Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, August 20, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 8/17/16

1. Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher

ER: Really fun performance from both guys, really fun match. Part of me was grumpy that Gallagher didn't advance, but at the same time I really thought Tozawa turned in a killer performance. It would have been really easy to let Gallagher's performance steamroll him. Gallagher was the clear crowd favorite and had them in the palm of his hand from before the bell. "But American indy crowds go nuts for all things Japan!!" thought Tozawa, bewildered. But he sucked it up, was a game sport through all of Jack's awesomeness, through all of Jack's silliness, and Jack was more then willing to take Tozawa's nastiest stuff. I loved Jack's progression through the match, as he's super goofy to start, doing little things like licking his thumbs to easier slip them into and break a waistlock, setting up a comedic Indian deathlock, trapping him in a Nieblina before kicking his butt to break it...the more comedy happened the more restless I got and the more I wanted limb wrecking Jack. And lo and behold the leg work gets increasingly mean, and Tozawa starts working increasingly stiff. Jack keeps finding all sorts of awesome ways to take apart a leg, attack a hip or knee joint, roll into a surprise single crab when Tozawa takes too long to do a move; Tozawa blows Gallagher up with a flying kick out of the corner (replays look like Jack took it right under the chin), big senton, hard forearms and those awesome snap German suplexes. Tozawa sells the leg really great, Jack rips apart the leg really great, and by the home stretch I was left saddened that one of these two wouldn't be advancing, while one of Noam Dar or HoHo Lun would be.

PAS: I really loved this match. Gallagher losing in the second round is the biggest booking blunder in this tourney, as I think he might be the most impressive and most over guy in the whole thing. I think the difference between the Gallagher comedy spots in this match and the kind of Chikara bullshit I hate, is that this didn't require Tozawa to be a good sport. He didn't have to pretend that there was a real grenade or that he was hypnotized, he could actually get more and more pissed that he was being clowned, which led to that big short left hand and the second part of the match. Gallagher switched into killer mode awesomely and I loved how he mixed in vicious submissions with selling all of Tozawa's stuff. The ankle pick counter may have been one of the coolest submission counters I have ever seen, I must have rewound it five times. Loved the finish too, with Tozawa fighting for the German as Jack fought for the leg. It is totally nuts that Gallagher was the only British import out in the first round as he totally smokes Sabre and Dar.

2. Noam Dar vs. HoHo Lun

ER: So, I haven't been following tapings for these at all as I don't want to be spoiled, but were these taped in order? Did these two seriously just try and work a worse version of the previous match? Are there agents working this tourney? I imagine there would have to be. No matter where this match was taped relative to Tozawa/Gallagher, somebody must have said "Hey maybe don't all of you go out and work leg based matches". This match had exact spots practically lifted from Tozawa/Gallagher, like that slower, shittier single leg that Dar did. Lun looked better than his first match, but his facial selling is really embarrassing. I enjoyed the match more than I expected to, but it was just terribly placed after the first match, and whoever did the bracketing really pulled a boner on this one. Also, any wrestling that inspires singing from the crowd is almost always inherently shitty.

PAS: Yeah this was taped in order, the weird match placement is really my only beef with this tourney, no idea why you run asian with a german suplex v. brit with leglocks right after vastly superior asian with a german suplex v. vastly superior brit with leglocks. Better then either guys first round match, but Dar is clearly the turd in the punch bowl.

3. Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese

ER: Man alive do I love Brian Kendrick. Is this how he's been working for the last few years!? Who's doing the Kendrick 2014-2016 deep dive? Because Kendrick has been my favorite guy in this tournament. I've always liked him, but never anywhere near as much as his two matches in the CWC. He's wrestling completely different than I remember, like a cornered raccoon. And this whole match was just really exciting for me, because I assumed Nese would be advancing, and I didn't want Nese to advance, and I knew there was at least some chance that Kendrick would advance. So the fan in me really took over and I just really wanted Kendrick in and Nese out, so every Kendrick kickout was exhilarating and every Nese rope break was crushing. When the first bully choke failed to put away Nese I thought Kendrick was a goner for sure, that he had gotten a good showing and almost beat the muscled up guy, but couldn't pull it off. All of the spots with Kendrick fighting over his armbar, kicking at Nese's face, hyperextending that arm, I was hooked in and dying with every second. Phil totally nails it by comparing Kendrick to both Finlay and Tarek the Great. He's been a super accurate fusion of those two in all of the best ways. He has the inventiveness and tightness of all the little things, just like Finlay. Finlay wasn't just about tight strikes, he was also one of the best at setting up opponents' offense and getting into position for things, making the misses plausible and making the hits expected and nasty. Kendrick sets up Nese better than anyone I've seen, adding credibility to stuff that has looked less so in other Nese matches I've seen. Kendrick doesn't cheat. Not cheat in the way that a heel cheats, but cheat in a way that the wrestler knows what move is coming next because they've planned things out. You don't get a sense that he's cheating to set himself up to remember the next sequence, he's just unbelievable and making every sequence seem unplanned and natural; doesn't cheat by ducking early on spots that are supposed to miss, or sitting up early on Nese's missed moonsault, just genuinely comes off as a guy who's escaping by the skin of his teeth. He's this scrappy underdog who's going to use every part of the ring and every part of his body to win, and it's kind of amazing to watch. Kendrick has just come completely out of nowhere to be one of my absolute favorite wrestlers. I love it.

PAS: This was very good. Kendrick didn't appear to be wrestling at all in 2014-2016 and he has come back like Jordan wearing the 45. Neese is a goofy bum, and he made him mostly look great. I loved the idea of Kendrick trying to jump him at the bell and getting drilled. Then its Kendrick trying everything he can to survive Neese until he can get his head cleared. Loved all of the crazy Finlay style rope and turnbuckle attacks and that bully choke reversal sequence was awesome. Not sure I liked Neese tapping so quickly on the finish, felt like it would have taken the match to another level if Kendrick made him pass out while gripping him like a junky holding on to the last vial. So weird that Brian Kendrick is basically working as 2002 Tarek the Great but I love it.

ER: So this was another great hour of wrestling TV, and the Tozawa/Gallagher and Kendrick/Nese matches were both easy additions to our 2016 ONGOING MOTY LIST, which again seems like it has potential to be full pf CWC matches by the end of the tournament.


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