WWE Cruiserweight Classic: A Casual Fans Retrospective Part 8
Joshhausen is back from his break and back in the saddle of the 8 legged superhorse that is the WWE 2016 Cruiserweight Classic!
Happy Saturdayhausen! After a couple weeks off, I am back for the 8th instalment of my coverage of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic! This week we cover the events that were given to us in Episode 8!
Episode 8 was recorded on August 26th 2016 at Full Sails University in Winter Park, Florida and was the first episode of the Quarterfinals.
Before the title music and entry video, we are told how many competitors are remaining in the tournament and who they are.
The Beginning of the Show:
We’re informed that we are now in the “Elite Eight” of the tournament by our beautiful announcer Gods, Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan (Who as of yet, has managed to hold back on making any of the matches a triple threat, good job, Daniel!)
The “Please keep Corey Graves relevant” Segment:
We once again have Corey Graves forced upon us in the poorly rendered “Command Center”! (Still no Zordon..), I’m not really sure what he was saying... Probably something that has already been covered as per usual.. Moving on...
The Opening Match: Akira Tozawa Vs Gran Metalik:
First Entrant: Akira Tozawa is our first entrant, we don’t really get to see much of his entrance as it pans to the crowd and then shows clips of his last match. We end his entrance with him preparing in the corner.
Second Entrant: Gran Metalik enters the arena looking like the Blue Ranger in Super Samurai Mode. We are then also shown clips of his previous match in Round 2.
Both competitors come to the centre of the ring and “perform the usual”.
They start off quick with some grapples, then Tozawa tries to hit a German Suplex but is countered into further holds by Metalik.
The two exchange holds for a while until they both get back on their feet and start forcing each other into the ropes. Tozawa kicks Metalik in the gut and the two start some very fast attacks ending in a Synchronized Dropkick.
Tozawa gets thrown into the ropes after a Headlock but the two share Shoulder Barges and quick strikes, followed by Tozawa getting Dropkicked into the ropes.
Metalik hits an assault, throwing Tozawa into the turnbuckle, hitting him with a Roundhouse Kick, knocking Tozawa out of the ring, followed by a Topé Suicida, landing both on the ground outside of the ring.
Once back in the ring, Metalik hits a Springboard Diving Crossbody leading to a failed pin attempt.
Metalik locks Tozawa into a Modified Figure 4 Leg Lock but this doesn’t last long as Tozawa is able to reach the ring ropes which forces Metalik to break the hold.
Metalik throws Tozawa into the ropes, he tries some kind of Springboard move but is countered by a Dropkick to the back by Tozawa who follows up with a Bicycle kick, knocking Metalik to the outside.
He capitalizes with his own Topé Suicida and immediately drags Metalik back into the ring, but he just rolls right back out, leading Tozawa to rinse and repeat.
Tozawa fails the pin and hits a Scoop-Up Slam followed by a Senton, but it still fails to put Metalik away.
The two exchange some Ric Flair Specials for a time until Tozawa hits a Fake-Out Strike and again fails a pin. (A pin after a Jab? Did he really think that’d work?)
He assaults Metalik in the corner and orders the crowd to be quiet before he hits a Basement Dropkick to Metalik’s face.
He whips Metalik into the turnbuckle, but Metalik dodges and hits a Superkick followed by a Dropkick off the second rope followed by a messy Shooting Star Press and a failed pin attempt.
Both wrestlers recover (no bodybags yet!), Metalik hits a Springboard Back Elbow followed by yet ANOTHER failed pin attempt... (They really need to stop doing pins every 2 seconds...)
They both attempt their finishers and a pin before Tozawa hits Metalik in the face with a swift kick and leads on with a Helluva Kick to a Back Suplex.
Tozawa starts screaming like a banshee (again... call an exorcist!) and gets Superkicked for it. (Thank fuck he shut him up, eh?), Metalik then cleaves his chest in half and Dropkicks him out of the ring and follows with a Springboard Topé Con Hiro.
Metalik tries a Sky-High Moonsault but is met by Tozawa’s heels to the chin. However, he manages to kick out of the following pin attempt.
After recovering, Tozawa puts Metalik onto the top of the turnbuckle to setup for a manoeuvre but is knocked back to the apron. Metalik kicks Tozawa as he jumps, leading him to ride the middle rope. (He’s gonna be singing opera, tomorrow!), Metalik Hurricanrana’s him off the middle rope and fails a pin. (Surprise, surprise...)
Metalik is back on his feet first and continues his assault on Tozawa which is short lived as Tozawa delivers a series of hit-and-miss Suplexes and fails (yet another...) pin.
He tries another Suplex but fails to get Metalik up in the air, Metalik takes advantage and counters with a Metalik Driver and finishes the match with a final and successful pin attempt! (Thank fuck for that!)
Winner: Gran Metalik
For the opening match of the show, it fared well. It started off slowly with submission holds and grapples but managed to speed up very quickly and by the end it was an incredibly entertaining match that as usual had many high spots and could have gone either way.
The star of the match for me was Gran Metalik. While I love the Strong Style of Japanese Pro-Wrestling, Lucha Libre, for me, is always the more entertaining style to witness.
I got the result I wanted, however, it’s unfortunate it had to come at the cost of the other competitors I was rooting for losing. I rate the match 7/10.
