WWE Global Cruiserweight Series: The First Nine

Posted in The Three Count by - April 29, 2016

Earlier this year, WWE announced that it would hold a Global Cruiserweight Tournament that would premiere on the WWE Network in July of this year. This is something that I have been very excited from since the announcement, as many of my favorite wrestlers have come from, or previously held, either the WWE Cruiserweight or WWE Light Heavyweight Championship.

With a mixture of both current NXT stars and some of the top cruiserweights from around the world, WWE has the potential to once again deliver truly world class wrestling. Despite the event being a couple of months away, several of the competitors have already been announced. With a total of 32 wrestlers competing in the event, let’s take a look at each of them starting with the first nine that have been announced.

Rich Swann

  • Debut: 2009
  • Current Promotion: WWE (NXT)
  • Former Promotions: Evolve, Full Impact Pro, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Chikara, Combat Zone Wrestling, Dragon Gate, Dragon Gate USA, Jersey All Pro Wrestling.
  • Accomplishments: 2 time FIP World Heavyweight Champion, Open the Owani Gate Champion, Open the Triangle Gate Champion.

Rich Swann is one of the greatest stories in professional wrestling. A young man who lost both of his parents in his teens and battled back from drug addiction to become one the most recognizable indie talents in the United States. Swann’s high flying style has captivated many fans, so its not hard to see why WWE chose to scoop up this promising young star late last year. This is Swann’s first real opportunity to shine on a national stage, and I hope that he is able to take the ball and run with it.

Johnny Gargano

  • Debut: 2005
  • Current Promotion: WWE (NXT)
  • Former Promotions: Ring of Honor, TNA, Chikara, Dragon Gate USA, Evolve, Pro Wrestling Guerilla
  • Accomplishments: Record 873 day “Open the Freedom Gate Championship” reign with Dragon Gate USA / Evolve.

If you’ve watched any NXT in the last few months, than there’s pretty good chance that you’re familiar with “Johnny Wrestling”. Gargano, along with his partner Tommaso Ciampa, have become a staple of NXT’s tag division and the team is an absolute joy to watch. Gargano is a great athlete in the ring, and I hope that this will finally be his opportunity to shine as a singles talent.

Tommaso Ciampa

  • Debut: 2005
  • Current Promotion: WWE (NXT)
  • Former Promotions: Ring of Honor, Chaotic Wrestling, Top Rope Promotions, Pro Wrestling Guerilla
  • Accomplishments: Chaotic Wrestling Heavyweight Champion, Ring of Honor Television Champion

I first become familiar with Tommaso Ciampa when he was still with Ring of Honor in the early months of 2015. Ciampa’s run as the RoH Television Champion saw him compete in some great matches against the likes of Matt Taven and Jay Lethal. Ciampa is no stranger to singles competition, and while he’s mostly been used as a tag team competitor in NXT, I would love to see him use this opportunity to earn himself a shot at one of WWE’s singles titles.

Noam Dar

  • Debut: 2008
  • Current Promotions: PROGRESS Wrestling, Preston City Wrestling, Insane Championship Wrestling
  • Former Promotions: Dragon Gate UK, Revolution Pro Wrestling, Global Force Wrestling, TNA, Ring of Honor
  • Accomplishments: 2 time ICW Zero-G Champion, Former PROGRESS World Cup Tournament winner

Originally born in Tel Aviv, Dar is immensely popular in Scotland and the United Kingdom. He has worked for a number of European promotions and is loved by many European fans. Dar has previously appeared on the TNA and RoH European tours, so some US based fans may be familiar with him. However, this will be his first real international exposure and first time in a WWE ring.

Akira Tozawa

  • Debut: 2005
  • Current Promotion: Dragon Gate
  • Former Promotions: Chikara, Dragon Gate USA, Pro Wrestling Guerilla
  • Accomplishments: Open the Brave Gate Champion, Open the Owani Gate Champion

Akira Tozawa has been a regular in the Dragon’s Gate promotion for a better part of a decade. During the span of 2010-2012, Towaza toured with a number of US indie federations in order to gain more experience outside of his native Japan. At only 30 years of age, and with 11 years of experience under his belt, Tozawa arguably still has the best years of his career ahead of him. He is also the current holder of Dragon Gate’s “Open the Triangle Gate” Championship along with Masato Yoshino and T-Hawk.

Ho Ho Lun

  • Debut: 2010
  • Current Promotion: Hong Kong Pro-Wrestling
  • Former Promotions: Pro Wrestling ZERO1, Michinoku Pro Wrestling
  • Accomplishments: N/A

Ho Ho Lun is virtually unknown in the US. Getting his start in Hong Kong, he has done some touring in Japan and the UK, but has never really seen any sort of international attention prior to being signed on for the Global Cruiserweight Series. With so little known about Lun, he could be a dark horse in this competition and could even go on to be its breakout star.

Lince Dorado

  • Debut: 2007
  • Current Promotion: Championship Wrestling Entertainment
  • Former Promotions: TNA, Evolve, Full Impact Pro, Chikara
  • Accomplishments: CWE Tag Team Champion (current), Chikara King of Trios Champion, FIP Flordia Heritage Champion

This masked wrestler currently works in the US, mainly with Championship Wrestling Entertainment. Dorado has been able to find his niche among indie wrestling fans during his eight year career and, after a failed stint in TNA, WWE is his next big opportunity to be seen on a national level.

Jack Gallagher

  • Debut: 2006
  • Current Promotion: Pro Wrestling ZERO1
  • Former Promotions: Futureshock Wrestling, Grand Pro Wrestling 
  • Accomplishments: 2 time FSW Champion

Considered to be one of the best technical wrestlers in the United Kingdom, Gallagher recently moved from the UK to the island of Japan in order to broaden his experience in the wrestling business. Many stateside may not have heard of him, but thankfully, being in the Global Cruiserweight Series will be able to change that. I have heard nothing but good things about Gallagher and I can’t wait to see him in the ring this summer.

Zack Sabre Jr.

  • Debut: 2005
  • Current Promotions: Westside Xtreme Wrestling, PROGRESS Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Revolution Pro Wrestling
  • Former Promotions: Triple X Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Noah, IPW: UK
  • Accomplishments: PWG World Champion (Current), RPW British Heavyweight Champion (Current), 165th Best Singles Wrestler in the World in the PWI 500 (2015)

Zack Sabre Jr. is likely one of the most talented indie wrestlers that isn’t currently on WWE’s payroll. Sabre currently holds belts in two different promotions, the UK based Revolution Pro Wrestling and US based Pro Wrestling Guerilla. Beginning his career at the age of fourteen, Sabre has wrestled a veritable “who’s who” of wrestling talent over the years including Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Cesaro, Tommaso Ciampa, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega and dozens of others. Being only 28 years old, this seems like a prime opportunity for Sabre Jr. to be noticed and hopefully get scooped up by a company that can treat him with the respect this seasoned talent deserves.

This post was written by
He is a senior editor at Kulture Shocked. A seasoned gamer, Zach has been playing video games since the early 90s and have owned everything from the NES to the Xbox One. Aside from video games, Zach is a nerd of all trades and dabbles in everything from collectible card games to Gunpla.
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