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WWE: Cruiserweight Classic Round 1 Recap (Week Four)

The WWE Cruiserweight Classic continued it’s first round action live from Fullsail University in Winter Park, FL with it’s final four matches on 8/3/2016!

Rich Swann defeated Jason Lee with a standing 450 splash.

To say that I’m a fan of Rich Swann is an understatement. This man bleeds a level of charisma that Shinsuke Nakamura does and to top that off, he’s from my hometown of Baltimore, MD. Swann’s story is something to hear to say the least and this journey through the CWC ranks will certainly be a feather in his cap if he’s able to make it deep into the tournament. His first round test came in the form of Jason Lee, a man, who like fellow first rounder Ho Ho Lun, looks to put China and specifically Hong Kong, on the map as it relates to wrestling greatness. I didn’t know what to make of Lee outside the fact that he stated early on that he’d combine martial arts into his repertoire. He did just that. Lee had an uncanny quickness and was able to execute several martial arts strikes that impressed the crowd. Swann would not be outdone, “All Night Long” brought all the tools out for the ordeal and we bore witness to a jumping hurricanrana and a multitude of high impact aerial offensive maneuvers. Swann grinned when he knew the crowd was ready to see his incredible athleticism and he ended the match as he did two standing jumps as if he were on a trampoline. He quickly turned his body and executed a breathtaking 450 splash for the three count and he will face Lince Dorado in round two.

Noam Dar defeated Gurv Sihra with a Kneebar.

Dar came into the tournament with a great deal of hype. He is billed from Scotland, but he is heralded as the first Israeli born Cruiserweight in the tournament. It’s a grand billing and very cool to say the least. Dar has a tremendous look. He faced the more technical Sihra, representing the Bollywood Boyz. Sadly, if I had to pick one match that didn’t really impress, it was this one. It wasn’t bad, the pacing was just very slow and not in the Zack Sabre Jr. or Drew Gulak sense, where the chain wrestling has you on pins and needles. This one seemed like a match you’d see each week on Smackdown LIVE or Monday Night Raw. It was methodical and both men tried to get the crowd into it, they certainly appreciated the efforts of both men and Dar came away with the victory following the kneebar after a beautiful counter, but after the first bout of the evening, maybe the crowd hadn’t gotten all their energy back. Sadly, the Bollywood Boyz both exit the tournament in the first round, but they entertained fans and got some good looks which may or may not result in future opportunities.

Jack Gallagher defeated Fabian Aichner with a corner dropkick.

I am very familiar with the “extraordinary gentleman” and I knew he’d show up. Jack is a great deal of fun and you certainly get your money’s worth with him. The fans appreciated the heck out of this contest and it wasn’t just the technical wrestling and magnetic charisma of Jack that drew you in, Aichner was a brilliant hand. Aichner tipped the scales just shy of 205 and he was trained at the school of the Wrights, most notably “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright and he represented Italy. Aichner impressed the heck out of me, pulling off two of the most breathtaking maneuvers of the evening for a man of his size and stature as he executed a double springboard moonsault that brought the crowd out of their seats and then he executed a suplex that he turned into a tigerbomb that nearly earned him the victory. Aichner will certainly get a look from veteran eyes and the higher ups. he showed up, albeit in a losing effort. Gallagher turned the tables on Aichner after a missed opportunity and he put him away with a sensational running corner dropkick to the face! Daniel Bryan marked out like a madman, as did we all, and while Gallagher comes away with a first round victory, he has the unfortunate task of facing Akira Tozawa in round two! Yikes. That is going to be one to watch for sure!

Johnny Gargano defeated Tommaso Ciampa with a crucifix.

Johnny Wrestling took on his NXT tag team partner, the “Sicilian Psychopath” in a classic. I thought it would be hard to beat the Swann and Gallagher matches, but they did it. The final set of four matches sent the fans home happy. Ciampa really hasn’t had the opportunity in NXT to utilize his hard strikes that he employed so often in Ring of Honor, but goodness gracious, he sure did in this one. There was no shortage of knee strikes, and he utilized a back elbow early on against Gargano that would have taken the two front teeth out of an average man’s mouth. Gargano took to the air, executing a topei suicida at one point that was a sight to behold. A strong style chop fest ensued before we got a “Mamma Mia” out of Mauro Ranallo following a ridiculous air raid crash by Ciampa on the hardest part of the ring. Unreal. Ciampa pulled down the knee pad and was prepared to execute the killing blow with a knee strike, but he has second thoughts, not wanting to injure his tag team partner. Gargano fires off a superkick, but Ciampa wows everyone in attendance and watching at home with a powerbomb lung blower. Absolutely insane. I thought it couldn’t get any better as a “This Is Awesome” chant envelopes the arena. Ciampa eats a right hand, and he fires off several slaps, there is a counter exchange and after a missed roaring elbow, Gargano pulls his partner into a crucifix and gets a three count. What an absolute joy it was to enjoy this contest and tournament aside, the Revival had better watch out, because all eyes were on this contest and these two have to be heading for NXT tag team glory with a potential championship run. Having said that, Gargano will have to get past the incredible TJ Perkins in round two first! What a night and I can’t wait for next Wednesday!

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