WWE is still figuring out their cruiserweight division on Raw. We’re only a couple weeks into the experiment, and there have been some exciting moments, but also ones that clearly haven’t engaged the live audience - such as when last night’s match with Cruiserweight champ TJ Perkins got “CM Punk” and “Randy Savage” chants from the crowd in Cincinnatti.
There’s been one big winner already, however, and that’s the partnership between WWE and EVOLVE.
Many of the names in the division are from Gabe Sapolsky’s promotion, including Perkins. Some are appearing on USA Network - and getting roster pages on WWE.com - despite the fact they haven’t signed with the company.
Reports indicate that both Drew Gulak, who participated in the tag match last night (Sept. 26), and Tony Nese, who wrestled the champ, are still under contract to EVOLVE’s parent company WWNLive. They were granted special permission to work Raw, which makes sense as their contracts are all said to have an out if WWE wants to sign them.
Sapolsky and company made sure to use the occassion of Gulak and Nese appearing as an opportunity to market them and the WWN/EVOLVE brand:
WWN is very proud that WWN contracted wrestlers Drew Gulak and Tony Nese wrestled on WWE Raw last night in Cruiserweight Division matches. Both Gulak and Nese are now featured on the WWE.com Raw Roster section. This is another step in the building relationship between EVOLVE/WWN and WWE. We are very happy to say that Gulak and Nese will continue to wrestle in EVOLVE while they compete in the WWE Cruiserweight Division. Gulak is set to team with Tracy Williams to challenge EVOLVE Tag Team Champions DUSTIN & Drew Galloway at EVOLVE 70 on October 15th in Orlando, FL. The losing duo can never team again. Tony Nese returns to EVOLVE on November 12th in Queens, NY and November 13th in Joppa, MD.
This all makes good business sense, and is very, very 2016.
And we haven’t even talked about the purple ropes (purple has been EVOLVE’s signature color since the promotion began in 2010).
Hopefully, mainstream audiences begin to connect to the cruisers, and lead to more opportunities for guys like Nese & Gulak - and more exposure for all the independent guys who work with Gabe.
What do you think of the arrangement, Cagesiders?