WWE Cruiserweight Classic: A Casual Fans Retrospective Part 5
Josh is back and starting the Round of 16 in his casual fan's coverage of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic!
Happy Fridayhausen! Thank you for once again joining me for another edition of my coverage of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic This week we’re on Episode 5!
Episode 5 was recorded on July 14th 2016 at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. It’s the first Episode following on from the Round of 32.
Now we’re getting more into the meat of the tournament, my judgments for ratings will be a bit harsher. The first round was the introduction, now we are into the tournament full swing.
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 announcement team Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan. This week they discuss the Round of 32 that had finished as of last episode, with Bryan saying his favourite match was (the same as mine) Gargano vs Ciampa.
We’re then provided with a recap of the previous round from Corey Graves, dressed like an inked-up Glenn Quagmire, in the “Command Center” (or Greenscreen), then we are informed of the coming matches in this episode.
Now onto the matches!
The First Match: Tajiri Vs Gran Metalik
Our first entrant into the arena for the first match of the episode AND the round of 16 is Tajiri, representing Japan! He is closely followed by Gran Metalik who is representing Mexico!
The wrestlers perform the common handshake with Tajiri posing like a badly posed action figure.
The match started off with some basic grapples with both competitors reversing each other constantly.
(At this point we had to stop the show, to laugh for about ten minutes as Daniel Bryan had made an observation that Gran Metalik cuts the eyeholes out of his mask. This conjures up images of a lone Luchador stranded on a beach somewhere in Canada trying to German Suplex a moose as he can’t see anything because he forgot to cut the eyeholes out of his mask. Good job, Daniel. Good job...)
We unpause the video to more grappling until Tajiri ends it by delivering a Shoulder Barge to an arm drag, to a wheelbarrow by Gran Metalik to a series of arm drags by both competitors.
There is a pause while the crowd cheers, then they jump right back into grapples and some Fujiwara Armbars and constant reversals into other submissions until Tajiri tries to pin with a Crucifix pin but fails at 2.
Metalik arm drags Tajiri and grabs him in an arm lock to another arm drag back into an arm submission. Tajiri performs some Ric Flair specials, throws him against the ropes and Metalik counters with a Flying Head Scissors which throws Tajiri out of the ring and Metalik slides out after him and throws a clapping Superkick right to the mush of Tajiri.
He throws Tajiri back in the ring but he rolls out the other side, pulls Metalik to the mat, gets onto the apron and kicks him in the face. Tajiri jumps into the ring again and does a Knee Drop to his head, delivers a Hangman’s Neckbreaker and fails a pin at a 2.
Tajiri gets Metalik in a headlock but he breaks free only momentarily as Tajiri gets him immediately back in a sleeper hold and turns into a Headscissors but is forced to release Metalik as he gets his leg on the rope.
As he gets up, Tajiri gives him a quick kick to the face and leads to some action in the turnbuckle ending in a Springboard Dropkick from Metalik, quickly capitalized by jumping to the top turnbuckle and leaping off landing on Tajiri with a Twisting Senton.
Back in the ring Metalik hits Tajiri with a Dragonscrew Legwhip to a Driving Elbow Drop for a failed 2 count pin.
Tajiri Irish Whips Metalik but he counters with a Springboard Elbow to another failed pin attempt. He follows up by trying to hit his finisher the Metalik Driver but is reversed and hit with a Hook Kick by Tajiri.
Tajiri takes advantage, ties him to the Tree of Woe and delivers a Basement Dropkick to Metalik’s head but fails to pin at a 2 count.
Metalik tries to jump off the turnbuckle and hit Tajiri but is countered with a Reverse Powerbomb. Tajiri prepares a Buzzsaw Kick as Metalik is recovering but he dodges though it doesn’t help him much as he is put in a submission hold by Tajiri. Luckily, he manages to break out by kicking Tajiri in the head.
Once he gets back up from the submission, he is hit by a Buzzsaw Roundhouse Kick, as Metalik tries to get back up Tajiri misses another Buzzsaw Kick and is hit by the Metalik Driver for the 3 count!
Match 1 Summary:
This match was a great start to the show! Two brilliant styles of wrestling giving it all they’ve got in a battle that really could have gone both ways.
Gran Metalik is always incredibly entertaining to watch with his innovative offence utilizing a lot of moves he himself has created, lots of High-Flying spots made him a real treat to watch in this match.
The star of this match for me, though, is Tajiri. At his age it would be easy to discount him as a throwaway in the tournament but he proves time and time again that age doesn’t hold you back when you have that much natural talent. He dominated the most of this match but ultimately it wasn’t enough.
This match was really entertaining to watch and both wrestlers put up a great fight. As such I rate this fight a 6/10
The Second Match and Main Event: Kota Ibushi Vs Cedric Alexander
The first to enter our first main event of the Round of 16 Representing Japan is The Golden Star, Kota Ibushi! He enters the arena to a huge reception from the crowd.
The second to enter the arena, representing the United States to a similarly electric reception is crowd favourite and self-confessed underdog, Cedric Alexander!
The competitors perform the standard handshake and circle around the arena.
