I haven’t covered the contestants on this blog or even discussed the tournament, but don’t think I won’t be covering the Crusierweight Classic. Unlike the WWE/NXT product, this tournament is strictly based on pure wrestling ability. We haven’t seen something like this from the company in years. I personally love how the WWE is recognizing these particular types of wrestlers. I think they realize that in order to remain the top wrestling company in the world, they have to show case all different styles.
The opening to this show completely emulated a sporting event. Similar to any professional sports, they started off with with the comentators discussing the athletes then moving to the off site analsyt. I found this to be refreshing and unique.
Gran Metalik vs Alejandro Saez
I’m not familiar with Metalik or Saez, and I’m sure many fans watching this aren’t either, but the video packages before the match helped quite a bit. For the most part, this match was excellent as an opener. Neither man held back, and they delivered some amazing spots. I guess it only makes sense for the first match to set the tone for the rest. The spot of the match was easily Metalik’s fisherman’s driver, because that actually looked like it hurt Saez.
Hoho Lun vs Ariya Daivari
I found it odd that Daivari was representing Iran, because he’s still from the USA. It’s nothing to dwell on too much though, it still makes sense for their international theme.
Unlike the previous match, these two actually worked a great babyface/heel dynamic. Hoho’s mannerisms make him a likeable babyface, and Daivari’s scowl make it easy to dislike him. Along with the good in ring psychology, I enjoyed their simple match pacing. I’d also like to point out that Daniel Bryan’s colour commentating was excellent for this contest. Discussing small points about each wrestlers truly helped me get a better grasp of their style. He did that for the rest of the show, and I was extremely impressed.
Clement Petiot vs Cedric Alexander
Cedric Alexander was one of the two names on this show that I recognized. He had some great work out in ROH, and I always felt like he’d excel under the WWE umbrella. I’ve always enjoyed him as a competitor and the fan in me was obviously cheering for him. His decision to get up in Petiot’s face was perfect for creating tension between the two. The two are only having one match, so why not find a way to get the fans immediately hooked? Neither of them played a babyface or heel, and I didn’t mind that. That aspect made this match different from the last.
The first match was high flying, the second was more character based, and this one was more stiff. That goes to show fans how the cruiserweight style isn’t always the same. The stiff style these two worked translated well in the ring, and they kept me hooked from start to finishing. With Alexander being the bigger name, it only made sense for him to move forward in the tournament.
Kota Ibushi vs Sean Maluta
This match was deservedly the main event of the show. Ibushi is easily the biggest name in the tournament and he needs to come across as a heavy favourite. Also, the announcers did a swell job at telling the fans why he’s a big deal.
I liked how they created an underdog story for Maluta. Based on his family’s lineage, there’s been high expectations set on him. As much as I was cheering for Ibushi, I found it difficult to fully cheer against Maluta. In terms of in ring, I found this match had the best of everything. There were stiff hits, character development, and high flying, what more can a fan ask for? The spot of the match was easily Kota’s moonsault to the outside of the ring. After he executed that spot, I was left speechless. Ibushi was the obvious favourite to win and it was what most fans wanted. I thought it was a smart way for everybody to leave happy.
Wow. That’s the best way to describe how good this first episode of the CWC was. Going in, I didn’t know what to expect from the production side or wrestling side, but I’m impressed to say the least. This was a type of show that was clearly catered towards the hardcore fans, yet there was enough appeal for casuals. Some viewers might not be familiar with some of the talent in the tournament, but those video packages were great for giving the audience a reason to care. Along with that, Bryan and Ranallo were excellent together. I wish they’d announce every single WWE event. There was absolutely no low points to this show, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this show a 9.5/10.