WWE Cruiserweight Classic: A Casual Fans Retrospective: Part 10, The Semifinals and Finals
Joshhausen is back with energy levels rivalling that of a solar panel in a world with 10,000 suns for the Finals of the CWC!
Happy Saturdayhausen! It's finally here! THE FINAL EPISODE OF THE 2016 WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CLASSIC!
Before we begin, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Paul and Adz for badgering me to join Real Rasslin and for respectfully waiting until I felt ready to do so. I love you, my brothers. I'd also like to thank the lads on the Real Rasslin crew for being a group of amazing human beings and brightening my day with their Shane-anigans (you’re welcome, lads) and lastly but in no way least, I thank you, the reader. The reception I've received on my articles was a lot more than I'd hoped for. I did not expect my little articles to do well at all considering I was covering 5 year old content, but they have far exceeded my expectations!
Now that soppy shit is done, I'll add a small sidenote. While there is a bonus match tonight (and it's DIY so already I've had to change my pants 4 times), I will only be covering the tournament Semifinals and Finals in full. For the bonus match, I will be glossing over some of the basic parts and impressive aspects of the match, the winners and my thoughts, but as they're not official Tournament matches, I won’t be ranking them. I want my energy to go fully into the Semifinals and Finals of the tournament.
All that aside, let’s dive in!
The Beginning of the Show:
Before the show starts, we have Triple H announcing that tonight is a Live 2 Hour Broadcast (Not for us of course, we’re 5 years late! Damn alarm clock broke..)
We’re then shown the CWC entrance video and music for the last time. (I’m gonna miss this.. I’m not crying, you are!)
The crowd is going wild chanting “CWC!” and Mauro Ranallo opens the show with Daniel Bryan and they talk about their childhoods and what made them love Pro Wrestling and giving a lot of love to the Cruiserweights saying that they are revolutionising wrestling... Very high praise, very well deserved but it is a true shame that this love has not been continued.
They name the last 4 contestants “The Fantastic Four” (They don’t have superpowers. They’re not THAT Fantastic... The “Good” Four... The “Okay” Four?...)
We’re shown a final video package of each wrestler showing their appreciation for the tournament, the opportunity they’ve been given and also displaying high hopes for the future of Cruiserweight Wrestling.
The First Semifinal Match: Gran Metalik Vs Zack Sabre Jr
First Entrant: Gran Metalik enters to cheers from the crowd, looking like an even shinier power ranger than he ever has, pointing to the trophy (what is it with wrestlers and pointing!?) the ref touches him up and admires his shoes.
Second Entrant: Next up is Zack Sabre Jr! Entering to some cheers (and I think I heard some Boos?) He pops his collar like a chav and enters the ring and uh... Pops his collar again? Someone get this man some white lightning! The ref touches him up too and we get to the match.
They perform the usual and we begin this first match in the Semifinals!
Metalik wastes no time with a dropkick to a topé suicida over the top rope!
Springboard senton off the top rope to a failed pin! (I don’t care that was amazing!) He irish whips ZSJ into the ropes and they share strikes until ZSJ locks him into the ropes and kicks him in the back.
ZSJ slows the match down with a neck wrench using his ankles, Metalik gets back to his feet but is knocked straight back to the ground and ZSJ locks in a reverse cravat, Metalik gets back to his feet but ZSJ hits a snapmare and locks him in a headscissors.
ZSJ applies another lock until the ref orders him off. He brings Metalik to his feet and locks him into another cravat until Metalik rolls out of the submission, hurricanrana’s ZSJ then dropkicks him.
Metalik hits some slow strikes until ZSJ responds with his own, taking control of the match hitting Metalik into the ropes until Metalik counters with a submission of his own but ZSJ quickly gets to the ropes.
Metalik hits a loud chop to ZSJ’s chest and ZSJ whips him into the rings, a bit of to and fro until Metalik tries to hit a springboard move but fails and gets caught into a dragon sleeper, though he manages to get to the ropes.
