Hello, wrestling fans, and welcome back to week four of the Cruiserweight Classic, the final week of the opening round! Jordan here, with another four matches this week, and we will see the last competitors to make it to the second round – so without any more ado, on to the first match.
MATCH: Jason Lee (Hong Kong/China) vs. Rich Swann (USA)
We start with the typical video package highlighting both men; interestingly, Swann is shown to be the lone competitor who was already part of the NXT lineup at the beginning of the Classic.
- Match starts with your typical by this point collar and elbow tie up into a wrist lock by Swann, however quickly countered by Lee into a side-headlock takedown, which in turn is countered by Swann into a headscissors, before both men pop up to their feet.
- Lee with a single leg takedown, hits the ropes and goes over Swann. Both men fail to land any offence, hitting the ropes and going under and over each other before Swann gets the better of the exchange, with a standing dropkick for a count of one.
- The crowd really getting behind the familiar face of Swann as he applies an armbar with pandering theatrics.
- Lee to his feet and able to send Swann into the turnbuckle, unleashing a deadly barrage of palm strikes, followed up with a leaping roundhouse kick to the back of Swann’s head, earning this match’s first two count.
- Lee applies a cravat hold as the crowd rally behind Swann. Swann, with a rope break, rises to his feet and screams in Lee’s face, before unloading with clubbing forearms to the head and a spinning backfist.
- Swann sends Lee into the turnbuckle. Lee to the top rope, hits a slap, attempting to make some distance, however Swann with a standing hurricanrana to Lee follows up with a rolling frogsplash earning a two count.
- Both men back to their feet, and Lee hits a flatliner, following it up with a thrust kick to Swann’s face and goes for an inside cradle pinning combination, earning yet another two count.
- Lee takes a run at Swann and is met with a roundhouse kick, almost putting Lee’s lights totally out. Swann takes advantage and hits a 450 splash from a standing position to get the three count.
- Winner, via pinfall, Rich Swann.
All in all a very impressive match with Swann in particular showing off some amazing offence that I, at least, had seen very little of in the past .
MATCH: Noam Dar (Scotland/Israel) vs. Gurv Sihra (India)
Another video package showing us where they are from, this time with a little more interest from me because – as any of our readers who watch WCPW or have followed him previously will know – Noam Dar is a fantastic performer, and one of my favorites in the Classic. Alongside him, Gurv Sihra is the other half of the Bollywood Boyz, his brother and tag team partner, Harv, competing and losing out on last week’s show.
- Yet another collar and elbow tie up to start this one, Dar with the transition into a waistlock before Sihra applies one of his own. Dar with the first takedown of the match, reverses the waistlock with a single leg takedown.
- Dar hits a dropkick to the knee and applies a wristlock. Sihra fights out and takes Dar down with a side-headlock takeover, keeping the headlock applied. Dar escapes and finishes the scuffle with a single leg drop kick to Sihra’s head.
- Sihra lures Dar into the corner and delivers a stiff forearm shot to the small of the back, following it up with a backbreaker, cover and a one count.
- Back and forth from both men, before a missed running knee from Sihra allows Dar to take control. Sihra sent into the turnbuckle, and Dar hits a leaping forearm; Dar off the ropes ducks under an attempted clothesline from Sihra, and hits a picture perfect dropkick yet again.
- Sihra reverses an attempted suplex and hits a double leg takedown on Dar. Sihra goes for a sharpshooter, but Dar able to power out and send Sihra into the turnbuckle, where Dar lands a series of strikes to the head and throat of Sihra, finishing the set off with a dropkick in the corner and a cover for a two count.
- Sihra with a small package after Dar goes for what looked to be a figure four leg lock, gets a two count. Both men quickly to their feet and Sihra with a spinning wheel kick connecting perfectly, scoring him a very close two count.
