WWE Cruiserweight Championship (1991–2007)

former championship created by World Championship Wrestling and later promoted by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE

The WWE Cruiserweight Championship was a professional wrestling championship in World Wrestling Entertainment. It was competed for by cruiserweights at no more than a weight of 220 pounds[1] and was originally a World Championship Wrestling title. During its time in WWE, it was only competed for on the SmackDown brand.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Matt Hardy as Cruiserweight Champion
Date establishedMarch 20, 1996[a]
October 27, 1991[b]
Date retiredSeptember 28, 2007
Other name(s)

A new WWE Cruiserweight Championship was created in 2016. The title did not continue the history of WWE's old Cruiserweight Championship.



Following the title's introduction in 1991 as the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship, a tournament was held to determine the first champion. On October 27, Brian Pillman beat Richard Morton in the tournament final to win the title. However, it was vacated on September 2, 1992, due to Brad Armstrong's knee injury during his reign. Then, on March 20, 1996, Shinjiro Ohtani beat Chris Benoit in another tournament final to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.

In March 2001, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. (WWF) purchased World Championship Wrestling. Following this, the "Invasion" angle happened, in which WCW was "destroyed". During the "Invasion", only four WCW championship titles remained active, including the WCW Cruiserweight title. On July 30, the WCW Cruiserweight Championship and the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship were both competed for in what was called a unification match. The reigning WWF Light Heavyweight Champion, X-Pac, beat the WCW Cruiserweight Champion, Billy Kidman.[2] However, the titles were still defended separately after that.[3] After the end of the Invasion at Survivor Series 2001, the WCW Cruiserweight Championship remained active and was renamed the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Cruiserweight Championship, while the Light Heavyweight Title was retired.[4]

In March 2002, when the brand extension started, the championship became exclusive to the SmackDown! brand. On May 6, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) after the company lost a lawsuit from the World Wildlife Fund over the WWF trademark. So the championship was renamed to WWE Cruiserweight Championship.[5] After six months without a champion, on March 3, 2008, WWE removed the championship from the active championship web page, where originally the title was listed as "vacant." Afterward, the title was removed from the active titles list on WWE's title histories web page to the defunct (or retired) championship list. In this way, the title was quietly retired. As a result, Hornswoggle is the last WWE Cruiserweight Champion.

  1. The date it was created in WCW before WWE's purchase.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 As per WWE's official title history, which considers the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship to be one and the same.
  3. Otani was the first champion in WCW before WWE's purchase.


  1. "Fathers and sons who won the same championship". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  2. "X-Pac's Reign". WWE. Archived from the original on 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
  3. "WWE.com, Light Heavyweight - Tajiri". Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  4. "Light Heavyweight Championship". WWE.
  5. "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment drops the 'F'!". WWE. May 6, 2002.

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