ZSJ stomps on Metalik’s shoulders and then steps on his head for a second but and then drops him to the ground again. ZSJ tries to lock him into an octopus stretch but it fails and Metalik manages to break out, only to be met by a kick to the face and a running uppercut into the turnbuckle.
He tries to hit another kick but is met by a superkick, a reverse slingblade and a standing shooting star press and a failed pin.
The two take a moment to rest and Metalik tries to use ZSJ as a post. He brings ZSJ to his feet and trips him up to an inside cradle but this failed, as did the multiple attempted pins to follow.
Metalik locks ZSJ into a hammerlock headscissors combination but it fails, he tries to pin and this also fails and ZSJ locks him into a tilt-a-whirl guillotine. Metalik breaks out into a ground-n-pound followed by a boston crab which ZSJ reverses into a pin and Metalik reverses that.
The two trade blows on their knees and Ranallo almost gives away the big reveal. Back in the ring Metalik floors ZSJ with a leg lariat to a failed pin.
Back on their feet, Metalik picks up ZSJ but he drops down and pushes Metalik into the ropes, whips himself into the ropes but Metalik counters with a superkick and then a springboard back elbow to a failed pin attempt. (Okay the match started out amazing but they’re getting a bit much now, c’mon lads.)
Metalik tries to hit a move off the middle ropes but is hit mid-air by ZSJ who follows up with a penalty kick and a failed pin attempt and then the two take a siesta.
ZSJ gives Metalik some noogies and the two trade blows on their knees again while Metalik struggles to keep his mask on. ZSJ hits a european uppercut and fails a pin.
They trade blows, but on their feet this time! Metalik runs into the ropes but is hit by a half-nelson slam and retaliates with a running boot but is misdirected and locked into an octopus stretch!
Metalik powers through and makes it to the ropes. ZSJ is back to his feet first and assaults Metalik in the corner and lifts him onto the turnbuckle. He locks in a cravat on the top rope and is repaid by having “his eggs scrambled” (Well said, Mauro!) followed by a hurricanrana off the ropes.
Tries to capitalise with a springboard splash but is instead locked into a triangle choke hold which he reverses into a failed pin attempt.
ZSJ runs straight into the Metalik Driver for a 3 count finish and securing Gran Metaliks place in the Final!
Winner and First Entrant in the Cruiserweight Classic Finals: Gran Metalik
For the first match of the Semifinals this match impressed me. It shot straight out of the gate and brought ferocity and elegance all the way through. The two styles counteracted each other well but in the end it was the Lucha Libre style that managed to bring down the British Powerhouse.
The star of this match for me was surprisingly ZSJ. He had control for the larger part of this match and managed to keep his aerial style opponent down on the ground very, very well. Sadly, it did not bring him the win.
For the start of the Semifinals and the first match of the final episode, I rate this match 8.5/10.
We’re then shown the competitors of the second Semifinal match warming up and Mauro makes a faux pas saying that “One of these two will face Kota Ibushi in the Finals”
We are then informed that the Cruiserweights will be added to Monday Night Raw (As we know, this was short lived. They got their own show which isn’t taken seriously. (More evidence of Vinces disconnection with what the fans want.))
We are then taken backstage where we are introduced to a beautiful pair. I mean Gargano and Ciampa, get your heads out of the gutter! (Though with these two, mine is already there!)
The crowd goes wild and they announce that DIY are medically clear and ready to roll, they talk a lot about the Revival and they mention coming for the NXT Tag Titles. (Gross.)
The Second Semifinal Match: Kota Ibushi Vs T.J. Perkins
First Entrant: Our first entrant is someone who through this competition has become one of my favourites. The Gold Star, Kota Ibushi. Heavily celebrated all over the world and especially in Japan. They also make mention of his insanely powerful kicks.
Second Entrant: T.J. Perkins enters to cheers from the crowd (including one over enthusiastic fan.) He pulls off his usual ring entrance, takes a moment to appreciate the trophy, climbs to the top rope and rolls into the ring. This man is full of style, I’m jealous. (But also cringing.)
