It’s quarter-finals time on the Cruiserweight Classic, with two matches on this week’s rather international show.

#TLDR: An emotional night’s action as the first set of quarter-finals got underway with a pair of great matches, featuring Gran Metalik, Brian Kendrick, Akira Tozawa and Kota Ibushi.

The Full Review: Corey Graves narrates the opening package for the “great eight”, or the “elite eight” as Mauro Ranallo’s calling it.

We then actually see Corey in the 3D studio with the tournament brackets. He plugs tonight’s main event: Brian Kendrick vs. Kota Ibushi, and also today’s first match: Akira Tozawa vs. Gran Metalik. That leads us to a new video package for Metalik, with a sit-down interview and footage from his first two matches. Tozawa gets a new video, much like Metalik, showing his progress to the quarters.

Akira Tozawa vs. Gran Metalik
Metalik’s gear here looked very reminiscent of the original Sin Cara gear here, in that it was very blue, gold and shiny.

Tozawa tries to take down Metalik early on, but Metalik grabs a wristlock, only to be taken down with a toehold. That gets reversed, and the pair trade grounded headscissors before squaring off. They tie up again, with Tozawa kicking Metalik in the gut after taking Metalik to the ropes, and then the pair exchanged armdrags and dropkicks as we kept the even-steven start.

Metalik dropkicked Tozawa as he came off the ropes, and that earned the Mexican the advantage, with an enziguiri on the apron and a springboard dropkick sending Tozawa to the floor. Our first dive of the day saw Metalik launch into Tozawa with a suicide dive, with Metalik finally tossing Tozawa back in at the count of nine.

Metalik comes back in with a springboard crossbody to score a near-fall on Tozawa, before tying him up in a Figure Four. Tozawa finally breaks by grabbing the ropes, but ends up taking a stiff kick to the head for another two-count. A dropkick from Tozawa cuts off a handspring back elbow from Metalik, who then gets knocked off the apron with a bicycle kick as Tozawa went flying with a tope that sent Metalik into the barricades.

A second dive from Tozawa again sends Metalik into the barricades, and gets a near-fall after rolling Metalik back inside. Tozawa keeps up the pressure with a slam and a back senton, again for a two-count. More chops from Tozawa fire up Metalik, including a “just kidding”-esque slap that got the Dragon Gate star a near-fall.

Metalik superkicks Tozawa, then lands a dropkick after a middle rope dropkick, and a standing shooting star press for a near-fall. The springboard back elbow connects at the second time of asking from Metalik, before Tozawa wriggled out of a Metalik driver and scored a PK for a near-fall.

Tozawa fires back with a Saito suplex for a two-count, before he ran into a superkick from Metalik, and then a chop, and finally a springboard dropkick that sent him back to the floor. Metalik connected with a springboard tope con hilo – which Ranallo called Brillo Metalik – but a moonsault back into the ring got nothing but Tozawa’s feet.

Tozawa sets up Metalik for a superplex, but he’s dropped onto the apron, before a slingshot into the ring saw Tozawa caught with an enziguiri, dumping him across the top rope. Metalik followed with a ‘rana off the top rope, which Tozawa barely kicked out of in time. Metalik flipped out of a German suplex, but took a snap German suplex straight after, before a deadlift German suplex scored Tozawa yet another two-count.

Tozawa went for another German suplex, but Metalik worked out of a strait-jacket German and picked him up for the Metalik driver out of nowhere for the win. That was quite enjoyable – not quite the match of the tournament, but not far off! Metalik will face either Noam Dar or Zack Sabre Jr. in the live semi-finals. ***¾

Mauro Ranallo finally gives the ring announcer a name – even though he’s not seen – and our Dave Penzer sound-a-like is apparently called Mike Rome.

Kota Ibushi is shown just sitting there, and we’re teasing for the main event with new videos on Brian Kendrick and Kota Ibushi. Kendrick calls this his last chance, which I’d believe… had Kendrick not already been unveiled as a part of Raw’s cruiserweight division.

Brian Kendrick vs. Kota Ibushi
Kendrick shoves Ibushi in the back, then dives to the outside to try and play some mind games. Upon returning, Ibushi caught Kendrick as he tried to escape the ring again, and laid into him with a flurry of shots, before Kendrick was sent to the outside after a kick to the head.

Ibushi nails the Golden Triangle (Asai moonsault off the top rope) to Kendrick on the floor, and Kendrick rolls across the ring to keep himself away from Ibushi and slow the pace down. Kendrick catches Ibushi and traps his feet in the old-style guard railings to snatch a count-out win, but Ibushi frees himself and returns to the ring with a missile dropkick.

Ibushi peppers Kendrick with more punches and kicks, eventually sending Kendrick down to the mat. After Kendrick’d knocked Ibushi onto the apron, he too found himself outside the ring, but countered with a neckbreaker on the corner of the ring, with Kendrick dropping Ibushi onto the turnbuckle (not the pad, the bit that connects the ropes to the post). That was different!

as a side note, on the MLW podcast that aired the week of this show, a story was shared about how a match in the quarter-finals went to an accidental count-out, after the guys took too long to return to the ring, perhaps thinking they had a 20 count (as is the case in, ooh, Japan and Mexico). No names were mentioned, but apparently it was the neckbreaker on the turnbuckle that led to this snafu?

Kendrick grounded Ibushi with a cravat as Ranallo and Bryan flagged up Ibushi’s recent neck injuries. The cravat held firm as Ibushi tried for a slam, but Ibushi rolled out of a Bully Choke attempt and dropkicked Kendrick into the corner. A powerslam from Ibushi drops Kendrick, with a moonsault getting a two-count, but Kendrick ducks a kick and gets some knees up to block a moonsault, as Ibushi went to the well too quickly.

Kendrick kicks Ibushi in the face, then pulls off the Sliced Bread #2, but Ibushi kicked out just in time, as Ranallo kept putting over Ibushi’s neck as his weakness. Kendrick lifted Ibushi to the top rope for a rear naked choke, but Ibushi worked free and delivered an overhead kick to dump Kendrick onto the apron.

From the apron, Ibushi deadlifted Kendrick onto the second rope, and back into the ring with a release German suplex for another impressive move, getting him another two-count. Kendrick blocks a powerbomb attempt, so Ibushi kicks him, before Kendrick wriggles out of the powerbomb and tries for the Bully Choke, and finally grabs it at the second attempt!

Ibushi elbowed free, but quickly turned around into – of all moves – a Burning Hammer from Kendrick. Despite landing on his neck, Ibushi kicked out just in time! Kendrick again peppered him with shots, before Ibushi caught Kendrick’s wheelbarrow attempt and dumped him on the mat in a low powerbomb for a near-fall.

Ibushi dragged Kendrick to the corner and went up top, but he missed the Phoenix Splash and landed back in the Bully Choke! Ibushi rolled back and got a near-fall, before a kick to the head and the Golden Star Powerbomb got the Golden Star the Golden Win. That was phenomenal, even if Daniel Bryan’s partisan commentary started to get annoying by the end! Ibushi will face either Rich Swann or TJ Perkins in the semi-final. ***¾

Post-match, they show a slow-motion replay of the Burning Hammer that makes me wonder why wrestlers hate each others’ necks so much… after Ibushi was confirmed as the winner, Daniel Bryan virtually broke down into tears as he put over Brian Kendrick. Bryan left the commentary desk and made his way to the ring to hug his friend as the show went off the air…

Next week: it’s the rest of our quarter-finals: Noam Dar vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins.