would capture the Television Championship once.

    When he found his way to WCW, the Cruiserweight Championship would be the first title he would win.

Alex Wright

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    Defeated: Chris Jericho

    Where: Charleston, WV

    When: July 28, 1997

    Title Reign: 15 days

    Alex Wright is mostly known for his time in WCW as this was the only time he had any national exposure.

    He would hold this title along with the Television and Tag Team Championships before the WCW buyout.

    The German wrestler would retire from the ring in 2003 and now has his own wrestling promotion in his native country of Germany.

Chris Jericho

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    Defeated: Alex Wright

    Where: Colorado Springs, CO

    When: Aug. 21, 1997

    Title Reign: 33 days

    A year later he would finally leave the cruiserweight division and win the Television Championship one time.

Eddy Guerrero

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    Defeated: Chris Jericho

    Where: Winston-Salem, NC

    When: Sept. 14, 1997

    Title Reign: 42 days

    A member of the legendary Guerrero wrestling family, Eddie got his start in Mexico and Japan before gaining national exposure in ECW.

    While there he would hold the Television Championship twice.

    During his time with WCW he would also win the United States Championship before moving to the big time.

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Eddy Guerrero

    Where: Las Vegas, NV

    When: Oct. 26, 1997

    Title Reign: 15 days

    While Mysterio was a very accomplished wrestler down in Mexico, the cruiserweight title is the only singles title he would hold while in WCW.

Eddy Guerrero

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    Defeated: Rey Mysterio

    Where: Memphis, TN

    When: Nov. 10, 1997

    Title Reign: 49 days

    This would be the last time Guerrero would hold the title.

    When he found himself in WWF in 2000 he soon became one of the company’s most decorated superstars.  He won 10 titles while there including the Tag Team, US, Intercontinental and WWE Championships.

    As a result Eddie is a Grand Slam Champion.

    Eddie Guerrero would unfortunately pass away at the height of his career on November 13, 2005.

Ultimo Dragon

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    Defeated: Eddy Guerrero

    Where: Baltimore, MD

    When: Dec. 29, 1997

    Title Reign: eight days

    This would be the final time Dragon would win the title.

    He found himself in WWE in 2003 but he only lasted a year there.

    Seven years prior, though, Dragon won the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship making it his only title win in the company.

    Ultimo Dragon can still be seen wrestling in Japan and Mexico.

Juventud Guerrera

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    Defeated: Ultimo Dragon

    Where: Daytona Beach, FL

    When: Jan. 8, 1998

    Title Reign: seven days

    WCW’s cruiserweight division relied heavily on the luchadores of Mexico and the junior heavyweights from Japan. Guerrera is one such luchador. 

    He has won titles from all over the world and got his first big exposure working for ECW.

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Juventud Guerrera

    Where: Lakeland, FL

    When: Jan. 15, 1998

    Title Reign: nine days

    While Mysterio never won another singles title, he would win his first Tag Team Championship along with Billy Kidman a little over a year later.

Chris Jericho

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    Defeated: Rey Mysterio

    Where: Dayton, OH

    When: Jan. 24, 1998

    Title Reign: 113 days

    Chris Jericho had a little success while in WCW but his big break would be coming soon when he signed with the WWF in 1999.

Dean Malenko

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    Defeated: Chris Jericho

    Where: Worcester, MA

    When: May 17, 1998

    Title Reign: 25 days

    To become the No. 1 contender, Dean Malenko won a battle royal under the mask of Ciclope. When he won he took off the mask revealing who he really was.

    The title was declared vacant on June 11, 1998 when it was decided that Malenko didn’t earn the title shot as himself.

    Malenko found himself in WWF along with Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Saturn in 2000. He would win the Light Heavyweight Championship twice before retiring.

    He now works backstage for WWE and will make the occasional appearance on television during special episodes.

Chris Jericho

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    Defeated: Awarded

    Where: Uniondale, NY

    When: June 14, 1998

    Title Reign:  28 days

    Since Dean Malenko was stripped of his title shot, the match was considered as never taking place. So Chris Jericho was awarded back the title.

    A year later Jericho signed with WWF and is now one of their most decorated superstars.

    Y2J has won a total of 24 titles including the Tag Team, European, Hardcore and the two World Championships. He has also held the Intercontinental Championship a record nine times.

    With his many titles wins, Jericho is a Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champion.

    Chris Jericho has been with his band Fozzy for the past year and there are rumors that he’ll be returning to WWE next year.

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Chris Jericho

    Where: San Diego, CA

    When: July 12, 1998

    Title Reign: one day

    This would be the final time Mysterio would hold the title while under his mask.

Chris Jericho

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    Defeated: Awarded

    Where: Las Vegas, NV

    When: July 13, 1998

    Title Reign: 55 days

    To win the title, Rey Mysterio had some help from Dean Malenko. Chris Jericho was awarded back the title due to that interference.

Juventud Guerrera

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    Defeated: Chris Jericho

    Where: Sturgis, SD

    When: Aug. 8, 1998

    Title Reign: 37 days

    This wouldn’t be the only title The Juice would win as he would eventually capture the Tag Team Championship with Rey Mysterio.

Billy Kidman

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    Defeated: Juventud Guerrera

    Where: Greenville, SC

    When: Sept. 14, 1998

    Title Reign: 63 days

    Unlike most cruiserweights, Kidman wasn’t an accomplished wrestler that came in from somewhere else.

    He began his WCW career in 1996 as a jobber but slowly built himself up.

    After two years of clawing his way to the top he was able to capture the Cruiserweight Championship.

Juventud Guerrera

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    Defeated: Billy Kidman

    Where: Wichita, KS

    When: Nov. 16, 1998

    Title Reign: six days

    This would be the final time Guerrera would hold the WCW version of the title.

    After WCW was bought out, he found himself competing in TNA and would win the America’s X Cup as a member of Team Mexico.

    He also returned to Mexico and wrestled in Japan before debuting with WWE in 2005.

Billy Kidman

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    Defeated: Juventud Guerrera

    Where: Auburn Hills, MI

    When: Nov. 22, 1998

    Title Reign: 113 days

    While with WCW this would be Kidman’s only singles title.

    He would capture the Tag Team Championship twice, though, with Rey Mysterio and Konnan.

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Billy Kidman

    Where: Cincinnati, OH

    When: March 15, 1999

    Title Reign: 30 days

    A month before, Mysterio lost his mask in a match against The Outsiders.

    Despite not having his mask, Mysterio would go onto win the Tag Team Championship two more times with Konnan and Juventud Guerrera.

Psicosis

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    Defeated: Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera and Blitzkrieg

    Where: Gainesville, FL

    When: April 19, 1999

    Title Reign: seven days

    This was a fatal-four way match.

    Psicosis was another luchador from Mexico that WCW brought in to bulk up the division.

    An accomplished wrestler in Mexico, this would be the only title he would hold in WCW.

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Psicosis

    Where: Fargo, ND

    When: April 26, 1999

    Title Reign: 115 days

    This would be the final time Mysterio would hold the title before WCW’s buyout.

    On the final WCW Monday Nitro, he would win the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship with Billy Kidman. They would be the final champions to hold them.

Lenny Lane

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    Defeated: Rey Mysterio

    Where: Lubbock, TX

    When: Aug. 19, 1999

    Title Reign: 46 days

    Lenny Lane was stripped of the title on October 4, 1999 when Turner Broadcasting didn’t approve of Lane’s homosexual gimmick.

    Lenny Lane was mostly a jobber while in WCW. His title win over Mysterio was considered a major upset.

    Lane can now be seen on the independent circuit.

