CONTACTABOUTFACEBOOKTWITTERPODCAST IPHONE APPANDROID APPAMAZON APPRSS
Pro Wrestling Torch
Pro Wrestling Torch Reaches The Most Wrestling Fans Every Week: #1 in iTunes • #1 on iPhone and iPad • #1 on Android • #1 on Kindle
GOT THE PWTORCH APP YET?
iPhone & iPad
Android
Amazon Kindle
Windows Phone
PWTorch Phone App
Torch Flashbacks
Smackdown's Cruiserweight Division prominently featured just one year ago

Jun 10, 2004 - 6:20:00 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY


It was just one year ago that the Smackdown cruierweight division appeared to be on the verge of being taken seriously. Here is the Torch story on Rey Mysterio's Cruiserweight Title win in the main event spot on Smackdown. Then consider how far the division has sunk in the year since.

Torch Newsletter Archive
By Wade Keller, Torch editor
Headline: Rey wins Cruiserweight Title in first TV main event for belt
Originally published: Pro Wrestling Torch Weekly newsletter #762
Cover dated: June 14, 2003


Rey Mysterio beat Matt Hardy on the June 5 Smackdown to capture the Cruiserweight Title. On the surface, it doesn't appear to be a major news item. After all, titles change hands on TV all the time. This title change was more newsworthy than most because it was a first. It was the first time the Cruiserweight Title had been the main event of either Raw or Smackdown.

For years, the cruiserweight or light-heavyweight division has been treated with about the same level prestige as a midget match. The title and the wrestlers fighting for it were seen as "novelty acts," but not as actual draws.

It was a self-fulfilling prophesy for those in power who were skeptical of the value of the lighter-weight high-flying division. By placing the cruiserweight title matches early on cards, it was meant as a compliment. Often the opening match is meant to get the show off to a good start, so giving that slot to cruiserweights was tantamount to a pat on the head from an adult to a child. In reality, featuring the title in opening matches and never as the main event or even near the main event pegged the title as a preliminary title. In theory, placing the cruiserweight title in the main event slot repeatedly over a period of months would generate the credibility necessary to turn the title itself and the wrestlers who fought over it into draws.

The theory was wrong. It didn't take months to turn the belt into a draw. The first time the title was placed in the main event slot, it drew a strong rating. The overall rating for Smackdown was down (3.1 Nielsen Media Research rating compared to 3.4 the week before). But the main event rating was not down. The cruiserweight title match drew a 3.6 rating, which is typical for Smackdown's main event. It gained a substantial number of viewers over the previous segmentmore than most Smackdown main events doand was well above the 2.8 rating the show began with. In fact, the jump in viewership for the cruiserweight title match was similar to the jump for Kurt Angle's return earlier in the show.

When the 3.1 rating was first released, it seemed to indicate the Cruiserweight Main Event Experiment had been a failure. Those who were against featuring the smaller wrestlers in the main event believed they had the ammunition they needed to justify not trying that again. The experiment was done during one of the least risky times of the year, as the May sweeps had just ended and the Smackdown PPV was still over a month away. If any viewership was lost, it wouldn't be a big deal since Kurt Angle earlier would have helped carry the bulk of the show. As it turned out, Mysterio's victory over Matt Hardy did as well as Angle did in terms of bringing viewers to the show.

The announcers during Smackdown also treated the Cruiserweight Title differently than anyone in WWE had previously. They talked about the title as if it were a major title. They talked about the history of the title, including mentioning other cruiserweight champs in the past such as Dean Malenko, Jushin Liger, and Ultimo Dragon. They presented the title match as a major attraction, not something just thrown out there to fill time before something more important happened. The show ended, not with a followup to the Vince McMahon-Zach Gowen-Mr. America storyline or the Kurt Angle return, but with Rey Mysterio celebrating in center-ring with his family after winning the title.

The successor more so just the lack of failureof the Cruiserweight Title match in that main event slot gives its boosters some valuable evidence to push for more of the same. With Rey Mysterio as the most marketable champion WWE could ask for and with Ultimo Dragon set up as an ideal opponent to showcase the inring attributes of the division at its best, the belt is in a good position to become a legitimate draw itself.

Had WWE not switched to doing brand-exclusive PPVs, WWE officials may not have felt the need to attempt to focus on the Cruiserweight Title. But with the July PPV just over a month away, they can't rely on four or five Raw matches to help pad the card. So they looked within and found a perfect solution to the empty undercard. The next step to cementing the Cruiserweight Title as a draw would be to place it in one of the top two matches on the PPV.


We suggest these recent related articles...
WWE FLASHBACK: Kane character debuts 18 yrs. ago today in first-ever Hell in a Cell match - Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
HIAC FLASHBACK: Kane beats Undertaker in HIAC match 5 yrs. ago today, plus Randy Orton vs. Sheamus for WWE Title
ROH FLASHBACK: The aftermath of Joe vs. Kobashi 10 years ago today
prowrestling.net
CLICK HERE FOR EVEN MORE PW.NET HEADLINES


CLICK TO EMAIL THIS ARTICLE
CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO MAIN LISTING

NEW! SIGN UP FOR FREE PWTORCH BREAKING NEWS EMAIL ALERTS
BECOME A PWTORCH VIP MEMBER
-FORMER MEMBERS LOGIN HERE TO RENEW
-NEW MEMBERS CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
SELECT BY ARTICLES CATEGORY
SEARCH PWTORCH.COM



CLICK HERE FOR LIST OF UPCOMING PRO WRESTLING EVENTS
MORE HEADLINES AT AFFILIATE SITES
MMATorch
LATEST HEADLINES - CLICK TO READ CLICK HERE FOR MORE MMATORCH HEADLINES


PWTORCH POLL - VOTE NOW!
RAW POLL 10/12: Vote on Monday's show
 
pollcode.com free polls


RAW POLL 10/12: What was the Best Match on Raw?
 
pollcode.com free polls
MCNEILL LIVECAST POLL: TNA will have a 32-person tournament to determine a new Hvt. champion - your thoughts?
 
pollcode.com free polls
CENA POLL: If John Cena takes a year-end break, who should win the U.S. Title from Cena?
 
pollcode.com free polls
VOTE IN OR SEE RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLLS



LATEST HEADLINES - CLICK TO READ CLICK HERE FOR EVEN MORE INC HEADLINES

_
LATEST FREE AUDIO SHOWS - CLICK TO LISTEN VIEW MORE PWTORCH LIVECAST EPISODES
DOWNLOAD PWTORCH LIVECAST APP
SUBSCRIBE TO PWTORCH LIVECAST IN ITUNES


ABOUT US

THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE

PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTORCH STAFF

EDITORS:
Wade Keller, editor
(kellerwade@gmail.com)

James Caldwell, assistant editor
(pwtorch@gmail.com)

STAFF COLUMNISTS:
Bruce Mitchell (since 1990)
Pat McNeill (since 2001)
Greg Parks (since 2007)
Sean Radican (since 2003)

We also have a great team of
TV Reporters
and Specialists and Artists.

PWTORCH VIP MEMBERSHIP

PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.

Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.

The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...

-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars.


**SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**

CONTACTABOUTFACEBOOKTWITTERPODCASTIPHONE APPANDROID APPAMAZON APPRSS
VIP SIGN-UP
VIP LOGIN
THE TORCH: #1 IN COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT COVERAGE | © 1999-2013 TDH Communications Inc. • All rights reserved -- PRIVACY POLICY