Sonny Onoo reflects on how WCW utilized its cruiserweights.
In 1996, WCW kicked off a cruiserweight division to add more action to its new Monday Nitro broadcast. Introducing the world to Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, and more.
Today, the cruiserweight division is reflected upon fondly but at the time, the cruiserweights were very much utilized as great wrestlers to provide high-quality action with none of the stories that names such as Sting, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Lex Luger were getting.
Speaking on the Perched on the Top Rope podcast, Sonny Onoo, who was translating for Ultimo Dragon in the interview, reflected upon Chris Jericho stepping up and demanding more storylines for the cruiserweight and why he believes they never really needed storylines.
“[Ultimo Dragon] became one of the guys when I say one of the guys I'm talking about Dean [Malenko], Eddie [Guerrero], Rey Mysterio, and they were the action right? You got to remember, back then, those guys were considered cruiserweights. Storylines for cruiserweights didn't really start until Chris Jericho started demanding more story background. So, if there was an Ultimo Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero [match], you didn't need a background, right? I mean, at least I didn't. I think many of the fans will tell you they didn’t because they know how great these guys are going to perform. So the match was worth tuning in. You didn't want to miss that. If you watch their show, if you want to go back and watch Nitro [cruiserweight matches] bridging into the second hour, where we go head to head against when WWE was putting on their show. So that, you know, when you’ve got stuff going on, you don't want to miss that. You know, they didn't want them to tune into their stuff. So they used these guys strategically, you know? A lot of the time, in the second hour or to open the show with a bang.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Ultimo Dragon reflected on his brief time with WWE. Learn more here.
Despite being credited with asking for more storylines for the division, Chris Jericho recently stated that it was not his idea to take the mask off of Juventud Guerrera even though he was the character that got to remove the mask on television. Learn more here.
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