Psicosis

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    Defeated: Awarded

    Where: Kansas City, MO

    When: Oct. 4, 1999

    Title Reign: ~one hour

    It was announced that Psicosis defeated Lenny Lane at a house show to win the title, but now the belt is considered to have just been awarded to him.

    After WCW was shut down he later made an appearance at ECW One Night Stand facing his longtime rival Rey Mysterio.

    Soon after he found himself employed by WWE but was only there for a year.

    You can now see him in the AAA promotion down in Mexico.

Disco Inferno

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    Defeated: Psicosis

    Where: Kansas City, MO

    When: Oct. 4, 1999

    Title Reign: 48 days

    Disco Inferno was probably one of the most ridiculous gimmicks WCW ever came up with but it lasted.

    Inferno was over with the fans and it resulted in him winning this title as well as the Television Championship twice.

    After multiple stints in TNA you can now see him on the independent circuit.

Evan Karagias

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    Defeated: Disco Inferno

    Where: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    When: Nov. 21, 1999

    Title Reign: 28 days

    Here we have someone else who ended up with a bad gimmick. After losing the title he became a member of the boy band 3 Count.

    Along with Shannon Moore and Shane Helms, he won the Hardcore Championship once before WCW was shut down.

    Karagias sparingly wrestles now but will pop up here and there.

Medusa

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    Defeated: Evan Karagias

    Where: Washington D.C.

    When: Dec.  19, 1999

    Title Reign: 28 days

    Medusa would be the first woman to win the title.

    Previously she won the WWF Women’s Championship three times while under the name Alundra Blaze.

    She would retire in 2001 to drive monster trucks.

Oklahoma

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    Defeated: Medusa

    Where: Cincinnati, OH

    When: Jan. 16, 2000

    Title Reign: two days

    The title was declared vacant two days later due to Oklahoma exceeding the 215 pound weight limit of the division.

    Oklahoma was played by former WWF writer Ed Ferrara and was a distasteful parody of Jim Ross and his battle with Bell’s Palsy.

    After appearing with TNA for a bit, Ferrara now teaches in Illinois.

The Artist Formally Known as Prince Iaukea

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    Defeated: Lash LeRoux

    Where: San Francisco, CA

    When: Feb. 20, 2000

    Title Reign: 29 days

    The Artist Formally Known as Prince Iaukea defeated Lash LeRoux in a tournament final to win the title.

    The Artist didn’t have the most exciting of careers while in WCW.

    Even though he did win the Television Championship before this, he mainly stayed in mid-card obscurity.

Billy Kidman

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    Defeated: The Artist Formally Known as Prince Iaukea

    Where: Baltimore, MD

    When: March 30, 2000

    Title Reign: one day

    This would be the last time Kidman would hold the belt until it went under the control of the WWF.

    On the last episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Kidman became the final WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champion along with Rey Mysterio as the tiles were abandoned when the show went off the air.

The Artist Formally Known as Prince Iaukea

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    Defeated: Billy Kidman

    Where: Pittsburgh, PA

    When: March 31, 2000

    Title Reign: 10 days

    All WCW titles were declared vacant on April 10, 2000 by Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff. Russo had just started with the organization and wanted to start with a clean slate.

    The Artist stayed with WCW until the buyout and can now be seen on the independent circuit.

Chris Candido

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    Defeated: Juventud Guerrera, Lash LeRoux, Crowbar, Shannon Moore and Prince Iaukea

    Where: Chicago, IL

    When: April 16, 2000

    Title Reign: 29 days

    This was a six-way match. The first wrestler to gain a pinfall or submission would become the champion.

    Chris Candido had a successful career in the business wrestling for the NWA, WCW, ECW and WWF. He has held multiple titles including the NWA World Championship, and ECW and WWF Tag Team Championships.

    After WCW shut down he found himself in TNA where his career ended. Chris Candido would unfortunately pass away on April 28, 2005.

Daffney and Crowbar

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    Defeated: Chris Candido and Tammy Lynn Sytch

    Where: Biloxi, MS

    When: May 15, 2000

    Title Reign: seven days

    This was a Tag Team Match where we saw Crowbar & Daffney vs. Chris Candido & Tammy Lynn Sytch.  When Daffney pinned Sytch, she was announced as the winner.

    Due to it being a tag-team match, though, both Daffney and Crowbar were recognized as co-champions. They would defend the title under the Freebird Rule which states that both can defend the title but if one of them loses it they both lose it.

    Crowbar would also win the Tag Team and Hardcore Championships during his career with WCW.

    He can now be seen at independent shows.

    This would be the only title Daffney would ever win in WCW. She became the second of three women to hold the title.

Daffney

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    Defeated: Crowbar

    Where: Grand Rapids, MI

    When: May 22, 2000

    Title Reign: 15 days

    Daffney defeated Crowbar to decide an undisputed champion.

    After WCW was shut down, WWE signed her to a developmental deal but she never made it to the main roster.

    She was last seen on a national scale in TNA Wrestling, but was released earlier this year.

Lieutenant Loco

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    Defeated: Daffney and Disco Inferno

    Where: Knoxville, TN

    When: June 6, 2000

    Title Reign: days 55 days

    This was a triple threat match.

    Chavo Guerrero finally won his first singles title here in WCW under the name Lieutenant Loco. At the time he was a member of Misfits in Action.

    While in the stable he would also win the Tag Team Championship with Corporal Cajun.

Lance Storm

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    Defeated: Lieutenant Loco

    Where: Cincinnati, OH

    When: July 31, 2000

    Title Reign: 14 days

    Before going to WCW, Storm spent time in ECW winning the Tag Team Championship three times.

    While in WCW he would hold this, the Hardcore and United States Championships at the same time.

    After making his way to WWF/E he would capture Tag Team and Intercontinental Championship gold before being stuck with the horrid “If I can be series for a minute” and dancing gimmicks.

    Lance Storm retired in 2004 and now runs a wrestling school.

Elix Skipper

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    Defeated: Awarded

    Where: Kelowna, British, Columba

    When: Aug. 14, 2000

    Title Reign: 49 days

    Lance Storm awarded the title to Elix Skipper on account that he already had the WCW Hardcore and United States Championships.

    Primetime Elix Skipper had the misfortune of being one of the many wrestlers to be hired right before the buyout. Before WCW shut down, though, he was able to capture the Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship with Kid Romeo.

    After WCW shut down he found himself in TNA winning the Tag Team Championship three times as a member of Triple X and once with Chris Harris.

    He was released in 2008 and is now back in the independents.

Mike Sanders

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    Defeated: Elix Skipper

    Where: San Francisco, CA

    When: Oct. 2, 2000

    Title Reign: 63 days

    This was a handicap powerbomb match that featured Sanders and Kevin Nash vs. Elix Skipper. The first person to deliver a powerbomb won the match.

    Sanders didn’t find much success in WCW as it was shut down five months later.

    He can still be seen once in a while on the independent scene.

Chavo Guerrero

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    Defeated: Mike Sanders

    Where: Lincoln, NE

    When: Dec. 4, 2000

    Title Reign: 104 days

    Back under his real name Guerrero would win his final WCW title here.

    When WWF bought WCW he found his way to the big leagues.

Shane Helms

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    Defeated: Chavo Guerrero

    Where: Jacksonville, FL

    When: March 18, 2001

    Title Reign: 107 days

    Shane Helms was previously stuck with the horrid 3 Count gimmick where he won the Hardcore Championship with Evan Karagias and Shannon Moore.

    When WWF bought WCW Helms was brought in as the champion.

Billy Kidman

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    Defeated: Shane Helms

    Where: Tacoma, WA

    When: July 3, 2001

    Title Reign: 27 days

    After WWF bought WCW, Kidman found himself in the big leagues.