- Sihra to the top rope, takes too much time pandering to the crowd, and misses an elbow drop – Dar takes advantage, hitting an enziguri into a fisherman suplex, and covers Sihra for a two count. As Sihra kicks out, Dar locks in the knee bar, earning Dar the submission victory.
- Winner, via submission, Noam Dar.
Pretty disjointed match that didn’t show off either man to there fullest potential I think, but I have seen much better from Dar and hope to see that in his matches going forward in the Classic.
MATCH: Jack Gallagher (England) vs. Fabian Aichner (Italy)
Video package both men stating ‘I won’t lose because the opportunity is too big’, same old, same old, but of note – Aichner is the largest man in the event, weighing an impressive forty pounds more than Gallagher. (Editor: He’s the second heaviest, Saez weighing in at EXACTLY 205lbs, which I’d call chancing it, and Aichner at 203lbs, which I’d still reckon is a risk of accidentally going over!)
- Ok so someone by now needs to let these guys all know there are other ways to start wrestling match other than with a collar and elbow tie up, because yet again we start it that way, with Gallagher getting the better of it with a wristlock. Aichner, with a series of rolls and flips, manages to alleviate the pressure and score a wristlock takedown into an armbar.
- Aichner continues to work the arm of Gallagher with a series of wrist and hammerlocks, before Gallagher is able to reverse into a hammerlock of his own. Aichner is able to use his size advantage to power out of the hammerlock with a fireman’s carry back into an armbar.
- Aichner brings Gallagher back to his feet still with the armbar applied, only to score with a single leg takedown and applies pressure with a toehold. So far in this match up, both men showing off an amazing display of chain wrestling, however Aichner able to get the better of each exchange so far just due to pure size and power.
- Gallagher manages to reverse to toe hold into one of his own, Aichner again shows off his power, able to twist out and force Gallagher to break the hold. Both men back to their feet and the crowd show their appreciation to the competitors.
- Aichner with a snapmare takeover, hits the ropes and comes back with a shoulder tackle. Gallagher, however, manages to counter a second attempted shoulder tackle with a twisting monkey flip, earning him a two count.
- Gallagher attempts a snap suplex, blocked by Aichner, who scores with a series of powerful chops to the chest of Gallagher. Aichner sends Gallagher into the ropes and both men duck under attempted clotheslines, before Aichner just barely manages to connect with a springboard spinning wheel kick, earning a count of one.
- Chinlock applied by Aichner makes Gallagher work to make it back to his feet and break the hold, Aichner makes a mistake however when he drops his head after sending Ghallanger into the ropes, and Gallagher hits a sunset flip for two count. Aichner reverses into a jack-knife pin for a two count of his own and the men trade near falls back and forth.
- Both men back to their feet and a mistake by Gallagher this time, as he attempts to rush the larger Aichner and walks right into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for his trouble. Two count for Aichner.
- Aichner now able to show off his high flying, going to the apron and jumping to the top rope, hitting a springboard moonsault for another two count and he cannot believe it was only two.
- Gallagher counters a vertical suplex attempt and hits a standing dropkick, failing to put the bigger man down, following it up with a second, before a running cross-body finally takes Aichner off his feet.
- Both men back up and Gallagher off the ropes, locks in a guillotine headlock, Aichner yet again showing his dominating power, reversing it into a sitout powerbomb, and somehow Gallagher is still able to kick out at two . The crowd goes absolutely nuts and starts chanting ‘thank you both, thank you both’ for what, so far, has easily been the match of the night.
- Aichner to the top rope, misses, a frog splash headbutt by Gallagher knocking Aichner to the corner. Gallagher charges in, hitting a dropkick to the head, and scoring the three count – the match is over.
- Winner, via pinfall, – and I am sad it’s over – Jack Gallagher.
Amazing story told by both men, a well fought match, and I loved every second of it. The final match will have to work very hard to top this one.
