WWE Cruiserweight Classic: A Casual Fans Retrospective Part 4
Josh is back once again with his casual fans coverage of Episode 4 of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic!
Happy Fridayhausen! Thank you for returning to the fourth edition of my coverage of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic.
Episode 4 was recorded on June 23rd 2016 at Full Sails University in Winter Park, Florida. It’s the last episode that was recorded on this day and also the episode that brings us to the end of the Round of 32.
The Beginning of the Show:
As per usual, at the top of the show, we have the introduction that we are treated to every episode via the entrance theme and video, followed by the introduction of our announce team, Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan.
We’re provided with a recap of the previous episode of events from Corey Graves in the “Command Center” (or Greenscreen), then we are informed of the coming matches in this episode.
Now onto the matches!
The First Match: Jason Lee Vs Rich Swann
The first competitor we are introduced to this episode is Jason Lee, entering looking like a Tekken Character with the Nun-chuks. Standing at 5’6”, weighing in at 154lbs, representing Hong Kong, China and employing a High-Flying ring style.
Our next entrant is Rich Swann, entering the arena with style and bravado. Standing at 5’6”, weighing in at 165lbs, representing the United States and employing a High-Flying ring style.
The two wrestlers perform a handshake which Rich Swann turns into some sort of beautiful dance move and the match begins with both wrestlers showing impressive athleticism.
The match turns to Swann’s favour when he performs a Standing Dropkick to Jason Lee, gets him down to the mat and puts him into an Armlock Submission, this backfires when Jason Lee manages to escape driving Rich Swann to the turnbuckle and hits with swift strikes to a failed pin attempt.
Jason Lee knocks Rich Swann down to the middle rope which seems to rile up Rich Swann, he attempts to throw Jason Lee into the turnbuckle, this puts him on the receiving end of a Boot to the face, which is returned by a Hurricanrana off the top rope to a failed pin attempt.
Jason Lee pulls off a Slam on Rich Swann and performs a series of kicks to the face then attempts to pin but fails, Rich Swann recovers. Jason Lee tries to bounce off the ropes and Rich Swann performs a Roundhouse Kick to Jason Lee, he drops to the ground and Rich Swann hits a Standing 450 Splash to a 3 count pin for the win.
Match 1 Summary:
This match was fast-paced and entertaining from the start. Rich Swann immediately brought energy into the match from his entrance with Jason Lee bringing a different kind of style and look, both provided good energy and showmanship to the match.
Both competitors put up an incredibly athletic and entertaining fight with some very sweet spots from both wrestlers. However, the match felt fairly short.
Ultimately Rich Swann came out as both the winner and the shining star of the match. He made the match entertaining in more ways than one. With his style and persona coupled with his very impressive wrestling ability, it’s clear he’ll go on to have an impressive career.
The match was a great start to the show, it left me amped up and excited for more, I rate this match a 6.5/10
The Second Match: Noam Dar Vs Gurv Sihra
The first to enter the second match is “The Champagne Supernova” Noam Dar. A personal favourite of mine (I’ll try not to be biased!), standing at 5’8”, weighing in at 178lbs, from Scotland but makes it known he is also representing Israel, employing a Technical ring style, also the youngest competitor in the tournament!
Gurv Sihra is the second to enter the second match, squatting rather unceremoniously, performing some sort of crab walk to the ring. Standing at 5’10”, weighing in at 159lbs, representing India, employing a Technical ring style.
The match starts with some standard grapples and the match picked up when Noam Dar swept Gurv Sihra up by the leg, bounced off the ropes and hit with a Dropkick to the knee. Gurv Sihra recovered with an Elbow to the face and a Side Headlock Takedown.
Noam Dar escapes, repels him off the ropes and gives him a Dropkick to the mush. Gurv Sihra throws Noam Dar into the turnbuckle and messes up a Side Press. Noam Dar backs into a turnbuckle and ends up receiving a kick to the gut and a forearm to the back.
Noam Dar fails to recover as Gurv Sihra continues to dominate the match. Noam Dar gains an opportunity to overtake momentum by knocking Gurv Sihra into the turnbuckle and takes a moment to rest, Gurv Sihra charges at Noam Dar but misses and gets his legs swept from under him.
Noam Dar charges and slams into Gurv Sihra, which is countered by knocking Noam Dar to the ground.
Noam Dar gets Gurv Sihra into the turnbuckle once again and delivers a leaping Dropkick to the jaw, knocking him to the ground.
Noam Dar gets grabbed into a small package by Gurv Sihra to a failed pin attempt. He follows up with a few kicks to Noam Dar’s chest followed by a missed elbow drop as Noam Dar rolls out of the way.