    In what was the first televised WCW match on SmackDown, Kidman won the title from the man who would soon become the Hurricane.

X-Pac

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    Defeated: Billy Kidman

    Where: Philadelphia, PA

    When: July 30, 2001

    Title Reign: 71 days

    This would be the final time X-Pac would hold the title, which was now under WWF control.

    Since being released in 2002 X-Pac was seen in various wrestling promotions including TNA where he won the X-Division Championship.

    He would make his first WWE appearance in nine years at the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony of Shawn Michaels.

    He now is apparently scouting talent for WWE’s developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling.

Billy Kidman

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    Defeated: X-Pac

    Where: Molina, AL

    When: Oct. 9, 2001

    Title Reign: 13 days

    Kidman would be the final WCW wrestler to win the title before it was renamed and became exclusive to the WWF.

Tajiri

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    Defeated: X-Pac

    Where: Kansas City, MO

    When: Oct. 22, 2001

    Title Reign: 162 days

    On November 18, 2001, the World Wrestling Federation defeated WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling in a 10-man elimination match.

    The win put WCW and ECW out of business and all titles of the two companies were officially abandoned.

     Luckily for this one, WWF decided to keep it.

    So Tajiri was recognized as the first WWF Cruiserweight Champion.

    Previously Tajiri was seen in ECW where he won the Television and Tag Team Championships.

Billy Kidman

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    Defeated: Tajiri

    Where: Rochester, NY

    When: April 2, 2002

    Title Reign: 19 days

    While with WWE, Billy Kidman would never win another singles title as he was stuck in the cruiserweight division like many other underweight wrestlers.

Tajiri

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    Defeated: Billy Kidman

    Where: Kansas City, MO

    When: April 21, 2002

    Title Reign: 23 days

    When the World Wildlife Fund defeated Vince McMahon in court over the initials WWF in May 2002, the company changed their name to World Wrestling Entertainment.

    Tajiri was recognized as the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion.

The Hurricane

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    Defeated: Tajiri and Billy Kidman

    Where: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    When: May 14, 2002

    Title Reign: 40 days

    This was a triple threat match.

    No doubt his most popular gimmick, Helms became The Hurricane due to his love of comic books.

    As the character he would also win the European and Hardcore Championships as well as the Tag Team Championship twice with Kane and Rosey.

Jamie Noble

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    Defeated: The Hurricane

    Where: Columbus, HO

    When: June 23, 2002

    Title Reign: 147 days

    This would be the one and only title Noble would ever hold while in WWE.

    His career with the company wasn’t the most successful one and his run could be considered forgettable by most.

    After spending time in the independents as well as having a second run in WWE, he retired from the ring in 2009.

Billy Kidman

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    Defeated: Jamie Noble

    Where: New York, NY

    When: Nov. 17, 2002

    Title Reign: 98 days

    This would be the final time Kidman would hold the title. He would win the Tag Team Championship with Paul London two years later.

    Kidman would be released in 2005 where he wrestled on the independent circuit.

    Billy Kidman is now back with WWE as a trainer for FCW.

Matt Hardy

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    Defeated: Billy Kidman

    Where: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    When: Feb. 23, 2003

    Title Reign: 100 days

    Matt Hardy is an accomplished wrestler that hit a low point when he was entered into the cruiserweight division.

    While his heel character was quite good, the attention it got wasn’t.

    Hardy won multiple titles in WWE before he started to act out which caused his release in 2010.

    He showed up in TNA for a bit before being released due to his behavior. It’s bad when you brother is Jeff Hardy and you’re the one getting punished for behavior.

    He announced his retirement in September and can now be seen in rehab.

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Matt Hardy

    Where: Anaheim, CA

    When: June 3, 2003

    Title Reign: 112 days

    After the buyout, Mysterio would wait a year before joining WWF. He debuted in 2002 and soon found himself winning tag-team gold with Edge.

