Spotlight on the NXT Cruiserweight Championship

In 2016, WWE announced that they were holding a tournament to highlight the cruiserweight division, with an upper weight limit of 205lb, from around the world. 32 wrestlers came together for a single elimination showcase. Wrestlers such as Tajiri, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, and even PW Down Under’s own Damian Slater were involved.

The bracket was set, and the matches were taped over 4 dates, and aired over 10 weeks, with the final week airing live on September 4th. The tournament final was contested between TJ Perkins and Gran Metalik. Just prior to the match taking place Triple H would announce that the 2 men would be competing for the brand new WWE Cruiserweight Championship, in which Perkins would go on to win.

This was WWEs second run with the Cruiserweight Championship. The first was a continuation of the WCW Cruiserweight Championship that was introduced in 1996. In 2001, the championship was introduced to WWE. Despite the shared name, the WWE Cruiserweight and NXT Cruiserweight Championships were 2 separate Championships with 2 separate upper weight limit.

At the end of the tournament, the cruiserweight division and its championship were exclusive to Raw, under 205 Live branding. During Cruiserweight matches, the ring ropes and curtains were changed to purple and the injured Austin Aries was on commentary.

205 Live would stay exclusive to Raw until 2018, when WWE announced that they were starting a new show for the brand under the same name, 205 Live, which replaced WWE Superstars. During this time, Drake Maverick was banned the initial General Manager of the brand.

In 2019, the championship would be defended on both 205 Live and NXT, being renamed the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, followed by being defended on NXT UK in 2020.

At the 2021 edition of NXT WarGames, the weight limit was temporarily lifted to 245lb, when Joe Gacy claimed the championship was weight shaming competitors and challenged Roderick Strong for the championship, in which he lost.

The championship would remain active until 2022 when Roderick Strong would defend the championship against NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes in a Championship Unification match at NXT New Years Evil, in which Carmelo would win.

During the 5 and a half years the championship was active, Neville and Enzo Amore would tie for most reigns at 2 each, while JD McDonagh, as Jordan Devlin, would have the single longest reign at 438 days, with Carmelo Hayes having the shortest recognised reign at less than 1 day, as well as being the last recognised champion.

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