It’s a Brit-heavy week on the Cruiserweight Classic, with Noam Dar and Jack Gallagher both in second round action.
#TLDR: Another good week of action, as this week’s second round action kicked off with a fine match and ended with a terrific main event as Brian Kendrick battled against Tony Nese.
The Full Review: We open with a recap from last week, featuring Gran Metalik beating Tajiri, and Kota Ibushi overcoming Cedric Alexander. The post-show stuff with Triple H shaking Alexander’s hand isn’t replayed.
Corey Graves covers this week’s matches, and there’s three of them on the docket: Gallagher/Tozawa, Dar/Lun and Kendrick/Nese.
Mauro Ranallo throws to a video package profiling Jack Gallagher, which mixes in his original Bracketology promo with footage from his match over Fabian Aichner. Akira Tozawa’s actually had a new sit-down interview recorded, with a cool bit where Tozawa’s “ah” screaming as he delivers a forearm smash gets remixed in time to the background music. They put over Tozawa’s German suplex, and it’s clear why they’re pushing more just from the video packages… which makes me sad.
Clips of Tozawa’s win over Kenneth Johnson are showing during his intro, including a spot where he genuinely carried Johnson en route to a German suplex. Jack Gallagher still has the Union Jack as a video, despite our Dave Penzer-a-like billing him from England. They aren’t the same, trust me!
Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher
They start with a lock-up, as Tozawa grabs a waistlock and takes down Gallagher into a front facelock. Back into the waistlock, Gallagher slips free and grabs the wrist, but was taken down in a toe hold, which Gallagher reversed and turned into a modified Indian deathlock. Only with extra waves, as Tozawa crawled around the ring in circles.
Gallagher goes back to the wristlock, but Tozawa worked it into a headlock, grounding Gallagher, which he just escaped by walking back on his hands. We get another toe hold, but actually Gallagher just ties up Tozawa in a ball and walks away… then takes a run up to kick him in the ass to break it up.
Tozawa lights up Gallagher after that embarrassment, but takes a European uppercut, before landing a leg lariat after rolling through a sunset flip. A snapmare sends Gallagher into the mat for a rear chinlock, before a slam and a leaping back senton gets him a near-fall. They trade chops in the ring, before Gallagher gets dropped with a “just kidding” style forearm.
Gallagher pulls himself up, but gets cornered, only to escape out of a double leg takedown by propelling Tozawa into the ropes. “The Extraordinary Gentleman” drags Tozawa into the middle of the ring and works another Indian Deathlock, snapping back on the left leg several times, and then bridging back on it.
Tozawa kicks out of a couple of toe-hold attempts, but Gallagher keeps going for the left leg of the Dragon Gate star, before going for a surfboard… and just stomping the knees into the mat. A single-leg crab turns Tozawa over, but he’s able to make the ropes, but hat just gets him another kick in the thigh.
Gallagher reverses out of a suplex, but an Irish whip into the corner sees Tozawa rebound with a bicycle kick for a near-fall. A running forearm into the corner should have put Tozawa on top, but he got caught in a heel hook from Gallagher, forcing Tozawa to reach for the ropes. Tozawa gets to his feet, but collapses to the mat as Gallagher sent him into the ropes with an Irish whip, but it’s a ruse and Tozawa popped up with a few kick attempts.
A headbutt from Gallagher gets him a near-fall after avoiding a German suplex, but Gallagher went back to the Indian Deathlock and got rolled up for a near fall. Tozawa instantly got up and blasted Gallagher with a snap German suplex, before Gallagher tries to block a deadlift bridging German suplex. He couldn’t though, and Tozawa ended up taking the win. Amazing match, with Tozawa coming from behind after Gallagher had worked on the knee – this certainly felt like one of those first round matches where “the bigger name” hit a couple of moves and won, but it wouldn’t have hurt Gallagher too badly. Tozawa will face Gran Metalik in the quarter finals. ***¾
We’re taken to Corey Graves in the CWC Control Centre, but before the main event of Tony Nese against Brian Kendrick, we’re getting the tale of the tape for our next match… first, a video package on Hoho Lun, and the same again for Noam Dar.
Noam Dar vs. Hoho Lun
They show us clips of Dar beating Gurv Sihra in the first round with the Champagne Super-Knee-Bar, whilst Lun’s win over Ariya Daivari is also covered. Needless to say, Lun’s German suplex wasn’t quite as picture perfect as Tozawa’s!
Dar starts with a headlock, before taking down Lun with a shoulder tackle. Lun leapfrogs, before taking down Dar with a spinning heel kick for a one-count, as a snapmare sees Dar quickly counter with an arm wringer. Lun reverses, but they replay the arm wringer spot, and go to another snapmare with a dropkick to the back of Dar for another one count.