They meet in the center and perform the usual and the over-enthusiastic ref starts the match.
They circle each other and lock hands (Awww!) and start off slow (for these competitors, at least.)
TJP Grabs Ibushi but finds himself against the ropes and manages to block Ibushis kick a second time!
They lock up again and with some stylish movements, TJP knocks him to the ground but the pair quickly get back up and trade arm locks into a hug into the ropes (Awww, again!)
TJP scouts a third kick and goes for a kneebar but Ibushi manages to escape quickly. They lock up again and again trade locks. TJP rolls about like a cartwheel and manages to land Ibushi on the mat and fails a pin.
They throw each other against the ropes and Ibushi kicks TJP into the sternum, knocking him to the mat. TJP then stylishly tries to knock Ibushi out of the ring but gets hit by a springboard missile dropkick and he tries to pull off a golden triangle moonsault but gets kicked in the bum bum! (Ooh you meanie, I’m telling!) and Ibushi falls hard to the floor.
Ibushi barely gets in at a count of 9, selling the head injury. TJP hits a snapmare to a dropkick followed by a failed pin into a headlock but Ibushi manages to break out and knocks TJP to the ground with a “Sick Foot” coined by Mauro Ranallo.
He tries to hit another kick but is countered by a dragonscrew legwhip and TJP begins working on Ibushi’s leg followed by locking in a double underhook but gets rammed into the turnbuckle.
Ibushi hits a dropkick, knocking TJP right to the ground, TJP tries to halt the continued assault but gets hurricanrana’d to the outside and then Ibushi hits the golden triangle moonsault, knocking TJP right to the ground outside. He then has a little sitdown himself to relax.
The two get back in the ring, Ibushi hits another missile dropkick and fails a pin at a 2 count. Ibushi rushes at TJP but gets kicked in the face. He then counters with a powerslam, tries to hit a moonsault but is met by TJP’s knees and then gets locked into a kneebar but gets to the ropes.
Ibushi charges at TJP but gets hit by a spinning back kick then counters with a german suplex to a failed pin. Ibushi hits TJP with a trio of kicks knocking him to the apron, following with a series of quick kicks while TJP is on the ropes, knocking TJP down who looks like he’s having some troubles breathing.
Ibushi tries to hit a german suplex from the second rope but is knocked back by TJP with some back elbows followed by a springboard wrecking ball dropkick, he climbs to the top turnbuckle but is knocked back to earth by Ibushi with a pelé kick!
Ibushi tries to hit a powerbomb but TJP reverses into a DDT to a lungblower but fails the pin!
Both men are slow back to their feet but once they are TJP tries to lift Ibushi into a firemans carry but he reverses into a pelé Kick which is THEN reversed into another kneebar! Ibushi breaks out and then the two trade blows and kicks into a gold star powerbomb by Ibushi, it looks to be a certain thing but TJP kicks out!
The crowd is going wild as both competitors are physically spent, Ibushi manages to get back to his feet first and walks like a drunken man. He rolls over TJP and tries a phoenix splash but misses TJP as he rolls out the way. TJP crawls over and the two begin to trade slow blows.
Ibushi misses a kick and TJP delivers a detonation kick and tries for the wheelbarrow but Ibushi hits a modified tombstone but fails the pin once again!
Ibushi hits a Kick that could be heard from space right into TJP’s face and tries to lift him for another powerbomb but TJP locks in a kneebar tight and then locks in a crossface, Ibushi can’t take it and is forced to tap out! The crowd is stunned!
Winner and Second Entrant into the Finals: T.J. Perkins
What else can I say except this match was absolutely incredible start to finish. TJP never fails to impress and Kota Ibushi has not had a match that has disappointed me so far. This was a dream match for the finals but we got it early.
The match was an absolute war, both gave their best but the early injury to Ibushi sealed his fate in this tournament.
The star of the match for me was Ibushi. Neither side controlled this match fully but the power of that mans legs and his aerial offense is something to be feared. TJP is stylish and incredibly entertaining but his moves don’t feel nearly as powerful.
