WWE Cruiserweight Classic: A Casual Fans Retrospective Part 3
Josh is back with the 3rd edition of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic coverage from his perspective as a casual fan!
Hey there! It’s great to see you back!
In this week’s edition of my coverage of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic we look into the third episode of the series.
Episode 3 was recorded on June 23rd 2016 at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida and is the episode that draws us close to the end of the Round of 32.
The Beginning of the Show:
At the beginning we have the standard introduction via the entrance theme and video, followed by the introduction of our announcement team Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan.
We’re provided with a recap of the previous episode of events, then we are informed of the coming matches in this episode.
Now onto the matches!
The First Match: Zack Sabre Jr Vs Tyson Dux
The first competitor to enter the arena is Zack Sabre Jr, representing England, standing at 6’0”, weighing in at 181lbs, boasting a Technical ring style.
The next competitor into the arena is Tyson Dux, representing Canada, standing at 5’8”, weighing in at 193lbs, also boasting a Technical ring style.
The competitors begin the match as usual with a respectful handshake and lead straight into some grapples and submission holds.
Tyson Dux delivers a Fireman’s Carry Takeover to Zack Sabre Jr, However, unfortunately this does not serve to speed up the momentum of the match.
Zack Sabre Jr takes control of the match with continued submissions and a brief interlude of control by Tyson Dux, throwing him into the turnbuckles, this being reversed by a European Uppercut off the top turnbuckle by Zack Sabre Jr, putting the momentum back into his hands.
Zack Sabre Jr continues his offensive but eventually comes onto the receiving end of a Fisherman Buster.
Tyson Dux continues his offensive managing to counter Zack Sabre Jr’s assault and provide his own for a time before the momentum switches back to Zack Sabre Jr with an Octopus submission hold, followed by a Boot to the Jaw and a Running Knee to a failed pin attempt.
Tyson Dux delivers a DDT to a failed pin attempt, but takes back momentum, knocking Zack Sabre Jr to the ground and tries to lift him up which gets countered into a Hammerlock and a Uma Plata, forcing Tyson Dux to tap out.
Match 1 Summary:
For a first-of-the-night match, I didn’t personally feel that excited for any of the matches ahead in the episode. Whilst both wrestlers displayed that they knew their craft very well, it was unfortunately an extremely slow match and fairly unimpressive to watch.
The reason I love Cruiserweights is for the fast-paced High-Flying action, and this unfortunately didn’t deliver that.
If I had to single out a performance for either competitor it would have to be Tyson Dux, as any fast-paced action in the match, (and there was very little), came from him.
For a more seasoned and hardcore fan this match would surely have provided a lot more excitement, but not to myself, a casual fan who craves the fast-paced action. For these reasons I’m rating this match a 3.5/10.
The Second Match: Drew Gulak vs Harv Sihra
The second match’s first competitor to enter the arena is Drew Gulak, wearing what looks like a sci-fi doctor’s coat, standing at 6’0”, weighing in at 193lbs, representing the United States, sporting a Submission ring style.
The next competitor to enter the arena is Harv Sihra, in a flashy Bollywood Hero inspired outfit, standing in at 5’9”, weighing at 144lbs, representing India, employing a Technical ring style.
The wrestlers perform a stiff handshake and begin the match with a series of grapples into a quick failed pin by Drew Gulak.
Moving into a series of Knuckle Locks with a big Monkey Flip to Drew Gulak and a failed submission by Harv Sihra.
They perform another handshake then Drew Gulak performs a side Head Lock into a Takeover and a Shoulder Tackle.
Harv Sihra tries to regain some momentum but is caught by Drew Gulak in a failed cross body, but countering into a failed Crucifix and a failed pin. Drew Gulak solidifies momentum with a Diving Clothesline but ends with a failed pin.
Throwing Harv Sihra into the turnbuckle and beats him down with a series of slaps and slamming him into the ropes, landing him outside.
Harv Sihra takes time to recover on the outside before throwing Drew Gulak to the outside with a Back Body Drop, followed by a Back Kick to a Springboard Cross Body, he manages to get Drew Gulak back into the ring but fails a pin.
For a time, the match progresses slowly with both wrestlers struggling to recover, but eventually Harv Sihra takes advantage of Drew Gulak climbing on the turnbuckle to deliver a Superplex.
Harv Sihra attempts to build momentum but Drew Gulak employs a Dragon Sleeper into a Body Scissors submission to claim the win via Tap Out.
Match 2 Summary:
The second match this episode was also fairly slow, though it contained more action and excitement than the first match. Both competitors putting up a great fight and displaying why they are in this tournament, ultimately with Drew Gulak coming out the winner of this round.
Of the two wrestlers, in my opinion, Harv Sihra was more impressive. Though his style was listed as Technical, the way he employed it was more impressive than the two Technical wrestlers in the first match and really heightened the excitement of the match with his manoeuvres outside the ring.
This match was still fairly slow but it had more enjoyable elements than the first. I rate this match a 5/10.
The Third Match: Tony Nese vs Anthony Bennett
The third match’s first competitor to enter the arena is Anthony Bennett. Standing at 5’6”, weighing in at 147lbs, representing the United States, employing a Technical ring style.
The second competitor to enter the arena is Tony Nese. Standing at 5’7”, weighing in at 196lbs, also representing the United states and employing a Technical ring style.
The competitors perform a handshake and the match begins with a standard grapple and a few counters from both wrestlers.
A taunt from Anthony Bennett allows Tony Nese the opportunity to take momentum over Anthony Bennett and take over the match, throwing Anthony Bennett out the ring, cartwheeling off the apron and Superkicking Anthony Bennett to the ground.
Anthony Bennett manages to take back some momentum by knocking Tony Nese to the ground with a Senton off the apron, leading to a failed pin attempt back in the ring.