    He would reenter the cruiserweight division upon feuding with Matt Hardy and captured his sixth Cruiserweight Championship.

Tajiri

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    Defeated: Rey Mysterio

    Where: Philadelphia, PA

    When: Sept. 23, 2003

    Title Reign: 98 days

    This would be the final time Tajiri would hold the title.

    Throughout his WWE career, though, he would win a total of eight titles which included tag-team gold with William Regal and Eddie Guerrero.

    He left WWE in 2005 to return to Japan and can now be seen in the Smash promotion.

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Tajiri

    Where: Laredo, TX

    When: Dec. 30, 2003

    Title Reign: 47 days

    Unlike many cruiserweight wrestlers, Mysterio was able to branch off to bigger and better things.

    He has held a total of 12 titles while with WWE including the two World Championships the company has to offer.

    Due to his world title wins, and the winning of the Intercontinental Championship, Rey Mysterio is a Triple Crown Champion.

Chavo Guerrero

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    Defeated: Rey Mysterio

    Where: San Francisco, CA

    When: Feb. 15, 2004

    Title Reign: 79 days

    After spending time in the tag-team division with his uncle Eddie Guerrero, Chavo reentered the cruiserweight division.

    While teaming with Eddie, he would win the Tag Team Championship twice.

Jacqueline

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    Defeated: Chavo Guerrero

    Where: Tucson, AZ

    When: May 4, 2004

    Title Reign: 12 days

    Jackie is a two-time WWF Women’s Champion who became the third and final woman to win this title.

    A great wrestler but she was usually pushed aside for other women.

    After leaving WWE in 2004 she made her way to TNA where she has had multiple stints. She was seen as recently as a few months ago.

    She hasn’t been seen in a while and it’s speculated that she may have been released already.

Chavo Guerrero

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    Defeated: Jacqueline

    Where: Los Angeles, CA

    When: May 16, 2004

    Title Reign: two days

    Guerrero was never too lucky when it came to storylines.

    Despite being an accomplished wrestler WWE tended to put him in feuds for entertainment value.

    Examples would be his feud with Jacqueline as well as his own father.

Chavo Classic

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    Defeated: Chavo Guerrero and Spike Dudley

    Where: Las Vegas, NV

    When: May 18, 2004

    Title Reign: 28 days

    This was a triple threat match.

    The father of Chavo Guerrero, Chavo Classic has been wrestling since the early 1970s. He has won titles all over the world as a result.

    This title would be the only WWE title win of his career.

    Chavo Guerrero, Sr. retired from the ring in 2008

Rey Mysterio

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    Defeated: Chavo Classic

    Where: Chicago, IL

    When: June 15, 2004

    Title Reign: 42 days

    This would be the final time Mysterio would hold the title.

    Since winning the world titles, he would remain as one of WWE’s main event superstars.

    He is currently on the injured list but could be back in time for WrestleMania.

Spike Dudley

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    Defeated: Rey Mysterio

    Where: Cincinnati, OH

    When: July 27, 2004

    Title Reign: 138 days

    Before debuting in WWE, Spike spent time in ECW as one of the many Dudley family members.

    While there he would win the Tag Team Championship twice with Balls Mahoney.

    During his time with WWF/E he mostly stayed within the hardcore division winning the title seven times. He did also win the European and Tag Team Championships before leaving the company.

    He soon followed his “brothers” to TNA and became known as Brother Runt.

    He didn’t do much there and retired in 2010.

Funaki

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    Defeated: Spike Dudley

    Where: Duluth, GA

    When: Dec. 12, 2004

    Title Reign: 70 days

    Funaki spent 12 years with the company and was awarded for his time and loyalty with only won two titles.

    His first taste of gold was the Hardcore Championship but because of the 24/7 rule he didn’t have it for long.

    After his reign as cruiserweight champion he was stuck with the ridiculous Kung Funaki gimmick.

