WWE Cruiserweight Classic for July 13, 2016
Watch: WWE Network
Full Sail University/Full Sail Arena – Winter Park, Florida
The first episode of the Cruiserweight Classic opens with a video package featuring some of the top cruiserweights in WWE history, as well as up-and-coming talents. Thirty-two men from sixteen countries will be competing in this tournament for a chance to be crowned the winner of the first-ever WWE Cruiserweight Classic.
Before we get into the first match, Mauro Ranallo, and Daniel Bryan send it back to Corey Graves, who previews the first four matches of the tournament.
Gran Metalik vs. Alejandro Saez
It’s worth noting that all first-round matches will have a twenty-minute time limit. This was a fast-paced opener with several cool spots, including a huge tope from Metalik. At one point, Saez hit a shooting star press from the apron to the floor. The match was too short to really begin picking up momentum, but it was fun nonetheless. Metalik picked up the win with a Dorada Screwdriver. Metalik advances, meaning that he will take on the winner of Tajiri vs. Damian Slater.
Ho Ho Lun vs. Ariya Daivari
This was fine, although nothing particularly stood out aside from Ranallo name-dropping the pillars of All Japan Pro Wrestling (sans Akira Taue, no less). Ho Ho showed potential, eventually pinning Daivari with a bridging German suplex.
Clement Petiot vs. Cedric Alexander
This was a hard-hitting affair with some stiff strikes from Clement and impressive highflying from Cedric. Alexander continues to be one of the most consistent performers of 2016 and I liked what I saw from Petiot. Alexander pinned Petiot with a Lumbar Check.
Kota Ibushi vs. Sean MalutaRecommended
It’s 2016, which means I have the pleasure of reviewing a Kota Ibushi match under the WWE umbrella. This was very good and easily my favorite match of the night. At one point, Maluta botched an outside dive but made a seamless recovery. Ibushi was great as usual, but I came away from this match impressed by Maluta. Ibushi came away with the victory after hitting a powerbomb.
Overall, I liked this show quite a bit. The sports-like presentation feels fresh and none of the matches dragged. Thumbs up. Trask will be reviewing next week’s show, and we’ll alternate from there.