The first episode of the Cruiserweight Classic took place from Fullsail University in Winter Park, FL on July 13th, 2016 and really had some very special moments and some shockingly underwhelming performances as well.
The first edition of this “new brand”, in accordance with the words of Triple H saw four of the first round interactions wet the appetite of the true wrestling fan.
Gran Metallik defeats Alejandro Saez with a Fireman’s Carry Driver.
Gran Metallik, also known as Mascara Dorado from his stint in NJPW, really looked like a million bucks. Many of his signature spots were seen, but I have to say, Saez really impressed as well. Saez lost a good deal of weight for the event and he pulled off some pretty amazing spots including an apron shooting star press and a twisting pescado off the top which led to his demise. Metallik has to be considered an early favorite, but this certainly was a grand way to start the show.
Ho Ho Lun defeats Ariya Daivari with a Misawa Style German Suplex.
Ho Ho Lun has a very unique charisma. Hong Kong, from the way they sold it, is developing a vibrant wrestling scene, but sadly, this match didn’t really impress all that much. I really liked Daivari quite a bit, and it shows that he must have had some great conversations with his brother, the former Daivari of WWE fame. Daivari might be a fella to look at for a future with the company, perhaps NXT, because he seemed to have a pretty good ring awareness and knowledge of the WWE style. We’ll see if Lun can work the second round better, because while he came away with the victory, it was certainly my least favorite of the four encounters tonight.
Cedric Alexander defeats Clement Petiot with the Lumbar Check.
Holy heck did this impress. Petiot was trained by the great Lance Storm and worked very well as a heel coming away with several near falls. He hit a discus clothesline that took Alexander inside out and it looked beautiful. Cedric was a Ring Of Honor mainstay and impressed there, but shedding some weight himself, he really impressed me the most of anybody tonight, only because I am very familiar with the man I’ll speak about in the next match. Cedric has to turn some heads and I would be very surprised if Triple H and the brass didn’t offer him a contract with the company based on his showing tonight and from what I’ve heard about his second round encounter, it even ups the ante again. Very excited to watch and re-watch this contest. The Lumbar Check is a back suplex into the double knees and is a killer finisher. Ced’s athleticism and aerial ability is uncanny. On a side note, Cedric Alexander has the best music of the tournament so far. It’s darn catchy! Please enjoy this one for sure!
Kota Ibushi defeats Sean Maluta with the Last Ride Tigerbomb.
I could write books on Ibushi like I could on Nakamura. That’s not being pretentious, it’s simply telling the truth, because he deserves an entire library. Daniel Bryan stated the obvious. Ibushi can kick your head off. He had some amateur kickboxing experience and you can see that from the opening strike. Ibushi hit some beautiful spots including a combo flurry and the second turnbuckle moonsault which always sends the fans home happy. I predicted Ibushi to win the tournament before I even knew the brackets. He has all the tools to sell tickets for the event and to draw money with the fed if they can get him inked to a deal. Ibushi sold the assaults from Periot based on his herniated disc neck injury that he recently recovered from. Maluta comes from the legendary Samoan lineage, the nephew of Afa, and a cousin of The Rock, Roman Reigns and the Usos. Maluta was very impressive as well. He nearly killed himself with a somersault senton over the top rope onto Ibushi. He hit the rope and rolled twice and it only made it look more impressive. They teased a brilliant nearfall following a sensational savate kick that Maluta hit. Ibushi kicked out at the last second and the fans very much enjoyed the contest. Ibushi and Alexander seemed poised to clash in the second round and from what I’ve been told, the fans stood up midway through the match. Stoked to enjoy next Wednesday’s contests as well as the refreshing commentary from Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan. For pure wrestling fans and for fans of the lucha libre and strong style, you are very much going to enjoy the tournament, that’s for sure!
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