The Greatest Cruiserweight Wrestlers Of All Time

If there is one thing that pro wrestling fans love to see, it”s great wrestling matches. One area where we”ve seen so many classic matches is in the cruiserweight territory. Of course, many of the best cruiserweight wrestlers might not have always been known as “cruiserweights.”

world of professional wrestling first began to see the “cruiserweight” name utilized in WCW. Eric Bischoff liked the concept of not calling the smaller performers “light heavyweights” or “junior heavyweights” like we were seeing elsewhere at the time.

The need to differ from other American promotions was also important. Therefore, using a weight class specifically used in the boxing world made a ton of sense. Most loved the move, as it allowed Americans to see the value in something beyond the larger wrestlers.

Fans fell in love with this division and we”d see it move over to the WWE for years off and on. Not to mention the use of these types of wrestlers internationally. That said, we wanted to highlight some of the best to work within the division.

To be fair, “cruiserweight” typically covers anyone 205lbs and below in today”s world of pro wrestling. Even if a person went on to capture heavyweight titles, we counted that for this list as long as they were within the 205lbs territory.

This was our only true rule for the piece. With that out of the way, let”s get started!

Amazing Red

Amazing Red
[Image via TNA Wrestling]
  • 3-time TNA X-Division Champion

While Amazing Red might not be the most noteworthy or successful pro wrestler on this list, he is certainly deserving of being on it. Red might have mostly been known as something of a nomad when it comes to his career (though he did have a few runs in TNA). Yet what he’s done for pro wrestling overall is immense.

For example, Red is considered one of the greatest move inventors and wrestling pioneers of the 2000s. For example, the front-flip piledriver we now call the Canadian Destroyer was invented by Red. Not to mention other countless moves. Some people on this list credit him as an inspiration and something of a mentor.

He’s mostly retired today due to many injuries (including one involving his neck) piling up. Yet he has not let it keep him from the professional wrestling world. He currently trains numerous aspiring wrestlers, which he had been doing off and on for years while in TNA. Red then opened the House of Glory training school in 2010 where he’s still one of the lead trainers

Tiger Mask

Tiger Mask
[Image via Tokyo Sports/AFLO]
  • Sayama
    • NWA Middleweight Championship
    • 3-time WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship
    • 2-time NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
    • International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 2021)
  • Yamazaki
    • 6-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
    • 2-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
    • AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion
    • Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Winner (2004, 2005)

This has always been a contentious topic because the “Tiger Mask” character has been played by numerous people. Some actually played it for a very short period while others remained the character for several years or for their entire career. In Japan, Tiger Mask is a cultural icon with several anime shows/films dedicated to him.

For example, the great Mitsuharu Misawa worked as Tiger Mask II from 1984 until he was unmasked in 1990. Even Kota Ibushi worked as Tiger Mask W for a short period. Another, known as Tiger Mask V is a martial arts expert & MMA fighter, Ikuhisa Minowa. He has 65 wins and has appeared in pretty much every major MMA promotion there is.

The closest present-day version of Tiger Mask, known as Tiger Mask IV, has been portrayed by Yoshihiro Yamazaki. Tiger Mask is a character that does not belong to any specific Japanese promotion “technically.”

This is why Yamazaki was able to win the AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Title along with appearing and winning titles in Pro Wrestling Noah, Michinoku Pro Wrestling, & New Japan Pro Wrestling.

The original incarnation of Tiger Mask, Satoru Sayama, was one of his trainers and is the only person to be the character that Sayama endorses. Yoshihiro technically is still the current Tiger Mask but we do not see him much.

Mephisto

Mephisto - Luchador
[Image via Carlos Adampol Galindo]
  • 2-time CMLL World Welterweight Champion
  • Mexican National Light Heavyweight Champion
  • Mexican National Welterweight Champion
  • NWA World Welterweight Champion
  • NWA World Historic Welterweight Champion
  • 3-time CMLL World Tag Team Champion
  • 2-time CMLL World Trios Champion

No, we’re not referring to the Marvel Comics character of the same name. However, you could say that the two have a similar character concept. In that Marvel’s version of the Devil, Mephisto, is considered pretty dangerous and powerful. The Mephisto professional wrestler has masks that often fit this concept.