Noam Dar capitalizes with a Enzuigiri into a Fisherman’s Driver, ending with a Knee Bar causing Gurv Sihra to tap out.
Match 2 Summary:
This match started off as most do with some grapples, but very quickly picked up. Both competitors gave an incredible display of athleticism and both took the chance to show off to the crowd at moments... which for Gurv Sihra unfortunately did not pay off.
The star of this match for me was Noam Dar, the youngest competitor in the competition. Having been a fan of ICW for a few years now. I’m always happy to see Noam Dar in action.
Considering both wrestlers are Technical style wrestlers, seeing them in action compared to previous Technical wrestlers in this tournament was, for me, much more exciting to see and I look forward to seeing more of this style of Technical wrestling.
This match was a favourite for me, purely because I saw one of my favourite British wrestlers in action. But without that in mind, this was still an incredible match and I rate it 7/10.
The Third Match: Jack Gallagher Vs Fabian Aichner
The first entrant introduced in the Third match is Manchester Born Jack Gallagher, entering the ring to some heinous English music, wearing socks like he forgot his PE kit. Standing at 5’7”, weighing in at 167lbs, representing England with a Technical ring style.
The second entrant is Fabian Aichner, entering the ring, towering in size and stature above his opponent. Standing at 6’0”, weighing in at 203lbs, representing Italy and using a Technical ring style.
The wrestlers perform the standard handshake and take time grappling and sizing each other up.
Fabian Aichner displays agility rolling around and standing on his head, leading into an Arm Lock. During this, Jack Gallagher seems to walk around like a boy trying to remember where he left his school bag. He reverses the hold until Fabian Aichner Slams him into the mat and re-locks his submission into an Ankle Lock which is then reversed into a Toe Hold.
Fabian Aichner escapes the hold and Jack Gallagher cartwheels to safety. Fabian Aichner kicks Jack Gallagher in the gut, throws him into the ropes and delivers a Shoulder Tackle, Jack Gallagher recovers and knocks Fabian Aichner to the ground but fails to pin him.
Fabian Aichner recovers then proceeds to deliver some Ric Flair specials to Jack Gallagher (Wooooo!) and ends up knocking him to the ground to yet another failed pin attempt.
Jack Gallagher performs a Sunset Flip and attempts to pin him, then both wrestlers try to pin each other multiple times but ultimately fail. Fabian Aichner delivers a Backbreaker and follows up with another failed pin attempt.
Fabian Aichner pulls off a Moonsault to a failed pin attempt. Fabian Aichner tries to capitalize but gets countered as Jack Gallagher delivers Standing Dropkicks and a Cross Body. Repelling himself off the ropes and landing into a Guillotine, leading into a Suplex Sit-Out Powerbomb.
Fabian Aichner fails an attack off the top rope, gets nutted into the turnbuckle followed by a Dropkick into the turnbuckle leading to a pin for the 3 count.
Match 3 Summary:
This match was interesting from the start. By pure appearance, Fabian Aichner was the more dominant wrestler in this match. However, from ability and agility, both wrestlers shined.
Out of the two, Fabian Aichner was more impressive. With more High-Flying spots, and a more entertaining style, he was my preferred winner.
Jack Gallagher’s style was definitely impressive and the Gentleman gimmick worked well for him. However, it does look fairly odd in a wrestling situation. His technique wasn’t as flashy as Fabian Aichner's, but it earned him the win.
Realistically, this match could really have gone either way.
The match was certainly interesting with some spots in Jack Gallagher's performance that more than anything made me laugh. I’m going to rate this match at 7/10.
The Fourth Match and Main Event: Johnny Gargano Vs Tommaso Ciampa
This is the match I’ve been waiting for since the start of this coverage. By no means is it the final match but it is for sure the one I’ve been most excited for. Two of my absolute favourite wrestlers in WWE and the world facing off.
The first to enter the arena for the Main Event of Episode 4 is Johnny Gargano, Cleveland born, standing at 5’10”, weighing in at 170lbs, representing the United States and employing a Technical ring style.
The next to enter for the Main Event, is Tommaso Ciampa, Wisconsin born, standing at 5’10”, weighing in at 195lbs, representing the United States and employing a Striking ring style.
The crowd are obviously hyped up for the match with chants starting shortly after Johnny Gargano’s music hits.
The crowd shows equal energy for Tommaso Ciampa… at this point the excitement is palpable and you can feel the energy and hype from the crowd. (Though some of it may have just been from myself, too!)
The competitors shake hands at the start of the match, staring each other down intensely.
They start off by grappling, Johnny Gargano showing off, then trying to Hip Toss Tommaso Ciampa but both wrestlers reversing each other until Johnny Gargano gets Tommaso Ciampa into an Arm Lock.