This match deserves no less than a 10 and that’s exactly the score it gets. Well fought TJP, Well fought Ibushi. I’ll be following both your careers with interest from here on out.
Kota leaves the arena to chants of “Thank you Kota” which TJP graciously claps along to.
TJP is given a small interview in which he basically says that he didn’t come into the tournament with a game plan, he takes every match as it comes.
We’re taken backstage where Noam Dar and Cedric Alexander are asked their gameplan for their tag team matchup tonight against DIY and say that “they don’t have a plan” and only “need to be in tune for the 3 count”... not a wise move against DIY, lads.
Bonus Match: Tag-Team Match: Noam Dar & Cedric Alexander Vs Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa (DIY)
The crowd chant “Welcome Back!” for Cedric but as soon as DIY’s music hits the crowd goes wild and starts chanting for them instead.
Some good back and forth between Cedric and Ciampa ending in a sweet dropkick to a tag.
Gargano chops Dar down to the mat and the two spend time grappling each other and rolling about the floor like a pair of puppies except one of the puppies ends up kicking the other in the jaw.
He tags in Ciampa and he goes straight for the neck and ends up ramming his head into his knee, Dar escapes and makes the tag to Cedric who immediately kicks Gargano in the face and follows up with the same to Ciampa knocking him out of the ring.
Cedric hits a flatliner but doesn’t get the pin. (Surprising..)
Cedric tries to go for a handspring but Ciampa just boots him right in the face and tags Gargano in.
Gargano hits a overhead belly to belly and follows up knocking Dar off the apron with a combined electric chair superkick with Ciampa. He then hits Alexander with a lawn dart and fails a pin.
Michinoku driver to Gargano followed to a failed pin. (Who’d have thought they’d do that?)
Dar gets in a good offense but seems to get mixed up when trying the pin.
We get a quick offense from all 4 wrestlers which end up with them all laid flat out on the floor.
An impressive kick knocking Ciampa off the top turnbuckle to a brainbuster and a almost successful pin, but ultimately failed.
A superkick from Gargano and a tandem attack from them both leading to a lawn dart into the turnbuckle and a superkick, running knee duo assault knocks Dar down for the 3 count.
It’s always great to watch these 4 stars in action, especially Gargano and Ciampa. They work so well together. The match was good for a bonus match, allowed to show off DIY’s skills well and also the skills of upcoming WWE stars.
Some really good moments but overall it wasn’t anything too memorable and considering it’s spot on the show was to allow the finalists some rest time while keeping the crowd pumped, it served it’s role perfectly.
Daniel and Mauro express their shock and disbelief of things that have happened (If they’re shocked at wrestling by now they have issues..) then a living pillar of luncheon meat appears on the screen and britishes everything up and tells us of his past in the Tesco Supermarket where he was trained by a box of PG Tips.
Mauro and Daniel once again let us know that the Cruiserweights are going to Raw and then they introduce.........it.... Corey "Fucking Irrelevant" Graves. (Just go!) Saying they’ve released him from the “Matrix” (they should put him back in there and NEVER GO THERE AGAIN.)
They announce the Final of Gran Metalik vs T.J. Perkins and give us a recap of what happened earlier in the night.
The Final Match of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic: T.J. Perkins Vs Gran Metalik
First Entrant: T.J. Perkins comes out to the arena with his usual style and flair but there is an air of seriousness about him we have yet to see from TJP. (Also, just to point out, this music slaps but is not as good as Playing with Power.) The crowd is going wild with love for this Filipino superstar.
Second Entrant: Gran Metalik comes out looking like the shiniest Mexican power ranger that ever shined with shine and pays absolutely no attention to the trophy. His entrance In this match is basically the same as the other matches except he gives TJP a stern, shinier look.. The crowd seem more on Metaliks side at this point.
The two men meet in the middle and perform the usual. The crowd at this point is cheering for both sides but the Metalik chants takes over.
