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WWE Cruiserweight Classic: Round One Recap (Weeks Two and Three)

The first round of the Cruiserweight Classic continues LIVE on 7/27/2016 with recap coverage of the second week coverage from 7/20/2016 included within! The action was fast and furious and took place at Fullsail University in Winter Park, FL!

July 20th, 2016

Tajiri defeated Damian Slater with the Buzzsaw Kick.

It was really nice to see the wily veteran back in a WWE ring. I’m sure William Regal was just as happy to see the veteran presence and while age has taken it’s hold on Tajiri, it hasn’t slowed him down any. Slater looked solid, but Tajiri was still able to score with many of his strong style kicks, ultimately ending Slater’s run in the tournament with a well placed Buzzsaw kick. We saw the return of the Tarantula, and not in the form of a villainous insect in musty barns during the summer season. We didn’t see the green mist, but I’m sure it’s still being safe kept for future usage!

TJ Perkins defeated Da Mack with a knee bar submission.

TJ Perkins is a star. It’s just that simple. Don’t get me wrong, Da Mack, out of Germany, and trained at the school of one of my all time favorite wrestlers, “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright, was up to the task of trying to best the former Suicide/Manik. If they are serious about running with the Cruiserweight division on Raw, as much of a fan of Ibushi and Sabre Jr as I might be, Perkins needs to be the first signing. We saw a dab, we saw an aerial offense that our armed services would appreciate, and a fluidity that has to have even ole’ Vince drooling. Perkins is already an established star and he has that ring presence that the fed seems to like. I liken it to Neville, who is “Fed Ready” if you will. This was a very enjoyable contest and arguably the best of the night. I say that not knowing what a surprise the next match would be.

Lince Dorado defeated Mustafa Ali with a Shooting Star Press.

You know who won this match? The fans. Holy heck was this good. It was really good. Lince Dorado is the pride of Puerto Rico and he doesn’t need members of the Shining Stars to sell us on this treasured athlete from “La Isla Del Encanto”. Dorado brought all the tools to the dance. I would be committing a grave error however if I didn’t mention how impressive Ali was as well. There were two spots in particular that had me coming up out of my seat. Dorado hit a springboard off the ropes and simply let his momentum carry him backwards to where he executed a reverse hurricanrana on Ali that looked like it broke his neck. Not to be outdone, Ali pulled out the move of the night, heck, maybe the move of the tournament thus far. Ali, while Dorado was on the top rope, hit a springboard Spanish Fly to perfection. A Spanish Fly is not only one of the most impressive aerial moves that you’ll ever see, but when you add the springboard element to it, it showcases the trust that athletes have to have with one another. Unreal. Ali then went back up top and delivered an inverted 450 splash that missed its mark, only for Dorado to hit the Shooting Star for the victory. Sign both of these guys yesterday, period!

Akira Tozawa defeated Kenneth Johnson with a Deadlift Bridging German Suplex.

Tozawa is something special. He reminds me so much of Toru Yano of NJPW fame with his hi-jinx. The main difference is, Yano is a comedy act who can deliver, but Tozawa is a wrestler’s wrestler. Through his grunting and tomfoolery, he has an aversed knowledge of technical wrestling and is able to use his small frame to pull off some brilliant power moves. I didn’t know much about Johnson, outside the fact that he was trained by Sho Funaki, and I must say, I was stunned by his impressive he was with his lanky frame. Johnson made this very watchable and he came away with some convincing near falls on more then one occasion. Ultimately, Tozawa hit a remarkable german suplex that was “quicker than a hiccup” as JR used to say and then hit the Deadlift german to put Johnson away. A very impressive finish to a great series of matches to end night two!

July 27th, 2016

Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tyson Dux with an Omoplata submission.