Anthony Bennett attempts to go for a Suplex but is countered with a Hang Up on the ropes, Sweeps the leg ending with a Quebrada and a failed pin attempt. He slaps Anthony Bennett and smashes his head into the turnbuckle.
Tony Nese performs a Vertical Suplex even though Anthony Bennett attempted to counter it with Knee Strikes to the head. Following up with a Bodyscissors submission.
Anthony Bennett attempts to steal back momentum from Tony Nese with a series of Leaping Clotheslines and a Pop-Up Dropkick. He climbs up to the top turnbuckle for a Tornado DDT, Tony Nese catches him and throws him back onto the turnbuckle However, this works in Anthony Bennett’s favor, allowing him to hit the Tornado DDT, though unfortunately while the move hit, it was far from clean..
Tony Nese takes back momentum of the match with a Powerslam followed by a 450 Splash, ending the match with a 3 count.
Match 3 Summary:
This match was easily the most exciting of the episode so far. Both competitors put up a great and entertaining fight.
Tony Nese displayed why he calls himself “The Premier Athlete” as he dominated this match with great ring presence, some very creative and athletic offense and displayed impressive strength.
Anthony Bennett had some very good spots in this match and will hopefully go very far as he had an interesting look and a good wrestling style. Though, it could use some more practice as there were one or two moves that could have been cleaner.
This match had been the most entertaining all night and was, at some points, extremely quick that I had to have my assistant rewind a couple times so I could catch it. I’m going to rate this match a 6/10.
The Fourth Match and Main Event: Raul Mendoza Vs The Brian Kendrick:
The first competitor to enter tonight’s main event is former WWE Tag Team Champion, “The” Brian Kendrick. Standing at 5’9”, weighing in at 157lbs, representing the United States, sporting a High-Flying ring style.
The second entrant into tonight’s main event is Raul Mendoza, standing at 5’5”, weighing in at 178lbs, representing Mexico, employing a classic Lucha Libre ring style.
The wrestlers perform the standard handshake and the match begins with Brian Kendrick instantly trying to gain dominance with some quick grapples and kicks, being briefly countered but taking over the match swiftly.
Both wrestlers display incredible athleticism with Raul Mendoza surprising Brian Kendrick with a Hurricanrana to the outside of the ring.
Raul Mendoza takes this opportunity to show off to the crowd. Brian Kendrick re-enters the ring cautiously and tries to sneak attack Raul Mendoza but is countered. He then tries to once again take momentum with a Dropkick but misses.
Raul Mendoza takes over the match by performing a Cesaro Swing Variant into a submission which Brian Kendrick escapes from by crawling to the ropes.
Brian Kendrick acts cowardly using the ref as an almost defensive shield to get a cheap shot Big Boot to Raul Mendoza, grinding his face on the ropes and kicking the ropes, shifting the momentum off Raul Mendoza.
Brian Kendrick follows with submissions. But gets reversed when he tries to continue his assault. At this moment the ref has to pause the match as Raul Mendoza’s mouth is bleeding quite badly, but Raul Mendoza confirms he can continue.
Brian Kendrick wastes no time with this and rushes in with a Clothesline. Raul Mendoza gets whipped into the corner, Brian Kendrick charges but Raul Mendoza dips out of the ring and hits Brian Kendrick with a Springboard Missile Dropkick to a Corkscrew Planter to the outside of the ring.
Raul Mendoza fails a 450 but connects a Enzuigiri to the back of Brian Kendrick but failing the pin. Brian Mendoza tries to capitalize with Brian Kendrick resting in the turnbuckle but gets tricked into a Rocket Kick.
Brian Kendrick tries to capitalize by climbing to the top of the top turnbuckle but gets hit in the baby seeds by Raul Mendoza, causing Brian Kendrick to fall and get tied to the Tree of Woe, He capitalizes by hitting Brian Kendrick with a Shane McMahon Special, the Coast-To-Coast, followed by a Double Knee Backbreaker to a failed pin attempt due to Brian Kendrick putting his foot on the ropes.
He follows up with a series of quick kicks, to which Brian Kendrick plays Possum and trips Raul Mendoza onto the ropes followed by the Bully Choke to a submission tap out.
Main Event Summary:
Easily the most entertaining match of the night. Brian Kendrick is without a doubt still one of the best Cruiserweights to this date and surely proved it in this match, showing again like Taijiri, that age doesn’t necessarily cause them to slow down.
The Brian Kendrick played a villain character really well, performing a lot of the common villain tropes such as acting quite cowardly, using the ref as a shield and taking advantage of it, acting also quite juvenile in his performance at times.
Raul Mendoza was very entertaining and definitely performed well in this match. The Lucha Libre style never fails to impress and he carried it well. He could have won this match if it were not for Brian Kendrick’s antics. I would very much like to see more of him in the future.
While easily the best match of this night, I would say it still doesn’t stand up to some of the matches we’ve seen, though this doesn’t take away from how much I enjoyed it. I rate this match 7/10
And this brings us to the end of Episode 3 of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic and to the end of the 3rd article in this series!
In my opinion, this episode, so far, has been the least entertaining. The first episode still has the crown on the most entertaining. (That being said there is a certain #DIY match up I’m looking forward to next episode…)
As said in the article, a more hardcore and seasoned fan would more than likely have had way more excitement seeing the likes of Zack Sabre Jr in the ring. However, for myself, while I respect these talents massively, I am just not entertained by slow burning submission and grapple battles. I crave faster, more adrenaline inducing action.
I am sure it’ll kick up even more in the next episode and I am without a doubt looking forward to what is to come. So please join me next time!
I hope you enjoyed this instalment, as per usual I welcome and encourage your feedback & comments!
I look forward to seeing you again for next week’s coverage of Episode 4!