Segunda Caida

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 8/10/16

1. Tajiri vs. Gran Metalik

ER: This felt like a match that would have got 10 minutes on Nitro while the crowd went nuts and Schiavone talked about the nWo the whole time. I really liked a lot of this, even though the ending was really unimaginative, anticlimactic and flat. Tajiri looked real good throughout, loved his momentum shifting armdrags and sneaky kicks. Tajiri had a bunch of fun kicks (you heard it here first!), and that moment where he kicked a kneeling Metalik in the chest, and Metalik just stood up, slapped him, and Tajiri just stood there? That was the best. I really liked the mat stuff, had some smooth lucha flow and some vaguely unprofessional behavior, made me want to see Tajiri match up against guys like Blue Panther or Virus (and made me realize that we've never gotten to see an extended matwork run from Tajiri before). We get one of Metalik's big beautiful dives, Tajiri gets his leg dragon screwed through the ropes in a nice spot.....and then the ending just felt flat as hell. Tajiri kicks Metalik in the head, Metalik falls down....then just gets back up and does his finisher to Tajiri. That's just about the most uninspired way I can think of to end a good match. It was like they both remembered they left their stoves on and had to get out of there as fast as possible. Did my Network feed jump ahead or something?

PAS: I dug this more then Eric, I thought the opening matwork stuff looked like Negro Navarro or Solar maestro stuff which was crazy to see on WWE TV. Tajiri's mat counters looked awesome, that lifting press headscissors counter was truly beautiful, Metalik stuff was fine, but Tajiri looked world class on the mat. Feels like Tajiri v. Jack Gallagher is the dream match that came out of this tourney. I loved all of his kicks as usual, and he has so much more character then most of other guys still in. Metalik is fine, he has cool spots, but this feels really clearly like the wrong guy went over.

2. Kota Ibushi vs. Cedric Alexander

ER: Sometimes when watching a match I can see that the crowd is into it, and feel myself not seeing whatever it is they're seeing. But this match? I was right there with them, and it was an exciting and unexpected reaction. Ibushi and Alexander are two guys who I don't really have strong opinions on. I have liked matches with both, I have disliked matches with both. In matches of theirs I like I typically don't get driven to seek out more of their work, and in matches of theirs I dislike I don't get turned off from watching them in the future. They operate in that zone of guys who don't surprise me when a match is good, but I never expect it. And this match wasn't really the kind of match I like, but damn if that crowd didn't just draw me right into the whole thing. I surprised myself by how much I suddenly wanted Cedric to win, and that is a testament to the emotional performance that he put on. It wasn't because Ibushi was playing subtle heel, it was wholly because Cedric just worked like he deserved to win, and I wanted him to get that win. There were a couple kickouts I didn't care for, but who can really argue as obviously it slayed the live crowd and I totally get it. Both guys did things I dug, especially Cedric's early match back elbow. I wish Ibushi didn't leap up so quickly after that big ass brainbuster, but it was soon in the rearview as I flipped out over Ibushi's massive powerbomb and big kicks and that death wish German suplex. These guys got me invested and made me really excited for everything that was happening, despite having minimal opinions on them beforehand. It's a special reaction that doesn't happen often.

PAS: People really talked up this match, and I figured I wouldn't like it, 2016 near fall juniors wrestling is very much not my thing. Still I got caught up in this, I am giving a lot of credit to the announcing, the match had a simple story of a young guy with a family getting his big shot, coming so close and falling just short and both Bryan and Ranallo did a great job spelling it out without Joey Stylesing it. This tournament is pretty unique in wrestling history, as most of these guys in here aren't signed, for many of them it is their one shot. I can't think of any thing like it. This felt like a semi-final match at Wimbledon where a guy ranked 85 makes it to fifth set against Nadal before succumbing.  The last minute was really great, the quick kick after the brainbuster kick out was an awesome near fall, and I totally bought into Alexander's devastation at losing. HHH's little thumbs up at then might be the only thing he has ever done I actually liked. Emotional wrestling is something that the WWE normally does terribly, it is usually hammy Shawn Michaels horseshit, here we have two weeks in a row where it has been done well.

ER: Both matches were clearly wonderful, probably the most unanimously beloved hour of TV wrestling I've seen since some of the high end Lucha Underground episodes. Both matches landed on our 2016 ONGOING MOTY LIST, and it's starting to feel like this tourney will be producing many more that land on that list.


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