Cruiserweight Classic Review 7.27.16
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tyson Dux
-Dux is one of those indy guys everyone says is underrated, but has always bored me to equally generic tears every time he’s gotten a chance in ROH or the like. Sabre is the best wrestler in this tournament though so it’s going to be hard for this to be terrible.
-As for the match, if you’ve seen Zack Sabre Jr before, odds are you won’t be surprised by what he pulls out. That said, he’s so goddamn good that even his cruise control is the most fascinating thing ever.
-Mauro makes a rare mistake calling Zack’s PK a running knee, but he’s SO GOOD on this show that I don’t even care.
-Zack wins with the European Stretch in a pretty by-the-books match that didn’t do anything to really sway my opinion on either guy. Dux doesn’t have anything besides fine basics that I saw worth exploring while Zack continues to be excellent. **1/4
WINNER: Zack Sabre Jr.
Drew Gulak vs. Harv Sihra
-I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Gulak. He’s one of those guys that’s never been an incredible worker and can often have stinkers (his match with Tommy End at BOLA 2015 says hello!) but when he’s on, he can really pull off some great stuff. His match with Timothy Thatcher at PWG Lemmy is a real gem and his qualifier to get into the CWC against Tracy Williams from EVOLVE was incredible.
-Gulak hits a nasty diving lariat after 3 minutes of pretty much nothing. One of the things about Gulak is that he’s not tremendous at carrying guys, so when you get a pretty mediocre dude like Sihra, nothing really stands out because half of Gulak’s charm is how his opponents react.
-Gulak mangles Harv with a Dragon Sleeper and it’s over. Nothing special as Sihra didn’t really do much and Gulak isn’t a “get my shit in” guy, but Sabre vs. Gulak is going to be tremendous. **
WINNER: Drew Gulak
Tony Nese vs. Anthony Bennett
-Tony Nese is a guy who seems to have a lot of pieces to the puzzle, but can’t quite put them together. He had a very bland run in PWG a couple years ago, but I haven’t seen enough of him since to really expand on that, so who knows. Guy is built like a Greek God and has a world of potential so I don’t see how he’s not in NXT by year’s end.
-The commentary on this show is utterly tremendous by the way, I really can’t say that enough. Bryan straight up saying that Bennett not going for a countout was a bad idea is great because it’s not done in a heelish way, it’s a wrestling expert telling the audience why something might not be a good strategy so you can see why it backfires. Mauro and Bryan are the best team this company has had in years.
-Back to the match, which isn’t all that good as Bennett looks like a 12 year old kid and it’s hard to believe his weak offense does anything to Nese who almost towers over him. Bennett botches some sort of cute counter from Nese, who finishes him off with a 450 after the ref checks on Bennett for some reason. Bennett is probably the weakest guy in the tournament so far as he looked like he’d barely been out of wrestling school for a month, while Nese impressed despite this. *1/2
WINNER: Tony Nese
THE Brian Kendrick vs. Raul Mendoza
-Kendrick has been fairly on and off on the indies lately. He’s had a few dates with ROH, a few dates with PWG, but has never stayed in one place after he left TNA. He and London had a really fun match with Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor at PWG TEN a few years ago though which is one of the last times I’ve seen him aside from his odd few NXT appearances.
-Mendoza is actually pretty awesome in the early goings here, throwing some stiff chops and pulling off one of the coolest Giant Swings I’ve ever seen.
-Kendrick hilariously just kicks him in the mouth and works over his braces, and Mendoza comes up bleeding from the mouth! Starting to think those braces aren’t a good idea for a wrestler. The doctors check on him, but it’s nothing big.
-Mendoza hits a BEAUTIFUL Van Terminator and steals the End of Heartache from Roderick Strong, but it doesn’t matter because THIS GUY IS FUCKING GREAT.
-Kendrick wins after Biff Busick’s Bully Choke finisher, but Mendoza is easily the most impressive no-name guy on the CWC so far and if he gets in better shape and loses the braces, I think he’s got a damn good bit of long-term potential. ***1/4
WINNER: The Brian Kendrick
Overall: Not the best show of this series’ existence, but it included one of its best matches in Mendoza vs. Kendrick so it’s worth watching. The thing is with this show, is that even if the wrestling isn’t always up to par in the first round, the presentation, commentary, and no nonsense approach makes the CWC feel fresh and the ‘it’ thing to watch. So yeah, I’d recommend this episode if solely for the main event as Gulak and Sabre Jr didn’t do much you haven’t seen from them before.