NXT was mostly video packages this week. So Jake took over the Cruiserweight Classic review this week!
Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher
-This ought to be excellent. Akira Tozawa doing the screaming into the BE QUIET gimmick isn’t the same when he can’t yell SHUT THE FUCK UP instead like he did in PWG, although dude’s so charismatic and fun that it won’t matter all.
-As it turns out, I thought this match was absolutely sensational. Just a notch below Ibushi/Cedric for me if we’re being honest. Loved the character work, psychology, and gradual escalation of aggression throughout the whole thing. It wasn’t as drop-dead exciting as your archetypal cruiser match, but they worked such a brilliantly smart match that even small turns of the tide made for compelling viewing.
-I adored Gallagher’s lighthearted work in the beginning, only to get uber-pissed after Tozawa just punches him in the jaw. Any guy who can work through multiple aspects of their personality in a match is good by me, and both men did it superbly.
-Tozawa’s reaction to getting tooled on the ground – beating the shit out of the Brit – was great too. The perfect example of a match that gets over on both men’s psychology and personality instead of moves. Pro wrestling done right.
WINNER: Akira Tozawa, ****
Noam Dar vs. HoHo Lun
-I don’t think the hate for Noam Dar so far is very warranted as the jabroni he faced was one of the worst of the tournament and I’ve been very impressed with his other work.
-I also don’t think HoHo Lun is Satan’s gift to wrestling, but I’m not going to act like it’s going to be a great chance for Noam Dar to get his shit in.
-Speaking of Dar, I will never get over his accent. He looks like a fuckin’ Calvin Klein coverboy and then you hear him talk, boom, Scottish accent. Maybe I’m so used to hearing Grado’s comically thick Scottish accent that hearing one out of a guy like Dar throws my weird Americanized brain off. Those last two sentences sure say a lot about me, huh?
-The match is better than a lot of people would expect, mainly because neither man is truly all that bad. HoHo pulls off a pretty cool Perfectplex and actually sells the leg when bridging, which was a nice touch. His kicks are woeful though. Champagne Super-Kneebar gets Dar the win in an okay little match.
WINNER: Noam Dar: **1/4
THE Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese
-Nese didn’t have that great of a showing, mainly because – like Noam Dar – the guy that was fed to him was abysmally horrible. His charisma is pretty non-descript as his little vignette before the match would sound right at home on a UFC prelim card.
-Kendrick had that great sprint with Raul Mendoza, which admittedly got me more excited to see Mendoza than Kendrick.
-I thought that this was another really good psychological match. In a grand sense, it was really brain vs. brawn, but with the added wrinkle of the older, aging Brian having to battle the “hybrid” of Tony Nese’s style.
-Brian is one of those guys who I see on the indies from time to time, but never really seems to be motivated to the point of having a great match. Here, he’s totally willing to go all out and it shows. Very interested to see his match with Kota Ibushi. Great stuff.
WINNER: THE Brian Kendrick: ***3/4
– Zack Sabre Jr vs. Drew Gulak and Gargano vs. TJP are both going to be awesome.
Overall: It’s only been on for a month and a half, and the CWC is already the best weekly wrestling show of 2016. It wasn’t as awesome as the last show, but it’s right below it with a four star match, one near it, and another decent enough 5 minute affair. If you’re not watching this, you’re doing this wrestling fan thing wrong