Air Date: 13/7/16
The Cruiserweight Classic is finally here. 32 of the “best” cruiserweight wrestlers in the world are entered into a single elimination tournament to see who the best is. This is going to be an interesting tournament because WWE very rarely puts a lot of attention on guys that they haven’t signed, and there are also a lot of wrestlers on these shows that are completely unfamiliar to even the most hardcore of wrestling nerds.
The show starts with a nifty video package narrated by Triple H. After that we are welcomed to the show by our commentary team, Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo, and Corey Graves who runs down the bracket and tonight’s matches. I really like the Street Fighter style graphics they have used for this.
We get great video packages on Gran Metalik, aka Mascara Dorada, and Alejandro Saez.
Gran Metalik vs. Alejandro Saez (Cruiserweight Classic First Round)
The presentation of these matches is very different to anything WWE is doing right now, it’s like a mix of UFC and classic Ring of Honor with the wrestlers shaking hands before the match, sponsors on the mat, and the announcement of the winner. Now on to the actual match, Saez’s selling and general movements were a little too over the top for my liking but that comes from mostly wrestling in front of live crowds and not on TV. He is crazy athletic and pulled out a beautiful looking shooting star press, and the one or two strikes he through in looked very good as well. Metalik is obviously great, he pulled out a lot of things that have never been done in a WWE ring to my knowledge and looked like a million bucks. Great match to start the show. Metalik pins Saez with the Dorada Driver ** ¾
Another set of video packages, this time for Ariya Daivari and HoHo Lun.
HoHo Lun vs. Ariya Daivari (Cruiserweight Classic First Round)
This was a fine match, I’ve seen a few of Ariya’s matches this year and have always been impressed with this being no exception. He played a very good bully heel throughout. HoHo, on the other hand, looked completely out of his depth. Whether that is due to nerves or him just being very green it was clear that Daivari was the glue that held this match together. Hopefully we see more of Daivari in this tournament and HoHo does better in his next match. HoHo pins Daivari with a bridging German suplex ** ¼
Some more video packages before out next match.
Clement Petiot vs. Cedric Alexander (Cruiserweight Classic First Round)
Clement is a Lance Storm trainee, while Cedric is another in the long list of great wrestlers that RoH has mishandled this year. This was an awesome sprint, Cedric’s high flying and agility really meshed well with Petiot’s viscous strikes. Petiot very much seems like the finished package to me and is another guy I’d like to see a lot more from. Cedric Alexander pins Clement Petiot with the Lumbar Check ** ¾
Bryan and Mauro discuss the main event before going to some more video packages.
Kota Ibushi vs. Sean Maluta (Cruiserweight Classic First Round)
Maluta is a member of the Anoa’i wrestling family and looks like a cross between the Usos and Umaga. Ibushi is obviously one of the favourites to win the entire tournament. This was another really awesome match, Ibushi was obviously great but Maluta looked very good as well. He absolutely killed Kota with a superkick at one point which had me believing he might actually get the upset win, never mind him almost killing himself on a botched dive to the outside. Ibushi wins with a sitout powerbomb ***
All of the matches so far delivered and I love the new presentation giving everything a fresh feel to it. First episode knocked it out of the park and I can’t wait to watch the rest of this tournament.