WWE Cruiserweight Classic
August 17th, 2016 | Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida
The opening video recaps Gran Metalik's win over Tajiri and Kota Ibushi's win over Cedric Alexander (in a MOTY candidate) to start the second round last week.
Akira Tozawa def. Jack Gallagher in 11:36
I really came in wanting Jack Gallagher to win. He has impressed me both times I've seen him, but Tozawa hasn't done much for me. There were early "Jackie Boy" chants after he took Tozawa to the mat and was impressively charismatic throughout. At one point, he literally just tied Tozawa up in a ball and left him stuck there until literally kicking him in the ass. Tozawa started laying in chops and going into more aggressive offense. Gallagher twisted Tozawa's leg in ugly fashion. Just when Tozawa seemed near a win, Gallagher again pulled off a submission from out of nowhere. Tozawa did a decent job of selling the leg before getting murdered by a headbutt. He came back by snapping off a German from out of nowhere. He went for another and, in a great moment, Gallagher latched onto the leg to block and try another submission. Tozawa overpowered and won with the German. Good match but again, Tozawa didn't do much for me. Gallagher was the clear star throughout. I could watch him twist Tozawa for days. ***1/4
Noam Dar def. Ho Ho Lun in 7:01
Neither guy stood out in the first round, so knowing one of them would advance while Jack Gallagher and Cedric Alexander didn't disappointed me. I keep hearing how good Dar is, but I haven't seen anything special. Dar had the crowd behind him as he went after Lun's knee and hit a big dropkick. Dar's viciousness was my favorite thing I've seen from him so far. From grinding his boot on Lun's knee to stepping on his head during a submission, it was all good. Lun began to fight back, but he worked as the face and the crowd didn't want him to win, so it was awkward. Dar won with a knee bar. Better effort from Dar and I liked the knee work. Still nothing too impressive though. **1/2
The Brian Kendrick def. Tony Nese in 13:38
Kendrick came out firing but ran right into a shot from Nese, who followed with elbows and knees. Nese basically strutted his athletic, hard hitting style for the first few minutes. In a really creative spot, Kendrick stuck Nese's arm in the turnbuckle and beat on him while he was held in place. He continued to focus on the arm, using the ropes for help as well. He worked some submissions on it and though Nese fought, he couldn't get free. Nese finally did and began to rally. Nese DID THE DEAL for two and went up top. Kendrick pulled him down hard for his own near fall. Kendrick survived a buckle bomb and applied the Bully Choke. Nese fought it off but Kendrick kept it locked on. Nese turned it into a pin for two and only got another near fall on a Michinoku Driver like move. Nese ended up missing the 450 and tapped out to the Bully Choke. Match of the night for me for sure. Kendrick was overmatched in size, youth and athleticism, so he resorted to using everything he could find, including the turnbuckle and ropes, to his advantage. Nese made a big mistake in the end and it cost him. ***3/4
Kendrick advances to face Kota Ibushi in the next round. Next week, Lince Dorado goes up against Rich Swann, Zack Sabre Jr. takes on Drew Gulak and Johnny Gargano goes one on one with TJ Perkins!
Overall: 7/10. Another strong episode of the Cruiserweight Classic. The first match was solid fun with Gallagher being the star. I wasn't too big on the second match since neither Dar nor Lun has been great. The main event was the best part, with Kendrick and Nese having a great showing. The presentation and flow of the shows continues to be a treat.