The WCW World Cruiserweight Championship began as the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship in 1991. During its existence as the Light Heavyweight Championship it was vacated by Brad Armstrong in September 1992 due to injury. The title remained in limbo until early 1996 as in March of 96 WCW decided to rename and re-establish the title as a Cruiserweight Championship Tournament was held in NJPW. It was won by Shinjiro Otani when he defeated Chris Benoit in the finals. As such Otani was recognized as the new WCW World Cruiserweight Champion.

In March 2001, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) purchased World Championship Wrestling. Following Survivor Series 2001, the title was renamed the WWF Cruiserweight Championship, replacing the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship.

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