We’re into the second round of Cruiserweight Classic matches, with just a pair of matches this week.
#TLDR: Where do we start? Two matches this week, both of them were amazing as the second round got off to the hottest start possible. Cedric Alexander perhaps earned a contract regardless of the result in his main event against Kota Ibushi, whilst Tajiri again rolled back the years against Gran Metalik.
The Full Review: The opening video package recaps the first round with a series of oh-so-slow-motion moves, including THAT elbow from Tommaso Ciampa that sent spit flying from Johnny Gargano. As ever, a fantastic video from WWE, and we’re taken to Full Sail again, with a different crowd!
Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan are still our commentators, and Bryan is still amped from last week’s Ciampa/Gargano match. Corey Graves and his flowery shirt is in the 3D studio, gushing over some of the remaining talents. Our matches this week will be Kota Ibushi vs. Cedric Alexander, and Tajiri vs. Gran Metalik.
Graves pitches to a new video package for Metalik, with footage from his first round match against Alejandro Saez. Tajiri gets one too, and his is also subtitled. Tajiri acknowledges that he’s been wrestling for longer than some of the guys in the tournament have been alive, and they show us some clips from his ECW and WWE runs. “I have the advantage of experience, but the disadvantage of age”, Tajiri notes, and he says that he wants to achieve something great before he retires.
Tajiri vs. Gran Metalik
We get clips of Tajiri beating Damien Slater in his first round match, whilst clips of Metalik’s win over Alejandro Saez are also replayed.
From the tie-up, Tajiri gets a waistlock but gets taken into a headlock, before Tajiri grabs another waistlock. Metalik rolls out of some headscissors, and we get an early stand-off. A shoulder block takes down Metalik, before Tajiri gets taken down with an armdrag from a wheelbarrow, followed by a few more armdrags as these guys go move-for-month with each other.
Tajiri grabs another headlock, but his takedown is turned into head scissors, before he rolls out into almost an STF. Metalik grabs an armbar, but again Tajiri rolls free and grabs a seated Octopus hold. Somehow, Metalik works free and transitions into an ankle lock on the ground, and Tajiri crawls back in the hold to roll Metalik over into a pinning predicament for a near-fall.
They roll back and forth for some near-falls, as Metalik grabs an arm instead, and keeps hold of it after another armdrag. Ranallo namechecked Tajiri’s old SMASH wrestling promotion as he chopped away on Metalik in the ropes, before another sequence saw Metalik take Tajiri to the outside with some headscissor,s then baseball slide to the outside, where he drilled Tajiri with a superkick.
Tajiri log rolls across the ring and trips Metalik, before dropping him with a kick on the apron. He then followed with a kneedrop, and a neckbreaker for a near-fall. Metalik elbows out of a chinlock, but falls back into a sleeper hold from Tajiri, who then switches to some headscissors, arching back to add extra pressure. Tajiri humps Metalik’s head into the mat, before Metalik rolls into the ropes for a break… which Tajiri responded to by kicking him in the head.
The pair traded kicks and chops, with Tajiri sending Metalik into the corner, but Metalik reverses and forearms Tajiri in the corner. Metalik’s sent onto the apron and goes flying back in with a springboard dropkick, before following Tajiri to the outside with a rope walk into a somersault plancha!
Back inside, Tajiri cuts off Metalik with a kick, but gets caught with a Dragon screw in the ropes, as Metalik goes airborne again, this time doing another rope walk into an elbow drop for a near-fall. Metalik reverses an Irish whip to land a springboard off the middle rope into a back elbow on Tajiri for another two-count, before Tajiri works out of a Fireman’s carry, before dropping Metalik with a savate kick.
Tajiri drops Metalik in the Tree of Woe, and slides in with a baseball slide dropkick for a near-fall, before a flying ‘rana was countered by Tajiri into a powerbomb for another two-count. Metalik ducks a buzzsaw kick, then goes for a sunset flip, only for Tajiri to roll back into a submission that looked like a reverse crossface with Metalik’s arms pinned behind him. Metalik kicked himself free from the impressive hold, before another roundhouse kick dropped Metalkik.
