Written By: Traves Bezenar
It’s been a whirlwind of a week as far as WWE programming goes. This past Monday and Tuesday marked the beginning of the new brand split in WWE and with it came many improvements. Better booking, longer matches, less filler, and new interesting camera tricks. All things I’ve praised the ‘CWC’ for in the past so it would look like WWE is slowly learning from their cruiserweight experiment. Can WWE keep up the momentum and hype around the ‘CWC’, will this episode b better than the premier, and is the third time the charm? Let's find out!
Tyson Dux vs Zack Sabre Jr.
This is a hell of an opening matchup for episode three, to say the least. ZSJ is one of the best wrestlers in the world right now and Tyson Dux is a local indie hero where I live so suffice it to say I was hyped going into this one. The match started off slow giving ZSJ, who has an amazing swagger about him, ample time to show off his technical prowess as he seamlessly moved from hold to hold . Tyson Dux, of whom I have an autographed picture hanging in my office, got a few good bits of offense in but the match was clearly designed to make ZSJ look good (and there’s nothing wrong with that). There were a few great spots that really stood out to me including a Fisherman Buster from Dux, a Boma Ye from SZJ, and finally a painful looking Omoplata that won Sabre the match. This type of wrestling might not be for everyone but I loved it.
Drew Gulak vs Harv Sihra
Going into this match, like a lot of matches in the ‘CWC’, I was far more familiar with one opponent than the other. Drew Gulak is quite the indie darling right now and I’m very familiar with his work. Harv Sihra, on the other hand, was a bit of a mystery to me. From the bell, it was clear from the way Gulak moved in the ring, like an old school shooter, that this was going to be an intense match. In contrast, Sihra had a very quick paced and almost playful style in the ring and that dichotomy made the match that more interesting kind of like The Mountain vs The Viper from ‘Game of Thrones’. Just like the match in ‘Game of Thrones’ it looked like Sihra might have had the victory in the bag until he got cocky and ended up tapping out to a Dragon Sleeper.
Anthony Bennett vs Tony Nese
Unlike the previous two matches of the evening, I knew nothing about either of theses two competitors going in but I was in love with Bennet by the time his entrance was over. I’m a big fan of showmanship and character building in wrestling and Bennett has both in spades. Nese reminded me a lot of WWE Superstar Nevil both in look and style in the ring which is great. In another welcomed change of pace from the other matches of the night, this bout was a much faster pace and focused primarily on athleticism and flashy spots. Unfortunately, not all of Bennett’s offence landed correctly or looked as smoothly as it could have and it really affected my enjoyment of the match. Nese was solid throughout the entire match though and ended up winning with a 450 Splash
Raul Mendoza vs Brian Kendrick
Admittedly I had no idea who Raul Mendoza was going into this match but I am beyond familiar with Brian Kendrick. Back in the early 2000’s when he was going by the name Spanky, Kendrick was one of my favorite parts of WWE television so I was really excited to see him back in a WWE ring and right off the bat I was happy to see (or hear) that Kendrick got to use his old WWE entrance theme when coming to the ring. The match was started off like an explosion with both men firing on all cylinders. Raul is in fantastic ring shape and was able to run and flip around the ring effortlessly. In fact, he reminded me a lot of a young Eddie Guerrero in the way that he wrestled which is a huge compliment coming from me. Kendrick looked to be in the best physical shape of his career and he played the heel expertly in this match while still managing to have a high octane offense. The highlight of the match and the night had to be the amazing Coast to Coast dropkick that Raul hit on Kendrick. In the end, though, it was the veteran Kendrick that picked up the win via submission with a Bully Choke
In my humble opinion, this was the best episode of the ‘WWE: Cruiserweight Classic’ yet. The styles of wrestling showcased were varied, the right people progressed, and I was glued to the screen throughout. There were a few hiccups in one of the matches but nothing egregious enough for me to ding the overall score of the show. Like the premiere, this installment was perfect and shows that the third time truly is the charm.