Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 8/24/16

1. Rich Swann vs. Lince Dorado

ER: Hey! This was awful! This felt like 8 minutes of two guys doing wind sprints. I hardly remembered any of the moves that happened, just felt like two guys running around, back and forth, occasionally slapping a leg and doing something that approximated hitting the other. Lince pulls out of every strike and every impact, like he's almost afraid of touching Swann. Their punchy slappy exchange was just so...so bad. It looked like the body movements of a competitive Olympic table tennis match. It did not look like two men HAVING A WAR or whatever hack spot they were going for. "This is their version of Frye/Takayama" screamed Mauro. Yes. Their version is the shittiest possible version. Very little of this landed with me. I couldn't wait for it to stop.

PAS: I thought this was fineish. Nothing amazing, but I didn't have the vitriol that Eric had for this match. It was an indy juniors spotfest, and didn't last forever, which is the normal sin for this kind of match. Some stuff looked awful, like their Frye tribute, but the double jump kick was really stigg and I liked the reverse rana by Dorado. Swann's phoenix splash was nasty looking, usually dives with that many rotations land soft, Swann landed hard.

2. Drew Gulak vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

ER: I liked this much much more. I was bummed that Gulak didn't advance but didn't think he had much chance to. I am happy that he didn't get dominated, and was satisfied that the ending was Sabre catching him with an almost flash bridging pin. The opening standing grapple stuff was some of my favorite stuff in the whole tournament so far, the way they would work around each other grabbing at arms and wrists and bending until their leverage point was up, allowing the other to flip the switch. I loved Gulak's aggression, slamming him into ropes, jumping off the bottom rope with stomps, and I loved Sabre working from more of a counter point of view. A lot of people have problems when he just requires people to stand still and take a move, and I agree his stuff works best when he uses someone's momentum against them, like when Gulak went for his awesome flying clothesline and Sabre reversed it into a Fujiwara. And I love when Gulak counters counters, like when Sabre blocked a sunset flip so Gulak shifted his momentum back to catch him. The slap and kick exchange is getting weird and bitter criticism but I liked it. I liked that the timing was off and a third of the strikes didn't land, because the shit that landed landed with a crack, with both guys thrown off and letting limbs fly. I'll take that any day of the week over your elbow-my elbow double jack off fist pump exchanges.

PAS: This was really good, it was very counter wrestling based but all of the counters were very aggressive and it never felt like a do si do. The early mat scrambling was awesome, and I loved the structure of the match with Gulak always moving forward and Sabre looking for openings in his aggression. It is exactly the way the match should be worked, ZSJ looked silly bulldozing his opponent in round one, he is pretty great however as an overmatched guy who can capitalize on mistakes. I also liked the slap exchange, of course Sabre's slaps aren't great, he is supposed to be a guy outmatched in a slugfest, and when he got suckered into one he got cracked, certainly that last Gulak slap was very nasty. Honestly one of my favorite Sabre matches ever, this is a good match structure for him, and it works way better in a 10 minute match then a 25 minute EVOLVE main event where he has to take a long beating and kick out of a bunch.

3. TJ Perkins vs. Johnny Gargano

ER: For two quick counter indy moves matches on one show, I at least enjoyed most of this one, but these two are better at what they do than Dorado and Swann. TJP winning was a legit surprise for me, as rightly or wrongly I had Gargano pegged as a finalist. Gargano came in selling the leg and did a mostly admirable job with it, allowing for a few moments of convenient healing, and there were a couple of moments where either man's crack timing was off a hair, leaving one man standing still waiting to take something; but for fast paced your signature moves counter my signature moves wrestling, this was fun junk food. TJP is super slippery and watching him fire on all cylinders, slipping in and out of ropes, is fun. The pins were locked on tight and looked incredibly tough to kick out of, the lawn dart spot is just freaking crazy (and really would have made sense as a finish), Gargano overshooting the senton into the barricade was nuts, and loved that TJP's already established heel hook was successful.

PAS: The CWC has done a really good job about making me care about guys I haven't given a shit about before. The Gargano v. Ciampa match is the most I have cared about either guy and I got invested in Cedric Alexander in the Ibushi match, and couldn't care less about him before or after. This match tried something similar with Gargano fighting through his knee injury from the future, but most of this match was the kind of disposable juniors stuff EVOLVE keeps running as CWC showcases. TJP had some cool spots, and the lawndart bump was especially nutso, but this was near falls for the sake of near falls. Didn't hate it, but it didn't engage me.

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