The final quarter final matches of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic featured 2 matches where the foes were familiar with each other. The winners of these matches earn the right to go to the live finale on September 14th to face Gran Metalik and Kota Ibushi respectively.
BigFreaky is off chasing Zubats somewhere so it will be Greg who breaks down the recent matches in the tournament.
ROUND 3 MATCHES
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Noam Dar
The first match of the night featured 2 competitors representing the UK and the British style of wrestling. With both competitors having very close ties, the match started as a game of chess to see who would make the first mistake. That ended up being Sabre Jr. who missed a diving move opening up his knee to the pit bull like attack of Dar who viciously worked Sabre Jr.’s lower body.
Conversely Sabre Jr. did his best to work Noam Dar’s arm to soften it up for an arm bar. This back and forth battle attacking specific extremities continued for 15 minutes. The climax of the match found Sabre Jr. in the clutches of Dar’s knee bar hold. After the hold was broken once, Dar slapped it on again but momentum forced both men to the outside of the ring.
Sabre Jr. landed hard on his elbow and Dar took advantage getting into the ring first after beating up his opponent a little and grouding him. Sabre Jr. however, mustered enough strength to make it back into the ring just after the 9 count from the referee ended. Both men are physically exhausted at this point. When they get back on to their feet Dar attacks Sabre Jr.’s freshly injured arm instead of continuing to work the knee and legs.
They start to exchange kicks with Dar getting the upper hand. He charges in but gets grounded by a counter. Sabre Jr. goes for rings of Saturn but is unable to complete the submission with his bad arm. So instead he uses his legs to complete the hold and lock it in. Dar is forced to tap out quickly.
This was a great match that had strong elements of technical wrestling, strategy and some light flippy shit to keep things interesting. Zack Sabre Jr. moves on to face Gran Metalik in the live show. That will be a contrast of styles for sure. My pick to win that match is Metalik.
T.J. Perkins vs. Rich Swann
Two more men who know each other very well meet up in main event of this episode. Style wise they are very evenly matched which makes for a slow feeling out process before things get intense when Perkins taunts Swann with some dancing. That leads to Swann going HAM and taunting Perkins with his own dancing and some dabbing to finish it off. This enrages Perkins and causes the action to heat up and spill to the outside of the ring.
Swann attempts to do a moonsault type move to the floor but misses and injures his knee. Perkins hits a slingshot drop kick but ends up hurting his ribs in the process. Both men gingerly get back into the ring where Perkins goes on the offensive. He doesn’t notice Swann’s knee injury at first but then starts to focus his attack on it. At the 10 minute mark Swann starts to make a comeback but is hindered by his bad wheel at every opportunity.
He manages to claw his way back into the match but takes too much time setting up a corner standing 450 splash. Perkins gets him into the knee bar which is broken when Swann gets to the bottom rope. Another small comeback by Swann leads to a near fall with a Tiger Driver. They get to their feet and exchange hook kicks. Swann wins the game of kicks but can’t follow up again due to his injured leg.
He eventually gets back up and leaps at Perkins. He’s caught in a fireman’s carry and Pele kick combo which transitions straight into the knee bar for the submission win for Perkins.
Another fantastic match that had some similarities to the first of the night but at a faster pace. T.J. Perkins will face Kota Ibushi in the other semi-final at the live show. How that will end up is hard to predict. A lot hinges on whether Ibushi wants to be part of the WWE on a long-term basis or not. If he comes to terms he should win not only his match with Perkins but the whole tournament. If not, I see a Perkins vs. Metalik final.
So that’s it. Next week is the finale of the tournament where someone is going to get a really big trophy created by the guys at OCC. After that, we’ll see who moves to RAW the week after.