Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 7/20/16

1. Tajiri vs. Damian Slater

ER: I know nothing about the Australian indy scene, so again I love how far reaching WWE actually made this whole CWC. It's about the last move I expected from them when this was announced. And I liked Slater in this. There were really basic things that he didn't do very well, like he seemed tentative on wristlocks and lockups, seemed to be some hesitation during sequences. But he did some nice dead arm selling off Tajiri's kicks, hit a really slick and awesome fireman's carry roll through into a bridging pin, tossed out a tornillo that Tajiri caught kind of awkwardly, and most importantly he fed into Tajiri's trademark offense. Tajiri was sort of a let down as he ran through a standard 4 minute Tajiri Jakked/Metal match, even doing things in the same order as he used to, just a little slower. He just kind of skulked around waiting for Slater to get into position for his signature offense, when I thought he should have been a little more aggressive about getting Slater there. He felt a little sleepwalk-y. Plus all those teenage Tajiri fans watching ECW in 1999 went on to become indy kickers, so he kind of came off like a Jerry Lynn or Christopher Daniels, still working the same game that was novel in '99 but not as effective in 2016. That said, I'm excited to see how he looks in a non "showcase" setting in later rounds.

PAS:  I liked Tajiri way more then Eric did here, I loved all of his little carny counters like reversing the hammerlock by walking through the ropes and his hammerlock where he used the knee to hold down the opposite arm. Those kicks are still nasty looking and really nicely timed. Slater was fine, had a couple of slick moments, but had such a generic look and offense, nothing that made him stand out.

2. TJ Perkins vs. Da Mack

ER: Thought TJP looked really great here, didn't care much for Da Mack's 2000s indy tribute gimmick. TJP has tons of tricks to show off, so a showcase to potential new eyeballs works nicely. Him hitting his usual stuff so crisp only added to things. His spin kicks looked great, his roll throughs into subs looked good, the way he maneuvered off of and through the ropes looked kung fu flick smooth. Mack hits a really nice flip dive over the buckles and almost landed grossly face first on a spinning flapjack, but also threw a bunch of weak uppercuts, cribbed Human Tornado's old jive kicks (I get stealing spots from your favorite guys but man is that a super specific thing to lift) and overall didn't come off like a guy I'm going to seek out.

PAS: Yeah fine TJP showcase, I have seen a ton of him before so his stuff wasn't new to me, but for folks who weren't trading for NJ Dojo tapes 10 years ago I imagine it looked awesome. Mack had a really nice dive but his shtick was pretty bush league.

3. Mustafa Ali vs. Lince Dorado

PAS: This felt like an IWA-MS showcase match from 2005 with green indy guys busting out a bunch of their big spots to earn the post match Ian attaboy speech. The big spots were big spots, that reverse rana was seconds away from breaking Ali's neck, but looked awesome. Still the connective tissue of the match was pretty bad, these guys have been doing this along time and they really should have had better looking simple stuff.

ER: This match kinda won me over by the end, even though I fully recognized it as an Eliminators style "stand there and take my shit" type of match. Dorado has some big spots but usually doesn't hit all of them clean. So for him to go go go and not actually flop was pretty exciting. It made every spot seem bigger, wondering if THIS was going to be the one that was going to murder himself or Ali. Plus seeing a freaking springboard reverse rana and a double jump springboard Spanish Fly on WWE TV is just totally surreal. Ali almost lost me towards the beginning as his missed moves to get into position for Lince's shit looked flat out baaaad. That slow motion spinning backfist was so ugly that Danielson had no choice but to bring up how terribly slow it was on commentary. Then he missed a charge in the corner, when Lince jumped to the apron, so Ali somersaulted out of the corner and then just slowly stood up and turned around. It looked so terrible. "Well, gotta stand up and turn around and take some more offense I suppose." But Ali won me over by taking all sorts of stupid shit and missing some flying moves in ways that alllllmost look like he barely rotated in time. He flopped painfully on a missed moonsault and later on an inverted 450. The springboard reverse rana was nuts, dug Dorado's little sliding kick that planted the flat of his boot into Ali's forehead, Ali was a nutjob for taking that big ol' headscissors off the apron to the floor, and yeah. I knew what this was, but they busted ass and won me over at the end.

4. Akira Tozawa vs. Kenneth Johnson

PAS: Really dumb for both of the last match of the last two shows to have the exact same match layout. Japanese overdog having too much trouble finishing off green kid with lots of heart. Johnson is pretty sloppy and green and parts of this were actively stinky. Tozawa has a bunch of charisma and that final pair of german suplexes looked great, but I thought this was the worst match of this show.

ER: I...actually didn't dislike this. Johnson does do too much choreographed sexy dance fighting, has some offense where you aren't actually sure if he did a move or took a move, and good heavens that missed flipping whateverthefuck off the top (that landed 5 feet from where Tozawa would have been even if he hadn't moved) was atrocious. But compared to his first round peers I thought he showed way more acuity than Ho Ho Lun. I actually enjoyed the very opening with both men rolling wildly while in a wristlock, reminded me of when my cat accidentally got a paper bag hooked around her neck and ran wildly through the house to try to get the bag off. And even in some of his more aimless mat reversal segments he would surprise me by doing a competent hammerlock into side headlock. He ate Tozawa's stuff nicely, ate that nice high jump senton, took some kicks to the guts. Tozawa is going to be fun in later rounds, those scoop and delayed Germans are arguably spot of the show so far. The snap on that scoop one and the way Johnson folded through it was like the floweriest poetry. If someone had a looped gif of that as their sig it feels like something I would get stuck watching like 6 times through every time I scrolled past their posts. But then that delayed German where he just pops him over like nothing, just awesome. I liked Johnson here more than I've ever liked Killshot. That's not saying much, but it's not nothing.


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