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WWE Cruiserweight Championship (1991–2007)

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This article is about the historical championship. For WWE's current championship, see WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Cruiserweight Championship.jpg
The WWF/WWE Cruiserweight Championship belt used from 2001–2007.
Details
Promotion WCW (1991–2001)
WWF/E (2001–2007)
Brand SmackDown
Date established March 20, 1996[a]
October 27, 1991[b]
Date retired September 28, 2007
Other name(s)
  • WCW Light Heavyweight Championship
    (1991-1992)[c]
  • WCW (World) Cruiserweight Championship
    (1996-2001)
  • WWF Cruiserweight Championship
    (2001-2002)
  • WWE Cruiserweight Championship
    (2002-2007)

The WWE Cruiserweight Championship was a professional wrestling championship originally used in World Championship Wrestling and later, World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (WWF/E). It was challenged by cruiserweights at a maximum weight of 225lbs. Following the acquisition of WCW by the then-WWF in 2001, it became a WWF (and later, WWE) championship and replaced the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship. During the first WWE Brand Extension, it was the only title to be exclusive to the SmackDown brand during its entire tenure.

The championship was created in WCW in 1996, with Shinjiro Otani as the inaugural champion. However, following WCW's purchase, the WWF/WWE considered the title to be a continuation of the earlier WCW Light Heavyweight Championship, which had been created in 1991 with Brian Pillman as the inaugural champion. The Cruiserweight Championship was retired in 2007 with Hornswoggle as its final holder.

A new WWE Cruiserweight Championship was created in 2016, and although both championships share the same name, the new championship does not carry the lineage of the original.[2][3]

History[edit]

The Cruiserweight Championship was originally created as the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship on March 20, 1996. However, after the acquisition of World Championship Wrestling's assets by rival company WWE (then WWF), both lineages of the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship and the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship are considered to be one and the same, and WWE refers to the holders of the Light Heavyweight Championship as former Cruiserweight Champions.

Following the introduction of the Light Heavyweight Championship in 1991 (which WCW had considered to be a separate title, but WWE does not), a tournament was held to determine the inaugural champion. On October 27, Brian Pillman defeated Richard Morton in the tournament final to win the title.[4] However, when Brad Armstrong was forced to relinquish the title due to injury on September 2, 1992, it became inactive. Then, on March 20, 1996, Shinjiro Otani defeated Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit) in a decision match to win what then became known as the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship; it later dropped "World" from the name.

In March 2001, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) purchased World Championship Wrestling. Soon after, "The Invasion" took place, in which The Alliance was ultimately dismantled. Following Survivor Series 2001, the title was renamed the WWF Cruiserweight Championship, replacing the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship.[5] Following the WWF/WWE name change in 2002, the championship was subsequently referred to as the WWE Cruiserweight Championship and became exclusive to the SmackDown brand.

Hornswoggle, who was the final Cruiserweight Champion.

On September 28, 2007, the title was vacated after the final champion, Hornswoggle, was stripped of the championship by SmackDown General manager, Vickie Guerrero.[6] Hornswoggle had won the championship in a Cruiserweight Open at that year's The Great American Bash event. The last ever match contested for the title occurred on the August 31, 2007 episode of SmackDown, when Hornswoggle defended the title against Jamie Noble.

After a six month absence, on March 3, 2008, WWE removed the championship from the active championship web page, where originally the title was listed as "vacant." Afterward, the title was moved from the active titles list on WWE's title histories web page to the defunct championship list. In this way, the title was quietly retired.[7][8]

Reigns[edit]

Gregory Helms had the longest reign at 385 days. Helms won the championship at the 2006 Royal Rumble in a Cruiserweight Open, despite originally being a member of the Raw brand; he transferred to SmackDown in conjunction with winning the title. He lost it in a Cruiserweight Open at No Way Out in 2007, thirteen months later, to Chavo Guerrero. Psicosis had the shortest title reign, holding it for approximately one hour. Rey Mysterio Jr. has had the most title reigns with eight (five reigns in WCW, three in WWE). Three women have held the championship; Madusa and Daffney both had reigns in WCW, while Jacqueline is the only woman to win the Cruiserweight Championship in its WWE incarnation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ The date it was established in WCW before WWE's purchase.
  2. ^ As per WWE's official title history, which considers the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship to be one and the same.
  3. ^ As per WWE's official title history, which considers the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship to be one and the same.
  4. ^ Otani was the inaugural champion in WCW before WWE's purchase.
  5. ^ As per WWE's official title history, which considers the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship to be one and the same.
Footnotes

External links[edit]