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In professional wrestling, a cruiserweight is a wrestler weighing below 220 lb (100 kg), with no lower weight limit.The older term junior heavyweight, which was used to describe the division, is more favored in Japan, where many titles for lighter-weight competitors are called junior heavyweight titles. Prominent titles include New Japan Pro Wrestling's IWGP, Pro Wrestling NOAH's GHC, and All Japan Pro Wrestling's World/PWF titles. The weight limit utilized by WCW and Japanese promotions is "up to 220 lbs" (100 kg). New Japan and NOAH also have junior heavyweight tag team titles, for teams composed of junior heavyweights. WCW tested such a format with their own Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles shortly before the company was sold. Cruiserweight wrestlers are generally shorter and possess less muscle bulk than heavyweights, a build which lends itself to a high-flying wrestling style. While there are many cruiserweights who specialise in alternate wrestling styles, cruiserweights are strongly associated with moves performed from the top rope and moves requiring a degree of speed, agility, balance and torque. Cruiserweight wrestling is often associated with lucha libre, where similar moves and match pacing are used, but Mexico uses a different weight class system and the actual term "cruiserweight" (crucero, in Spanish) is rarely used in favor of Light-Heavyweight (peso semicompleto in Spanish). Cruiserweight wrestlers tend to be wrestlers of average human height and weight. The high spots performed by cruiserweights are normally visually impressive but carry a varying degree of risk. A cruiserweight match with no transition holds and little psychology is known as a spotfest (heavyweight spotfests do exist, however).
Championships contested by cruiserweights cannot be held by wrestlers who are not cruiserweights, but cruiserweights are normally eligible to compete for heavyweight championships.
The term was popularized in World Championship Wrestling, when WCW President Eric Bischoff in 1997 re-established the light-heavyweight division as the cruiserweight division and reactivated the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship as the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Bischoff renamed the division because he felt that "light-heavyweight" was a pejorative term, and made the smaller wrestlers seem less important. After the World Wrestling Federation acquired the intellectual property of WCW in 2001, the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship was abandoned in favor of the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, and the title was renamed the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
In 2002, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling created the X Division Championship, a title with no upper or lower weight limits but which epitomized the stereotypical cruiserweight style. The division is considered a defining moment in cruiserweight wrestling and is also considered to be TNA Wrestling's top draw.