He’s also been part of Los Infernales (aka The Infernal Ones) as well as Los Hijos del Averno (aka The Sons of Hell). Mephisto is considered one of the best tag team wrestlers in the history of CMLL alongside his partner Averno. However, he”s also one of the best luchadors in CMLL history.

Take the CMLL World Welterweight Title for instance. His first reign was for 1,141 days while his second reign lasted for 1,049 days. Mephisto also held the Mexican National Light Heavyweight Title for over 700 days. One of his first titles was the Mexican National Welterweight Title, which he held under another name for 581 days.

Pretty much every reign he had as a solo performer lasted for over a year. Which should display his dominance as a guy who embodies the cruiserweight weight limit.

Billy Kidman

Billy Kidman
[Image via WWE]
  • 4-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • 3-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • 2-time WCW World Tag Team Champion
  • WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champion
  • WWE Tag Team Champion

Billy Kidman, the man with a seven-year itch that he could never seem to scratch, was one of the best cruiserweights of his time. Kidman was an incredibly popular wrestler back in the 1990s and early 2000s. That was mostly due to his success in WCW, where he won the WCW Cruiserweight Title 3 times.

Sadly, he only ever had one solid run with the title in WCW. When WWE bought up WCW in 2001, Kidman’s contract with WCW went with it. This allowed him to start with WWE right away, which was useful as it allowed him to be a solid Cruiserweight Title contender for a while.

Eventually, the innovator of the shooting star press would get older and less impressive in the ring. While he claims his release in 2005 was due to an argument with management, they likely already had plans to let him go.

He wrestled a bit longer on the independent scene until being brought back by WWE to help train wrestlers at the Florida Championship Wrestling School.

Soon after, he was brought in to be a producer in 2010 and has worked with WWE in this area among others ever since. Kidman is the perfect example of a guy who worked well but did not work for longer than his body could handle it. In total, he wrestled for about 14 years. But roughly 10 was for WCW or WWE.

Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho - WWE
[Image via WWE]
  • 9-time WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 6-time WWE World Champion
  • 4-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • NWA World Middleweight Champion
  • AEW World Champion (first)

Chris Jericho has often been seen as a heavyweight performer, especially to those watching this era of professional wrestling. Yet back in the 1990s and early 2000s, Jericho was pretty undersized and did not have some type of incredible high-flying style like others similar to him.

When he went to Japan and Mexico, wrestlers might be similar in size but his style was totally different. He was smaller but wrestled a lot like someone larger. When he went to WCW, he managed to capture the cruiserweight title several times. Back then, the weight limits were quite different. They actually had the exact cruiserweight boxing weight as the measurement.

In boxing a cruiserweight had been 180lbs to 200lbs. In wrestling, anyone 200 pounds and under would fit the bill. However, they raised it a bit because wrestlers are often billed to be bigger than they are.

Jericho was legit around 200lbs during this timeframe. When he went to WWE, he was immediately taken out of the cruiserweight weight class.

This is why he was rarely seen battling for even a Light Heavyweight Title. Yet he was not the largest guy, so he gained more muscle and started to look like he belonged as a heavyweight. Leading to numerous IC Titles and World Titles in his WWE run.

While he was not a cruiserweight contender for years, he was in the weight class still for a lot of his early WWE run. But he’s this low on the list because he did not remain there.

Eddie Guerrero

Eddie Guerrero
[Image via WWE]
  • 2-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • 2-time WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2-time WWE European Champion
  • WCW United States Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • Best of the Super Juniors Tournament (1996)
  • WWE Champion
  • WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2006)

When we talk about professional wrestling legends, the Guerrero Family will constantly be mentioned. Yet among all the Guerrero family members, it is likely that Eddie will be the most well-known. That is simply due to how incredible he was in the ring. It’s like it came so easily to him, which is understandable. He was a second-generation performer.

His father, Gory Guerrero, was one of the top Mexican performers of his day. His name, Gory, came from the bloody matches he took part in. He also invented several moves, including the Guerrero Special, Gory Bomb, and the move we now know as the Camel Clutch!

Eddie went on to be just as influential as his father. Of course, being slightly smaller than a lot of the wrestlers in America, Eddie had to make an impact immediately. He did just that by being an incredible performer in ECW, forcing WCW to call him up about jumping.

He’d win several titles there before going to WW(F), where he had a short stint at first. He wrestled in Japan for a bit before being brought back to WWE where he remained for the remainder of his career. Eddie managed to get so over with fans that he’d win the WWE Championship! He managed to succeed and reach the top of the mountain while still technically being a cruiserweight.

