WWE Cruiserweight Championship
|WWE Cruiserweight Championship|
Matt Hardy as Cruiserweight Champion
|Date established||October 27, 1991|
|Date retired||March 3, 2008|
|Promotion||WCW (1991 - 2001)
WWF/E (2001 - 2008)
The WWE Cruiserweight Championship was a professional wrestling championship in World Wrestling Entertainment and was originally a World Championship Wrestling (WCW) title. It was challenged by cruiserweights at a maximum weight of 225lbs. After the WWE Brand Extension, it was the only title to be exclusive to the SmackDown! brand during its entire tenure.
The WWE Cruiserweight Championship is recognized as formerly being the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship, a title that was considered separate from the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship at the time by the WCW promotion. Following introduction of the Light Heavyweight Championship in 1991, 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. 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.
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.
On September 28, 2007, the title was vacated after the final champion, Hornswoggle, was stripped of the championship by SmackDown! General manager, Vickie Guerrero. 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 31st 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 removed 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.
Gregory Helms has had the longest title reign, with 385 days. Helms won the championship at Royal Rumble in 2006 winning a Cruiserweight Open despite originally being a member of the Raw brand but transferred over 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 has had the shortest title reign, holding it for approximately an 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 with WCW while Jacqueline is the only female to win the Cruiserweight Championship in its WWE incarnation.
- Cruiserweight Championship - Brian Pillman
- WWE: Inside WWE > Title History > Light Heavyweight
- "Hornswoggled". WWE. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- "WWE Superstars". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- "WWE title histories". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-03-04.