Week 5 of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic opens with a long video package narrated by Corey Graves. Highlights of the first round were shown featuring as many dramatic moments as possible. For the 16 men who advanced, the journey has just begun. Welcome to round 2 of the Cruiserweight Classic.
Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo introduce the show. Daniel Bryan emphasized that various styles that are part of this tournament. His favourite moment so far is the match between Gargano and Ciampa. Mauro says round 2 will be too sweet.
ROUND 2 MATCHES
Tajiri vs. Gran Metalik
BigFreaky: Two veterans of the ring, Tajiri 22 years, and Metalik with half of that at 11. This match ends up being one hell of a smashmouth encounter. Tajiri also works plenty of unique submission holds into his arsenal. Metalik finds an opening and begins his aerial assault.
An assortment of top rope attacks and Gran has Tajiri reeling. Tajiri finds his opening and unloads his patented collection of kicks. A series of strikes and nearfalls, mixed with submissions by Tajiri do not prove to be enough, as Metalik seemingly comes out of nowhere and finishes the match with the Metalik Screwdriver.
Greg: The first match of the sweet 16 features the oldest competitor in the tournament, the returning Tajiri.
Gran Metalik gets a longer video package showing off clips of his first round match. He proudly represents Mexico. His style is very aerial and he has come to the tournament to get his hand raised in victory.
Tajiri’s video package states he has a 23 year career and that it’s older than most of the people participating in the tournament. He says has the advantage of experience but the disadvantage of age and he wants to achieve something great so he doesn’t retire with regret.
Early back and forth action between the 2 men incorporating various chain wrestling and lucha libre maneuvers that leads to a stale mate. Ground work after with Metalik working on the arm until Tajiri counters in to an octopus hold. He gets countered into an ankle lock which leads into several cucifix pin near falls.
Metalik takes control by going back to the arm. Bryan mentions that the pace of the match may be catching up to the older Tajiri. After some outside ring action the experience of Tajiri shifts momentum as he suckers Metalik into the ring and kicks him in the face. He grounds him with a head scissors until a foot on the rope breaks the hold.
Comeback by Metalik with a dive outside to the ring and several aerial maneuvers that ends with springboard back elbow for a 2 count. He tries to go for his finisher but gets a back kick in the face. Tajiri sets up Metalik in the corner after and drop kicks him in the head. More near falls leading to a submission hold.
Metalik kicks Tajiri until he breaks the hold but pays for it by getting a roundhouse kick in the head again. But Metalik has enough awareness to get on his feet, put Tajiri up on his shoulders and into the Metalik Driver for the win.
That finish seemed to come out of nowhere, but okay.
Kota Ibushi vs. Cedric Alexander
BigFreaky: This match is surefire going to be a fast paced match and we get just that. Lots of energy out of the two. Many reversals and almost a playful attitude out of both until Ibushi takes off the kid gloves and delivers his first kick, completely laying Cedric out. This spikes the tension in the match and both start giving it their all. Sharing dives and incredible strikes. But it seems as if Alexander is a bit overzealous and seems to be rushing the pin.
After numerous pin attempts, Ibushi fires back with a dropkick that just stuns the crowd, and frankly myself as well. These two are at war and deliver insane strikes to each other. Kota tosses out Cedric and hits his Golden Triangle Moonsault but delivers it from the top rope and must clear almost 15 feet above the ring. Just a magical move… once again after this I am at a loss for words, and none could do justice for what happens in the match next.
The fighting spirit out of these two is immeasurable. Countless moves that would finish any normal man, but don’t prove enough for each other, until Ibushi finally catches a moment and gets the 3 count with a thunderous Last Ride Powerbomb.
Greg: Cedric Alexander’s interview shows he is still in disbelief that he is in the Cruiserweight Classic. He’s going to make all his doubters eat their words. His involvement validates that he is one of the best professional wrestlers in the world.
Kota Ibushi’s video package from the bracketology special is played again with additional clips from his first round match. Nothing much to see here if you’ve been watching this tournament from its start.
Cedric Alexander lost 22 pounds to meet the 205 pound requirement and Daniel Bryan says that is the best thing to happen to him. Slow pace to start the match with early wrist lock and head lock moves. Both men escape the holds and once they get back to their feet Alexander gets knocked down with a shoulder tackle.
Back to the wrist lock holds after a reset leading to a speed up in action with Alexander evading Ibushi’s kicks. After another reset Alexander puts Ibushi into a side headlock using his amateur experience and strength advantage to keep Ibushi under control.
Unfortunately that doesn’t last long as Ibushi kicks Alexander hard in the chest and follows up with a chop to the face and a missile drop kick. He tries to do a his triangle moonsault but misses. Alexander catches him with an outside dive and immediately rolls Ibushi into the ring.
Alexander hits a flying clothesline for a near fall. He goes on the attack with Ibushi in a weakened state. His offense lasts for a good while until his suplex attempt fails and Ibushi drop kicks him hard in the face. You could hear the loud impact on that one. That looked like it hurt.
Both men trade shots until Ibushi starts hitting his quick strikes and an exploder suplex. He goes for the triangle moonsault again and hits it successfully. Ibushi chant and then Fight Forever chant afterwards.
When both men get back into the ring Alexander counters Ibushi into a Michinoku driver for a near fall. He gets out of a corner hurancanrana but eats a Pele kick from Ibushi. Finisher attempt by Ibushi but he gets caught. Brainbuster by Alexander for a near fall. Then a spinning back kick to the head for another near fall. Alexander is shocked that he can’t put his opponent away.
Top rope foot stop misses and Ibushi gets Alexander into a German release suplex, head kick and then the Golden Star power bomb for the win.
Crazy match that showed off the determination of Alexander who whipped out everything he could to try to win the match. He looked fantastic in defeat and Mauro Ranallo said he had the match of his life nearly beating the best cruiserweight on the planet.
Hiro: Man, Ibushi is just a high-spot monkey unlike the complete worker that Hoho Lun is. Alexander carried him the entire match.
Round 2 continues next week with 3 matches.
Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher
Noam Dar vs. Hoho Lun
Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese