The WWE Cruiserweight Classic ended on September 14th, 2016 with 3 matches to determine the winner of the tournament and the new WWE Cruiserweight champion. The Selective Hearing staff have gathered to discuss this moment in WWE history.
Zack Sabre Jr had his best match of the tournament against Gran Metalik, agree or disagree? Do you see him eventually ending up in the WWE some time in the future?
Greg: Yes, ZSJ showed a fire that was not present in his matches before this semi-final and displayed what all the hype about him was about. His style may not be the most exciting to watch but when he’s all angry he whips out some great stuff out of his move set.
I think eventually he will end up signing with the WWE, but not anytime soon. Like maybe a year or more maybe? Dude might want to consider building a little more definition in his physique before he arrives though.
BigFreaky: ZSJ out with a bang. He slowly showed us the tricks he had in his bag as the tournament progressed, and he brought out most of his entire arsenal in his final match.
I could see ZSJ in WWE at some point. He is very busy and travelling all over the world. I think he is having a lot of fun going all over and not having to be “tied down” right now. I’m sure it is inevitable.
Allen: The CWC was my first time exposed to ZSJ and he stretched everyone out. He still managed to stretch Metalik out and had showed some impact moves as well. I think he had his best match in the tournament because of Metalik and how it had a hot start.
I don’t know if his style will be suited well in WWE unless they have longer matches. I do enjoy seeing him inflict pain to his opponents though. He has multiple moves to inflict that pain, so I do hope to see him again.
TOZ: Agreed that ZSJ’s best match was against Gran Metalik. If WWE continues this trend of diversifying their product, then there is a place for him. But I’m not completely bought in on him as others are. It’s probably just me, but there were multiple points in his CWC matches were it looked like he half-sold. Perhaps it’s just me not being used to watching him, but it felt weird.
Kota Ibushi is ousted from the tournament in a hell of a match with TJ Perkins. What did you think of his swan song from this event? Is this the last time we will ever seem him in a WWE ring?
Greg: Man, this was a crazy match that played into weeks of psychology about opponents attacking Ibushi’s neck. It played out perfectly in the finish that forced him to tap out to the knee bar/cross face combination.
I wish I could confidently say that we will see Ibushi in a WWE ring again but I think the fact that he doesn’t speak of lick of English and he still has goals to accomplish in Japan are going to hold him back until he’s somehow enticed to make the journey over again. Hopefully with all the tools needed to be a success outside of his ring work.
Most likely he’ll end up working in the promotion he’s building and/or in various other Japanese promotions. It would be epic if he went back to New Japan to face Kenny Omega one day.
BigFreaky: This match really helped to elevate TJ Perkins thru an upset of sorts from Ibushi. Now that Ibushi is in the mix, I’m sure we’ll see his face again. Especially with since there seems to be a change of scene in the WWE allowing outside workers and still allowing them independent dates.
Allen: Ibushi was my favorite going into the tournament so seeing him lose here was a tough pill to swallow, but he did put over TJ big time. Ibushi probably had the three best matches in the CWC. He makes his opponents look so good even when he loses, going back to NJPW. The commentary always made it a point to mention Ibushi’s surgically repaired neck, so losing to a knee bar/crossface made perfect sense.
I don’t think this will be the last time to see Kota Ibushi because he is arguably the best and most popular person in the CWC tournament. But something tells me this was the time for him to sign and take advantage of the opportunity and become a huge star under the WWE banner.
TOZ: I hope it’s not the last time we see him involved with WWE. That match was so good that it had me hollering out loud at certain points. If Nakamura’s success means anything, then WWE and Ibushi can do great things together.
TJ Perkins wins the entire tournament, did you see that coming given that Zack Sabre Jr. and Kota Ibushi were the heavy favourites by odds makers? What did you think of the decision to go with him as the first Cruiserweight champion of the new era?
Greg: Well if you read the dirt sheets it was known that both ZSJ and Ibushi were not expected to sign beyond the tournament for differing reasons. So the only alternatives were the two remaining competitors who did sign.
Perkins had a built in underdog story that made his journey to the tournament final and championship win a great feel good moment. Not that Metalik would have been worse, but you know, unless you spoke Spanish and were waiting for the hot translator to get some mic time it would not have been as satisfying of a win for him.
BigFreaky: I really thought Swann was gonna go all the way, but my brackets were all busted to hell the week before the final. TJP has had years upon years of experience traveling the world, and I’m quite happy with the choice. I think he is a good pick and will keep elevating the Cruiserweight Scene for quite a while.
Allen: Yeah they wouldn’t let Ibushi or Zack Sabre Jr win if they were not signing contracts and going to leave right after the tournament was over. I also thought Rich Swann would have won just because he is a giant ball of charisma and would have been an excellent champion to represent the cruiserweight division.
