8/17 Zim’s WWE Cruiserweight Classic TV Live Review: Three second round matches including Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher


By Zack Zimmerman

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WWE Cruiserweight Classic on WWE Network
Taped July 14 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A brief video recapped last week’s show with Gran Metalik beating Tajiri and Kota Ibushi defeating Cedric Alexander to advance… Corey Graves ran through tonight’s matches with Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher, Noam Dar vs. Ho Ho Lun, and Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese on the  card… The opening video played…

Inside the arena, Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan checked in on commentary. They gushed over Alexander vs. Ibushi from last week before throwing to the first spotlight video of the night on Jack Gallagher. It was the same video as his first except it featured highlights of his opening round win. Akira Tozawa was featured next. He spoke about how he’s fueled by the crowd (who were shown chanting his name) and talked about his intensity.

Back in the arena, Akira Tozawa made his entrance. He stood on top of the ringlets to pose before highlights of his opening round win were shown. Jack Gallagher was out next to a good response from the crowd.

1. Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher. A large portion of the crowd chanted for “Jackie Boy,” who used some of his fancy counters to combat Tozawa. He got Tozawa in a deathlike and laid calmly as Tozawa scrambled around the ring before reaching the ropes. Tozawa grounded Gallagher in a headlock and had some fun with the crowd, but Gallagher used a handstand to escape the hold and the crowd applauded and chanted “he’s so dapper.”

Gallagher tied Tozawa up in a knot and then just left him in the middle of the ring in a ball while Gallagher walked around the ring. Tozawa stayed there for the better part of 30 seconds before Gallager hit a running PK to the ass. They traded European uppercuts before Tozawa hit a flash Shining Wizard for a two-count. Tozawa shrieked with his offense and hit a jumping senton for another two-count.

The crowd rallied for Jack as the two traded chops and forearms, but Tozawa crumpled Jack with a fake-out straight right. Tozawa looked to follow up, but Gallagher used a modified monkey flip and began to go to work with a noticeable increased intensity in demeanor and facials. Gallagher worked over Tozawa’s leg with various holds, kneebreakers, and stomps. Gallagher locked in what looked like a half-applied half crab, but Bryan called it a compression hold.

Tozawa continued to show fight with rogue shots, but none of them deterred Gallagher’s attack on the legs until Tozawa ran through Gallagher with a wicked bicycle kick. Tozawa hooked for a brainbuster, but Gallagher dropped down and sank in an achilles lock which Tozawa sold big. It looked like ti might be a finish, but Tozawa managed to reach the ropes and force the break.

Gallagher tried to whip Tozawa across the ring, but Tozawa stumbled and fell, selling the effects of Jack’s attack. As Jack got close however, Tozawa teed off with kicks and looked for his snap German, but Gallagher rocked him with a straight headbutt. Gallagher looked to follow up, but Tozawa caught him with the snap German. Tozawa lifted for his delayed German, and as Gallagher reached down for Tozawa’s leg, Tozawa jerked backwards and planted him for the pin.

Akira Tozawa pinned Jack Gallagher in about 11:38 to advance to the quarterfinals of the CWC.

Replays aired and Tozawa’s hand was raised in the ring. The updated bracket revealed that Tozawa will face Gran Metalik in the next round… Noam Dar vs. Ho Ho Lun was hyped up next… [C]

Zim Says: Excellent match. These two meshed styles like two complete professionals and got appropriate time for their work. Big thumbs up. The first three matches of round two have been very impressive.

From the control center, Corey Graves hyped the main event of Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese, and then transitioned to the spotlight videos for the next match beginning with Ho Ho Lun. Ho Ho said that he took judo classes for a year before he realized it wasn’t pro wrestling. He said he wants to make his family proud. Noam Dar was up next. He’s the youngest competitor but he feels that he’s the best because of his kneebar. “Everyone’s knee bends the same,” he argued in his favor.

Back in the arena, Noam Dar made his entrance. His opening round win was highlighted before Ho Ho Lun was out and his opening round win was highlighted as well.

2. Noam Dar vs. Ho Ho Lun. Ho Ho hit a spinning heel kick early for a quick pin attempt, but Dar controlled the pace in the early going. Lun used a snapmare and dropkick, but Dar used a dragon screw and hit a low dropkick that sent Lun crashing to ringside off the apron.

Dar went to work in the ring with an uppercut and back suplex for two. Lun threw kicks from the mat, but Dar caught one and put him in a deathlock to continue the assault on the leg. Lun showed some fight from underneath, but the crowd realized that they can chant Dar’s name to the tune of the Empire’s theme so they amused themselves that way. Dar continued to work over the knee with a half-crab with a boot on the back of Lun’s head. He charged at Lun in the corner, but Lun got a boot up and began to make a comeback with a missile dropkick.

Lun hit a big Michinoku driver for two and then hit a perfect-plex for another two count. Bryan repeatedly spoke about how Lun’s offense wasn’t as effective because of the damage on the leg. Lun hit a series of knees, but moments later Dar slipped underneath and applied the kneebar for the submission.

Noam Dar over Ho Ho Lun in about 7:00 to advance to the quarterfinals of the CWC.

Replays aired, hands were raised, and brackets were updated. Dar will face either Drew Gulak or Zack Sabre Jr. in the next round…

Zim Says: Dar looked marginally better here than in his opening round match, but he’s still not someone who stands out at the level of the other guys going to the quarterfinals (and even some of the guys already eliminated for that matter). Ho Ho has been working out at the WWEPC so hopefully he’ll be making some marked improvements soon as well. I’m not sure what his future holds after the loss here, but considering the WWE deal in China I expect we haven’t seen the last of Ho Ho Lun. Not a great match, but admittedly not quite as bad as I was expecting.

The commentators transitioned to the main event match and both guys were spotlighted. Tony Nese said he’s a hybrid of strength and speed. He vowed to be the biggest name coming out of this tournament when it’s all said and done. Brian Kendrick said this might be his last hurrah or it might be the beginning of his resurgence, but it’s all for nothing if he doesn’t win.

Back in the arena, both guys made their entrances accompanied by highlights of their opening round wins.

3. The Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese. Kendrick charged full-steam at Nese, but Nese just lifted a knee and Kendrick crumpled. Kendrick tried to pull himself in the corner but Nese followed right up and went to work. Action went to ringside where Nese chopped away before hitting his cartwheel superkick off the apron. Back in the ring, Nese remained firmly in control until Kendrick fishooked the nose and took control with some dirty offense.

A short time later, Nese used some very impressive evasion maneuvers and he got the beer of Kendrick again. Nese got a two-count off a series of leg drops before Kendrick caught Nese’s legs and hung him up in the ropes. Kendrick worked on an armbar, but Nese escaped only to miss a Lionsailt and find himself in trouble in a cross armbar. Nese fought and fought but Kendrick scrappily maintained that arm into a Fujiwara armbar.

Once again, Nese escaped, managing to use a legsweep to knock Kendrick off the apron and following up with a back flip dive over the ropes. Back in the ring, Nese teed off with a series of kicks. He lifted Kendrick for a suplex and endured several knees before planting Kendrick with a Falcon Arrow for two. Kendrick managed to catch Nese with a boot, but he ran into a hard clothesline for another Nese two-count. Nese went to the top rope, but Kendrick scrambled to his feet and knocked Nese off the top. Kendrick hit a running heel kick for two and then went back to the armbar.

Nese showed his power by using one arm to lift Kendrick from the mat and drive him hard into the turnbuckles with a running one-armed bucklebomb. Nese charged, but Kendrick caught him in the Bully Choke (Saka Otoshi). Nese escaped and hit a sit-out pumphandle slam for a near-fall.

The two traded shots back and forth mid-ring until Kendrick upped the ante by firing off a series of headbutts. Nese hit a kick, but Kendrick fired right back with one of his own. Kendrick went up top, but Nese hit three high kicks and Kendrick feel to the mat below. Nese looked for the 450 splash, but Kendrick avoided it and sank in the Bully Choke, which Nese promptly tapped to.

Brian Kendrick forced Tony Nese to submit in about 13:35 to advance to the quarterfinals of the CWC.

All of the formalities took place and it was shown that Kendrick will face Kota Ibushi in the next round. Kendrick tried to shake Nese’s hand, but Nese acted like he didn’t notice…

Corey Graves hyped next week’s matches: Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Drew Gulak, and Johnny Gargano vs. TJ Perkins to close the show…

Zim Says: Good main event match. Both guys worked hard and busted out a lot of stuff while telling a good story, but I actually think I liked the opener a bit better despite all of that. That said, the second round of the CWC has been largely very good to great, with one exception on this show with a match that felt like it belonged in the opening round. Last week was still my favorite show of the series so far, but this week wasn’t a bad follow-up considering how high the bar was set. Next week’s show looks like a lot of fun on paper, and with the time and quality that the second round matches have brought, I have very high hopes for the rest of the tournament.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the Member Exclusive DotNet CWC Audio Recap.

Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.

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