Today, we cannot see a person do consecutive hip-rotating suplexes one after the other without thinking of Guerrero. In our opinion, that’s a massive impact.

Ricochet

Ricochet
[Image via WWE]
  • 3-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
  • 3-time NEVER Openweight Tag Team Champion
  • 2-time Lucha Underground Champion
  • 2-time PWG Battle of Los Angeles Winner (2014 & 2017)
  • Best of The Super Juniors Tournament Winner (2014)
  • Open The Dream Gate Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • Open The Freedom Gate Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • Open The Brave Gate Champion
  • WWE NXT North American Champion

“The Highlight of the Night” Ricochet is not discussed nearly as much as he deserves to be. He has been a wrestling nomad, who wrestled pretty much everywhere. Some of his biggest work was initially done in Japan with New Japan Pro-Wrestling & Dragongate. However, he also wrestled at a ton of impressive American companies like Pro Wrestling Guerilla.

Ricochet is one of the few men to ever win the Battle of Los Angeles Tournament twice. This prestigious tournament is run by PWG, a notable independent promotion.

To win it once is huge, but twice is darn near impossible. He also took part in a unique company known as Lucha Underground.

Known as the character “Puma,” he operated as a luchador while with the company. He was also their top star for quite a while and captured the World Championship twice. Ricochet jumped to WWE afterward, where he has been pretty productive.

While he has somewhat competed as a cruiserweight, most of the time he has been winning mid-card titles. He is the only person to win the WWE Intercontinental, United States, & North American Championships.

WWE essentially utilizes his incredible high-flying ability to make their mid-card divisions a lot more fun to watch. Truly, you cannot ever turn the channel when Richocet is on.

Fénix

Rey Fenix
[Image via AAA Wrestling]
  • AAA Mega Champion
  • AAA World Cruiserweight Champion
  • Lucha Underground Champion
  • AEW Intercontinental Champion
  • AAA Latin American Champion
  • First AAA Triple Crown Winner
  • First Lucha Underground Triple Crown Winner

Alongside his brother, Pentagón Jr., Fénix has been all over the world as a wrestler. The two have won pretty much every tag team title there is to win at this point. Of course, Fénix is a Mexican wrestler and truly embodies the high-flying luchador style we all love to see. He is within the weight limit to be considered a cruiserweight by our measurement.

However, in Mexican promotions like CMLL & AAA, there are often multiple divisions that compare to what you see in Boxing and MMA promotions. Yet Fénix has often worked in AAA where they tend to treat things more like what you see in America. Their Cruiserweight Title is very important.

At Triplemania XXX, he won the Latin American & Cruiserweight Titles in a winner takes all match. He kept both for about a year and never actually lost either. He had to give it up due to commitments with other promotions. When he won the Mega Championship, he held it for over 400 days.

His incredible style and success made him incredibly popular in Mexico. Yet this is also what made him beloved in American promotions. Fénix also seemed to master how to work with someone from every style. Making many see him as the second coming of Rey Mysterio.

Dean Malenko

Dean Malenko
[Image via WWE]
  • 4-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • 2-time WWE/F Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time ECW Television Champion
  • WCW United States Champion

Dean Malenko is one of the greatest mat technicians in the history of the business. While he was a smaller guy, this did not hurt him at all. In the ring, very few were better ring mechanics than Malenko. In fact, in WCW, he claimed to be “the man of 1,000 holds.”

This would later be made fun of, epically, by Chris Jericho. But the point Malenko made was legitimate. He really knew every hold and lock one could apply and how to do all of them, and even knew every single escape. This led to Malenko winning 4 WCW Cruiserweight Titles.

However, he rarely ever held one for very long in the horrific story-telling environment of WCW at the time. When he went to the WWE, he was given the equivalent title to the Cruiserweight Title in WWE, which at the time was the Light Heavyweight Title.

Outside of the complete joke champion Gillberg, Malenko held this title longer than anyone else. He held it for nearly a year and put on clinics with numerous smaller performers. He was terrific as a worker, but his time in the ring came to an end in the early 2000s.

But due to his incredible wrestling ability, WWE decided to try Dean out as a Road Agent. He would hold that role for 18 years until he was let go in 2019.

