The WWE: Cruiserweight Classic continued with it’s seventh week, showcasing the final three matches of the second round. It took place at Fullsail University in Winter Park, FL on 8/24/2016!
Rich Swann defeats Lince Dorado with a Phoenix Splash.
We started this off with a brilliant exchange of counters to hurricanranas and head scissors alike. We saw a sensational dancing ode to “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright by Dorado. That made my night early on! Swann pulls out a variation of a muffler stretch that seemed to be an ode of sorts to Jushin “Thunder” Liger, which hilariously enough, was referenced by Daniel Bryan seconds thereafter. The Fullsail crowd was very into this one, as was I. What a tremendous piece of work this turned out to be for both Baltimore’s own Rich Swann and the pride of Puerto Rico, Lince Dorado. I know Swann has already been signed for Monday nights, but let’s get dry ink on a contract for Dorado as well! We had a hard-hitting exchange of strikes and Dorado nails a chop that would make The Big Show proud. Swann missed on a frankensteiner attempt and then both men knocked each other’s lights out with a double scissors kick! That was new and very impressive. Strong style exchange takes the steam out of both athletes. Dorado with a cross body and then Swann able to comeback with a jumping DDT for a near fall. Swann eats a pair of knees from Dorado as he tries for his standing 450 splash, and Dorado has him in a pinning situation for two. After another exchange series, Dorado hits that remarkable reverse rana, leaving Swann grounded and the viewers awestruck. Dorado misses the shooting star press and “The Architect” Seth Rollins surely let out that evil laugh as Swann wins it with a crisp Phoenix Splash off the top rope! What a match!
Zack Sabre Jr. defeats Drew Gulak with a bridge counter to the dragon sleeper.
If you don’t appreciate the first fifteen to twenty seconds of this contest alone, then I’ve got nothing for you. The attempt to gain the upper hand early on was absolutely a thing of beauty from a technical or submission based standpoint. Sabre is a machine. Gulak is a machine and this was everything you’d expect and more. They played up the angle that Gulak takes exception to Sabre being considered the best technical wrestler in the world, and it added to the intrigue of the second round matchup. Sabre with a beautiful straightjacket submission hold early on and Gulak reverses it into the same situation. Sabre with a smart escape and he applies another submission, only for Gulak to escape and kick him right in the mush. Gulak takes to the top rope shortly thereafter and Sabre catches a clothesline attempt into a Fujiwara armbar. Wow! Gulak is able to escape and he puts Sabre in a Gory Special and stretches the shoulders to the point where it’s almost painful to watch. Insane! Sabre comes back with an octopus hold with a wristlock that Gulak counters into an ankle lock submission. Gulak goes for an electric chair drop, but Sabre counters into a kimura lock, looking for the Oomaplata. Gulak’s method of escape is to straight up slam Sabre into the bottom ring rope! This is a work of art. Sabre destroys Gulak with a penalty kick, and Mauro Ranallo gets the New Japan mark in me to raise a celebratory fist again with a Katsuyori Shibata reference! Sabre does a bridging pin with a bit of showboating and that is brilliant! The two men decide to start slapping the heck out of one another, Pancraze style! The crowd loves that. Gulak is about to put things about with his body scissor dragon sleeper, but like a flash of lightning, Sabre counters with a bridge and gets the three count! That is two matches in a row that have fired on all cylinders! Incredible!
TJ Perkins defeats Johnny Gargano with the TJP Clutch.
These two amazing athletes start things off with a series of monkey flips and then Gargano takes charge with an armbar, but Perkins counters into the Great Muta’s legendary Indian deathlock. Gargano gets to the ropes for the break. Perkins eats a dropkick from Johnny Wrestling while he’s showboating in the ropes, and then Gargano nails a topei suicida to take charge. Gargano gets a surfboard submission employed back inside the ring, but Perkins uses a rocking horse submission which he turns into a Romero special. This is getting good. The action continues and Perkins counters a kick attempt into a sitout powerbomb for a near fall that actually was a double pin. There was a scary spot where Perkins was down on the outside and Gargano hits a somersault splash and his leg legitimately nails the bell table. You could hear that very loudly. Gargano, thank goodness, was okay, as we know by his showing at NXT: Takeover Brooklyn II, but that was rough looking. Perkins gets Gargano back into the ring and then nails a fireman’s carry leg strike and then a double underhook lungblower in quick succession. That dude hasn’t even tapped into some of the things he’s capable of pulling off, but those two moves were brilliant. Perkins nails a wrecking ball dropkick, but Gargano is up and he hits him right into the face with an inzaguri kick. Gargano’s knee gives out as he tries for a lawn dart, but before Perkins can put him away with the kneebar, Gargano counters into a submission his own. Perkins gets Gargano in position for a top rope hurricanrana, but Gargano escapes and hotshots him on the top turnbuckle! Wow! The sound that made was incredible! Gargano hits the lawn dart and Perkins eats a face full of turnbuckle. Ouch. Several counters later and Gargano destroys Perkins with a superkick to the side of the head. Gargano tries for a power move, but Perkins rolls through and gets the kneebar on him. Johnny valiantly fights for the ropes, but he taps out. The crowd was split down the middle for this one. What an incredible night of CWC action. There wasn’t a single match that didn’t deliver and it probably was the best overall week of the tournament thus far!