Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 7/27/16

1. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tyson Dux

ER: Okay, Jim Breaks just got mentioned several times on WWE TV, and that is just the kind of surreal I wanted as the tournament got closer. The match was a continuing trend of a lot of first round matches, as we get a lot of ZSJ's greatest hits applied in a sort of exhibition-y way. For a fairly long 1st round match, Dux really didn't get a whole lot of his own, and what he got was a little disappointing. His forearm shots looked weak, his clothesline had no follow through, his DDT was limply applied but saved by Sabre doing his vertical plant off of it. Where Dux did excel was putting over ZSJ's submissions, really screaming during the wrist work, really getting frustrated every time a basic move like a cravate or headlock takeover of his would get rolled out of immediately by Sabre. I really like Sabre's routine, I'm not longer a "this guy is in matches I like but I don't think I like him" kinda neighsayer, but I was hoping for a little more "match" in this one. I did love the finish and the camera caught great angles: Dux reaching slowly for the ropes as ZSJ keeps bending his fingers and wrist away from the ropes, before eventually locking on the sub.

PAS: I thought this was fine, a couple of ZSJ's transitions were really cool, and I liked the initial section with Dux using basic offense to counter the fancy stuff. When they got to hitting each other though it didn't look very good, Dux looked off a bit and Sabre is never going to excel in a slugfest. Finish though was totally awesome, loved all of the chaining of holds into the final submission, that is the kind of thing that he does better then almost anyone.

2. Drew Gulak vs. Harv Sihra

ER: Did Sihra really say in his pre-fight package that he "wanted to do something with his heritage in wrestling, but not so I chose Bollywood". Uhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmm. Are there...other? parts? of Indian culture that Americans casually know about and stereotype? That feels like the most stereotyped part of Indian culture. Was a cow worshipping curry eating convenience store owner just too on the nose for American audiences? Had do go DEEP underground into Indian culture with this...Bollywood, was it? Anyway, I really dug this match. Gulak was super generous with Sihra, while also dealing out my personal favorite brand of violence. Gulak's my favorite current guy in wrestling and there was a whole lot to like here, loved the way he ran into Sihra's stuff, the dragon sleeper looked flat out vicious, he threw one of the greatest top rope clotheslines you've seen (seriously, a list of great looking top rope clotheslines would be a short list) and overall they gave us a super satisfying, competitive, perfect WorldWide match. Awesome stuff.

PAS: Eric liked this more then I did, Gulak looked good as always, but I didn't think these guys were on the same page for most of the match. I did really like the ankle counter Sihra used and how he went back to it to try to counter the dragon sleeper. Neat bit of callback wrestling nicely called by Ranallo and Bryan. Really weird production having Sabre and Gulak go back to back on the same show. Grappling is a hard sell to WWE audiences and it is weird to force feed it to the audience like this

3. Anthony Bennett vs. Tony Nese

PAS: I thought this was pretty bad, there are a ton better tiny guys on the indies then Bennett if you wanted some 140 pound guys in this tourney. Feels like that should have been Lio Rush's spot, maybe Flip Kendrick. Neese is technically fine, but kind of a dull jersey meathead. Has a very Petey Williams feel to him, a smarter wrestler would know not to have even steven forearm exchanges with a kid you outweigh by 50 pounds, but Neese just does his stuff. Worst match of the tourney so far.

ER: The funny thing about the even steven forearm exchanges was that Bennett's looked better than Nese's. So not only was Nese playing on the level with a guy 75% of his size, but he was getting outstruck by him. Bennett was pretty clunky and Nese is one of those muscled up guys who never lands with a lot of weight, like that Hulk movie with Eric Bana, where CGI Hulk is just bouncing around feeling weightless. Agree with Phil that Bennett was a weird choice. If they wanted another tiny flier, there were better choices. His forearms were ironically the only part of his offense I enjoyed. He had some terrible looking jumping clotheslines, like he had only studied clotheslines from Kofi Kingston. And every time he would land off a dropkick or other leaping move, it looked like he had no clue how to land that move. You don't realize how graceful certain wrestlers and moves usually look, until you see somebody flopping around like a dying fish after hitting a dropkick.  You often see sloppy execution, you don't really get to thinking about sloppy landings. Ending is weird as the ref almost stops the match because it appeared Bennett might have been injured, so everybody stopped....but then the ref was like "okay, just go ahead and do your flippy move. Never mind. Sorry, everybody!" I liked Nese's superkick on the floor, didn't totally dislike the whole thing as much as Phil, but yeah this was down there.

4. Brian Kendrick vs. Raul Mendoza

PAS: This however was the first great match this tourney has run. Love Kendrick as new age Kid Kash, ex-pretty boy turned into grizzled veteran asshole. He went from looking like Leonardo DiCaprio to looking like RR/RW Battle of the Sexes era Puck. He is the heroin addict bullying Bubbles. Most I have ever liked Kendrick.

INDY LUCHA RISE UP! Mendoza looked awesome hitting everything with speed and precision, selling the bloody mouth great and totally winning over the crowd. Makes me want to go down a Jinzo youtube hole. Loved the story of this, with the kid having all the athleticism which Kendrick lost and Kendrick having to resort to every dirty trick he knows to pull it out. Finish was perfect for what they are doing, and I totally want Kendrick to win this whole thing now.

ER: Oh man this was good. If this match is an accurate representation of current Brian Kendrick, then I'm now pissed at Kendrick not having enough people championing his current work. Phil's Kid Kash comparison is dead on the money and this really is the best version of Kendrick I've seen. The look, the attitude, the cheating; this Brian Kendrick to the one wearing baggy vinyl jorts and throwing terrible fivearms on hot tags? Yes, please. I've also never seen Mendoza before and boy was I impressed. The guy is super polished and does everything 100%, no half-assing anything he attempts: no loose limbs on his headscissors, no dodging out of a move that he wasn't supposed to know was coming, no light shining through strikes, no moments where he had that vacant look in his eyes thinking about his next sequence. It's too bad the CWC doesn't have alternates like the early UFC PPVs, just as an opportunity to have some of the better 1st round losers get extra matches against each other (and, you know, get some extra footage to justify flying all of these guys in). Mendoza was snug and Kendrick was just as snug, more than I ever remember him being. Kendrick suckers him into great cheating moments, especially the nasty curb stomp type move into the ropes. Have a guy with braces bite the rope and then you kick the rope? Man that's some sadistic shit. Having another human bite anything is kind of weird and fucked up on its face, but someone with braces? Those things cut your mouth the hell up. Mendoza having braces and wrestling without a mouth guard is as crazy as guys taking wild bumps to the floor while barefoot. Mendoza doing a Fuerza bump to the apron to avoid hitting the buckles was choice, he hit with a thud on his plancha, finish run was killer with Kendrick doing an obvious weird possum sell before grabbing Mendoza's waistband to send him throat first into the bottom rope, then doing a gorgeously nasty reverse headlock takeover into a sick choke for the win. This was a simple match done to perfection, moves to logically set up other moves, no wasted movement, easily no question best match of the CWC tournament up to this point.

ER: Best episode of the CWC so far obviously, and the Kendrick/Mendoza was so good that we added it to our 2016 Ongoing MOTY List. It's a real gem and hopefully a sign of greater things to come in this tournament.



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