While he did nothing wrong, WWE just decided to bring in new agents and remove a lot of the older ones. He’s now a Senior Producer in All Elite Wrestling.

Titán

Titan - Wrestler
[Image via CMLL]

  • 2-time Mexican Welterweight Champion
  • CMLL World Welterweight Champion (longest single reign ever)
  • Reyes del Aire Winner (2019)

While Titán has been a terrific wrestler for years in Mexico, he would be higher on our list if he moved around the lower divisions a bit more. He has been with CMLL for a long time as their top Welterweight star. He did have a dip into the Middleweight division before going right back into the Welterweight territory.

To qualify, one must be or at least be billed to be between 150 to 172lbs. Titán fits this like a glove and has been the CMLL World Welterweight Champion since he first won it back in 2019.

That’s right, as of this writing, Titán has held the title for over 1400 days. This is by far the longest reign for the title in CMLL history. His work in Mexico is impressive and he should be commended for it. However, we’re eager to see what this man can do in multiple divisions.

He is still in his early to mid-30s (depending on when you read this). Why not strike while the iron is hot, CMLL??

Gregory Helms

Greg Helms
[Image via WWE]
  • 2-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • WWE European Champion
  • WCW Hardcore Champion
  • WWE Hardcore Champion

We mostly know Gregory Helms as the alter-ego of the professional wrestling superhero, The Hurricane. Yet the mild-manner reporter eventually decided to drop the act and would go on to destroy all other cruiserweights in his way.

At The Royal Rumble PPV in January 2006, Greg Helms won his second WWE Cruiserweight Title. He’d go on to hold it for the entire year before dropping it in February 2007. It was not too long after this that WWE deactivated the title entirely for several years.

Therefore, Greg Helms had the longest reign in the title history and was the last great Cruiserweight Champion in WWE before they brought it back around a decade later. What made Helms so great as a champion was that he did not pretend to be bigger than he was.

He knew he was smaller than most of the roster, yet he could hang with anyone of any size. His style translated into several other divisions too. However, his major run as champ pretty much allowed him to clean out the division.

Helms knew how to ground high flyers and he knew how to hang with technicians. Greg Helms was able to beat anyone on any given day. It is a shame that after this big run, Helms did not stick around much longer. He became The Hurricane again the following year until his release in 2010. However, Helms now holds a backstage role in WWE today.

PAC

PAC - AEW
[Image via AEW]
  • 2-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • 2-time wXw Light Heavyweight Champion
  • Open The Dream Gate Champion
  • Open The Brave Gate Champion
  • AEW All-Atlantic Champion (first)
  • NXT World Champion

When PAC first signed with WWE, he was in good shape but was still a slightly smaller guy. Yet during his time at the newer WWE Performance Center, he managed to get incredibly ripped. He was an exciting wrestler to watch who could pull off any high-flying act you asked of him.

However, his body being in even better shape made it possible to pull off even more. It also allowed him to take more punishment without risking as many injury issues. Yet one such injury sidelined him during the first Cruiserweight Classic.

To most, the Cruiserweight Division returning was huge but it seemed to be built for him. Under the name Neville now, he was sort of disappearing on the main roster by this point. Once he was cleared for action, WWE already made an entire show dedicated to their new crop of cruiserweights.

Neville came in and ran through the division like it was nothing. He was on the run of his career with a character that could be main event worthy. Just as this great run happened, he’d want out of his WWE deal and sat out until he got it. Since then, now going by PAC, he has wrestled all over the world again.

Including back in Dragongate as well as AEW. What this man can do in a ring is incredible, but his character along with it makes PAC a total package.

Chris Sabin

Chris Sabin
[Image via TNA Wrestling]
  • 10-time TNA X-Division Champion
  • TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
  • AJPW Junior League Winner (2007)

Chris Sabin has spent most of his career with TNA Wrestling, formerly known as Impact Wrestling. The sad part about his career is that it is filled with numerous injuries that he just could not seem to escape. He has hurt his knees countless times.

But this has a lot to do with his impact style and how TNA used to have an incredibly unforgiving ring for years. While he was already a good singles wrestler in TNA, having held gold there, he would team up with another man of similar size named Alex Shelley.

The two would become a fantastic tag team. Known as the Motor City Machine Guns, they’d win the TNA Tag Titles on three occasions as well as capture tag gold in other promotions together.

