WWE Cruiserweight Classic: A Casual Fans Retrospective Part 7

Josh is back in the saddle once again, riding the rodeo that is the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic Episode 7!

WWE Cruiserweight Classic: A Casual Fans Retrospective Part 7

Happy Saturdayhausen, yet again! Thank you for joining me once more for the 7th edition of my coverage of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic! This week we cover the events that were gifted to us in Episode 7! 

Episode 7 was recorded on July 14th 2016 at Full Sails University in Winter Park, Florida. 

On to the show! 

The Beginning of the Show:  
We are treated to a video package containing moments from the tournament so far and an unveiling of the Cruiserweight Classic Trophy made by the guys at Orange County Choppers. 

Next, we’re given a brief rundown of the events that happened last week. Then we are given our match card for tonight! 

The intro music and video plays and we are thrown to our stunning announcers, The Heartthrob Kings, Daniel Bryan & Mauro Ranallo. They announce this is the final day of the round of 16 and we get on with the show. 


First Match: Lince Dorado Vs Rich Swann 
First Entrant: Rich Swann enters to the crowd clapping and singing along to his music. He brings in his usual high energy and showmanship. 
Second Entrant: Lince Dorado enters to slightly less energy from the crowd, sporting a cape that makes him look like a Mexican superhero. 

The competitors perform the usual and lock up. Immediate fast paced action follows with Dorado Shoulder Barging Swann, but it doesn’t slow him down as the two fail pins on each other and continue their fast-paced trade of blows ending in a Hurricanrana from Swann. 

Dorado denies two offers for tests of strength and then Dorado starts.... dancing? Swann responds by repelling himself off the ropes and Dropkicking Dorado out of the ring. Swann tries to continue his assault with a dive out of the ring but is met before the jump with Dorado climbing onto the apron. 

Dorado tries to push an assault with a Springboard Dropkick which knocks Swann out of the ring. He follows up with a Slingshot Plancha, then he throws Swann back in the ring but fails a pin attempt at 2. 

Swann gets driven into the corner and Dorado fails a dropkick, (he should have remembered to cut the eyeholes out of his mask!), which is then met with a Neckbreaker by Swann, who then puts Dorado into a Stretch Muffler but Dorado manages to break out with knees to the head. 

Dorado fails a quick pin attempt and gets a Discus Forearm to the mush by Swann, Dorado responds with a punch but this enrages Swann who hits him with a flurry of strikes only to be met with an ear ringing chop to the chest.  

Dorado slingshots Swann into the corner but follows up with a forearm, Swann returns the favour and attempts a Frankensteiner but fails, receiving instead a Double Scissor Kick from Dorado. 

The two men struggle to get to their feet so instead trade blows on their knees and then on their feet. (At this point I notice that Lince Dorado’s ring attire looks like something you’d find in a really shit Spanish themed restaurant somewhere in the dreary streets of a Northern English town...) 

Dorado rallies with a Jumping Knee to the face of Swann who retaliates by firing him into the corner. Dorado counters this with a kick to the face, then climbs the turnbuckle and hits a Flying Crossbody, trying a pin but failing at 2. 

Dorado tries to German Suplex Swann, but he rolls out of it like it didn’t even happen! He hits a DDT but fails at a 2. Swann drags Dorado to a corner, attempts a Standing 450 but is blocked by Dorado who raises his knees. 

Dorado tries a pin after this but failed. He waits for Swann to get back up, elbows and Enzuiguris him and tries to throw himself off the ropes but is countered by Swann with a couple of good kicks. 

However, this doesn’t help him for long as Dorado floors him with a reverse Hurricanrana and fails a pin at a 2. 

Dorado drags Swann to the corner and misses a Shooting Star Press as Swann isn’t there when he hits the mat! Swann capitalizes on this and hits a Phoenix Splash for the 3 count. 

Winner: Rich Swann 

Match Summary 

This match was exciting from start to finish. With Rich Swann’s energetic style of wrestling to Lince Dorado’s fantastic Lucha Libre style of wrestling, there was no way this could not have been entertaining. 

Rich Swann is a brilliant in-ring entertainer and I imagine out of ring, too! He brings energy, excitement and emotion to the ring, bringing his best to every match and leaving the crowd pleased every time. 
 
Lince Dorado brings a lot of excitement to the ring with his classic Lucha Libre style of wrestling and high-flying assaults. I feel like in a lot of ways he was the leading man in this match and it’s sad that I won’t be able to see him again in this tournament. 

