Cruiserweight Classic – Round One Episode One


Today’s Cruiserweight Classic recap is brought to you by Scentsy (we really have some weird unpaid sponsorship stuff going on.  This stuff does smell nice though, and covers the smell of your beer farts quite nicely while you’re watching the end of Raw.  Don’t give me that look, you know they’re bad by the time that 10PM ET hour rolls around).

The Cruiserweight Classic began last night (televising, was recorded in advance and spoilers are available but you know how I feel about those), and with only four matches in the books it has already been incredibly exciting.

I found myself nervous for it, coming on the heels of the wildly anticipated and in no way disappointing Finn Balor V Shinsuke Nakamura bout on last night’s episode of NXT (it was the only match, so consider this additionally your NXT Recap).  I was nervous for absolutely no reason at all.

It kicked off by introducing you to quite possibly the best commentary pairing this company could have come up with.  I desperately want Dolph Ziggler to end up on a commentary table with Corey Graves at some point, just because I think they would be hilarious together, but the CWC has paired the new voice of Smackdown and everyone’s favorite commentary guy in Mauro Renallo with the leader of the Yes! movement and recently retired former champion Daniel Bryan.


And yes, the fonts, color schemes, everything about the presentation screams Street Fighter to me as well, and I FREAKING LOVE IT.

These guys are so good on commentary and the best part about Daniel Bryan is the inside knowledge he has about nearly every competitor in the tournament having physically been in the ring with them at some point in his career.  This is an amazing asset on commentary and gives him a comfortable confidence that just comes across so incredibly well.  I was in awe of this pairing.

Beyond the already amazing presentation scheme and the commentary team, we move into the first four matches of the tournament.

Match One – Gran Metalik Vs Alejandro Saez

These Vs screen set ups are incredible, and they actually do use them on the broadcast.  I can’t tell you enough just how much I enjoyed these.  It set such an awesome vibe for this tournament from the get go.

Gran Metalik is an experienced Luchador who has spent the last several years with New Japan.  The former Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) star was at one point a quadruple champion with the promotion, holding four of the company’s titles simultaneously.  If CMLL had a Night of Champions event, you know this guy was absolutely exhausted when he got home.

Alejandro Saez is Chilean.  I know what you’re thinking, “there’s wrestling in Chile??”  And yes, but only because Alejandro Saez made it so, at least according to Daniel Bryan and I take his word on it.  In addition to basically starting Chilean wrestling, Saez shaved off thirty pounds just to qualify this tournament.  He’s trained in submission holds and Japanese style wrestling, having learned his craft from the likes of Adrian Neville and Super Crazy.

These guys got this thing started right.  Metalik hit a springboard that I’m fairly certain dislocated Saez shoulder:

And not to be outdone by the Luchador, Saez got the upper hand and came back with this absolutely insane Shooting Star Press off the apron:

The moves were incredibly throughout, and in spite of the size advantage held by Saez, Gran Metalik got the upper hand, hitting a wicked Fisherman Suplex Piledriver to pick up the pinfall and advance to the second round:

Match Two – Hoho Lun Vs Ariya Daivari



The high flying Iranian was true to the majority of characters who’ve fought out of the middle eastern nation and played the Heel character throughout, from his passive aggressive walk to the ring to his refusal to shake hands before the match.  He was getting a good bit of build from the commentary team, so I almost expected him to pull off the win here in a great second match, but Hoho put on a display in this one:

— WWE CWC (@WWE_CWC) July 14, 2016

Match Three – Cedric Alexander Vs Tristan Archer

Cedric Alexander is an American, which automatically means we have to pull for him, right?

Those of you who keep up with Ring of Honor may recognize Cederick Johnson, ring name Cedric Alexander.  Cedric has been with ROH since 2011, most recently and most notably defeating Moose at Global Wars ’15 and ending his undefeated streak.  Whether he hit him with a wrench or he didn’t hit him with a wrench, he’s still forever going to be the guy that ended Moose’s streak, just as Lesnar will forever be the one they let end The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak.

Tristan Archer is French, which automatically means that he’s lame.  He’s wrestled periodically with NWA, but you probably wouldn’t recognize him.  He was, however, trained by the bad ass Canadian himself, Mr. Lance Storm.

I half expected the Lance Storm tie in to carry Archer through this match, but Charlotte’s own Alexander who in his intro promo said he wants to turn Charlotte into a two legend town (himself and Ric Flair) pulled off the victory with a Lumbar Check, which looks more like a Suplex to Codebreaker combination finisher:

Match Four – Kota Ibushi Vs Sean Maluta


One of the favorites going into the tournament had to be Kota Ibushi.  Ibushi, the 12 year veteran, has been all over the world, most recently wrestling with New Japan before entering a moderate retirement due to injury.  He works currently as a freelancer so that he can manage his dates and keep from risking further injury by overworking.  This appears similar to the deal that Brock Lesnar has with WWE, minus the UFC opportunities.  Ibushi is globally recognized, similarly to Nakamura, and is a three time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and a one-time tag champion while with NJPW.

Sean Maluta might have appeared to be a terrible draw for Ibushi in round one.  Maluta might as well be a part of the Roman Empire, representing the Anoi bloodline as a cousin to The Usos, Roman Reigns and The Rock.  One might have imagined the Family ties to have carried him to an over push in the tournament, but that was easy to put out of your mind when he began to wrestle.  While billed as a technical wrestler, and he is a very gifted technical performer, he almost utilizes some combination of high flying and strong style techniques.

I almost thought this was the end, as Maluta hit an incredible Codebreaker off the 2nd Rope, but only got a two count:

But Ibushi made quite an impression on his way to the victory:

I was quite impressed with Maluta and considering his lineage I would imagine this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him in WWE.

And with four matches in the books, Gran Metalik, Hoho Lun, Cedric Alexander and Kota Ibushi are all moving to the round of 16.