Sabin was beloved by TNA fans for his incredible in-ring work and willingness to keep coming back time and time again.

Initially, TNA’s X-Division was about “no limits” so anyone of any size could go after the gold. Thus, it was more of a secondary title until they added weight limits to it. Those were removed again and now to this day pretty much anyone can win it. But most tend to be smaller anyway.

Due to winning it 10 times, Sabin held it through every era. He also has the most accumulated days as the X-Division champion. The fact he was able to be such a success for so long, despite all the injuries, is incredibly commendable and worthy of our respect.

Finn Balor/Prince Devitt

Prince Devitt
[Image via NJPW]
  • 3-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time British Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time WWE NXT World Champion
  • 2-time WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE Universal Champion (inaugural)
  • WWE United States Champion
  • British Cruiserweight Champion
  • NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion
  • 6-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
  • 2-time WWE RAW Tag Team Champion
  • 2-time WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champion
  • 2-time Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Winner (2010, 2013)

Finn Balor has become a huge star in WWE over the last several years. He captured the WWE NXT World Championship on two occasions, holding each for a significant period. Balor was the longest reigning NXT Champion until Adam Cole beat his record. Upon his return and second win, he has spent the most days as NXT Champion at over 500 days.

Balor also was the very first WWE Universal Champion. Sadly, he was hurt in the match. While Balor finished the match, the injury was too severe and he had to vacate it right after, thereby giving him the shortest reign ever. Finn bounced back though.

Before ever going to WWE, he was a huge star in British & Japanese professional wrestling. Under the name Prince Devitt, he was the original leader and inventor of the Bullet Club faction that NJPW milked for years. He’d win 3 IWP Junior Heavyweight Titles there, each being held for a while. In terms of total reign time, he held those three titles for over 1,000 days in total, second-best all-time. He even won the infamous Best of the Super Juniors Tournament twice.

That division was owned by Devitt and the Bullet Club. When it comes to cruiserweights, Balor has been so good that he often makes us forget he is one.

Tajiri

Tajiri
[Image via WWE]
  • 3-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • WWE Light Heavyweight Champion
  • CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WCW United States Champion
  • ECW Television Champion

Tajiri was always an excellent wrestler. The Japanese Buzzsaw had incredible kicks and could work an amazing match with anyone. He brought out every Japanese wrestling trick imaginable to win a match. That includes the infamous mist which he began to use a lot more frequently in WWE.

Outside of perhaps the Great Muta, it is likely the most famous wrestler to use the mist trick was certainly Tajiri. WWE female Superstar Asuka utilizes this today as well. He has been incredibly influential due to his style and smaller stature. He worked all over Japan and Mexico, as well as America.

This allowed him to pick up and understand the styles of every type of wrestling one could come across. Making him capable of working with anyone of any size. However, being smaller, he fit the cruiserweight division perfectly in WWE.

He would become a notable name in the division for years until he was released. He’d bounce back from this and eventually return for a short stint in WWE. The rest of the time he spent back in Japan. Tajiri also trained a ton of wrestlers.

A few he trained include Syuri, Minoru Fujita, Kaho Kobayashi, as well as former WWE NXT and Wrestle-1 star, Jiro Kuroshio. However, the most famous name he trained is most certainly Kushida. Each continues the legacy Tajiri started, giving him amazing influence on the pro-wrestling scene.

Último Guerrero

Último Guerrero
[Image via Mediotiempo]
  • 2-time CMLL Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time CMLL International Gran Prix Tournament Winner (2006, 2007)
  • 2-time CMLL Universal Champion (2009, 2014)
  • 6-time CMLL World Tag Team Champion
  • 5-time CMLL World Trios Champion
  • CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion

While some might naturally assume Último Guerrero is connected to the infamous Guerrero Family, he is not. “Guerrero” is Spanish for “Warrior,” and “Ultimo” is Spanish for “Last.” Making him the “Last Warrior” in English translation. Not a bad name at all, and he’s lived up to the idea of someone fighting until one cannot fight any longer.

Último Guerrero has often worked in CMLL’s heavyweight division, even though he often did so while still being in the Light Heavyweight or Cruiserweight weight class. He pretty much ran the Light Heavyweight division there from 2002 to 2006, holding their Light Heavyweight Title that entire time.

Eventually, he became a major asset to the Middleweight division. Winning the NWA World Historic Middleweight Title in 2015 and holding it for over 1,000 days until 2018. Very few have accomplished so much at his size in CMLL.