Before the bell even rings, we get an entrance from the man himself, the future of WWE and it’s only hope, Triple H!
(As a side note, I’ll add that while nowadays I am not the biggest WWE fan, I am a fan of Triple H. Admittedly not so much for his in-ring career, more the incredible things he has done with the tournaments, NXT and NXT UK. I firmly believe he is the future of the WWE and will improve it greatly.)
He mentions that these two finalists are two of the greatest Cruiserweights in the world and that one competitor on this night will make history and be the winner of the First, (and only to date,) Cruiserweight Classic.
He also makes the shock announcement that the person who wins tonight will be the New WWE Cruiserweight Champion! Making this match even more important than we initially thought!
The crowd cheers “Thank You Hunter” as, I assume, appreciation for bringing back the WWE Cruiserweight Championship and I for one, thank him too.
The bell finally rings on this final and we get started with the crowd in absolute ecstasy and from the competitors some slow grapples, locks, pin attempts and agility display.
They lock up again and Metalik pushes TJP to the ground twice for two failed pin attempts but TJP knocks him to the ground with a headscissors twist and repeats the same move after Metalik tries to pin again.
Metalik gets TJP into a headlock with his thighs and slaps him on the back and TJP reverses it into a reverse pendulum, he rolls Metalik up but fails the pin.
TJP does a side headlock takeover and rolls Metalik to the ground, Metalik throws TJP into the ropes and they perform some leapfrogs and handsprings but it ends with TJP locking in a octopus hold into a drop toe hold into a Muta lock. Metalik reaches the ropes and rolls to the outside of the ring.
TJP aims to deliver a basement wrecking ball dropkick but Metalik moves out of the way, dropkicks TJP’s legs out from under him, climbs back into the ring and hits a top rope suicida, headbutting TJP right in the jaw!
Back on their feet, Metalik throws TJP back into the ring, climbs to the top rope and hits a springboard senton bomb and fails a pin attempt at 2!
Metalik hits a surfboard stretch variant but TJP barely makes it to the ropes! Metalik drives TJP into the corner and hits a Ric Flair Special (Woo!), he then throws TJP into the opposite turnbuckle and runs toward him but TJP does a handstand on the turnbuckle and hits a headscissors and throws Metalik out of the ring with a hurricanrana off the top rope.
He puts Metalik back into the ring and hits a senton atomico but fails the pin.
TJP hits a snapmare and dropkicks Metalik in the back and fails a pin (Two so quick is a bit much..)
He locks Metalik into a lock that applies pressure to his shoulder but Metalik manages to make it to the ropes.
TJP hits a sidewalk slam to another failed pin attempt (c’mon guys don’t ruin this match.) He then locks Metalik into another submission that doesn’t seem to have much effect but it does allow him to hit a suplex. He tries to hit another but Metalik lands on his feet only to receive a European Uppercut knocking Metalik into the corner.
TJP runs at him and gets slung over the apron, though he gets a cheap shot to Metalik. Ranallo mentions he’s a step behind TJP as Metalik dashes toward him, dives over the ropes and hits TJP with a frankensteiner and follows up with a senton over the top rope, looks like Ranallo was very wrong!
The two men are laid flat out on the outside of the ring, struggling to get back up as the DQ count reaches 8 but Metalik drags TJP back in and hits a springboard elbow drop to a failed pin attempt! (After that assault, I’ll give him that one.)
The two competitors seem to be physically spent but Metalik still makes a failed assault leading to a kick from TJP to an irish whip. Metalik uses the momentum from it to dance on the ropes and hit a dropkick followed by a running shooting star press that misses as he falls into TJP’s kneebar but Metalik manages to reach the ropes!
TJP drags Metalik to the middle of the ring and kicks Metalik’s leg, trying to weaken it for the finish, I assume. Metalik counters with a glass shattering chop but TJP acts as if it’s nothing and continues working on Metalik’s leg.
Metalik gains some momentum as the two begin trading blows, TJP hits a spinning kick and tries to throw himself against the ropes for an attack but is met by a loud as shit superkick to the chin!