The shining star in this match for me was Lince Dorado. While Rich Swann is always exciting to watch, there’s something about the high-flying Lucha Libre style of wrestling that is always superb to watch. Aside from that, as I mentioned above, I feel like he was the driving force and until the end, the more dominant competitor in this match. 

This was a great opener to this episode; I rate this match at 7.5/10 
 

Between matches we are taken to see Johnny Gargano in the WWE Doctor’s room, being asked how he feels about his upcoming match with TJP 

He compliments his opponent and notes how despite the hype he is one of the favourites to win this tournament, planning to pour his heart out in the ring tonight and do everything he can to be one step closer to winning the tournament. 
 


Second Match: Drew Gulak vs Zack Sabre Jr 
First Entrant: ZSJ enters the arena to high energy and a roar from the crowd continued by them chanting his name, he’s clearly much loved by this crowd. 
Second Entrant: Drew Gulak enters the arena, once again sporting his post-apocalyptic sci-fi doctor coat, to a slightly lower energy from the crowd but still a respectful amount of energy. 

They DON’T perform the usual as Gulak slaps ZSJ’s hand away! (So rude, how dare!) 

They burst right out of the gate with some furious counter-for-counter until ZSJ locks Gulak into an Armbar that he turns into a pin. 

ZSJ puts Gulak into a Japanese Stranglehold, Gulak responds by throwing ZSJ over his shoulders and ZSJ responds in kind and counters Gulak’s hold into another of his own. 

Gulak escapes the hold by kicking ZSJ in the chin and uses the rope to Springboard Kick his opponent twice, he then chops ZSJ to the ground, Suplexes him and fails a pin attempt.  
 
Gulak then gets ZSJ into another hold and keeps him in it while slapping him about. ZSJ breaks out with some kicks to the face but Gulak takes back control with some chops. 
 
ZSJ fires Gulak into the corner and tries to chase after him but gets met with a Forearm. Gulak tried some sort of dive but ZSJ avoided it and locked him into the Fujiwara Armbar. 

Gulak rolls over and turns the Armbar into a Gory Guerrero Special. He turns it into a pin which fails and he turns it into a Boston Crab which is countered into a pin by ZSJ that fails.  

Gulak knocks him into the corner then pulls him out hitting him with a Fireman’s Carry Takeover, he briefly puts him into a lock before the two get on their feet. 

Out of nowhere ZSJ locks in an Octopus Hold which is broken out of by Gulak and transitioned into an Ankle Lock (Apparently you don’t need gold medals to unlock this ability?) 

ZSJ tried to counter with a Headlock but is dropped on his back by Gulak. He tries to lift him for an Electric Chair but instead locks in a Jim Breaks Special, however he is then thrown onto the mat by Gulak. 

Gulak continues his assault by delivering some strikes to ZSJ but is then countered with a Penalty Kick. They take some time to recover before ZSJ attempts a Judo Throw into a pin but fails at 2. 

They start slapping each other like little girls in a playground until Gulak gets really mad and slaps a bit too hard. (Ooh, you bitch!) He fails a sunset flip pin to ZSJ, he attempts a Dragon Sleeper but ZSJ rolled through it like it was nothing and counters with a pin to a 3 count. 
 
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr 

Match Summary 

This match started off furiously and quickly evolved into a lot of submission holds, as is the style of both these wrestlers. The battle was very back and forth with both competitors being able to win at any moment with any submission, but in the end ZSJ managed to pull off a sneaky win with that roll through. 

For me in this match the shining star was Gulak. He seemed to be mostly in control of this match, pushing things along nicely, his style seemed a lot more brutal than ZSJ’s. However, it wasn’t enough to bring him the win in this match. 

A good second match, I’m not a huge fan of the constant submission plays as they feel very slow and aren’t that entertaining to me, but it worked well enough. I rate this match at a 6.5/10 

Before the main event we are informed by (The pointless-being-there) Corey Graves in the “Command Centre” (Greenscreen, c’mon guys.) that this match for Gargano comes only 4 days after his match against The Revival at Takeover. (Though we were shown this video package earlier in the show?) 
 


Main Event: T.J. Perkins Vs Johnny Gargano 
First Entrant: Johnny Gargano enters the arena with a standing ovation from the crowd and “Johnny Wrestling” chants, as always. I got goosebumps when Johnny entered the arena. (I will never make it a secret how much I love Johnny Gargano.)  
Second Entrant: TJP enters the arena with his usual style and flash but also gives a cringey kiss to the camera? (I’d add more to this but... I felt a bit queasy.) 

They perform the usual and go for a test of strength which TJP turns quickly into a Scissors Takedown, he gets Gargano on his back then lifts him to his feet and trade Monkey Flips leading to a Bodyscissor Armbar by Gargano. 

