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WCW's 10 most exciting luchadores
The Cruiserweight Championship was held by many legends and future World Champions. However, the backbone of the Cruiserweight division, especially in WCW, was the rich tradition of Mexican wrestling known as lucha libre.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, WWE Classics remembers some of the most memorable luchadores who dazzled fans with their high-flying and fast-paced style of competition.
One of the most unique luchadores in WCW, Ciclope never won any championships but is remembered for his wild ring attire. Ciclope’s outfits were always colorful and always stood out, no matter who he stood at odds with in the ring. However, it was his mask that really made the attire one-of-a-kind. Matching his name, Ciclope’s masks would always feature only one eye in the center. It left fans wondering how he could see, let alone perform, as a high-flying luchador. Although he remains popular In Mexico, the most memorable moment involving Ciclope came when Dean Malenko borrowed his ring attire to surprise Chris Jericho after a Cruiserweight battle royal.
Luchadores Villano IV and Villano V made their WCW debuts in 1996 as part of the Cruiserweight division. They never captured singles or tag team titles, but the most unique thing about Los Villanos was the individuals under the masks. In Mexico, Los Villanos was actually a group of brothers. Each of the brothers shared the name Villano, with only a number to distinguish them. Although only Villano IV and V competed in WCW, they added excitement to the Cruiserweight division and also highlighted the importance of family in the lucha libre tradition.
The high-flying, rapping luchador Super Calo epitomized what being a luchador was all about. During his time in WCW, Super Calo flew in and out of the ring, caring less about his own safety and more about using his abilities to win. Super Calo wore the words “no fear” on his ring attire, a true testament to his style of competition. He had a number of memorable battles with competitors like Rey Mysterio, Konnan and Psicosis. A true display of Super Calo’s abilities came on an episode of WCW Monday Nitro when he dove to the outside through the ropes, not only landing on Ciclope, but also in the third row of the audience.
LWO - Latino World Order
In 1998, a disagreement with WCW President Eric Bischoff led Eddie Guerrero to form The Latino World Order. Guerrero formed the group to create a foundation of unity among WCW’s numerous Mexican wrestlers. The group’s ranks expanded quickly to include luchadors such as Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, La Parka, El Dandy, Damian, Villano V, Silver King and Ciclope. Although Rey Mysterio did not join the faction at first, he did become a member. The LWO was driven by pride in their heritage and the lucha libre traditions. However, after an injury sidelined Eddie Guerrero in 1999, the reunited factions of The nWo attacked the Mexican competitors and forced them to disband.
The air guitar on a steel chair, the unmistakable strut and the robot walk are three of the defining characteristics of another staple of WCW’s Cruiserweight division – La Parka. One of Mexico’s most popular competitors, La Parka joined WCW in 1996 and soon became known as “The Chairman of WCW” because he carried a steel chair with him wherever he went. La Parka stood out from other Cruiserweights because of his unique and sometime comedic mannerisms, rather than any high-flying ability. Barely being a Cruiserweight at 225 pounds and being 6’1” tall also gave him a significant size advantage over the other Cruiserweights who were much smaller. Although he never captured a championship during his time in WCW, American audiences certainly remember the charismatic former Latino World Order member.
Third-generation Mexican-American Superstar and nephew of Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero is a member of the legendary Guerrero family and an accomplished competitor in his own right. A grappler in WCW and WWE, Chavo always remained proud of not only his family, but also his Mexican heritage. He also possessed a unique mix of lucha libre and traditional American style of in-ring abilities. A little known fact is that Chavo only competed in a handful of matches before competing in WCW, which nobody could discern by how quickly he honed his skills. Those skills brought him success in both organizations, despite being paired with a toy horse in WCW. A six-time Cruiserweight Champion, Chavo also won the WWE Tag Team Titles with Eddie Guerrero twice and won the ECW Championship in 2008.
From 1996 to 2000, Psicosis was a mainstay of WCW’s Cruiserweight Division. The agile competitor was easily identifiable by his unique ring attire, truly highlighting the rich traditions of lucha libre. Aside from the unique, protruding horns on his mask, Psicosis’ ring attire often changed color schemes, making him stand-out during his matches. Before competing in WCW, Psicosis dazzled audiences in ECW where his legendary “Extreme Lucha Libre” rivalry with Rey Mysterio was born. He would compete for WWE in 2005 and 2006, but his career in WCW and in Mexico made him truly memorable.
During the late-1990s, a fast-paced guitar riff pulsating over the loud speakers on Monday Nitro usually signaled the arrival of Juventud Guerrera. Although small in stature, the Mexico City-native excited audiences with his trademark intensity and rapid movements inside the squared circle. Wearing a unique mask early in his career, Guerrera would lose that right to Chris Jericho in a Cruiserweight Title vs. Mask match at SuperBrawl. The loss of his coveted mask did not faze the high-flying competitor, though, as he continued to make a name for himself as one of the most recognizable faces in WCW’s Cruiserweight division. A three-time Cruiserweight Champion in WCW, Guerrera’s intensity and ability carried over during his time in WWE, where he captured the Cruiserweight Title an additional two times.
WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero is one of the most accomplished Mexican-American Superstars in WWE History. Guerrero competed in Mexico and Japan in addition to America’s top three organizations in the 1990s—WWE, WCW and ECW. Before he became WWE Champion, Guerrero’s list of accomplishments was already worthy of the Hall of Fame. He held the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, the United States Championship, the ECW Television Title, the WWE European Title and the Intercontinental Title, each twice. He was also a four-time WWE Tag Team Champion.
Before reaching the pinnacle of wrestling as a WWE and World Heavyweight Champion, Rey Mysterio established himself in ECW and WCW as the quintessential luchador in sports-entertainment. His natural high-flying abilities made him arguably the greatest Cruiserweight in history. In addition to the World Titles, Mysterio is an eight-time Cruiserweight Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion, and held the WCW Tag Team Titles three times and the WWE Tag Team Titles four times. The Master of the 619 was also the winner of the 2006 Royal Rumble. His career accomplishments are unparalleled, not only in WWE, WCW and ECW, but also during his time competing in Mexico.