Metalik tries to capitalise on this by doing the same as TJP just did but he’s met with a dropkick to his legs while he’s mid-air, tumbling him to the ground.
Both men get back to their feet and Metalik hits another superkick (TJP’s poor jaw..) They both try to hit their finishers but they both counter, Metaliks being the last with a DDT followed by a failed pin attempt.
Metalik positions TJP and attempts a moonsault but he gets a face full of TJP’s feet followed by a dodon rollup into a kneebar in the middle of the ring! Metalik tries to pull himself to the ropes but TJP pulls him back, Metalik gets pulled again but he uses it to his advantage and hits a quick rollup which fails in a 2!
The crowd chants “This is Awesome!” as Metalik hits the Metalik Driver but he takes time to pin as it seems his own finisher has also further damaged his own knee. The crowd is electric, chanting the names of both wrestlers as TJP gets continuously picked up and slapped down by Metalik in the center of the ring.
Metalik goes for his finisher once again but gets countered by TJP with a wrecking ball dropkick, he climbs to the top turnbuckle but gets kicked by Metalik and the two share strikes on the top of the turnbuckle. Metalik tries to hit an avalanche metalik driver but fails as TJP counters, drags him down into a kneebar into a leg cross!
Metalik tries hard but his leg has taken too much damage, he taps and TJP wins the Final, The Cruiserweight Classic, The Trophy AND The Cruiserweight Championship!!!
Winner of the Cruiserweight Classic and Cruiserweight Championship: T.J. FUCKING PERKINS!
Incredible. All the way through. I loved this match so fucking much. Both competitors at the top of their game, both giving their all, both pushing themselves beyond the limit to deliver a match that can only be described as incredible. The match had so many high points, so many clutch moments, so many opportunities for both to win that made it a nail biter from beginning to end.
The star of this match for me was obviously T.J. Perkins. Aside from Kota Ibushi he has been the star of this tournament for me. He has style, grace and has had a life that you cannot help but want him to win and makes you want to cheer for him.
Both stars showed amazing sportsmanship post match and Triple H even let TJP have his moment uninterrupted. The crowd chanting “You Deserve It!” and damn fucking right he does.
I have said all tournament long that I'd never go past a 10 in my rankings.. I hate to be a hypocrite but this match deserves nothing less than a 12/10.
Regal and Triple H leave the Tournament Winner and New Champion in the ring to be interviewed, asking for his thoughts:
“On my necklace I always keep this key, it was the last place I lived before I was evicted and I had to live on the street after that. For the longest time I kept it because it was a reminder of a place I couldn’t go back to.
Now, I feel like I don’t need it because it’s a reminder of a place I never have to go back to.”
She asked what it feels like to be the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion:
“During that time, I searched so hard for inspiration because it was all I had and my heroes did things like this. I thought I could never find something like this and now it just means the world to me to be able to inspire someone else and this is gonna keep coming. This is bigger than me, this is not one person, this is 32 people, all of them, every single one of them.
I started and they were just my peers and tonight at the end of this, every single one of them are also my heroes.”
T.J. Perkins very much deserved this win and I am glad he became the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Amazing job, TJP.
Well then... I guess this brings us to the end! The end of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic and to the end of my articles covering the tournament and their matches. However, this may have been the last article covering the Tournament but I will be following up next week with a “Where are they now?” for all the competitors to see what they’ve been up to since the CWC!
I want to once again thank everyone who has taken the time to read my articles and I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
Honestly, this was the first set of articles I have ever done in my life. First time writing something like this and over the weeks I have felt myself improve. If you have stuck with me through them, I thank you for your time and your patience.
I had never seen the CWC before these articles and all the way through it has been an amazing ride. Every match told a story, every wrestler gave it their all which lead to the revival of my favourite WWE Championship, The Cruiserweight Championship.
As always, I appreciate and encourage any comments and feedback and I’ll be back next week with the final article in this series! I hope you will join me for it!