ROUND 2 MATCHES
Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann
BigFreaky: I have to say I was very excited to see this match, I am a big fan of both these guys. Both with great high flying. Swann stays sometimes a bit more grounded with submissions and technique, and Lince is a modern day Lucha Libre savant. This match is definitely a treat for the fans. Flash and flair, poise and athleticism. This match goes 50/50 for most of the duration. Excellent aerial moves mixed with no shortage of powerful strikes. The back and forth is incredible as somehow Lince finds the room to hit a HUGE flying crossbody from the top rope, but bounces off Rich and can’t get the 3. Swann after a short interaction tries to sneak in his standing 450, but Dorado puts up the knees to counter. A short bit of back and forth until Rich can once again find an opening and seals the deal with a great Phoenix Splash to advance to the next round.
Greg: This match is hybrid lucha libre style of Dorado against the high energy/high flying style of Swann. Bryan mentions that both of these men have faced off before but never in a high profile match such as this. They show athleticism early on countering head scissor attempts to a standoff. Swann attempts to taunt with a bit of dancing but Dorada stops him and busts out his best Alex Wright impression. The action spills to the outside with a massive springboard cross body by Dorado.
Back in the ring Swann takes control and gets Dorado into a unique submission hold that is eventually broken. Both men start trading shows leading to a double knockdown when they both use kicks as counters. More back and forth exchanges until they tire each other out. These guys are very evenly matched. Swann attempts a standing 450 splash in the corner but gets kneed on the landing. Dorado goes for a pin for a near fall.
After some quick counter wrestling Dorado hits a reverse hurancanrana stunning Swann. He goes for the cover but no dice. He positions Swann for his shooting star press finisher and he misses. Swann goes to the top and hits the Phoenix Spash right on Dorado’s face for the win.
Well that phoenix splash looked like it might be a little painful for Dorado. A dude landing on your face cannot feel good.
Drew Gulak vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
BigFreaky: I would like to call this “The Pretzel Match” Both men worked to their incredible inherent strengths and tried to tie each other up into pretzels. If you thought you knew a lot of locks and holds, they just showed you 15 more. A catch-as-catch-can wrestling clinic of a match. My vernacular is not strong enough to even describe most of went on in this match. As I mentioned earlier, locks and holds that wear down the opponent with just enough strikes peppered in for flavoring. Both men with everything to prove to the world, the match breaks down into a palm strike fight until Gulak goes for broke and tries to finish it with a sunset flip, which Sabre Jr. turns into an arching pin. A spectacle we expected, and a spectacle we got.
Greg: The Philadelphia Roughneck against the Technical Wizard. Hard hand slap from Gulak to start the match. Both men immediately go at it trading ground holds. They then start putting each other in straight jacket holds with more spiffy counters from Sabre Jr.
Gulak takes over with a few boots to the head of a grounded Sabre Jr. hitting him with some hard chops. He tries a top rope dive but gets got in an armbar counter from Sabre Jr. Gulak powers ourt and puts Gurerro special pulling Sabre Jr.’s arms way behind him. That looked like Sabre Jr. is really bendy or he just got a few inches added to his arms. Sabre Jr. starts building some momentum but Gulak has an answer for all his holds. Sabre Jr. finally gets something going and hits a penalty kick for a near fall. He then goes into a very neat looking bridge pin combo for a near fall.
Afterwards both men engage in a palm strike contest with Gulak getting the best of Sabre. Jr. He locks in the dragon sleeper but Sabre Jr.’s momentum carries him over into a pinning counter for the win. After the match a reluctant handshake from Gulak.
Well that was a hell of contest that again showcased the technical side of cruiserweight wrestling along with some strong striking. Gulak looks like a keeper for the division to me.
Johnny Gargano vs. TJ Perkins
BigFreaky: As you expect this match will be breakneck speed. Gargano needs to slow it down, cuz even as fast as he is, his speed does not match Perkins. Gargano has an injured wheel due to an excessive beating by The Revival at “NXT : TakeOver II” a few days before. Johnny is the first to fly in this match and you can see the pain from the weekend showing thru. Johnny works on a few submissions, but is hampered by TJ being more fresh than him.
Perkins has many attempted comebacks, but Gargano answers back and gets TJ back on the defensive. A pretty even affair as both men start getting reckless and start pulling out the heavy artillery. The match starts to speed up and Perkins goes to work, hitting multiple high flying moves, and Gargano keeps fighting back but his knee is not cooperating. Johnny tries to work some submissions in to end the match but TJ escapes every time. Gargano tries everything possible, but it just isn’t enough, his knee can’t stand up to it. Perkins locks in the knee bar for the finish taking him to the next round, and sending Gargano out of the Tournament.
Greg: Gargano fresh off his battle with his tag team partner and the epic encounter with The Revival at NXT Takeover Brooklyn II last week has his knee taped up. Quick leverage maneuvers by Perkins for some short near falls followed up with some monkey flips to start the match. Muta lock to wear down Gargano’s knee. After a quick flurry of offense from Gargano, Perkins returns to working Gargano with various submission holds.
Gargano turns the tables with a spear from the outside the ring. He gets Perkins into the corner and chops him hard. Both men start exchanging kicks afterwards leading to a powerbomb from Perkins for a near double pin. The action spills to the ring apron where Perkins tries a dropkick but instead eats a superkick that knocks him to ring side. Gargano hits a dive to the outside, crash landing his bad leg on the bell table.
Both men get back into the ring at the count of 6. Perkins hits Gargano with some impressive kicks for a near fall. Slugfest after both men get on their feet. Gargano gets caught up in the ropes and Perkins hits him with a rebount sprinboard dropkick. Perkins goes for another top rope move but Gargano gets up and kicks him in the face.
Attempt for lawn dart but Gargano’s knee gives out. Perkins gets Gargano into the kneebar which is reversed into a crossface and then pinning combination. Hangman’s neck breaker attempt by Perkins but he gets caught and dropped face first into the turnbuckle. Gargano picks him up and launches him into the opposite corner with the lawn dart. Pin and near fall. Both men look exhausted after. Gargano tries to apply a full nelson suplex but Perkins gets him into the knee bar for the submission win.
This was a fantastic match. TJ Perkins is a quick dude with some innovative moves. That lawn dart from Gargano also looked pretty damn mean. You figure that Gargano and Ciampa are heading to RAW when the Cruiserweight division starts up in mid-September. Perkins would be a great addition as well.
We are now down to the Final 8, and the remainder of the tourney is going to be an absolute blowout!