By John Moore
WWE Cruiserweight Classic Hits
Akira Tozawa vs. Kenneth Johnson: While not the show stealing main event like we got last week from Ibushi and Maluta, this was still quite a spectacle and a good showcase for Kenneth Johnson, who looks like he can make a good enhancement wrestler down the road. That’s not a knock against Johnson, because he did a good job making Tozawa look good. The match had a good final minute starting with Johnson landing the victory roll on Tozawa with Tozawa kicking out at possibly 2.8 seconds. Tozawa hit two good looking German Suplexes to close it out.
Mustafa Ali vs. Lince Dorado: The crowd wasn’t too hot for Da Mack vs. TJP, and this was the perfect shot of caffeine to wake up the crowd (to steal a TNA Pope-ism, at least I don’t say the word caffeine 10 times in the span of two minutes). Since I’m the guy that covers Lucha Underground for the site, I couldn’t help but compare these two wrestlers to two LU wrestlers. Lince Dorado, with his high flying/brawling hybrid, reminds me of Fenix. Mustafa, who has utility belt full of techniques and flips, reminds me of AeroStar. Both of them also worked a high octane offense that is really pleasing to a live crowd. I also liked how Daniel Bryan summoned the replay for that cool reverse huracanrana that Dorado did.
Tajiri vs. Damian Slater: This was a good battle between two good strikers. Tajiri is known for delivering good looking kicks. Slater had his own repertoire of kick variations that kept him looking credible. The match also didn’t go too long and they are telling a good aging veteran storyline with him. The pinning sequence may also remind WWE viewers of how good Tajiri when they didn’t make a joke of him on Smackdown back in the day.
Daniel Bryan: I’m not sure if this is taped out of order or what, but it does sound like Daniel Bryan is getting used to being the color commentator on a sports oriented broadcast. Bryan’s strength on the headset is that he acts like an engaged fan and he doesn’t try at all to get himself over. He invests all of his vocal resources on trying to get the talent in the ring over which did wonders for the likes of Damian Slater, Mustafa Ali, and Kenneth Johnson. When I want to think by contrast, I think of Pope D’Angelo Dinero, Matt Striker, and even Nigel McGuiness. They should watch how Bryan just isn’t trying too hard and it benefits the broadcast. Bryan can be outrageous and entertaining if he wants to be though and I’m still waiting for him to call a “Bear” hug or seeing if he can “Bear” the suspense.
WWE Cruiserweight Classic Misses
TJ Perkins vs. Da Mack: Of all the matches this week, this might have been the weakest. Bryan was good here in flushing out the TJ Perkins character, but Da Mack just wasn’t a good opponent for TJ in the first round. One of the problems of the match was there was a bit too much showboating from both sides in a way that felt disjointed in the match. Da Mack in particular would have these chop sequences where he tries to shimmy which puts TJ in position to have to sell for unnecessary segments of time while Mack does a random dance move. Also, Da Mack isn’t a great wrestling name. What was good was TJ being to establish that he’s more than a high flyer and in fact he can do power moves and submissions. I tagged TJ Perkins as my TNA X Division star of 2015 (he gets released a week after I make the awards) and I’ve liked him to being a more flippy James Gibson. It’s cool to see a local guy like TJ get the shot at the big time he deserves and not be put in bad factions or a pointless X Division.
Corey Graves’s Green Screen Room: I liked the concept at the onset, but so far that room has been more of a vestigial part of the show since it has no real benefit other than to house a bracket graphic. Josh Mathews and “Pope” D’Angelo Dinero had a similar green room last year in the world title series. They didn’t just use it for brackets; they used it for interactive analysis as well as writing things mid-air John Madden style. This is also a waste of Corey Graves so far since he’s essentially a glorified weatherman who just points at the screen and talk about the who’s advancing.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Vice TV's "Dark Side of the Ring" executive producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisner discussing the March 24 second season premiere focusing on the Benoit family tragedy, plus their pro wrestling fandom, the show's name and origins, highlights of season two, Chris Jericho becoming the narrator, and much more...