I’m going to admit, there are two things that I like when it comes to wrestling; international wrestlers and cruiserweights. Give me Rey Mysterio and Fenix over Brock Lesnar and Undertaker any day of the week. Nothing against the big guys, but I like my wrestlers small and fast as opposed to large and hulking. So when WWE introduced the Global Cruiserweight Series, I have to admit that I marked out hard. Some of the World’s most talented wrestlers under 205 lbs competing in one 32 man tournament, SIGN ME UP!
Yeah, with New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Super J Cup and the GCS going on this summer, I’m going to be a happy mark. I have heard the rumor milling running hardcore when it comes to these tournaments. Wrestling fans can be notorious gossipers. But one of the main things I have noticed is people instantly throwing all of the world’s best cruiserweights into the WWE’s camp. People like Riccochet were rumored for months of their involvement with the GCS until Trevor Mann finally ended rumors by saying he was going to be in the Super J Cup. Yes, tragically, WWE is not the mecca for everyone. People have contracts and lives to live. Personally speaking, I cannot just pack up my shit and spend 10 weeks in Florida to film this thing and this holds true for a lot of wrestlers who have taken route in various parts of the world. One of the main reasons that WWE is going to have a hard time finding Japanese and Mexican talent. However, the WWE does have several arms to reach out to obtain talent. Promotions like EVOLVE (or Dragon Gate USA) and PROGRESS have been key players in this game.
With this in mind, I decided to create a list of wrestlers who will most likely end up in the GCS. In order to make this list, I have chosen to eliminate all wrestlers currently affiliated with NJPW, ROH, and CMLL who have all banded together to work on the Super J Cup. This will hopefully be a much more inclusive list of people we can legitimately see in the up and coming tournament. Also, I will be avoiding anyone who is not considered a Cruiserweight. I love the fact that names like Pentagon Jr get tossed around regardless of the fact that the man is a solid 20 lbs overweight for being a Cruiserweight and has historically been booked as a heavyweight. So with that in mind, no heavyweights.
Keep in mind that this list will also not include those either in the GCS already or in a qualifying match, so we can already count the following as heading to Full Sail this summer: Zack Sabre Jr, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Noam Dar, Ho Ho Lun, Akira Tozawa, Rich Swann, Lince Dorada, Jack Gallagher, Pete Dunne, Flash Morgan Webster, TJ Perkins, and Fred Yehi.
Hideo Itami (Japan)
One of the most notable names on this list, the wrestler formerly known as KENTA has been out of action for the better part of a year with a severe shoulder injury. While Itami’s shoulder has healed, Hideo Itami is still absent from television. But why? It is my theory that Itami will return soon and soon following that, will throw his name into the ring for the Global Cruiserweight Series.
He is one of WWE’s up and coming international talents, fits the weight class, and this would be an excellent way to put him over strong in his big debut. Expect to see him in the GCS if he does not instantly make a bid for the NXT Championship.
Kota Ibushi (Japan)
After his appearance in NXT TakeOver Dallas, the Internet Wrestling Community has been all over this one, speculating that the former New Japan Pro Wrestling star will make his way to the United States and compete in the GCS. Of all the rumors to be floating around, this is the one that I will put some weight behind. Ibushi has dropped all formal ties to NJPW and has become a free lance wrestler.
The USA is open to some new Japanese talent, hence the acceptance of Hideo Itami, Asuka, and Shinsuke Nakamura. So I would expect to see Kota Ibushi make an appearance in the GCS. As far as him winning and staying with WWE? I highly doubt it. Ibushi quit NJPW and his other promotions citing a strenuous work schedule. That work schedule is nothing compared to a WWE work schedule, even in NXT. Expect him to appear, be a big name in the tournament, and eventually put over the true WWE talent near the end of it.