Out of nowhere, the finish came when Metalik ducked another kick, then dropped Tajiri a Metalik Screwdriver for the win. An amazing match, without any of the needless near-falls for the sake of it. Tajiri looked a lot better here than in his first round match, but WWE could have something in Metalik if they use him right. Yeah, I know… Metalik will face either Akira Tozawa or Jack Gallagher in the quarter-finals. ****
We’re back with Corey Graves in the Control Centre, and we’re already at the main event. Graves pitches to a new video package of Cedric Alexander, who’s externally grateful for still being in the tournament. As is Kota Ibushi, whose subtitled video package ends with him pointing at the CWC. Well, this is like WrestleMania for some of these guys…
Kota Ibushi vs. Cedric Alexander
Clips of Ibushi beating Sean Maluta in the first round with his Golden Star powerbomb are shown, as we then get footage of Alexander’s win over Clement Petiot, including the back suplex into a backcracker that won the match for him.
Alexander starts with a hammerlock, before snapmaring Ibushi to the mat, only for the “Golden Star” to grab a wristlock in response. Some kip-ups help Alexander reverse the hold, but Ibushi grabs a headlock and takes him down again.
From the stand-off, Ibushi shoots for a waistlock, but Alexander grabs an armbar, only for Ibushi to use an armbreaker to work free. Alexander sweeps the leg to takee Ibushi down, before they trade armdrags, as Ibushi flips out of a tiltawhirl attempt, only to be taken down with a kip-up headscissor from Alexander to end an impressive exchange. A missed dropkick from Ibushi lets Alexander roll him up for a near-fall, and Ibushi goes for a jackknife roll-up for another two-count.
Alexander goes back to the headlock, and lands another takedown with it, only for Ibushi to roll back to score a one-count. The headlock’s kept on as Ibushi tries to push Alexander free, before Alexander lands a shoulder block before elbowing out of a waistlock, only to turn around into a stiff kick to the midsection from Ibushi.
Ibushi takes Alexander to the outside with a springboard dropkick, and Ibushi tries to follow with the Golden Triangle moonsault (springboard to the apron, then an Asai moonsault off the turnbuckles to the floor), only for Alexander to roll back in to avoid it. Instead, Alexander pulls off a tope con hilo onto Ibushi, before a springboard lariat gets him a near-fall.
As we saw a replay of Ibushi landing on the back of his head from that, Alexander picked him up for some more chops for a near-fall, before he stomped onto Ibushi for yet another two-count. Ibushi counters with a kick, before a second one was caught and met with a slap to the jaw as Alexander picked up another near-fall.
Alexander looked to go for the Lumbar Check (suplex into a back cracker), but Ibushi worked free and connected with a dropkick that rang out across Full Sail. The pair go back to trading forearm smashes, before a quick combo of kicks from Ibushi took down Alexander, as a corkscrew standing moonsault gets him a near-fall.
An exploder suplex from Ibushi sends Alexander to the floor, and the Golden Star goes for another dive, and this time he connected with the Golden Triangle moonsault – just seconds after Daniel Bryan’s sarcastic-sounding “what a shame” response to Ranallo reminding us that a draw would eliminate both of these guys.
Ibushi rolls Alexander back in for a two-count, but Alexander drops him with a Michinoku driver off the ropes for a near-fall. Ibushi takes a back elbow, before chopping Alexander on the top rope, which leads into a top rope ‘rana, except Alexander moved a little too late before flipping onto his feet. Alexander runs in with a forearm to Ibushi, who staggers him with a Pele kick in reply.
Alexander slips out of the Golden Star Powerbomb, before giving Ibushi an enziguiri in the corner, as he then went for a brainbuster. After Ibushi kicked out at two, Alexander landed a kick to the head for another two-count, and then dragged Ibushi into the corner as he went up top for a double stomp. Ibushi rolled away and dropped Alexander with a snap German suplex, then a roundhouse kick, and finally the Golden Star Powerbomb for the win.
This was amazing stuff. Both men left it all on the table, with Alexander coming oh-so-close, but ultimately lost out as Ibushi absorbed a hell of a lot of punishment. Ibushi’ll face either Brian Kendrick or Tony Nese in the quarter-finals. ****¼
Next week, we’ve got Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher on deck, along with Noam Dar vs. Hoho Lun. They’re squeezing in a third match too, with Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese rounding things off. Hopefully it’ll be in that order, because that Dar/Lun match didn’t get good reviews.
After Corey Graves signs off, we go back to Full Sail, with Cedric Alexander in the aisle, getting an ovation for his performance in defeat. The crowd chanted “please sign Cedric”, and of all people, Triple H comes out from the back to nod his head in agreement, before giving the crowd a thumbs up. So don’t be too surprised if Cedric pops up in NXT soon!
That was an amazing pair of matches. After a couple of weeks where the action was good but not great, the tournament needed this to reinvigorate things – and that they certainly did!