TJP reverses the Armbar into a Muta Lock but Gargano manages to break free by getting to the bottom rope. 

Back on their feet, TJP hits Gargano with a European Uppercut but gets whipped into the ropes opposite, managing to land between them, skillfully hanging on like Tarzan in the jungle vines, this flashy display gets met with a Dropkick to the outside of the ring, quickly followed by a Topé Suicida from Gargano. 

On the outside of the ring, Gargano chops TJP then throws him back into the ring. He grabs TJP and dives into the ring, fails a pin but locks him into a Surfboard. He manages to reverse this and locks Gargano into a Rocking Horse submission but transitions it into a Romero Special, drops it into a pin but fails. 

TJP fires Gargano into the corner and gives chase but is met with a boot to the face. He regains control by doing a Sunset Flip to a Headscissors takeover and dabs (because apparently that was cool back then. I know for sure I did it...maybe fuelled by him?) Gargano rolls out and kicks TJP in the face, and Spears him through the ropes! 

Gargano at this point seems to have an injured knee, but he carries on. He pushes TJP into the corner and delivers some Ric Flair Specials to his winded opponent. TJP springs back to life with a (No idea what this move is here so I’m making up a name!) Pop-Up Jawbreaker to a Spinning Back Kick, leading to the two competitors trading kicks until TJP hits a Sit-Out Powerbomb to a failed double pin. 

Both competitors take a few moments to catch their breath and recover, Gargano clutching his injured knee, he throws TJP into the ring ropes but uses some slick movements to get away from Gargano's next assault, he slides under Gargano and Dropkicks him onto the apron, he continues with an attempt to jump off the turnbuckle but is countered by Gargano into a Senton off the apron but hits his injured knee on the bell table! This surely will have some impact on the match going forward. 

Gargano is visibly suffering with his knee but continues on, he tries to attack but TJP counters with a Detonation Kick into a Lungblower, but fails the pin count. 

The two trade punches until Johnny charges at TJP but is countered with a Drop Toe Hold into the middle of the rope followed by a Wrecking Ball Dropkick, TJP climbs to the top turnbuckle to capitalize but gets kicked in the face! Gargano attempts a Lawn Dart but collapses under his injured knee. (Called it!) 

TJP tries to take advantage with a Kneebar, but just as it seems all over for Gargano, he reverses into a lock of his own. TJP reverses into a pin attempt but fails the count. 

Both competitors once again take a moment to catch their breath. (And for some reason the camera guy is laughing his head off. Perhaps he just found the Shockmaster lying under the ring, still waiting after all this time?) 

TJP avoids an assault from Gargano and hits a Hangmans Neckbreaker, he puts Gargano on the top rope but Gargano reverses by dropping TJP face first onto the top turnbuckle then launches him into the opposite turnbuckle with a Lawn Dart! An explosive offense out of nowhere from Gargano! 

Gargano tries to attack but gets dodged and is given a Dropkick to the injured knee, he responds with a Superkick but TJP locks him into a Kneebar, signalling the end of this match as his injured knee has just taken too much damage. 

Winner: T.J. Perkins 

Main Event Summary 

This match was fantastic from start to finish. T.J. Perkins and Johnny Gargano are both fantastic competitors that I always love watching in the ring so getting to watch them together was an absolute treat. They told a brilliant story and really gave it their all. 

Going through the match I could see it slowly going in TJP’s favour, the more that Gargano was showing visible pain from the knee I felt more and more that it was over for him. A damn shame as I personally wanted him to win this competition. 

The shining star of this match, while I am without a doubt a Johnny Gargano fanboy, has to go to TJP. His style of offensive is so creative, so playful and entertaining to watch, yet so impactful that you can’t help but love it. 

This match was a great main event. I am sad to see Gargano out of the competition but I am excited for what comes next! I rate this match an 8.5/10. 

This brings us to the end of Episode 7 and this week's article! 

The matches in this episode were great. I loved the opening match and main event. However, as I’m not personally a huge fan of technical and submission-based wrestlers it was difficult for me to get invested and excited about the second match. Though, without a doubt it was still a good match and I will not say anything negative to the competitor's skill, they are both incredible wrestlers. 

We’re now at the end of the Round of 16 and we move onto the Quarterfinals, dubbed “The Great Eight.” (Like “The Seven” from The Boys? No? Bad reference...?) 

The tournament is nearing its end; However, it also feels like it’s just getting started! 

As always, I hope you enjoyed this week’s article and I welcome and encourage any comments & feedback!  

I hope you join me next time as we move into the next leg of this tournament! 

Until next time!