Will Ospreay (United Kingdom)
This is one that I am surprised was not already announced in the first batch of wrestlers. When the Global Cruiserweight Series was announced, the two non-WWE names that were instantly brought up was Zack Sabre Jr (who is already confirmed and will have a “qualifying match” where he will defeat Flash Morgan Webster) and the other one was Will Ospreay. Ospreay is an insanely talented indie wrestler who competes for the WWE’s non-feeder, but totally feeder systems like EVOLVE and PROGRESS. In the indie leagues, he has had some of the best matches of the year and continues to show that he belongs in the next level of professional wrestling.
Along with Zack Sabre Jr, the two have been seen as the indie darlings to make the biggest splash in the tournament. Out of all of these wrestlers, I would say that his entrance in the GCS is almost assured.
Manny “La Sombra” Andrade (Mexico)
The young wrestler from Mexico, La Sombra or by his real name Manny Andrade, has already signed a long term deal with WWE. The strange thing is the fact that La Sombra has become an almost exclusive dark show kind of guy. This is increasingly odd when considering the fact that the man was a big deal in Mexico. Maybe it was to truly indoctrinate him into the WWE model. Who knows? At either rate, the GCS is the perfect opportunity for someone like La Sombra to debut for WWE/NXT. He is a quick and easy Lucha Libre style wrestler to throw into the mix, is already signed with WWE, and has a unique look to him to boot.
Eric Young (Canada)
WWE, for some reason, has wanted the former TNA star BAD and the only reason that I can see is to give another well known name for the GCS. Eric Young is in his late thirties and certainly on the downward swing of his career. His time of being a big WWE star has certainly come and gone. However, he is certainly a well known name among anyone who watches wrestling outside of the WWE and can bring in an interesting draw. If he were to sign up with WWE, expect him to join the GCS.
Laredo Kid (Mexico)
Now this is someone interesting. The Laredo Kid or Exterminator dependent upon where you get your information, is a wrestler from Mexico who has worked for the WWE before. He had some try outs last year and wrestled under the ring name Tony Guereva. While not much is known about the Laredo Kid, he is certainly a young wrestler who the WWE have had their eye on before. If they want to give some more hispanic appeal, they may reach out to Laredo Kid to fill out the heard so to speak.
Daga is a young wrestler in Mexico who has worked for the AAA, CMLL, and just recently signed with Lucha Underground. The young Mexican wrestler certainly has something to prove and I’m willing to bet that he can see WWE as a perfect launching pad for his career. Personally speaking, I can’t stand the wrestler. I always saw him as the poor man’s Alberto del Rio not to mention he has that smug look that just drives you nuts… Really he is a perfect heel for me.
Of all the Mexican talent out there, expect Daga to be one of the ones who takes up the mantle. Though, I do have to add the addendum that I cannot find much info on Daga and am unaware of his current weight. Like Pentagon Jr, he may not enter in the tournament due to the fact that he could be a heavyweight.
Tigre Uno (Mexico)
This is one of the two wrestlers who is still currently signed to the sinking ship that is TNA and one of the wrestlers that could easily jump ship and find himself in the Global Cruiserweight Series. After the fall from grace that was TNA, falling from Spike TV, to Destination America, and now to the television channel POP, Tigre Uno or Extreme Tiger in AAA was the bright and shining gem. He was the leader of a new crop of X Division wrestlers and certainly did wonders for the foundering promotion.
Tigre Uno, being in TNA, has already shown a desire to wrestle in the United States and would be a perfect addition to the GCS. Hopefully he is able to get out of TNA as soon as possible in order to further his career.
This is a long shot and honestly not much of an interesting one. Argenis is a Mexican wrestler who works for AAA. He has also appeared sparingly for Lucha Underground has enhancement talent for other wrestlers. Also on the waning part of his career, Argenis is still a noticable Mexican name that could bring in some of the Lucha Libre feel that WWE is looking for. If he were to come, expect him to continue to be enhancement talent for the bigger dogs in the yard. But overall, out of all the AAA wrestlers, his seems to be the most plausible.
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