    He left WWE in 2010 and can now be seen on the independent circuit.

Chavo Guerrero

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    Defeated: Funaki, Spike Dudley, Shannon Moore, Akio and Paul London

    Where: Pittsburgh, PA

    When: Feb. 20, 2005

    Title Reign: 37 days

    This was a six-man elimination match.

    Guerrero would hold the title one more time before it was abandoned.

Paul London

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    Defeated: Chavo Guerrero, Billy Kidman, Funaki, Akio, Spike Dudley, Nunzio and Scotty 2 Hotty

    Where: Houston, TX

    When: March 29, 2005

    Title Reign: 126 days

    This was an eight-man battle royal.

    Paul London was a spectacle in the ring and WWE let him shine at times.

    He would win tag-team gold with Billy Kidman and Brian Kendrick along with the Cruiserweight Championship during his time with WWE.

    After being released in 2008, London headed back to the independent circuit.

Nunzio

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    Defeated: Paul London

    Where: Bridgeport, CT

    When: Aug. 2, 2005

    Title Reign: 68 days

    Nunzio won his first and only title in WWE. While he would capture it a second time, he never held any other belt.

    Nunzio was previously seen in ECW as Little Guido and was a two-time holder of the Tag Team Championship alongside the Full Blooded Italians.

Juventud Guerrera

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    Defeated: Nunzio

    Where: Houston, TX

    When: Oct. 9, 2005

    Title Reign: 37 days

    Guerrera signed with WWE in 2005 and was thrusted into the cruiserweight division.

    Within a few months he captured the Cruiserweight Championship.

Nunzio

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    Defeated: Juventud Guerrera

    Where: Rome, Italy

    When: Nov. 15, 2005

    Title Reign: seven days

    WWE decided to give the Italian fans a treat when they gave the title back to Nunzio. As soon as they left Italy, though, the title was put back on Guerrera.

    After being released in 2008 he spent some time in the independents. He showed up in TNA in 2010 during their ECW reunion but he didn’t last long.

    Nunzio was last seen as a referee for WWE but as of September he was once again released.

Juventud Guerrera

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    Defeated: Nunzio

    Where: Sheffield, England

    When: Nov. 22, 2005

    Title Reign: 26 days

    This would be the final time Guerrera would win the title as he was released a month after losing it.

    Guerrera has since appeared for AAA in Mexico but seems to have been banned from there after an incident backstage.

    He can now be seen on the independent circuit.

Kid Kash

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    Defeated: Juventud Guerrera

    Where:  Providence, RI

    When:  Dec. 18, 2005

    Title Reign: 42 days

    Kash first showed up in ECW and would win the Television Championship during his time there.

    WCW then hired Kash but a week later WWF bought the company which cancelled out Kash’s deal.

    He found his way to TNA after that and won the X-Division Championship once as well as the Tag Team Championship twice with Dallas.

    WWE then hired him but he only lasted a year there.

    Kid Kash can be seen back in TNA Wrestling fighting in the X-Division he helped start.

Gregory Helms

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    Defeated: Kid Kash, Jamie Noble, Nunzio, Paul London and Funaki

    Where:  Miami, FL

    When:  Jan. 29, 2006

    Title Reign: 385 days

    This was a six-way match.

    Sick of being a comedy character, Hurricane began wrestling under his real name Gregory Helms.

    This would be the final time he would hold the title and was released in 2010 after beginning to appear as the Hurricane once again.

    Helms can now be seen working for Lucha Libre USA.

Jimmy Wang Yang

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    Defeated: Gregory Helms

    Where: Los Angeles, CA

    When: Feb. 18, 2007

    Title Reign: a few minutes

    Jimmy Wang Yang won the title as a part of an eight-man Cruiserweight Open. The other participants were Daivari, Shannon Moore, Funaki, Jamie Noble and Scotty 2 Hotty.

    The eighth man in the match ended Yang’s short reign as champion.

