8/31 Zim’s WWE Cruiserweight Classic TV Live Review: Kota Ibushi vs. Brian Kendrick, Gran Metalik vs. Akira Tozawa in quarterfinal matches


By Zack Zimmerman

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WWE Cruiserweight Classic on WWE Network
Taped August 26 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A video package aired saying that while they began with 32 dreams, only eight remain: Kota Ibushi, Gran Metalik, Akira Tozawa, Noam Dar, Brian Kendrick, Rich Swann, TJ Perkins, and Zack Sabre Jr.. The quarterfinals were announced to be beginning tonight… The opening video played…

Inside the arena, Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo checked in on commentary. They recapped some of the events of the second round before sending things off to the control room where Corey Graves welcomed viewers to the quarterfinals. He announced the main event of this show as Brian Kendrick vs. Kota Ibushi, but before that will be Akira Tozawa vs. Gran Metalik.

Video packages aired on both competitors. Metalik thanked the fans especially in Mexico for their continued support and motivation. Tozawa said that to win the tournament would be a dream come true and all it takes for him is one German suplex to seal the win. Back in the arena, Akira Tozawa was out first, and his round two win over Jack Gallagher was highlighted. Gran Metalik made his entrance and his win over Tajiri was shown.

1. Gran Metalik vs. Akira Tozawa. The two went to the mat early and traded leglocks and headlocks before working back up to a stand-off. The pace picked up at the two-minute mark with a rapid series of arm drags, which went to another stand-off. The two traded shoulder tackles and forearms, but Metalik caught Tozawa running the ropes with a hard dropkick that might’ve tweaked Tozawa’s arm or ribs.

Metalik connected with a springboard dropkick and then wiped Tozawa out at ringside with a tope suicida. Metalik was too lax about getting back in the ring before the ten-count but the ref let it go and Metalik hit a springboard crossbody onto Tozawa. Tozawa kicked out, but he found himself trapped in Metalik’s version of a Figure-Four seconds later. He struggled, but managed to reach the ropes.

Metalik remained in control until Tozawa countered a handspring back elbow with a dropkick. He knocked Metalik to ringside and followed up with a high-impact tope suicida of his own. He hit another for good measure before getting a two-count back in the ring. Tozawa hit a jumping back senton for another two-count and then began chopping Metalik to death. They traded chops until Tozawa did his fake-out straight punch for a near-fall.

Tozawa began to shriek with his offense and the crowd did it with him. He hit a basement dropkick in the corner and then charged for something else, but Metalik caught him with a superkick, a twisting rope-walk dropkick out of the corner, and an ugly standing SSP for a near-fall at the ten-minute mark.

Metalik hit a high springboard back elbow and looked for his finish, but Tozawa rolled out and caught Metalik with a flash Shining Wizard for two. Tozawa hit a hard bicycle kick in the corner and a Saito suplex for another near-fall. Tozawa pumped himself up and charged, but he ran right into a superkick. Metalik followed up with a nice triple-jump dropkick and then wiped out Tozawa at ringside with his impressive springboard flipping senton.

Back in the ring, Metalik got Tozawa lined up for a moonsault, but Tozawa got both boots up. Tozawa looked for a superplex, but Metalik dropped him onto that apron and then rocked him with a kick. Metalik hit a very impressive springboard ‘rana with Tozawa elevated on the ropes for a near-fall that popped the crowd. The two traded finisher attempts before Tozawa caught Metalik with the snap german. He signaled for the end and then hoisted Metalik up with the deadlift and spiking him with the German. Unlike Tozawa’s previous opponents however, Metalik kicked out.

Tozawa signaled again for the finish and looked for his arm-trap variation of the German, but Metalik countered out and quickly planted Tozawa with the Metalik Driver for the pinfall.

Gran Metalik pinned Akira Tozawa in about 15:48 to advance to the semifinals of the CWC.

A lengthy series of replays recapped the action before Gran Metalik’s hand was raised. The bracket was updated and revealed that Metalik will face the winner of the Zack Sabre vs. Noam Dar match in the semifinals. Tozawa and Metalik shook hands and hugged and bowed before the ring was left to Metalik to celebrate… [C]

Zim Says: Excellent match. It didn’t have the story of Gargano/Ciampa and it wasn’t quite Ibushi/Alexander in terms of action, but behind those two I think that was probably the third best match of the tournament to this point. It’s really getting fun.

Back in the arena, Daniel Bryan put over the effectiveness of the Metalik Driver. He then turned things to his friend and CWC competitor Brian Kendrick, who is in action next. Bryan admitted that he will throw away all objectivity in this match and will be pulling for Kendrick the whole way.