I honestly didn’t care for TJP throughout the whole tournament and I couldn’t remember any of his previous matches. He had great matches with both Ibushi and Metalik, but I think his opponents were more the influential factor.
TJP winning was the safe bet. I felt I was invested in some of the other storylines more than his. What wasn’t safe, those awful looking joggers as his ring gear. What country did he represent again, I’m not 100% sure..? Get rid of those now, you can keep wearing the Jordan’s though.
TOZ: I thought ZSJ was gonna win it all. With all that hype and buzz behind him, I thought it was a shoe-in. If it was more openly known that the CWC was for a title, then I would’ve chose someone else. With the face/heel paradigm turned on its head, it’s cool to have someone who can be easily believed as a face as TJP. Also, props for him on bringing the sneaker heat (even though I don’t think the Air Jordan 31s are all that).
What about that purple belt? Are you down with the Barney/Grimace belt? Were you expecting it to be red? Were you thinking that HHH was just going to pedigree both guys and crown himself the Cruiserweight champion?
Greg: Well at least the belt is not a fruit roll up right? It does have a futuristic look to it, although it doesn’t seem to fit the color palette of the red show as much as say the blue show where this division probably naturally belongs.
And yes, I was totally expecting Trips to pedigree everyone and just take the belt home.
BigFreaky: I really like the new belt. I’m glad they kept the purple color as they seemed to have branded the CWC and cruiserweights an entire brand on their own. I imagine going forward they will make yet another touring company with the cruiserweights.
I never once thought HHH would come out for the title. Reading online comments about it was kind of funny, but never it actually happening. Trips is the biggest face in all of NXT/CWC.
Allen: I’m just glad it isn’t a giant W with a purple back. I do like that they made it purple to match with the theme and the set, but the actual belt looks too new, like the leather looks to rubbery and needs to be broken in a bit. It reminds me more of a welterweight boxing title belt and seeing it on TJP made it more apparent. Now that CWC trophy, that trophy looks badass!
TOZ: Love the purple and silver. Makes it stand out.
The following participants from this tournament have been signed to join team Red on Monday Nights:
Is there anyone you think is missing from the roster of 32 we saw who should be joining them?
Greg: Um.. Former Raw Women’s champion Jack Gallagher (props if you know which production screw up that refers to) seems to be missing from this list. The absence of Tony Nese is also somewhat perplexing as he looks like he should get a shot as part of the inaugural roster.
I would expect that other under-utilized roster members from Raw who wrestle the cruiserweight style will be added to the division as well. Although I don’t know if that will break the strict 205 pound weight limit or not.
Also, Selective Hearing’s dri-fit senpai Hiro is very upset that the master of high flying Hoho Lun is not going to be on Raw. “Hoho lun will shock the world!”
He wanted me to relay that message to all of you Hoho haters.
BigFreaky: I think this is just the beginning. More will start to show up, I think they are slowly going to feed the cruiserweights into the mix going forward. Can’t drop 20+ peeps on the “regular” WWE Universe.
Allen: Tajiri! Man the comedy that Tajiri will bring some actual character to not only the fellow cruiserweights but the RAW roster. Add Akira Tozawa and Jack Gallagher in their too because not only do they look different but they can be very entertaining and can add more character to the Raw roster as well.
TOZ: I want Ibushi but they got Cedric Alexander. Shit’s all good with me.
What do you think the cruiserweights role will be on RAW? Actual competitors or time fillers with flippy shit?
Greg: If this division is booked like the WCW Cruiserweight division that would be great. If it was booked like New Japan’s Jr. Heavyweights that would be fantastic. With that said, it’s hard to say how this division is going to fit on the flagship show at this moment.
My hope is that they are treated just like any other competitive division on the show and get real feuds and storylines and the like and the competitors are not fed to jobber killer monsters Braun Strowman, Nia Jax and Bo Dallas.
BigFreaky: Since all the progression that has been made at WWE lately, I don’t think it’s too fair to expect them to be “fed” to monsters. They will have their own division and be a complete separate entity, until after quite a while I think. Much like how it happened on WCW. I’m quite excited to see it all unfold, the same way the CWC did, and it blew us away. [Until Braun spears TJP into the side of a production truck(jokes)].
Allen: Time fillers. They can start RAW off with an actual match and not a 20 minute promo. That would help keep myself and a bunch of viewers from switching to Monday Night Football for a while. They can also liven up that third tv hour by waking up the viewers who haven’t fallen asleep and the crowd in the arena who would have just started their 4th hour of wrestling. They will be fed to the monsters at the Royal Rumble after they try to do showcase their flippy dippy shit.
TOZ: They’ll get the crowd excited. Then gradually introduce them into feuds with the rest of the roster. I know RAW has more time, but the cruiserweights totally feel like a Smackdown thing. Especially with Mauro Ranallo on commentary.