Let’s not forget that he’s also a two-time Universal Champion. This is a tournament held annually where the 16 male champions compete to see who is the true best in CMLL. Guerrero won it twice and is only one of two men to do so. CMLL has been Guerrero’s playground for over a decade.

Hiromu Takahashi

Hiromu Takahashi
[Image via Etsuo Hara/Getty Images]
  • 5-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 4-time Best of the Super Junior Tournament Winner (2018, 2020, 2021, & 2022)

We are very lucky to still have Hiromu Takahashi actively working as a top Junior Heavyweight in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He sustained an injury a few years back that was career-threatening. He sustained a neck injury in 2018 that put him in the hospital, but he made it back to remain a major asset to NJPW.

Truly, he is perhaps the best Junior Heavyweight in NJPW today. He is the only man to win the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament 4 times, and the only man ever to win the tournament three times in a row. Heck, very few ever won it twice in a row.

All of his reigns have been pretty impressive, especially the last few. However, he is also still champion as of this writing and has held the title for over 300 days. This puts him currently around 3rd or 4th for the longest single reign. With just 5 reigns, he’s already 6th all-time in total time spent as Junior Heavyweight Champion.

The cruiserweight territory, regardless of what you call it, has been on lock in New Japan. It’s clear that Takahashi is the best of the best in the company today. Very few can hold a candle to what he’s been able to do there.

Shinjiro Otani

Shinjiro Otani
[Image via Pro Wrestling Zero1]
  • 2-time UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time NWA World Welterweight Champion
  • UWA World Welterweight Champion
  • WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WWF Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WCW Cruiserweight Champion (inaugural)
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • J-Crown Winner (last)

Shinjiro Otani has made a massive impact on the business. The Japanese sensation currently operates as President of Pro Wrestling Zero1, which he co-founded and even wrestled for. However, before this, he was a product of the New Japan Dojo.

He’d learn a lot in Japan and even spend some time in Mexico before going back to work for NJPW. He spent nearly a decade with them before co-founding Zero1. Yet what he did during his time in NJPW was unquestionably historic.

He is the first WCW Cruiserweight Champion and the fifth as well as final holder of the J-Crown. The J-Crown involved all of the major Japanese Junior Heavyweight Titles. As well as the British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Title, WWF Light Heavyweight Title, & both the NWA World Junior Heavyweight as well as Welterweight Championships. This made the person with the J-Crown the holder of up to 8 championships in the Junior Heavyweight territory (eventually just 7).

The J-Crown as well as Otani’s run as the person with it both ended entirely when WWE demanded he return the title to the company. At the time, several companies were allowing New Japan to pass around their titles and defend them, occasionally coming to America to do so too.

Otani”s name is infamous now due to being the last holder. He was quite an impressive performer who made a ton of history. However, since most of his career was spent in the company he co-founded where he won a lot…we couldn’t rank him higher.

Kushida

Kushida - WWE Cruiserweight Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 6-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 3-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
  • 2-time Best of the Super Junior Tournament Winner (2015, 2017)
  • ROH World Television Champion
  • WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • Super J-Cup Winner (2016)
  • 6-0-2 MMA Career

Before going into pro wrestling, Kushida was mostly a martial artist. He actually won the ZST Genesis Lightweight Tournament in 2004, which would result in Kushida seeing multiple offers from MMA companies. He had 6 wins in MMA, without a loss. Although, he did have two draws that ruined his perfect record slightly.

Kushida decided to leave MMA behind for pro wrestling, which led to coming in contact with Tajiri. He would train Kushida in pro wrestling and expose him to multiple styles, as well as how to work with wrestlers of all types. This helped when he went to New Japan, as he was able to adapt quickly.

This led to a big career as a Junior Heavyweight. In fact, Kushida held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title 6 times and won the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament twice during his career. Eventually, he jumped to WWE where he had an “okay” run.

While he was good and even won the WWE Cruiserweight Title, he never could seem to get many opportunities outside of NXT. He left WWE and is now back with NJPW. When it comes to guys who can do it all, Kushida is one of the best there is. He is capable of working in a lucha libre style, Japanese strong style, British strong style, etc.

He can fly high and be an impressive mat worker, capable of making anyone tap out. There is very little Kushida cannot do, even at this stage in his career.

Kota Ibushi

Kota Ibushi
[Image via Masashi Hara/Getty Images]
  • 3-time KO-D Openweight Champion
  • 3-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion (last)
  • 2-time G1 Climax Winner (2019, 2020)
  • Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Winner (2011)
  • New Japan Cup Winner (2015)
  • Independent World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • IMGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • IWGP Heavyweight Champion (last)
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Champion (inaugural)

Kota Ibushi’s career has always been pretty interesting. He enjoys the aspect of working for multiple companies and the free agency concept always appealed best. However, he’s seemingly always been a NJPW guy. They have worked with him perhaps more than anyone else. Yet DDT-Pro has also been a great second home to the Golden One.

Eventually, Ibushi decided to work almost exclusively for NJPW with occasional appearances elsewhere. Which led to NJPW raining titles upon him left and right. He would win the IWGP Intercontinental Title with a nice run but his second reign happened at the same time he won the IWGP Heavyweight Title.

He became one of the few double champions, then the decision came to then unify the titles. This effectively ended the lineage of both titles once the new IWGP World Heavyweight Title came to be. Of which he was the first to hold. Before all of this, he was a Junior Heavyweight in NJPW and became a 3-time Junior Heavyweight Champion.

Ibushi has also made appearances in other places, including in WWE as part of the Cruiserweight Classic. Yet his NJPW stint has been the biggest part of his career. He did it all as one of the best cruiserweight wrestlers in the world. He”s still billed at 205lbs. This means we can count his entire career unlike with others, who went above the cruiserweight weight limit.

Místico/Carístico

Mistico - CMLL Universal Champion
[Image via Alexis Salazar/CMLL]
  • 2-time NWA World Middleweight Champion
  • CMLL Universal Champion (2022)
  • NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion
  • CMLL World Welterweight Champion
  • Mexican National Light Heavyweight Champion
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WWA Middleweight Champion
  • 3-time Leyenda de Plata Winner (2006, 2007, 2008)
  • CMLL International Gran Prix Winner (2023)
  • AAA Copa Antonio Peña Winner (2014)

In the 2000s, Místico was the biggest blockbuster attraction in the world of lucha libre. It”s not hard to see why. He was able to do things that very few others could, which is big considering all the great wrestlers in Mexico. CMLL utilized him well, making him a national attraction from 2004 to 2009. He’d work all over Mexico, which eventually led to other places wanting to use him overseas.

Post-2009, he’d end up working for places like NJPW among others. Yet as soon as he became a free agent in 2011, WWE managed to sign him. Sadly, this was before Triple H had a real hold on the company or talent relations. Therefore, Místico, then going by the name of Sin Cara, was brought straight to the main roster.

Místico was not prepared for work in an American style. WWE tried to hide this by putting all of his matches under some weird darker lighting. He was also given wrestlers who knew how to work the lucha libre style, but he could never really grasp it. When his contract ended in 2014, he went back to Mexico.

He yet again became a top act in CML, where he”s keeping the Middleweight division on lock. Mistico has held the NWA World Historic Middleweight Title since 2018. He also won the most recent CMLL Universal Championship.

Will Ospreay

Will Ospreay - IWGP Heavyweight Title & RevPro World Title
[Image via X – @TaigaPhoto_pw]
  • 3-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time IWGP United States Champion
  • 2-time British Cruiserweight Champion
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion
  • NEVER Openweight Champion
  • Progess Champion
  • ROH World Television Champion
  • New Japan Cup Winner (2021)
  • 2-time Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Winner (2016, 2019)

Will Ospreay is one of the top five best wrestlers on the planet right now. He worked all over the place from America to the UK, Japan, Mexico, and everywhere else one could work.

The Brit has been a huge star for NJPW but still seems to find time for his much beloved Revolution Pro. He is the second triple-crown champion in RevPro, but in New Japan, he has pretty much held every current major singles title they have.

That includes the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title, which he won three times. On top of the IWGP United States Championship, which he had a great initial run with. Ospreay is the current U.S. Champion as of this writing, where he has held the title over 100+ days.

Yet before this last title run, he was the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

Sadly, Ospreay sustained a career-threatening neck injury soon into his run. He only defended the title twice before the injury and had to vacate it. Ospreay has had one hell of a career there, and will likely do a lot with AEW soon too.

