Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 9/7/16

1. Noam Dar vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

PAS: I am pretty deep in the skeptic camp on both guys, so I was pretty surprised how much I enjoyed this. These guys have clearly worked each other a ton, and this had a the feel of a practiced touring match, still it was a pretty entertaining one. I really loved all of the early amateur stuff with ZSJ adding some cauliflower to Dar's ear. I thought the arm vs. leg story was pretty well done, with both guys adding some nice flourishes to it. ZSJ slipping during the penalty kick was a nice bit of subtle selling, especially from a guy whom subtlety isn't a strong point. I also loved the double stomp while Sabre's leg was on the ropes, reminded me of the kind of nasty shit KDX used to do to Sasuke's leg right before he went out for surgery. I am also always a huge fan of the double kneebar roll to the floor spot. I did think some of Dar's strikes looked pretty dainty, and the end section where Sabre's arm was hurt too, might have been a little too cute. The all legs Rings of Saturn was really cool, but maybe leave that for a match where your leg hadn't been torn up all match. I did like how Mauro and Bryan started questioning Dar's strategy when he switched to the arm. This was the best job of commentary these guys had done, Mauro cut his "shades" down a bit, and they actually articulated the nuance of the story.

ER: I really liked this, and like Phil I was also surprised (even though I have suddenly found myself on more of the "defending Sabre" side of the fence, which is weird). Both do some things I don't like (Dar moreso than Sabre) but both found some fun twists I liked, and Sabre does plenty of things I actively like. I liked Dar falling slightly short on his dive and instead of both men lying there selling (which seems like what happens whenever guys do a tope) he got up immediately and tossed Sabre back in the ring for a possible pin. I liked a lot of the more complicated indy-ish segments, especially Sabre going for a flying uppercut and Dar turning his body just in time to catch Sabre on his back and deliver and almost backslide driver. Sabre does some nice subtle things that he doesn't get a lot of credit for, like the slip on the PK Phil mentioned (and god, fuck off already Mauro, with your "Penalty Kick ala Katsuyori Shibata!" We get it, wrestlers do moves that other wrestlers have also done. Shut up.), and the spot setting up the tope where he got tossed to the apron but his foot accidentally hung up on the top rope, so he kicked at Dar's face with that hung up leg until getting knocked to the floor. I liked in the Gulak match how Sabre got easily outstruck, and in this match when Dar threw a couple of soft left hands Sabre made sure to toss some hard cupped hand strikes at Dar's ears. The early scrambly stuff was good, the knee bar reversals were good (and I'm with Phil, always love the roll to floor in a leg lock spot) and that finishing submission was just disgusting. Both of Dar's arms looked popped out of their sockets and I just love the slow progression of it, fighting for the rings of Saturn, bending the top arm back, hooking his own legs, and then snapping his legs shut. I always love the slow, struggling sub set-ups in Sabre matches, seen earlier this tournament against Tyson Dux when he slowwwwly bent Dux's wrist back away from the ropes. Really awesome stuff, and a real pleasant over-delivery.

2. TJ Perkins vs. Rich Swann

PAS: I also thought this match exceeded my expectation by a fair amount. Starts out as a rope running backflip contest as one might expect. I am not Vader so I have no real problem with that kind of thing, you could go back to the 50s and watch French Catch dudes do that same sort of one ups manship. Swann and TJP are a pair of guys with impressive kip ups and headscissors too. Then Swann hurts his knee and he does an awesome job of selling the damage while Perkins works over it. Swann would still hit moves, but not have the snap or elevation on them, really the way you would expect a real world knee injury to play out, Kerri Strug still did the vault. Bryan did a great job pointing this out on commentary, and it really added to the match. I also loved Swann's hook kick, such a nasty looking version of the played out superkick. Finish was exactly what it should be. I question the sense of booking two leg injury matches on the same show, but they were both good.

ER: This was really good, and I'm super impressed by Swann here. And I don't really have tons different to say about it than Phil already said. I also have no problem with backflip counter wrestling and if I'm gonna watch two guys do it, then Swann's kip ups and TJ's flips out of headscissors are pretty awesome to watch. So I was enjoying it just fine, but then things leapt up another level once Swann landed wrong on his knee on the floor, and TJ belted him with the slingshot dropkick to the apron. And Swann's knee selling was just excellent the rest of the match. Instead of a bunch of moments with him lying on the mat going "My kneeeeee!" and then getting up and doing his spots, we had a guy still doing his spots but noticeably slowed and less effective, a guy leaving himself open to TJ's kneebar more than he otherwise would. This match was certainly one of Bryan's better commentary moments as I hadn't picked up on what Swann was doing until Bryan pointed out his lack of height on the tornado DDT, and from there I was hooked. Loved him tiring himself out dragging TJ to the corner for his 450, and TJ just grabbing the heel. All of TJ's heel hook/kneebar snares were simple and logical, that kick exchange was awesome (fully agree on how cool Swann's hook kick is), and loved the quickness of the finish, with all the cumulative damage finally catching up to Swann and leaving him with no option. Awesome stuff here.

ER: I was really impressed with both matches this episode, both exceeded my expectations but stand on their own no matter the expectations. Both landed on our 2016 Ongoing MOTY List, which shouldn't be much of a shock with how the tournament has gone so far.


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