The Second Match and Main Event: The Brian Kendrick Vs Kota Ibushi:
First Entrant: Brian Kendrick is our first entrant, entering with all the swagger and confidence that his cowardly character seems to exude. We are shown a recap of his match with Tony Nese.
Second Entrant: Kota Ibushi enters the arena, as Brian Kendrick did with a fairly silent reaction from the crowd. We’re then given a recap of his match in Round 2 against Cedric Alexander.
They meet in the middle of the ring and perform the usual. They circle the ring before an attempted lockup by Kota, but Kendrick of course, being a coward, runs out of the ring.
He climbs back in the ring and blows Kota a kiss and tries to run out but is caught by Kota who begins his assault furiously and quickly knocks Kendrick to the ground.
Kendrick then hits a Back Elbow; follows up by repelling himself off the ropes, he then gets knocked out of the ring by a Roundhouse Kick from Kota, who then hits a Golden Triangle Moonsault to the outside of the ring. (He made it look so damn simple...)
Kota throws Kendrick back into the ring and Kendrick straight away runs away out of the ring again (Quelle Surprise!), he lures Kota out and traps his foot in the guard rail on the outside, hoping for a count out, but it doesn’t hold Kota for long as he gets back into the ring with a Missile Dropkick and fails a pin. (This again...)
Kota goes on the offensive once Kendrick is back on his feet with Roundhouse Kicks, knocking Kendrick down to the mat as soon as he gets back up. He tips Kota onto the Apron but he knocks Kendrick to the apron, too.
Kendrick hits a Neckbreaker over the turnbuckle, (which looked pretty damn nasty, too!), knocking Kota to the outside of the ring. Kota climbs onto the apron and Shoulder Barges Kendrick who replies with a kick to the leg and fails a pin attempt. (After a dreaded kick to the leg?! Who’d have thought?!)
He locks Kota in a hold, wrenching his neck (which they took extra effort to stress is surgically repaired). Kota gets back to his feet, fails a Body Slam as Kendrick keeps his lock in firmly but Kota delivers multiple knees to the back of Kendrick, which manages to break him free.
Back on his feet Kendrick tries to lock Kota’s neck in again, but gets Dropkicked by Kota for his troubles. Kota gets back to his feet after the Dropkick and charges into Kendrick but is met with a big boot by Kendrick who then charges at Kota, but is countered by a Powerslam to a Moonsault by Kota and a failed pin, too.
Kota hits some lightning quick offense, fails a Roundhouse Kick but hits a Standing Moonsault. Kendrick tries to pin but fails, then hits him with a Superkick to the face.
At this point both competitors are struggling to get to their feet, but Kendrick is up first. He pulls Kota up and they begin to exchange forearms. Kota tries a Roundhouse Kick but misses, Kendrick kicks Kota in the jaw and hits a Sliced Bread to a failed pin. (This is where a pin is acceptable! After one of the guy's damn finishers!)
He drags Kota up to the top turnbuckle in a Rear-Naked Chokehold but Kota breaks out with Back Elbows to an incredible Péle kick, knocking Kendrick to the apron!
Kota climbs onto the middle rope and after a short tussle, hits a German Release Suplex, knocking Kendrick almost clean out! Sadly, he fails the pin attempt. (This would have potentially been a good place to end it..)
The chants for both Kota and Kendrick fill the arena as Kota drags Kendrick to his feet and kicks him right back down to the mat. Kendrick manages to lock in the Bully Choke, however Kota manages to break out with some Back Elbows and forearms, he then deftly dodges Kendricks initial assault but is then hit by a Burning Hammer to a failed pin attempt. (Which I am told by my assistant is a very rare move to kick out of.)
He clubs Kota in the head but gets hit by a Roundhouse Kick, he tries to go for a Bodyscissors but gets hit by some kind of “Styles-Clash meets Tombstone” looking move?
Kota drags Kendrick to the centre of the ring and fails a Phoenix Splash as Kendrick rolls out of the way and locks him into the Bully Choke once again to try and capture the win, like he did with Tony Nese, but Kota manages to counter it into a pin but fails.
They both get back to their feet and Kota swiftly hits an Enzuigiri, he then grabs Kendrick and hits a Golden Star Powerbomb for the 3-count!
Winner: Kota Ibushi
Amazing from start to finish. Brian Kendrick plays into the cowardly opportunist character so well that it’s hard to believe it’s just an act. But Kota Ibushi is just something else. In Japan and the world over he’s known as the Golden Star and it is so clear to see how he earned that moniker.
The Star of the match for me was clearly the Golden Star himself, Kota Ibushi. With that incredible Péle kick, to the German Release Suplex from the apron, to the Golden Triangle Moonsault near the start of the match and the Golden Star Powerbomb that finished it all off. Kota Ibushi is an incredible wrestler and no one can deny it.
It was a great main event and once again I got the result I wanted. Kota Ibushi deserves to stand at the top. I rate this match 9.5/10
This brings us to the end of Episode 8, the first round of the Quarterfinals and of course, the end of this week's article.
The matches in this episode were outstanding. I got to see so many styles I love displayed by masters of their respective crafts. Lucha Libre and Japanese Strong Style are always going to be the most entertaining styles of wrestling to watch, in my opinion.
The tournament edges closer and closer to its conclusion, but it feels like the best matches are yet to come.
I look forward to seeing you all next week and as always, I hope you enjoyed the coverage! I welcome and encourage any comments & feedback!
Until next time!