After four weeks, we’ve finally come to the conclusion of round one. Honestly, the Crusierweight Classic has been so strong, these weeks have just flown by.
Jason Lee vs Rich Swann
The background video package for Jason Lee less than spectacular. He doesn’t carry the name that Swann does, so I thought they could have gone more in depth with his past. With that being said, it was great to see Swann back in a WWE ring, and this time being taken more seriously. The last time we saw him on WWE television he was on the receiving end of a Baron Corbin beat down.
Swann was truly the highlight to this contest, as I didn’t see anything special from Lee. At the same time, it also felt like Rich was in control for most of the time. While the pace was slow, Bryan and Ranallo deserve a ton of credit for making this sound more exciting than it was.
Gurv Sihra vs Noam Dar
With his brother, Harv, losing last week, I thought Gurv had an amazing story heading into this match. At the exact same time, I was cheering for Dar as well, since he was the youngest competitor in the tournament. The in ring action in this match was a lot less stellar than the previous match, but a tad bit of story made it more interesting. Since the overall pacing felt bland, there wasn’t much more to say about the end result.
Fabian Aichner vs Jack Gallagher
For what he lacks in size, Gallgher makes up in style and charisma. Immediately after seeing his video package, the fan in me was heavily rooting for him. Aichner on the other hand, didn’t carry the personality, however for a man his size, he wrestled an impressive cruiserweight style. I wasn’t expecting him to be nearly as agile as he was.
From start to finish, these two couldn’t mesh better than they did. Their in ring styles were completely different, however they had incredible chemistry. Also, listening to Daniel Bryan crush on Gallagher was smart way to make the fans at home laugh. The springboard moonsault was easily the spot of this match. It was shown in Aihcner’s video package, but I wasn’t expecting him to execute it here. Towards the end of this match, it was impossible to cheer against Jack. He and Fabian had done such a brilliant job at telling the underdog story. Up to this point, I don’t believe there had been a match in this tournament that felt as fun.
Tomasso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano
Heading into this tournament, I was excited to see the debuts of many wrestlers that have never stepped foot inside a WWE ring. However, in terms of first round match ups, there wasn’t one I was more excited to see than this one. The two are a likeable tag team, and that alone is what made their video package so chilling. In fact, I felt like I was getting ready to watch a PPV match. Along with that, the backstage interview between both men was extremely intense. I guess that shows close friends do have the best chemistry.
The most impressive part of this match was how both men were able to appear on NXT as a tag team earlier in the night, then appear here as opponents (that’s a joke). On a more serious note, I believed that the spot of the match occurred in the early moments, and it was Ciampa’s back elbow, as it simply set the tone .Not only could we here it, but seeing the spit come out of Gargano’s mouth showcased the impact. Also, that spot was encapsulated the pace of the entire match. It didn’t just feel like they were competing, it felt like they were at war. I’ve always enjoyed Ciampa’s in ring style, but in this match Gargano’s selling ability was my favourite part. There were moments where he legitimately looked like he was lost. I can’t recall the last time someone was able to sell that well with their eyes.
The story that was told in this match perfectly set up Johnny Wrestling’s comeback win. I was so into the match that at one point I didn’t think he’d win. For fans that have only watched these two in WWE, this match had done more for them than anything they’ve done on NXT television(that’s not a knock on their NXT run, just an indication of how strong this match was).
Based on the way this show started, I thought we were in for a slow night. The first two matches fell flat, and my energy was actually down as the second half of the episode came around. Luckily for us, they saved the best for last, as the last two matches carried the entire show. The low point of the show was Lee vs Swann, while the high point was Gargano vs Ciampa. Overall, I give this an 8/10.