Week 2 of the WWE Crusierweight Classic opens with Mauro Ranallo congratulating Daniel Bryan for his new role as Smackdown GM. After that they get hyped for this week’s set of matches and throw to Corey Graves to recap the tournament so far with highlights from week 1.
ROUND 1 MATCHES
Tajiri vs. Damian Slater
BigFreaky: Tajiri returns after a long time away from WWE, known for his huge rivalry with Super Crazy during his ECW time. Tajiri the obvious choice as the ring veteran vs Slater who has been an underdog his entire wrestling career.
Tajiri works on the arm for much of the match while Slater tries to find his footing and plan of attack. Damien tries trading kicks with Tajiri, and that is never a good idea. This proves to be a bad strategy and Tajiri does what he does best, and finishes Slater off with a few kicks and the finisher of the Buzzsaw kick.
Greg: Tajiri returns to the WWE looking like he’s logged many more miles since his last run with the company. Damian Slater is an Australian who is known as the “World Beater” due to his underdog status and overcoming the odds.
The match starts with an early display of technical prowess that included an innovative reversal by Tajiri using the ropes to get out of wristlock and a fireman’s carry pin combination shortly after by Slater.
Both competitors focused on specific body parts. Tajiri hit many heavy kicks on Slater’s arm while Slater tried to take out Tajiri’s legs when he was on offense. After a lot of back and forth action Tajiri takes the win with a Buzzsaw kick.
Damian Slater looked very good in the match despite taking the loss.
TJ Perkins vs. Da Mack
BigFreaky: TJ Perkins who has been known by a few other names. Sometimes Suicide, sometimes Manik is a Filipino high flyer. Da Mack is another new face to me who Mauro Ranallo claims is the biggest thing to hit Germany since David Hasselhoff.
This match is definitely the battle of the entertainers. Both show off their skills and play to the crowd. Dabbing and moonwalking, sometimes not working in their best interest as their opponent capitalizes on their opponents ego. A fast paced match throughout with a variety of submissions by TJ. Both show off with their aerial moves, but the end of the match finds Perkins the winner by kneebar submission.
Next match is one of the matches I’ve been specifically waiting for.
Greg: TJ Perkins video package profiles him as a Filipino with a flashy ring style who makes things look easy. Da Mack on the other hand is a German who wants to be the Michael Jackson of professional wrestling. Yeah, that was the extent of his video.
Both of these guys are on the smaller end of the cruiserweight scale yet if they stand next to Hoho Lun they look like roided up giants. Just saying.
Early flashes of flippy shit technical holds including a series of twisting head scissor holds by Perkins who does a dab to taunt Da Mack after his second one lands. The other notable early move from Perkins was a modified Boston crab.
Da Mack also had some interesting offense such as a somersault from the corner of the ring and some dancing Daniel Bryan type of hard kicks to the back. The match ends with Perkins kicking Da Mack in the face and transitioning to a body scissors knee bar submission.
Daniel Bryan was hyping TJ Perkins pretty hard during this match and his performance showed why he was worth of it. He definitely is one to watch as this tournament moves forward. Da Mack seemed okay, the best I can say is that his moonwalk is pretty on point and those dancing kicks were neat. Yeah. That’s all I got.
Otherwise it was a good mix of technical and high flying wrestling.
Hiro: TJ Perkins is okay, he’s no Macho Franco though. That guy is a real Filipino wrestling legend.
Lince Dorado vs. Mustafa Ali
BigFreaky: The Prince vs. “Kitty” as I affectionately call Lince. The match is as expected, a fast paced match with a lot of technical and unique moves. Ali misses a moonsault and Lince makes the most of it by hitting many high impact moves in a row.
Mustafa shows his staying power and fights back with some huge moves of his own, including a top rope springboard Spanish fly. Ali goes for one of his finishers the reverse 450, but that proves unfruitful. Lince jumps at the opportunity and lands a shooting star press for the 3 count. A great match, that any type of review could do no justice. A must see from the tournament for sure.
Greg: Mustafa Ali (Pakistan) is a 13-year veteran who is highly confident in his abilities. Lince Dorado (Puerto Rico) is a 10-year veteran who is glad for this opportunity. During Dorado’s video package I thought his voice was being dubbed over. But after seeing his promo again, it’s just the mask that covers his mouth when he speaks.
Bryan and Ranallo say this match will be full of high flying action. For you less edumacated, that means flippy shit all day, every day.
The match starts with a reluctant handshake (or more like a hand slap) from Ali who immediately goes on the attack as soon as the bell rings. An early missed dive from Dorado leads to a shining wizard from the apron from Ali.
That lead to very fast paced back and forth action as the announcers advertised at the start of the match. The first “holy shit” moment of the tournament came during an Asai moonsault from Dorada to the Ali to the outside of the ring.
The next one was a spike reverse hurricanrana for a near fall. That led to a top rope Spanish Fly from Ali that had Bryan, Ranallo and the crowd popping off. That also led to a near fall. After a missed reverse 450 splash Dorada took the match with a shooting star press.
Having never seen either of these wrestlers perform before I came away impressed. It’s a toss up between who came out looking better as these two seemed to be able to present their stuff evenly. I am partial to Ali as he looks like he could be a marketable heel due to his mannerisms in this match.
Akira Tozawa vs. Kenneth Johnson
BigFreaky: Tozawa makes his way from Japan from spending time with his good friends Ricochet and Apollo Crew in Dragon Gate. Now in the WWE CWC trying to make a name for himself as his friends have both moved on to other great things.
Johnson a fellow Michigander who moved to Georgia to train with Curtis Hughes (who has trained, many, many SuperStars that you know today). A powerful, smash mouth kind of match was what I was hoping for and I got it. Strong Style was for sure the theme of this match. Tozawa was giving Johnson everything he had and Kenneth was absorbing massive amounts of punishment.
Akira gives Kenneth a huge German Suplex but Johnson taps into his fighting spirit and pops up right away, but in his blind rage he rushes in and both take each other out with a double clothesline. After a continued assault of near falls by Johnson, Tozawa fires back with a lighting fast German Suplex again, and then finishes with a delay German. The hard hitting affair was a way to end the day of matches. Akira advances to the next round and that is the end of the show.
Greg: Dragon Gate’s Akira Tozawa’s video package has him stating WWE fans will be entertained just by watching him. He’s also amazed that he’s in the WWE. Kenneth Johnson’s video portrays him as a hard working wrestler who overcame many obstacles in life. It’s something that is reiterated during the commentary as the match progressed.
Similar to previous matches in this program some counter wrestling to start things off. Unlike other matches in this show, there was a more deliberate pace. It was a scrappy match that told a story of Johnson keeping up move for move with Tozawa but coming up short in the end. Definitely a different style of cruiserweight match some may not be accustomed to, but still very compelling.
This was another solid week of Cruiserweight action that set up some interesting second round matches. It could be argued that the in-ring action was better than week 1. However, next week brings us Zack Sabre Jr. So this tournament might get lit come Wednesday July, 27.