Written By: Traves Bezenar
Last week’s premiere episode of ‘WWE: Cruiserweight Classic’ was one of the best pieces of wrestling television the company has produced in years. It felt more like an actual sporting event than the average episode of RAW or Smackdown ever has, and best of all, it left me wanting more. Now, as we come into week two of the tournament we’ll get to see if that excellent showing was all beginners luck, or if the ‘CWC’ can live up to the hype I’ve built around it.
Tajiri vs. Damien Slater
Back in the day (early 200’s) Tajiri was one of the wrestlers I really enjoyed. He had an interesting move set and style in the ring and it’s nice to see not much has changed. I’ll admit he does look quite a bit older but that's to be expected considering how long it’s been since he was last in WWE. Admittedly, I had no idea who Damian Slater was until this match but he won me over pretty quickly (despite his awful tattoos). Slater has a fast paced, crisp, and varied move set that I really enjoyed and I would have liked to see him get a bit more offense in. The match itself was pretty good for an opener, although not quite as good as last week, but still enjoyable overall. Tajiri picked up the win with a Buzzsaw Kick as I expected after hearing he signed with WWE.
TJ Perkins vs Da Mack
I feel like almost every pairing in the first round has one wrestler I’m familiar with and another I’ve never heard of. This time around it's TJ Perkins, Manik in TNA, who I’m familiar with and Da Mack that I’ve never heard of. Besides my familiarity with his time in TNA, Perkins also had a lot of focus on him during the Bracketology special on WWE Network so I expected him to have a good showing going into the match and I was not disappointed. Da Mack also had a decent showing but there were a few issues with timing on his part that detracted from the fluidity of the match but I still enjoyed it regardless. The match might not have been technically perfect but it was especially entertaining, full of amazing high spots, and false finishes. Perkins picked up the win via submission after hitting a modified GTS and locking in a Kneebar.
Mustafa Ali vs. Lince Dorado
I was excited going into this match in particular because I had no idea who either wrestler was or who was favored to win. My first impression of Ali was that his ring gear looked like the K-Mart version of a Seth Rollins Halloween costume but I didn’t hold that against him (too much). Dorado’s gear, on the other hand, looked great and he’s in amazing shape to boot. Both men have a similar high-risk offense that favors top rope dives and moves to the outside which I really enjoyed. At one point in the match Ali hits a Spanish Fly off the top rope and the only thing more entertaining than the move, was the fan in front-row that was squealing like a schoolgirl with excitement. Lince Dorado ended up with the victory after dodging an inverted 450 Splash and following up with a Shooting Star Press.
Akira Tozawa vs. Kenneth Johnson
This match was bound to be a significantly one-sided affair. Akira Tozawa is just a much bigger name in the industry than Johnson and it was clear before the match even started who the winner was going to be. That said, the match was still enjoyable and the two ended up looking a lot more evenly matched than I would have expected. Tozawa showed a lot of power in the ring despite his relative small size compared to Johnson (and non-cruiserweights in general). Johnson looked equally powerful and came out looking like a defensive master seemingly having a counter to all of Tozawa arsenal. The main event was a welcome change of pace from the rest of the matches on the card opting to focus mainly on grappling and submission compared to high flying action. In the end, Tozawa picked up the win (as expected) with a magnificent Bridging German Suplex.
The second episode of ‘WWE Cruiserweight Classic’ had all the bells and whistles that the premier did; hype videos, hand raises, pat downs, and so on. Unfortunately, the match outcomes were (quite) a bit more predictable and had a handful more botches so I couldn’t give it a perfect score. This follow-up is still a great second offering and I definitely recommend you all keep watching ‘CWC’ because it does indeed, live up to the hype.