The WWE Network comes up with the goods again as the Cruiserweight Classic, 32 wrestlers (mostly not under a WWE deal) from all over the world take part in an elimination tournament. The presentation is based on “if it were a real sport”, which makes it completely different to anything I’ve seen, and that’s a good thing…
The episode was taped on the 23rd of June, 2016 at Full Sail University, Florida, along with the rest of the opening round matches. Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan are your commentators.
Note: Full Spoilers From Here On Out!
Referee Charles Robinson feels the up-coming pain…
Triple H, the man behind the concept, said he wanted this to be presented more like a sport, and boy, mission accomplished. Height, weight, style match up graphics, referee forcing a handshake to start and raising the hand of the winner post match, the commentary team talks about the different styles, the titles they’ve won in other promotions… it was weird, but great. The different looking entrance way and ring helped as well. Thumbs all the way up for that.
Match of the night for me was Cedric Alexander (of ROH fame) against Frenchman Clement Petiot. Having never seen the latter I was very impressed with both his look and ring work, he did a good job of beating down Cedric in order to lead to his big comeback and win.
What? I don’t have to grab a screenshot of high flying all the time, you know…
Kota Ibushi (of New Japan fame… among many other places!) vs. Sean Maluta representing American Samoa (because it would be another flag to put on the graphics!) was good, with the lesser known Maluta impressing in a match that was all about showcasing Ibushi.
Gran Metalik (otherwise known as Máscara Dorada in CMLL and New Japan) against Chilean Alejandro Saez was good, nothing blow away. To be honest given Saez is pretty much self-taught and one of the only wrestlers in Chile he did a damn good job, I was almost routing for him, especially after hearing he dropped 30 pounds in order to make the weight limit. I mean, I knew they weren’t going to bring in one of the top luchadors in Mexico to lose to a Chilean in the opening round, but still…
Ho Ho Lun, number 1 super guy! Ho Ho Lun, faster than… actually, never mind.
Ho Ho Lun from Hong Kong against Ariya Daivari (from America, but representing his ancestral home of Iran) was more of a showing of Daivari that it was Ho Ho, who won. Much like Saez from Chile, Lun opened the first ever wrestling promotion in his home country, but unlike him he is very rough around the edges due to lack of experienced people to train with, so I don’t want to be too harsh… but it wasn’t a great showing for him, let’s put it that way.
A sit-down Last Ride Power Bomb, not something I thought I’d see in this tournament…
Well, with Episode 1 in the books, it looks like it’s going to be a fun 10 weeks. As a fan of wrestling from all over the world, it’s great seeing stars I’ve seen work in front of small local crowds get a shot on a bigger stage like this, and it’s also great seeing people I’ve never seen or even heard of and see what they’re like. Obviously as the field whittles down the matches will get longer and be better, but in terms of a concept over all: it was great, and I can’t wait for more.