This Week In WWE Vintage Collection History: The Rockers...The Hardys...And Yet, Dean Malenko Headlines. It's Cruiserweight Season Alright!
By Aaron Wood Jun 10, 2012 - 8:54 AM
COLLECTION #210 Mean
Gene opened the show, introducing our first match, telling us not to
blink as we headed to WCW Saturday Night on March 20th 1999 as
Blitzkrieg took on Super Calo.
the break, Gene talked about Matt Hardy. Afetr reinventing himself
as "Version 1", Hardy looked to change himself from tag
team specialist to singles superstar and decided to take aim at the
Cruiserweight Title. There was just one problem. He wasn't a
cruiserweight. After weeks of weight-cutting, he just managed to
squeak under the limit in time to face Billy Kidman for the belt at
the3 2003 No Way Out event.
the break, we went directly to some tag team action and showcasing
The Rockers (since despite the fact there was no cruiserweight
division for them, they moved like them anyway) as they took on the
Orient Express of Tanaka and Sato from a live event in Toronto,
Canada on June 17th 1990.
we had Matt Hardy earlier in the show, why not showcase his brother
in some title action. Back in 2001, Jeff had won the Light
Heavyweight title, and following a loss to the Hardys in tag action,
X-Pac attacked Jeff with a chair, setting up a title match at the
2001 King Of The Ring PPV.
was main event time next and we went to WCW Worldwide for a match
that aired on May 18th 1996 (taped 16 days previously) as Dean
Malenko took on the current and first WCW Cruiserweight Champion,
Shinjiro Otani. Otani was, in fact the last person to hold the WWE
Light Heavyweight Title when it was solely based in Japan, winning it
a few months because the WWE decided that a title with their branding
on it should really be on their show. So, would Malenko win the
title for the first time, or would Otani continue to be the best of
the early days of the division?
noted that Malenko has just begun the first of four WCW Cruiserweight
Title reigns that he would have, before joining the WWE and capturing
the Light Heavyweight Title twice there, solidifying his place
amongst the greatest cruiserweights of all time. Gene then signed
would wrestle Juventud Guerrera at Spring Stampede to see who would
get a shot at the Cruiserweight Title. However, despite losing the
match, he would end up in a four-way for the title against Juvi,
Psicosis and the champion, Rey Mysterio. Psicosis won that match and
the title, although after Rey soon won the title back again,
Blitzkrieg got a shot at him alone, although still lost.
next feud as CW Champion would be against Rey Mysterio. After
defeating Mysterio at Wrestlemania 19 and adding Crash Holly to his
group, Mysterio would manage to capture the belt on a June episode of
Smackdown. Soon after Hardy disbanded the group and moved to RAW, to
join his then-girlfriend Lita, who was coming off of injury.
However, on his first night back on the show, they teased he was
going to propose, only for him to turn on her. The Sensei of
Mattitude spent little time on RAW after this until he turned
babyface again and feuded with Kane.
would float around the cruiserweight division without making any real
notable mark for the rest of the year, not returning to real
prominence until he started teaming with Paul London in early 2004,
later winning the Tag Titles.
previously discussed, The Rockers next feud after the Orient Express
was with the Hart Foundation over the Tag Titles, a feud that
included the phantom title change when the top rope broke during the
taping, leaving it un-aired and the Harts the champions. Akio Sato
would leave the WWE later in 1990, so they brought in Paul Diamond
under a mask as Kato, and their first main match as a new team
(although they had teamed as Badd Company in the AWA) was against The
Rockers at the 1991 Royal Rumble. Sato would actually return in
mid-1991 for some six-man matches, but wasn't around for long.
would actually lose the Light Heavyweight Title the very next night
on RAW to X-Pac. However, as the Invasion began, Jeff moved onto the
Hardcore Title, defeating Mike Awesome for the title, after Awesome
had fired the first volley on the WCW side of things. Jeff would
then trade title wins with Rob Van Dam after ECW came into the mix,
losing at InVasion, winning it back on a RAW episode only to lose it
to RVD again at Summerslam.
saw X-Factor break up when Justin Credible joined the reformed ECW.
However, he would beat WCW Crusierweight Champion Billy Kidman to
hold both belts at the same time. While he would lose the WWE LH
Title to Tajiri on an episode of RAW, he won it back at Summerslam.
However, this would be the end for the Light Heavyweight Title.
X-Pac lost the CW Title to Kidman on a Smackdown episode on October.
An unification bout was planned for the Invasion-angle ending
Survivor Series between the two. However, X-Pac was injured, and the
LH was deactivated there and then, with Kidman facing Tajiri for the
CW Title, a match that Tajiri won.
WCW reintroduced a title for the smaller guys, changing the branding
from Light Heavyweight to Cruiserweight, they looked to Japan,
holding a tournament, which Otani won, defeating Chris Benoit, under
the guise of Wild Pegasus. The match that aired here was actually
the first title change for that title, as Dean Malenko picked up the
baton and Otani concentrated on NJPW.
would hold the title for most of the next six months, losing it to
Rey Mysterio & Ultimo Dragon, but winning it back from each of
them soon enough, holding the title until Syxx (X-Pac) defeated
Malenko in early 1997, after which, it would be about 18 months
before Malenko held the title again.