WWE Cruiserweight Classic Finals
Winter Park, Florida 9/14/16
1.) Cruiserweight Classic - Semi-Finals - Gran Metalik vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: ****
It’s Mexico vs. Great Britain in the first of the two Semi-Final bouts in this tournament. Gran Metalik defeated Alejandro Saez, Tajiri, & Akira Tozawa to get to this point, while Zack Sabre Jr. scored victories over Tyson Dux, Drew Gulak, & Noam Dar. These two had a great match to kick off the show, though it wasn’t without its issues. There was plenty of cool action from start to finish, but it had some sloppy moments as well (perhaps there were communication issues between the two). That definitely hurt the match a little bit, in my eyes, but it was still an awesome opener. On paper, it was certainly a clash of styles (Lucha Libre vs. British Technical Wrestling), but in the end, Gran Metalik got the win with the Metalik Driver to punch his ticket to the Finals!
After the match, William Regal presented a medal to Gran Metalik, who then cut a promo in Spanish.
2.) Cruiserweight Classic - Semi-Finals - Kota Ibushi vs. TJ Perkins: ****1/2
Kota Ibushi defeated Sean Maluta, Cedric Alexander, & Brian Kendrick to get to this point, while TJ Perkins scored victories over Da Mack, Johnny Gargano, & Rich Swann. This was easily one of the best matches in the entire tournament. I’m not sure if this topped the match Ibushi had with Cedric Alexander in the second round, but at the very least, it equaled it. There was incredible action from start to finish in this one, and the fans were into it every step of the way. Ibushi is such an exciting wrestler to watch in the ring (in any situation, obviously, but particularly in these big matches), and TJ Perkins certainly held his own against the Japanese sensation. Perkins is someone who can adapt how he wrestles based on his opponent, and this was a perfect example of that, as responded to Ibushi’s high-flying and hard striking with high-flying and hard strikes of his own. This had almost everything you would want in a great wrestling match, from amazing action, to raw emotion, to good storytelling. It delivered in every way imaginable. Perkins would ultimately get the submission victory over Ibushi to advance to the Finals. This was simply amazing.
TJ Perkins also got a medal from William Regal, and he cut a brief promo saying that he’s one step away from completing his goal.
I just have a quick note on the two men who lost in the Semi-Finals before moving on. A lot of people thought that we were going to see Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in the Finals of the Cruiserweight Classic. That didn’t happen, primarily because neither man wanted to sign a deal with WWE (who wanted to have the winner of the tournament under contract). In hindsight, not signing a contract with WWE proved to be a smart decision, given how the Cruiserweight Division and 205 Live turned out.
Interesting enough, that Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. match would end up taking place….but in the 2017 G1 Climax in New Japan.
3.) DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. Cedric Alexander & Noam Dar: ***3/4
Of course, you always need a buffer match before the Finals of the tournament (to give the competitors in the tournament some rest), and on this show, it ended up being a DIY showcase, as they took on the odd couple team of Cedric Alexander & Noam Dar. This was a sprint that clocked in at just under ten minutes, and it was incredibly entertaining to watch. They packed a ton of action into this one, and it proved to be the perfect buffer match on this small card. Despite their best efforts, Cedric Alexander & Noam Dar just couldn’t overcome the established team of DIY, who scored the victory.
Before the Finals, William Regal joined Mauro Ranallo & Daniel Bryan to talk about how the CWC came together and its importance. Corey Graves also made an appearance to give his thoughts on the tournament (he had been doing the bracketology stuff for the whole thing).
4.) Cruiserweight Classic - Finals - Gran Metalik vs. TJ Perkins: ****
Well, just as the finals were about to begin (both men were in the ring and referee was about to ring the bell), Triple H made his way out to the ring. He talked about how they were “making history” with this tournament. Then, Triple H announced that, in addition to the winner of the Cruiserweight Classic getting a trophy, they will also be crowned a WWE Cruiserweight Champion. He then showed off the purple title belt. I would’ve preferred Triple H making this announcement before the participants in the Finals came out, but whatever.
Anyway, I don’t think a lot of people would’ve predicted that Gran Metalik vs. TJ Perkins would be in the Finals. As a whole, it was a great match that featured a lot of cool action and exciting exchanges throughout. It wasn’t the best bout in the tournament, but it was certainly close to the top. The fans were on fire for this one, particularly down the closing stretch. Both men gave it everything they had to come out on top. It wasn’t perfect (this did get off to a bit of slow start), but it was still an enjoyable match to watch, even if it didn’t end up being the best match in the tournament. Eventually, TJ Perkins locked in knee bar and got Gran Metalik to tap out to win the WWE Cruiserweight Classic!!
Afterwards, Triple H & William Regal came out to congratulate TJ Perkins who was soon presented with the trophy and the new WWE Cruiserweight Title. Then we got a very inspirational promo from TJ Perkins before the show came to a close with him celebrating as confetti came down from their ceiling.
It’s weird to rate a show that only had four matches on it, but even with a smaller card, the Cruiserweight Classic Finals delivered in a huge way. The two Semi-Final matchups were both awesome (particularly Kota Ibushi vs. TJ Perkins), and even though the Finals itself wasn’t the absolute best match in the entire tournament, it was still a great encounter between two incredibly talented performers. Throw in a very entertaining tag team sprint, and you have the makings of an excellent show, and a wonderful conclusion to this amazing tournament.