His move-set borderlines from superhero to gymnast. He pulls off the seemingly impossible. This high-flying move-set has evolved over the years to include far more mat wrestling and strikes, making him a total package.

Despite now working alongside more heavyweights, Ospreay is still a smaller guy under 205lbs. Making his entire career worthy of consideration for this list.

Jushin “Thunder” Liger

Jushin "Thunder" Liger
[Image via The Wrestling Observer]
  • 11-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 6-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
  • 2-time British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • CMLL World Middleweight Champion
  • CMLL Universal Champion (2010)
  • NWA World Welterweight Champion
  • UWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WAR International Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WWF Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WCW Light Heavyweight Champion
  • GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • J-Crown Winner
  • 3-time Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Winner (1992, 1994, 2001)
  • WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2020)

Jushin “Thunder” Liger is one of the best cruiserweight wrestlers ever. He has wrestled all over the world, but most know him for his work in WCW & NJPW. He even had a match in WWE as well as several down in Mexico over the years.

The Hall of Famer is a cultural icon in Japan. He wrestled over 4,000 matches for numerous companies from the start of his career in 1984 until his retirement in 2020.

Liger has won the JHW Title 11 times and held the infamous J-Crown. He held the J-Crown honor longer than anyone else. WAR took their title away from the J-Crown during this point, making Liger the last to hold 8 Junior Heavyweight titles at once.

He has the record for the longest single IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title reign with a run of 628 days starting in 1993 and held until 1994. Jushin had to vacate the title then due to an ankle injury. He had other long reigns too, and due to having so many, he now also holds the longest total time as champion with more than 2,000 days.

Liger has also successfully defended the title more than anyone at 31 total defenses. Naturally, his 11-reign mark is currently untouchable too.

Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio
[Image via WWE]
  • 5-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • 3-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • 3-time WWE United States Champion
  • 2-time WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 3-time WWA Lightweight Champion
  • 3-time WWA Welterweight Champion
  • WWE Championship
  • Mexican National Welterweight Champion
  • WWE Royal Rumble Winner (2006)
  • WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2023)
  • AAA Hall of Fame (2007)

When it comes to luchadors, there is perhaps no one greater than Rey Mysterio. What he has been able to do in a ring is unquestionably incredible. He’s also been wrestling for more than 30 years. Heck, as of this writing, he is still an active wrestler in WWE.

When he was in his prime, however, especially during his WCW run, there was perhaps no one more fun to watch than Rey Mysterio. The speed and fluidity he had were amazing, but the fact that he could work his style with every other style around was simply terrific. He showed his greatness even more when he went to WWE.

While his time in WCW was spent only in the Cruiserweight division, this was due to how amazing he was there. This is why he held the title for long periods each time. The same can be said for when he first went to WWE as he held the title 5 times.

WWE then saw him as someone who could hang with the big boys, allowing Rey to become a World Heavyweight Champion. Rey would go on to capture a World Title three times there, among several other titles.

Último Dragón

Ultimo Dragon with the J-Crown
[Image via The Ecstasy of Gold Wrestling]
  • 5-time UWA World Middleweight Champion
  • 2-time NWA World Middleweight Champion
  • 2-time NWA World Welterweight Champion
  • 2-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • 2-time WCW Television Champion
  • 2-time NWA International Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2-time WAR International Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • IWA Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Champion
  • UWA World Welterweight Champion
  • WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WWF Light Heavyweight Champion
  • J-Crown Winner

Whether you want to call him a cruiserweight or junior heavyweight, it is unquestioned that Último Dragón is the greatest within this territory. He was almost untouchable in this arena for years. What made him so great was that he worked at the speed and with the high-flying ability of a luchador.

Meanwhile, the Japanese native is very gifted in Japanese Strong Style and submission-based wrestling. He invented several moves you still see to this day, such as the Asai Moonsault.

He is perhaps best known for being the man who held the most titles from major companies at the same time. This is mostly due to Dragon winning the J-Crown, which at the time still consisted of 8 championships that the holder would have at one time. He was already holding the NWA World Middleweight Championship and WCW Cruiserweight Championship, thereby giving him 10 total championships at once.

That made him the most decorated wrestler in recorded history. Especially since he was active and defending all ten championships.

Since the titles were connected to major companies, the accomplishment was massive. His 10-title record still stands to this day, as no one has been able to get beyond this. Particularly, ever since the J-Crown came to an end.