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In professional wrestling, a cruiserweight is a wrestler weighing below 220 lb (100 kg), sometimes 215. The older term junior heavyweight, which was used to describe the division, is more favored in Japanmarker, where many titles for lighter-weight competitors are called junior heavyweight titles. Prominent titles include New Japan Pro Wrestling's IWGP, Pro Wrestling Noah's GHC, and All Japan Pro Wrestling's World/PWF titles. The weight limit utilized by WCW and Japanese promotions is "up to 220 lbs" (100 kg). New Japan and Noah also have junior heavyweight tag team titles, for teams composed of junior heavyweights. WCW tested such a format with their own Cruiserweight Tag Team Title shortly before the company was sold.

Wrestlers

Cruiserweight wrestlers are generally shorter and possess less muscle bulk than heavyweights, a build which lends itself to a high-flying wrestling style. While there are many cruiserweights who specialize in alternate wrestling styles, cruiserweights are strongly associated with moves performed from the top rope and moves requiring a degree of speed, agility, balance and torque. Cruiserweight wrestling is often associated with lucha libre, where similar moves and match pacing are used, but Mexico uses a different weight class system and the actual term "cruiserweight" (crucero, in Spanish) is rarely used in favor of Light-Heavyweight (peso semicompleto in Spanish). Cruiserweight wrestlers tend to be wrestlers of average human height and weight.

The high spots performed by cruiserweights are normally visually impressive but carry a varying degree of risk. A cruiserweight match with no transition holds and little psychology is known as a spotfest (heavyweight spotfests do exist, however).

Championships contested by cruiserweights cannot be held by wrestlers who are not cruiserweights, but cruiserweights are normally eligible to compete for heavyweight championships.

Promotions

World Championship Wrestling

The term was popularized in World Championship Wrestling, when WCW President Eric Bischoff in 1996 re-established the light-heavyweight division as the cruiserweight division and reactivated the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship as the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Bischoff renamed the division because he felt that "light-heavyweight" was a pejorative term. During Bischoff's stay in the company, the smaller wrestlers gradually became less important. As a result, in the declining years of WCW, the cruiserweights were seen more as comic relief to the heavyweight wrestlers. As one of the top wrestlers in the division, Rey Mysterio would go on to voice his disdain in regards to Eric's business sentiment:

After the World Wrestling Federation acquired the intellectual property of WCW in 2001, the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship was abandoned in favor of the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, and the title was renamed the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. However it is no longer contested, Hornswoggle being the last champion before being stripped of the title for his own safety, when the title was also discontinued.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

In 2002, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling created the X Division Championship, a title with no upper or lower weight limits but which is epitomized as "wrestling reinvented" and views its contenders as those who compete on the innovative side of professional wrestling. To help market this emphasis, the phrase "It's not about weight limits; it's about no limits" is used. Almost all of the X Division champions have been high-flyers, with Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe being notable exceptions (but still incredibly agile for their size).

Due to their initial affiliation with the National Wrestling Alliance, many NWA territories have started sanctioning their own X Division championships, while some of them even replaced the territories' cruiserweight belts.

Major championships

The following is a list of all titles equivalent to a cruiser weight championship. Title names vary, but include cruiserweight, lightweight, midweight, middleweight, flyweight, welterweight, featherweight, X Division, and junior heavyweight in their name. It is worth noting that each of these class listings are separate in boxing and amateur wrestling, but are almost interchangeable in professional wrestling.

Active

North America



Asia



Europe



Africa



Defunct

North America



Asia



Australia



References

External links




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