Dar kicks Lun in the leg and scores a Dragon screw leg whip, sending Lun to the apron, where a dropkick to the knee sees Lun clumsily spill to the floor. That knee’s attacked again, before Dar connects with a punch and a back suplex for a near-fall. Lun tries to kick away from a toe-hold, but Dar turns it into a reverse Indian deathlock, snapping back on the knees of the Hong Kong native.
Lun nearly surprised Dar with a small package for a two-count, before a kick got Lun another near-fall. A leg sweep sees Lun go to the mat, with a dropkick into the corner keeping Dar on top. Dar drops a couple of elbows onto the left knee of Lun, then another onto Lun’s head.
Dar turned Lun around in almost a single leg Lion Tamer, whilst grinding Lun’s head into the mat with a foot, before Lun finally made the ropes. A big boot cut off the onrushing Dar in the corner though, but Lun scored a missile dropkick off the second rope that looked like a double stomp to the chest. Dar’s dumped on his head with a Michinoku driver, before a Fisherman’s suplex gets Lun another two-count as the knee buckled again.
A knee to the front and back of Dar’s head was followed by a superkick for another two-count, as Dar rolled back and caught Lun in the Champagne Super-Knee-Bar out of nowhere for the win. This was a lot better than the leaked results suggested, and whilst sloppy at times, they told a good story. Like I said in the first round though, Lun is very rough around the edges and needs some work. Dar’ll face either Drew Gulak or Zack Sabre Jr. in the quarter finals. **¾
They build some more towards the main event, and it’s back to video packages for Nese and Kendrick.
Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese
Kendrick’s the clear crowd favourite – unless Daniel Bryan’s snuck in a lot of piped in chants – and he runs into a kick to the head from Nese at the bell. Nese follows with a back elbow and a running knee into the corner as Kendrick rolls to the floor, then gets thrown back in.
Nese lands on his feet as Kendrick rolled back to the floor during a springboard quebrada attempt, but Nese again goes to the outside and lays into Kendrick with chops. A cartwheel on the apron sets up Nese to superkick Kendrick, who then got rolled in for a two-count. Kendrick takes some more chops in the ring, then a right hand for a near-fall, before Kendrick fish-hooks out of a bodyslam and sends Nese chest-first into the corner.
Kendrick mounts the back of Nese as he shove Nese’s hand into the turnbuckle, trapping him in the corner so Nese couldn’t defend any kicks. Nese took a forearm into the corner, but hits a back elbow and Matrix’s out of a Kendrick clothesline before a series of kicks gets him another two-count.
A pair of leaping legdrops get Nese a two-count, but he gets hung in the ropes as Kendrick ducked a pump kick. Kendrick sat down on an armbar, with some finger manipulation for the hell of it, but Nese clubbed his way free and tosses Kendrick to the apron. Kendrick slingshots back in with a sunset flip, but Nese holds onto the ropes and kicks Kendrick again, before missing with a quebrada.
After impact, Kendrick grabs a cross armbreaker on Nese, but Nese finally kicks himself free… but Kendrick grabs the arm again and uses his boots to create extra torque. Kendrick grapevines the leg and rolls up Nese for a near-fall, and then rolls back into a more traditional Fujiwara armbar as Daniel Bryan reminisces about his days training with Kendrick.
Nese backdrops Kendrick onto the apron after freeing himself from the hold, before a leg sweep knocks Kendrick to the floor, and in prime position to take a Sasuke special. Back inside, they trade strikes, with Nese throwing Kendrick’s face into his knee and taking him down with a spinning heel kick.
Kendrick knees his way out of a suplex, but Nese turns it into a Falcon arrow for a near-fall. A big boot from Kendrick stuns Nese, but he quickly shrugs it off and drops him with a lariat for another two-count, before Kendrick again cuts him off on the top rope and brings him down hard.
A dropkick took Nese down for another two-count, but Nese grabbed a leg and rolled up Kendrick for another two-count, as the veteran went from a kick-out into an armbar, before Nese powerbombed Kendrick into the turnbuckles from the armbar. Kendrick kicked out at two, then caught Nese in the Bully Choke, with Nese rolling back and scoring a near-fall to force the break.
Nese surprised Kendrick with a pumphandle into a Michinoku driver for a two-count, and Nese continued with some right hand shots to Kendrick, who returned the favours. A series of headbutts from Kendrick dazed Nese, with a leg lariat taking Nese back to the mat. Nese caught Kendrick on the top rope with a couple of enziguiris, and went up himself for a 450 Splash… but Nese missed and was immediately caught in the Bully Choke for the submission win. An amazing main event, and I’d be surprised if Nese hadn’t earned himself a contract based on this. Kendrick’s quarter final is going to be against Kota Ibushi, and that looks tasty… ****
Next week we wrap up the second round with Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Drew Gulak and Johnny Gargano vs. TJ Perkins. In terms of matches on paper, they’re saving the best for last!