They jump straight in with some grapples between both wrestlers constantly reversing the other, somehow, it’s entertaining as both competitors are showing great agility just by reversing.
The match edges into Ibushi’s favour as he knocks Alexander to the ground with a Shoulder Tackle but they quickly move back into grapples. Alexander has Ibushi in a Wristlock but Ibushi manages to reverse it into a Wristlock of his own which is then reversed by a Leg Sweep.
Alexander repels himself off the ropes and Arm Drags are performed into a series of both competitors showing off incredible athleticism into a Tip Up to a Reverse Rana and rolls up Ibushi into a failed pin.
Alexander and Ibushi take a minute to rest and then proceed with the match with Alexander getting Ibushi into another headlock. Ibushi tries to break out with punches to the chest but this fails. When Ibushi finally breaks out he’s knocked to the ground with a Shoulder Tackle. He tries to reverse Alexander’s grapple but is hit with a Back Elbow.
Alexander hits Ibushi with an Uppercut and Ibushi replies with a powerful kick to the chest dropping Alexander instantly to the mat. Alexander recovers and manages to push Ibushi out of the ring. He charges toward him but Ibushi counters and Chops him in the face.
Ibushi knocks Alexander out the ring with a Missile Dropkick and tries to capitalize with a Golden Triangle but Alexander has already climbed into the ring who takes the advantage with a Tope Con Hiro!
Alexander drags Ibushi back into the ring and jumps off the top turnbuckle to hit Ibushi with a Flying Clothesline with impressive air! He continues to capitalize on this by delivering some Ric Flair specials, dropping Ibushi to the mat but fails the pin at a 1 count.
Alexander delivers a Leaping Stomp to Ibushi but again fails the pin at a 1 count. Ibushi gets back up and delivers a couple of quick Strikes to Alexander and a Kick to the gut but Alexander blocks the next Kick and Slaps him to the ground.
Alexander seeming firmly in control attempts to lift Ibushi up for the Lumbar Check but Ibushi drops behind him, Alexander tries to hit Ibushi by repelling himself off the ropes to be hit by a Dropkick, planting Alexander to the ground.
Both competitors deliver simple strikes for a while until Ibushi hits Alexander with a gut Kick dropping him to the ground and then hitting him with a Standing Twisting Senton to a failed pin.
Both wrestlers take a moment to regain their breath and the crowd is going wild.
Ibushi tries to take advantage but is met with a boot to the face, he responds with an Exploder Suplex knocking Alexander out of the ring and follows up with a Flying Moonsault off the top rope.
Ibushi drags Alexander back into the ring but fails the pin. He tries to lift Alexander but fails to do so, Alexander reverses by crawling underneath, pushing him to the ropes and hitting a Michinoku Driver as he runs back.
Alexander charges to the turnbuckle but Ibushi dodges, Alexander climbs to the top turnbuckle and both wrestlers fail their maneuver. Ibushi follows up with a Pele Kick stunning Alexander who quickly recovers and hits a Step-Up Enzuiguri to a Brainbuster leading to two failed pin attempts.
The crowd is absolutely electric at this point going absolutely insane, there is mere minutes left in this match but it doesn’t seem like it'd end anytime soon.. however, we are corrected when Ibushi rolls out of a Double Footstomp and delivers a German Release Suplex to a Roundhouse Kick turning the tables and hitting a Golden Star Powerbomb for a 3 count.
Main Event Summary:
Well. What can I say? This match was astounding. Both competitors are absolutely incredible performers worth every ounce of adoration the crowd gave them. They put on a stellar match that was way too entertaining for me to not rewind certain parts to just see and feel the impact again.
Cedric Alexander proved that you don’t discount an underdog. He has the skills to back up his claims of being one of the best in the world and displayed amazing technique and athleticism, he was a perfect match for Kota Ibushi.
Kota Ibushi never puts on a disappointing match; every performance is extremely entertaining and leaves you wanting more. His vicious leg strikes, High-Flying style and mastery of the Strong Style form of Pro-Wrestling allowed Ibushi to pick up this win.
Both competitors were the stars of this match with very, very good reason and I couldn’t possibly pick between them as this match could very easily have gone both ways.
That match was absolutely incredible. Rating it anything other than a 10 would be a crime so I will do exactly that.
This brings us to the end of Episode 5. This episode had two amazing matches but the main event was just solid gold.
At the end of the show, the crowd was chanting “Please Sign Cedric”, for sure a show of extreme appreciation due to his incredible match he just had.
The energy in the crowd was tremendous and the emotion on Cedric’s face put a lump in my own throat.
The crowd got what they wanted. The man himself, Triple H, came out, shook Cedric’s hand and gave a Thumbs Up to the Crowd.
The match between Ibushi and Alexander was not one I was expecting to see just yet. However, I was so happy when it was announced and I was hooked the entire way through… I had to rewind and watch parts of the match a couple times just so I could see the highlights again!
Thank you for tuning into my coverage of Episode 5, the first instalment of the Round of 16!
I love writing these articles for you and it means a hell of a lot to me that people keep returning to see them! I look forward to seeing you next time for our coverage of Episode 6, the second instalment of the Round of 16! As always, I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition and I welcome and encourage any comments & feedback!
Until next time!