Chavo Guerrero

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    Defeated: Jimmy Wang Yang

    Where: Los Angeles, CA

    When: Feb. 18, 2007

    Title Reign: 154 days

    This would be the final time Chavo would hold the title.

    A year later he won his first World Championship winning the ECW title.

    In 2009 he entered into a ridiculous feud with Hornswoggle.

    The damage was done and Chavo entered into obscurity until his release earlier this year.

Hornswoggle

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    Defeated: Jamie Noble

    Where: Indianapolis, IN

    When: July 22, 2007

    Title Reign: 65 days

    Hornswoggle won the title as a part of a six-man Cruiserweight Open. He surprised everyone when he was able to pin Jamie Noble to win the title.

    On September 25, 2007 acting SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero stripped Hornswoggle of the title because of his status as Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son.

    She also cited his height as a reason as she was worried about his wellbeing. The title would completely disappear afterwards.

    On March 8, 2008 the WWE Cruiserweight Championship was considered abandoned when WWE removed it from its list of active titles on their website and placed into the defunct titles list.

    Hornswaggle can still be seen on SmackDown.

Statistics and Final Thoughts

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    Most Reigns: Rey Mysterio (8)

    Longest Single Reign: Gregory Helms (385 days)

    Longest Combined Reign: Gregory Helms (532 days)

    Shortest Reign: Jimmy Wang Yang (a few minutes)

    WCW knew how to book a cruiserweight division. There were times when the cruiserweight matches were the best part of the show.

    Every match we were treated to had fast-paced, high-flying action. There was rarely a dull moment when the cruiserweights were in the ring.

    As time went by, though, WCW started to shy away from it. The matches that were great a few years ago were now basic wrestling matches with the occasional high-flying move thrown in.

    The once exciting cruiserweight division was dying right alongside the company that once featured it so prominently.

    When WWE got a hold of the belt I saw a glimmer of hope. They had already failed with their Light Heavyweight Championship so I was hoping that they learned from their mistakes.

    The WWE cruiserweight division was pretty good when it started. Just like WCW’s division, though, WWE’s started to lag.

    The company was clearly losing interest in cruiserweight wrestling. The point came across quite clear when they gave the title to Hornswaggle.

    Right now WWE has many smaller wrestlers that could thrive with a cruiserweight division. Guys like Justin Gabriel and Primo would have something to do instead of having to face the likes of Jinder Mahal or being stuck in a stable that will probably go nowhere.

    WWE could really benefit from bringing the title back.

    For now, though, the WWE Cruiserweight Championship will remain gone and soon to be forgotten.

    Thanks for reading! Advance to the next slide to vote on the next edition!

     

    Previous Installments 

    WWE Women’sWWE European + BonusECW TelevisionWCW HardcoreWCW US Tag TeamWWF Martial ArtsWWF InternationalWCW Women’sECW World

     

    Sources 

    http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wcw/wcw-lh.html

    http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wwe/wwe-c.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WWE_Cruiserweight_Champions

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Pillman

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Guerrero

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Candido

    Photos: onlineworldofwrestling.com unless noted otherwise

Vote for the Next Edition

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    After today there will be 12 titles left in the series, and I want you, the readers, to vote on which one you want to see. Unfortunately you’ll only get to vote for seven of them.

    Here are your choices for the next edition:

    The Million Dollar Championship

    WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship

    WWF Light Heavyweight Championship

    WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship

    WCW Six-Man Tag Team Championship

    ECW World Tag Team Championship

    ECW’s FTW World Championship

    The other five titles are WWE’s World Tag Team and Hardcore Championships and WCW’s Tag Team, International and Television Championships.

    Due to the length of their histories they will take more than one article to complete and therefore will be done last.

    So cast your vote! The title with the most votes will be seen on Sunday!

    Don’t have a Bleacher Report account but you are on Twitter? Hit me up @KSchadWrestling and cast your vote there!

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