Wednesday, August 10, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 8/10/16 Review

WWE Cruiserweight Classic
August 10th, 2016 | Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida

Tonight, the second round officially begins! They start things with an awesome video package showing highlights of the first round.

Corey Graves took over to talk a bit in the control room before we got video packages for the opening match competitors.

Gran Metalik def. Tajiri in 10:51
They started off with some very fast paced stuff, reminding me of Tajiri's prime and his battles with Super Crazy, even though he has lost a step. Tajiri lit up Metalik with some chops but got sent outside on a rana. Metalik followed with a loud superkick. Tajiri came back with a vicious kick to the face of his own. He nailed another that caused Bryan to shout "OH MY GOD" like he was Joey Styles. Metalik busted out a very nice tightrope somersault plancha to the outside. It has been fifteen years and Tajiri's kicks are still awesome. He nailed the corner baseball slide for two. He got a close call on a powerbomb that led the crowd to give a round of applause. Metalik ducked the Buzzsaw Kick but got caught in a submission. With his arms held, he broke it by kicking away at Tajiri's head. Metalik then hit the Metalik Screwdriver to advance. Really good way to kick off the second round. They worked at a fast pace the entire time and did some impressive stuff. Tajiri looked like he hadn't lost a step and Metalik got a big win over an established veteran. ***1/2

Cedric Alexander and Kota Ibushi get video packages before the main event.

Kota Ibushi def. Cedric Alexander in 14:59
The hype llevels coming out of the tapings for this match are very high. Both guys tried a feeling out process early, with each showing flashes of athleticism. The pace quickened and they upped the ante with bigger moves. Ibushi blocked a dropkick and missed a big kick, leading to a pair of near falls. Alexander elbowed Ibushi hard, so Kota fired back with his first brutal kick. Cedric got sent outside with a springboard dropkick but moved out of the way of Ibushi's triangle moonsault. Alexander pounced and nailed a gorgeous tope con hilo, following with a springboard clothesline for two. Ibushi kicked Cedric in the ribs and Cedric answered with one of the loudest slaps to the chest I've ever heard. The dropkicks and forearms from both men were on another level. Ibushi got a close near fall on a standing corkscrew moonsault. He then one upped himself by doing the triangle moonsault, but from the top rope! Cedric got his closest near fall on a snap Michinoku Driver. Kota tried a super rana but Cedric landed on his feet, though it didn't come off too smoothly. Cedric escaped the Golden Star Powerbomb and again came close with a brainbuster. He instantly hit a spin kick to the head for an even closer near fall. Cedric went up but Ibushi rolled away from a double stomp. He snapped off a German, hit a roundhouse kick and won with the Golden Stat Powerbomb. What a performance by these guys. That match lived up to the hype. Both guys killed it. It was two guys fighting for their lives to advance in an important tournament. The crowd was invested from the opening bell and they just kept building to bigger and better moments to get them even louder. It was a star making performance for Alexander and Kota continued to look great. Cedric sold the loss like it broke his heart, which added to everything. ****1/2

Next week, Akira Tozawa takes on Jack Gallagher, Noam Dar vs. Ho Ho Lun and The Brian Kendrick goes against Tony Nese.

Cedric Alexander was shown in tears as the crowd chanted "thank you." They then chanted "please sign Cedric", causing Triple H to walk out behind and basically say "okay". He shook Cedric's hand and they left to the back, giving the CWC an emotional boost for the second straight week.

Overall: 9/10. What an hour of pro wrestling. Tajiri/Metalik was a really solid opening contest, while Ibushi/Alexander was not just the best match of the CWC, but one of the best matches in WWE all year long. The presentation continues to wow, the matches are getting better and the emotional impact of the past two weeks have been top notch. I love this tournament.

NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night Sixteen Review

NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night Sixteen
August 10th, 2016 | Yamagata Sports Center in Yamagata, Japan

We’re reaching the end of the line. There are only three shows left before the finals. The B Block is in action again. We should see some final eliminations and figure out who will still be in play when the final night begins. Almost everyone is still alive at this point because the B Block has been so close throughout. As usual, I will just be reviewing the G1 Climax matches.

B Block: Kenny Omega [10] def. Katsuhiko Nakajima [8] in 10:29
I’m surprised to see this open considering it is one of the more interesting ones on the card tonight. Nakajima has been consistently good to great, while Omega has been up and down. Omega surprisingly shook hands with Nakajima before unsurprisingly spitting in his face. They did some fighting outside and we got the typical countout tease. Omega was in control for a good chunk of the match. Nakajima came back and nailed a second rope suplex. He missed the penalty kick and ate a dragon suplex. Omega landed on his feet on a German attempt and nailed a second dragon suplex. Nakajima blocked the One Winged Angel and started destroying Omega with kicks. Omega escaped the Brainbuster and hit a reverse rana for two. He got the win after the One Winged Angel. Good match that really picked up as it reached the climax. Expected outcome though I prefer Nakajima. ***½

B Block: EVIL [6] def. Toru Yano [8] in 2:57
Toru Yano has reeled off four straight wins in standard Yano fashion. He went straight for the turnbuckle and EVIL attacked. He nearly stole it within seconds. They fought outside where Yano tried using a chair only for it to backfire. EVIL did his trademark chair/ring post spot. Inside, Yano picked up a few more flash pins until he tried a low blow. The referee caught him and held his arm back, allowing EVIL to score with the STO and pick up the win. Slightly different than most Yano matches but about the same in quality. Good to see EVIL get a win here. **

B Block: Tetsuya Naito [12] vs. YOSHI-HASHI [6] in 15:01
It’s weird seeing Naito in the middle of the card. YOSHI came out of the blocks firing with a dropkick. For the third straight match, we got some brawling outside. Naito had control out there but inside, things were more even. Naito went for his rebound attack but continued to have it countered in this G1 as YOSHI caught him with an awesome Codebreaker. They even gave it a slow motion replay. Naito got two on a super rana but he’s so cool and collected that he didn’t show any signs of frustration. YOSHI was ready for Destino and countered it into a slam. The fans began to buy into YOSHI pulling off the upset and were heavily invested throughout. YOSHI scored on a huge lariat for two. When he nailed the swanton bomb, the fans thought it was over but Naito kicked out. He then blocked a suplex and slapped on the butterfly lock! Naito was able to reach the ropes though. Sensing a weak Naito, he tried again but Naito blocked and nailed a German. YOSHI fired right back up only to run into shots from Naito. They messed up a DDT spot before Naito actually hit the rebound attack. Destino put away the resilient YOSHI. Another great performance from both guys. They worked at a great pace and YOSHI looked like a million bucks here. He fought extremely hard against a hated rival from LIDJ but Naito proved to be just too good. The crowd was a huge help here, adding to the belief that YOSHI might pull this one out. ****

B Block: NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata [10] def. Yuji Nagata [6] in 12:16
These two traded the NEVER Title earlier this year, with those two matches getting ***¾ (Wrestling Dontaku) and ****¼ (Dominion) from me. Oh, would you look at that. Ringside brawl and a dual countout tease within the first two minutes. Never change Gedo. Nagata kicked away at Shibata’s busted up shoulder, causing the NEVER Champ to take a breather outside. Nagata tried some submissions on it but Shibata was mostly able to block. They went into the exchange of strikes we expect from them, as well as both guys instantly getting up after suplexes. Nagata got in the driver’s seat after applying his armbar. Nagata continued to basically torture the arm, but Shibata was still able to apply the sleeper hold. He held tight and Nagata eventually passed out. This was good, but not on the level of their previous two matches. It was missing something and I also wish the arm work would have played more into the finish. ***¼

B Block: IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin [10] def. Tomoaki Honma [4] in 18:43
These two had a match last year that snuck into my Top 100 Matches of 2015 list at ***¾. Considering how many **** I’ve seen this year, none of those matches will probably make it in this time around. Elgin used his power to wear down Honma in the early stages. Honma blocked a suplex and gave one to Elgin that got the crowd going. Honma started his rally, complete with a little Kokeshi. The crowd came alive as Honma seemed to go for a super Kokeshi to the outside. Elgin rolled in to avoid it, so Honma just jumped off with a Kokeshi anyway, getting a near fall. Elgin came back with the apron DVD and a powerbomb into the ring post. Elgin DID THE DEAL off the second rope for two. Honma got hot but missed the top rope Kokeshi and you could smell the end coming. Elgin went into a flurry of offense, finishing with the buckle bomb/Elgin Bomb combination. I liked their match last year better but this was still good. The crowd was molten hot, badly wanting Honma to win. Neither guy has been as good as they were last year. I think the issue for Elgin is that he isn’t working as many short, compact matches this year, which is when he’s at his best. ***½

Overall: 7.5/10. Another day, another strong B Block show. As usual, outside of the short Yano match, everything was good. Omega/Nakajima and Elgin/Honma were both solid matches and while Nagata/Shibata was their worst outing together of the year, it was still good. Naito and YOSHI-HASHI steal the show though, so if you’re only going to watch one match on this show, make it that one.

Bad Luck Fale10 (5-3)Tetsuya Naito12 (6-2)
Hirooki Goto10 (5-3)Michael Elgin10 (5-3)
Hiroshi Tanahashi10 (5-3)Katsuyori Shibata10 (5-3)
Kazuchika Okada10 (5-3)Kenny Omega10 (5-3)
Naomichi Marufji10 (5-3)Katsuhiko Nakajima8 (4-4)
Togi Makabe8 (4-4)Toru Yano8 (4-4)
Tama Tonga6 (3-5)YOSHI-HASHI6 (3-5)
SANADA6 (3-5)Yuji Nagata6 (3-5)
Tomohiro Ishii6 (3-5)EVIL6 (3-5)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan4 (2-6)Tomoaki Honma4 (2-6)