Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles


Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles – WCW, 2001


As 2001 dawned, the WCW booking committee found themselves desperate to turn things around for the sinking company. 2000 had been a disastrous year for the company, as neither Vince Russo nor Eric Bischoff had been able to turn things around, and other attempts at media publicity (such as David Arquette’s WCW World title win) just continued to give the company black eye after black eye.

The committee eventually wound up looking at the one area that WCW had traditionally done well with – the cruiserweight division. Although the roster was too thin to allow for a secondary champion, another set of titles were created – the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team titles.

Although the idea of a second set of tag team titles seems strange today without a roster split demanding them, WCW had utilized the idea several times in the past. From 1986-1992, the company had also had the United States Tag Team titles. WCW had also used Six-Man World Tag Team titles in 1991.

The plan was set and the tournament to determine the first champions began on the February 26th Nitro. The finals were scheduled for the Greed pay-per-view in March.

After an introduction and the brackets were shown, the first match was underway as Johnny Swinger and Jason Lee took on Kidman and Rey Misterio Jr. It only took around five minutes for Kidman’s Kid Krusher to put Lee away and for he and Misterio to advance.

Thunder opened with the Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi and (Jimmy Wang) Yang) taking on Kwee Wee and Mike Sanders. The Jung Dragons won and moved on to the second round.

The next Nitro saw Air Raid (Air Paris and AJ Styles) taking on Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo. In the end, Air Paris fell victim to a Juvi Driver from Kid Romeo, and Skipper/Romeo advanced.

Thunder’s offering was 3 Count (Shannon Moore and Evan Karagias) taking on Jason B (EZ Money) and Scotty O (former OVW wrestler Scotty Sabre). Needless to say, it didn’t take long at all for 3 Count to solidify their spot in round two.

The first match on the next Nitro consisted of the Jung Dragons taking on Skipper and Romeo. Skipper’s Play of the Day sent them into the finals.

Misterio and Kidman earned the other final slot on Nitro as they defeated 3 Count. Afterward, Skipper and Romeo ran out to attack, only to be fought off by Kidman and Rey.

That brought us to Greed. It didn’t take long for the match to spill outside. After Kidman and Rey launched themselves from the ramp onto their opponents, the brawl returned to the ring. Finally Kidman and Skipper fell outside as Rey climbed up for a moonsault. Romeo caught and powerslammed him for the win and the titles.

The tag titles wouldn’t be defended again until the final Nitro. Early in the night we had the Jung Dragons vs. Three Count and Kidman/Rey to decide who got a title shot later in the show. Rey wound up hitting a guillotine legdrop on Shannon Moore to give himself and Kidman another shot at the belts.

Later, Kidman and Rey took advantage of their opportunity. As Rey and Romeo fought outside the ring, Kidman hit the Kid Krusher to earn the belts.

And that was that. WCW merged with the WWF immediately after this show, and the Cruiserweight Tag belts, along with the Television title, were the only active (or semi-active in the case of the TV title) belts to not reappear on WWF programming during the Invasion.

Adding a tag division to the cruiserweight division was an interesting idea, but it was too late. The belts had barely been debuted before they were forgotten. After all, there was another week of programming between Greed and the final Nitro, and the belts weren’t defended (although Skipper and Romeo were in a six-man tag on Thunder).

One flaw to the plan is the fact that the cruiserweight division had been decimated under Vince Russo, and Time Warner wasn’t about to let them start spending a lot of money to hire new faces (or even to rehire old ones). Because of this, we got new faces like AJ Styles and Air Paris, as well as the still relatively new Natural Born Thrillers like Skipper, Sanders, and Kwee Wee. The lack of depth in the roster also meant that when Rey and Kidman, arguably two of the most popular cruisers, won the belts, it would only have been a matter of time before one or the other of them would have wound up with the Cruiserweight belt as well.

To give credit where it’s due, at least WCW was willing to try something new with the new titles. The problem is that WCW waited way too long until they started attempting new ideas. The time to do so for maximum impact would have been between 1998 and 1999.

Where are they now?
Rey Misterio Jr. was not picked up following the closure of WCW. Rey returned to the independent scene, as well as competing in Mexico. In 2002, Rey was signed by the WWE. Once more wearing his mask, Rey remains with the WWE on the Smackdown brand.

Kidman was picked up by the WWE and soon found his way into the WCW/ECW Alliance. Kidman was released from his contract in July of 2005. Today, Kidman still competes on the occasional indy shows.

Elix Skipper was signed during the buyout and sent to development. In December of 2001, he was released. Skipper would become part of the original roster in TNA, where he, Christopher Daniels, and Low Ki (Senshi) formed the original XXX tag team. In December of 2004 at Turning Point, Daniels and Skipper lost a match to America’s Most Wanted which decreed that Triple X must disband. In August of 2005, Skipper joined David Young as Simon Diamond’s Diamonds in the Rough, where he remains today.

Kid Romeo was not signed after the buyout and made his way to Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council. In 2003, he debuted in TNA as Romeo, but met with little success and left later that year. Today Kid Romeo still makes occasional appearances for TNA.

Next Week
Mick Foley is forced to prove his loyalty.