I had to grab a bottle of water after this. The “technical wizard” showed up and showed off for Fullsail fans in this one against Tyson Dux. Dux was quite impressive in his own right, hitting a crisp fisherman’s buster at one point. If you were ever a fan of William Regal or just British wrestling in general, then it is easy to fall in love with Sabre Jr. From a octopus hold with a wrist lock to some of the most innovative escapes and counters in recent memory, Sabre wet the appetites of those who know, along with Ibushi, that he seems to be playing for keeps as it relates to heading to the finals of this tournament. Dux again was very impressive and had he been paired against someone not named Sabre Jr., he might have been able to move into the second round. Ultimately, Sabre got the victory with an Omoplata with a wrist wrench that looked like the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever seen. Very reminiscent of the Jim Breaks armbar and might have been a variation of his patented submission hold he calls “Ode To Breaks” often utilized during his Progress work. He transitioned into that after a beautiful body scissors submission and it was just a mastery of technical wrestling. There was also a penalty kick that he used, that would have made even Katsuyori Shibata applaud. Well done gentlemen, well done indeed.

Drew Gulak defeated Harv Sihra with a Dragon Sleeper.

Nice to see the Bollywood Boyz making a cameo in the CWC. Gulak is known as the “submission king of Philadelphia” and after the Sabre Jr. match, I had to scratch my chin and wonder if this would deliver. Gulak was a bruiser. He employed a few pancraze style slaps before scoop slamming Sihra on the ropes at one point. Right before that, he executed a hard hitting clothesline off the top rope. I thought Sihra was there for a cup of coffee, but he mounted a small comeback with a back body drop and then a beautiful springboard cross body to the floor. Sihra continued the comeback, but ultimately he feel victim to a dragon sleeper and Gulak came away with the victory. Fun for what it was, but after the Sabre Jr. match before this, certainly tough to follow.

Tony Nese defeated Anthony Bennett with a 450 Splash.

Nese came in with a lot of hype and a big chip on his shoulder according to Daniel Bryan. Bennett is obviously a big fan of Kid N’ Play, which is awesome in and of itself. Nese was trained by Mikey Whipwreck of ECW fame, but unlike his mentor, he came in with more offense then Mikey ever got in! Nese very light on his feet for his size, using an early kip up and a leg sweep that caught my eye. He then used a cartwheel on the apron and hit a superkick that would have gotten him an invitation to any party thrown by members of the Young Bucks. Bennett nailed a cannonball splash similar to that of Cesaro, but Nese came back with a hot shot and then a Quebrada. Again, very impressive to see the speed of the bigger man. Bennett makes a small comeback with several diving clotheslines and a tornado DDT, but Nese counters with a pumphandle slam. A weird spot as the referee stops Nese while he’s perched on the top rope to check on Bennett, but he gives the go ahead and Nese nails a beautiful 450 splash for the victory. Not too bad for Nese, but nothing really overly impressive with Bennett here. Nese certainly will have a chance to deliver on that hype in round two and we’ll see how all that plays out.

THE Brian Kendrick defeated Raul Mendoza with a Bully Choke submission.

Kendrick made his return without Big Zeke, the works of Sun Tzu or a failure to impress Mr. McMahon that put him in singles action against “The Real” Brock Lesnar, but nevertheless, Kendrick hasn’t lost a step. I have always been and will always be a fan of Kendrick and was expecting him to dominate. Mendoza was impressive. They had a great series of counter exchanges at the opening of the match which led to a nice hurricanrana by Mendoza that took Kendrick to the outside. Mendoza then did a really cool spot where he had Kendrick is a leg trap submission that he turned into a big swing of sorts before sitting down on it and adding a body scissors before Kendrick got to the ropes. Kendrick then forced Mendoza to chomp down on the ropes and he booted it. Ouch. That was a cool spot. Mendoza was bleeding from the mouth after that and Kendrick follows it up with a corner clothesline. Mendoza back with a corkscrew plancha and a beauty. Kendrick fights back with a huge boot and then a rocket kick that plants Mendoza. This was a great match employing all styles, you’d expect nothing less from a veteran like Kendrick and Mendoza came to fight! Kendrick is draped in the tree of woe after he is crotched by Mendoza and then superkicked before Mendoza heads to the opposite side turnbuckle and hits a coast to coast ala Shane McMahon! A suplex into a double knee backbreaker is the follow-up for a two count broken up with a foot on the ropes from Kendrick. Kendrick plays possum and draped Mendoza across the ropes and then in brilliant fashion, he nails a 3.0 that Mike Sanders in WCW used to do, and then floats over into a bully choke for the submission! Wow! What a match! Thumbs up for the night and a tremendous tournament thus far!

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