WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
A match that’s more than just a match - for the two men involved, their real and kayfabe bosses, and whole division/brand.
The Road to WrestleMania
Where do we even begin?
The easiest way is to look at the bracket for the tournament which brought us here:
That tells you the story, on a couple of levels. It shows you who Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali have had to defeat in order to reach WrestleMania 34, and it’s a simple way to explain 205 Live’s change of direction. Gone is the focus on comedy promos and building the show around finding ways to keep a champion with the gift of gab out actual matches. Instead, WWE Network’s cruiserweight show went back to the formula which made its Cruiserweight Classic (CWC) so popular with hardcore wrestling fans... competiton and in-ring spectacle.
As for the two men who will battle for the vacant belt on Sunday, April 8’s Kickoff from the New Orleans Superdome, their journey through the bracket is a pretty good representation of their larger stories.
Even before fans chanted for Triple H to sign Alexander after he lost in the CWC, he had the “chosen one” label. In Ring of Honor (ROH), he often appeared on the cusp of a main event push, but the company always stopped short of putting him at the top of their cards. Since getting that WWE contract, Cedric’s almost been the face of 205 Live on several occassions. He was technically owed a title shot when Enzo Amore was fired and left the brad without a champion. So beating a world-traveled veteran in Gran Metalik, the first man to hold the Cruiserweight Championship in TJP and an old rival from ROH in Roderick Strong to reach ‘Mania is a fitting way to land of the doorstep of his dream.
As he reminded us in one of the great self-shot promos he’s delivered during the tourney, Ali wasn’t even supposed to be here. He only landed in the CWC because another entrant had Visa issues. To reach Sunday’s final, he had to outlast three men determined to break him. That culminated in a showdown with a man he’s fueded with throughout his run on 205 Live, as his mid-card rivalry with Drew Gulak throughout the previous era obviously opened a lot of eyes in the crowd and backstage to what the Chicago native could do.
Now they’re here, representing a show who’s experienced a change in leadership behind-the-curtain (from Vince McMahon to Triple H) and gained a talented hype man (DRAKE MAVERICK) to sell it’s competitive performance-focused vision.
What’s at stake?
It’s a cliche, but it’s less important who wins and loses than it is what kind of impression they make with their match.
Alexander, Ali, MAVERICK and all involved have done an excellent job giving us reasons to care about the outcome. The Cruiserweight belt is the prize that’s eluded Cedric, and winning it to finally become 205 Live’s top star at WrestleMania is a proper end to his story. But Mustafa’s tale is every bit as compelling, and a victory from the former cop would be every bit as capital-’I’ important for him, the fans and wrestling in general.
But that’s only part of the reason they’re in this spot. When popular opinion about the purple brand was at its lowest point on the day of Amore’s firing, Ceddy and Ali went out and coaxed a disinterested crowd to the edge of their seats with nothing on the line but their pride:
If they can do that in NOLA, we may not even need fire speeches like this one from DM THE GM to save 205 Live...
But they never hurt.
Who will win?
This poll is closed