Tommaso Ciampa counters this with a harsh Elbow to the Jaw followed by a Vicious Knee Strike knocking Johnny Gargano down to the outer ring, leading him to the audience fence, chopping his chest and shouting his competition’s own chant.
He gets Johnny Gargano onto the ring apron, drives his forearm into his back and delivers a Running Knee Strike and fails to pin him.
Johnny Gargano crawls into the turnbuckle, however, Tommaso Ciampa drags him to the middle of the ring and holds him in a Headlock, Johnny Gargano breaks out and attempts to bring back momentum by evading Tommaso Ciampa's assault until he gets hit in the Jaw by a Back Elbow.
Tommaso Ciampa drags Johnny Gargano up to the top rope but fails to perform any moves as Johnny Gargano drops outside the ring and lands a foot in his face.
Johnny Gargano capitalizes, jumps off the top rope and performs a DDT knocking Tommaso Ciampa down to the ground.
By this point in the match, it does look like both wrestlers are spent but they manage to rally and continue on, Johnny Gargano seeming to struggle to lift Tommaso Ciampa off the top rope, which ends in him being reversed as Tommaso Ciampa drags Johnny Gargano to the top rope but is then AGAIN reversed as Johnny Gargano performs a Superkick to Tommaso Ciampa’s Jaw.
He follows up with a Sit Out Powerbomb, causing Tommaso Ciampa to fall out of the ring and follows up again with a Suicide Dive through the middle ropes. Both competitors get back in the ring but Johnny Gargano fails a dive onto Tommaso Ciampa as he gets hit with a Knee Strike to the Jaw (Also known as a Knaw.)
Tommaso Ciampa seems to be in control of this match as Johnny Gargano seems utterly spent. He tries to lift Johnny Gargano but gets reversed leading to a few attacks ending in a Kick to the Jaw from Johnny Gargano knocking Tommaso Ciampa to the mat.
As they both roll out of the ring onto the apron, they exchange a few strikes, trying to build up momentum. Johnny Gargano tries to run into him but is met with a Boot to the Jaw and then hit with an Air Raid Crash, (on the hardest part of the ring, as they made sure to remind us multiple times.)
Tommaso Ciampa reveals his bare knee to go for a Running Knee Strike but hesitates due to their friendship, which doesn’t work in his favour as Johnny Gargano hits him with a Superkick! Johnny Gargano tries to capitalize but is hit with a Clothesline knocking him to the mat, Tommaso Ciampa then proceeds to try and end the match with a Lungblower but fails at a 2 count!
Johnny Gargano looking like he’s about to throw up ends up being dragged to his knees by Tommaso Ciampa and throws some chops to his face. He then spits in his hand and chops Johnny Gargano’s chest... (which was kind of gross.)
Dragging Johnny Gargano to his feet, Johnny Gargano slaps Tommaso Ciampa, to which he responds with more slaps to his face and is then countered by Johnny Gargano with a double arm hook pin, which is reversed by Tommaso Ciampa and then is further reversed into a Crucifix pin by Johnny Gargano earning him the 3 count and the win.
Post-match, Johnny tried to shake Tommaso’s hand but was denied. At this point I thought a heel turn was coming from Tommaso but it didn’t happen. It led to a heart-warming moment where Tommaso climbed back in the ring, sat down next to Johnny and held him close.
Main Event Summary:
This match was in a word: Spectacular.
Without a doubt fuelled by my emotions for both these competitors, I enjoyed this match more than I’d enjoyed any match in the Cruiserweight Classic so far. Both Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa displayed why they have gone on to be multiple championship winners.
Both are incredibly talented and tell a story inside the ring so well that it rivals the matches we used to be treated to with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. A story of brothers turned enemies, fortunately this did not remain the case for these two. (Not at that point, anyway.)
I am always super psyched to see these two fight each other and I cannot pick a star between the two.
As a fan you always have your favourites, but as a more casual fan it’s always so much more exciting when you see two favourites that you idolise go at it.
Unfortunately, as for the very first main event in the CWC I regret that I am unable to give this match more than a 10/10, even though it deserves it. However, that is definitely the score I will give this match.
With that in mind, this brings us to the end of the round of 32, the end of this episode and this week’s article!
This episode for me was the most exciting. It had my favourite match so far, a match I had been excited for ever since the brackets for the round of 32 were announced with Gargano Vs Ciampa. I had to rewind and watch the match a couple times just so I could focus on getting the information for the article!
Now we’re done with the first bracket for this tournament, it’s only going to get more exciting, more passionate and hard-hitting from here on out!
I hope you enjoyed this edition and as always, I welcome and encourage any comments & feedback!
I look forward to seeing you again next time for our coverage of not only Episode 5, but the start of the round of 16!