Brian Kendrick was featured in a video. He said that this is all or nothing, and it’s the desperation that makes him such a threat. Kota Ibushi was up next. He said that wrestling is so much more than a job to him. He said that he will win this tournament because he loves wrestling more than anyone else. Entrances, round two win recaps, and pre-match formalities took place.

2. Kota Ibushi vs. Brian Kendrick. Kendrick antagonistically shoved Ibushi and then quickly hopped out to ringside. Kendrick got back in the ring and blew a kiss at Ibushi, but couldn’t out-run him this time. Ibushi teed off on Kendrick, and when Kendrick went out to ringside, Ibushi followed up with the Golden Triangle moonsault off the top rope to the floor.

Ibushi remained in control until Kendrick tried to tangle Ibushi up at ringside for a count-out. Ibushi escaped with little trouble and regained control with a springboard dropkick. Ibushi teed off with stiff kicks to the chest, but the battle went to the apron where Kendrick hit an innovative variation of a traditional neckbreaker, over the top turnbuckle, to take control. The commentators put it over big, noting the past surgery on Ibushi’s neck, as Kendrick went right after it with a scrappy cravat headlock.

Ibushi managed to battle free with knee strikes, and then avoided a Saka Otoshi before connecting with a high dropkick and both guys were slow to their feet. Ibushi caught Kendrick with a slam and then a moonsault from the second turnbuckle for two. Ibushi looked for a standing moonsault, but Kendrick got his knees up and he hooked a small package for a near-fall. Kendrick followed up with a low-angle superkick, and both guys were down.

Back on their feet the two traded forearms before Kendrick avoided a roundhouse, hit one of his own, and then hit a sudden Sliced Bread for another near-fall. Bryan called for Kendrick to finish him off now, and Kendrick went to the corner where he applied a rear choke and lifted Ibushi up from the turnbuckles. Ibushi managed to wrangle free and he wiped kendrick out with a big moonsault kick.

Ibushi went to the second rope with Kendrick on the apron, and despite nearly losing balance, Ibushi bridged back with a super German suplex for a near-fall of his own. Ibushi looked for his powerbomb, but Kendrick briefly got the Bully Choke on. Ibushi managed to fight back to his feet, but moments later Kendrick absolutely spiked Ibushi with a brutal looking Burning Hammer for a near-fall/could’ve-been-a-fall.

Kendrick fired off a series of forearms, but Ibushi fired back with a roundhouse that rocked him. Ibushi then hooked for and connected with a kneeling cradle buster for a near-fall/could’ve-been-a-fall of his own. Bryan put over Kendrick’s heart and Ranallo put over Ibushi’s bushido spirit. Ibushi looked for the Phoenix Splash, but came up empty and found himself locked in the Bully Choke. He struggled and managed to break free before rocking Kendrick with another roundhouse. Without wasting a moment, Ibushi followed up with the sit-out Last Ride and secured his slot in the semis.

Kota Ibushi defeated Brian Kendrick in about 14:00 to advance to the semifinals of the CWC.

Both guys were laid-out in the ring-post match, selling the effects. A lengthy series of replays aired and Ibushi’s hand was raised. The bracket was updated and showed that Ibushi will take in the winner of Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins. The crowd chanted for Kendrick and Bryan sounded like he was in near-tears over his friend’s effort and defeat. Kendrick shook Ibushi’s hand, they bowed to one another, and Kendrick pulled him in for a hug… [C]

Corey Graves hyped next weeks matches of Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Noam Dar and Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins…

In a “post-credits scene” similar to the Cedric Alexander and Triple H bit, Brian Kendrick was in the ring as the fans chanted thank you. Suddenly, they popped and began to chant “yes!” as they noticed Daniel Bryan making his way down from the commentary booth. He got in the ring and hugged Kendrick to a big pop. The crowd chanted “Thank you Brian/Bryan” and the two raised each-other’s arms, appearing to both be in tears…

Zim Says: Very cool way to end the show, and another completely excellent match. Apparently in the building they did a fake count-out false finish before the match was restarted so I presume that’s why the time on this match comes up a little short, but it sure didn’t feel like it missed any time it should’ve had nor was any momentum or fluidity lost in the editing of the match. I thought this show was really, really great, and I expect all of the remaining shows will be. I can’t say that I’m surprised to see Metalik and Ibushi in the final four, as they were two of my predictions from the onset, but I’m curious if next week will be so predictable (which isn’t necessarily bad!). Looking forward to it as always, and I’ll be right back here to cover it next week. Thanks for reading along!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a special All Access Dot Net CWC Audio Recap.

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

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