It’s the quarterfinals! And with this post, I’ll be all caught up in time for the live finale. The CWC has been really special, and news broke this week that at least 10 of the guys have been signed for the “Cruiserweight Division” on Raw. My fingers are crossed that they get the respect they deserve on the flagship show.
Gran Metalik (Mexico, lucha libre) vs Akira Tozawa (Japan, technical): One of the great things about this tournament is the incredible clash of styles in some of these matches. They’re even on the mat early on, neither able to get advantage while they exchange holds. They exchange armdrags, then dropkicks, showing how even they are. Metalik finally gets advantage with a dropkick into the ropes, putting Tozawa on the defense. That’s a dangerous way to play against Metalik though, as he goes diving through the ropes, taking Tozawa out.
Tozawa is able to get back on the offense though, hitting a suicide dive of his own, then a second one. Tozawa is mean on the offense. He has an intensity that is unmatched among the rest of the competitors. But Metalik uses the ropes for offense better than anyone else, period. He spins on them, bounces off them, walks along their top, in ways I’ve only seen him do. He hits several moves off the rope, finishing with a step-up tope to the outside. Metalik crotches Tozawa on the top rope, then hurricanrana’s him inside! Metalik flips out of the German Suplex, but gets caught in the second one, and a third bridging, but Metalik kicks out! Tozawa tries again, but Metalik gets Tozawa with the Metalik Driver, and gets the win. ***1/2
Brian Kendrick (USA, high-flying) vs Kota Ibushi (Japan, high-flying, strong style): Brian Kendrick is the redemption story, a man who blew his chances when he was younger and is now looking to atone. To do so he has to beat those who are younger and frankly, better than him. His biggest test is next though, as Ibushi is one of the best in the world, no matter what weight class we’re talking about. He’ll have to use all his tricks and strategy to get past him. Ibushi gets going early in the match, knocking Kendrick out of the ring with a kick, then jumping to the ground with a Triangle Moonsault from the top rope. Brian tries to trap Ibushi in the guardrail and win via countout, but Ibushi isn’t having any of that.
Kendrick shows his craftiness though, nailing Ibushi with a brutal neckbreaker on the turnbuckle. Kendrick focuses on the neck while Ibushi counters with kicks and moonsaults as much as he can. They exchange kicks, then Kendrick grabs Ibushi and runs up the turnbuckle for the Sliced Bread No. 2! Ibushi kicks out! They fight on the top turnbuckle, and Kendrick tries to escape over the ropes, but Ibushi grabs him from behind and German Suplexes over the top rope into the ring! Kendrick keeps focusing on Ibushi’s neck though, locking in a Bully Choke. Kendrick lifts Ibushi up on his shoulders, and KILLS HIM WITH THE BURNING HAMMER! HOLY SHIT! I’ve never actually seen someone do a real Burning Hammer before, and Ibushi kicks out! What?!? Ibushi somehow knocks Kendrick down, and he goes for the Phoenix Splash, but Kendrick moves, and grabs the Bully Choke! But Ibushi gets out, and connects with a Golden Star Powerbomb for the win. This gets 4 stars just for the last five minutes and the Burning Hammer! ****
Zack Sabre Jr (England, technical) vs Noam Dar (Scotland, technical): Dar has been disappointing this tournament. It’s hard to tell if it’s because his opponents have been subpar, or if he’s just not as good as advertised. His match with one of the established best will determine a lot. Fortunately for both, these two have had many matches before, and have a history together on the British wrestling scene. They start out with the grappling that we would expect, but Dar picks it up, delivering some forearms in the corner. ZSJ counters most of the holds Dar tires, but Dar is able to get some solid hits on the Sabre’s knee. Sabre meanwhile, attacks the arm, setting up where these two are going to be focusing on the rest of the match.
Sabre leaps into a Triangle choke, but Dar reverses it into the kneebar. Which ZSJ proceeds to reverse into an armbar. These guys are flying through holds and reversals. Dar avoids a European Uppercut and catches Sabre into a backslide. Sabre works like crazy to get an armbar until Dar reaches the ropes. Dar draps Sabre’s knee across the rope and leaps onto it, then rolls ZSJ into the kneebar. They both roll under the rope, landing hard on the mat. Sabre lands on his elbow, and Dar attacks it. They get inside, and Sabre spins around a running Dar, grabbing Dar’s arms into a Ring’s of Saturn like move, but he can’t lock it in thanks to his damaged arm so brings his legs up and yanking Dar’s arms back! That’s a mean looking hold, and Dar gives up almost immediately. ***1/2
Rich Swann (United States, high-flying) vs TJ Perkins (Phillopines, technical): Both these guys have tons of style and charisma, so this should be entertaining if nothing else. They exchange very stylish wristlock takedowns to start the match. Swann seems annoyed with Perkin’s dance move, so Swann arm drags him a few times and throws it in his face. Swann’s athleticism is pretty incredible, watching him bounce around the ring is a lot of fun. He’s always flipping and spinning through even the most mundane move exchange.
Perkins is methodical as he dissects Swann. He takes out the leg of Swann to slow him down, than uses that to his advantage to launch other attacks. Swann tries to escape to the top rope, but Perkins springboards into a hurricanrana. Swann has enough though to give a leaping hurricanranna of his own. He spikes Perkins on his head, and drags him over to give him the standing 450. Perkins grabs him before he can flip though, and locks in the kneebar. He keeps targeting the knee with kicks. Swann hits a powerbomb and tries to lock in a bridge, but can’t with the injured leg. Swann tries to roll into a clotheline, but Perkins catches him and locks in the kneebar again, getting Swann to tap out. ***1/2
The semi-finals are set. Zack Sabre Jr will fight Gran Metalik, and Kota Ibushi takes on TJ Perkins.