MATCH: Johnny Gargano (USA) Vs Tommaso Ciampa (USA)
Video package again, and despite being told earlier in the night that Rich Swann was the only NXT superstar in the classic, these two men are actually a tag team in the NXT division of WWE, so it’s a fight of friends for our main event, both trying to prove they are the better man, and move forward in the Cruiserweight Classic
- Match starts, interestingly enough, not with a collar and elbow tie up, but with a wrist lock and a single leg takedown by Gargano. Moves into a go under by Ciampa and, on the kip up, an attempted hip toss. Gargano, however, is able to counter and almost lock in a crossface. Both men separate and back to their feet.
- Arm drag from Gargano that Ciampa counters into a headscissors. Gargano fights out and hits another arm drag, this time managing to hold on and sink in an arm bar.
- Both men stand, Gargano holding in a hammerlock on Ciampa, Ciampa with a back elbow that looks like it sends one of Gargano’s teeth flying. Ciampa sends Gargano to the apron and hits a running knee to the side of the head that sends Gargano crashing to the floor.
- Ciampa sets up and hits another running knee on the apron, scoring a pair of two counts.
- Ciampa continues to control the match, locking in a rear chinlock. Gargano manages to create space and score with a series of chops to the chest, however, Ciampa manhandles him back to the apron and delivers another skull-rattling back elbow.
- Ciampa to the top rope, attempts to superplex Gargano from the apron. Back inside the ring, but Gargano able to topple Ciampa and score his first big bit of offense – a running knee of his own, both men showing off how well they know each other and how their styles are almost exactly the same.
- Gargano finally brings the action back inside the ring and hits a slingshot DDT getting a two count.
- Gargano sets up Ciampa for a top rope powerslam, but Ciampa able to wriggle out and force Gargano back into the turnbuckle. Ciampa attempts a second rope air raid crash that Gargano slips out of and tries for a sunset flip powerbomb from the turnbuckle. Ciampa proves too powerful, however, and starts dropping fists down on Gargano’s skull. Gargano is then able to slip out from under the strikes and nail a superkick into a running sitout powerbomb that sends Ciampa rolling to the outside only to be met by a suicide dive from Gargano.
- Gargano sends Ciampa back into the ring and attempts a leaping DDT through the second rope, however Ciampa sees this coming and answers with a knee to the top of Gargano’s head – and a cover! Gargano just manages to kick out before the three.
- Ciampa unable to complete a powerbomb is met with forearm strikes to the face by Gargano, however, Ciampa proves more than able to take the punishment, answering back with a thrust kick and running knee to the face of Gargano. Ciampa goes for the powerbomb again, only for Gargano to spring out and hit a jumping enziguri.
- Both men to the apron, both looking like they have been in a war here, the two exchange strikes before Ciampa is able to get the better with another big thrust kick to Gargano’s face, and turns this into the air raid crash onto the apron…. The crowd and myself with a ‘holy shit’ chant as Ciampa rolls Gargano back into the ring and somehow only manages to get a two count.
- Ciampa rolls down his knee pad, and with the first moment of mercy in the match, does not launch a knee into the back of Gargano’s head, but instead thinks twice and rolls the pad back up. His reward for said mercy? A superkick by Gargano to the face, that is answered in turn when Ciampa knocks Gargano back down with a clothesline. Ciampa sets up and hits a powerbomb lungblower into the pin for a two count. We get a close up of Ciampa’s face, and he looks truly frightened that Gargano is still in this match.
- Ciampa down on his knees watching as Gargano literally crawls towards him. Ciampa stands and stares down at his friend and team mate and you can see any trace of mercy is gone from his eyes. Ciampa Lifts Gargano to his knees and delivers a chop that sounded out the arena to the side of Gargano’s head.
- Ciampa, holding Gargano by the jaw, brings him to his feet, and Gargano screams in Ciampa’s face to finish this fight. Ciampa throws his elbow pad at Gargano, and goes for a spinning back elbow that Gargano ducks under and scores with a backslide. Both men trade in and out of pinning predicaments, before a crucifix pin earns unbelievably the three count and the win to Johnny Gargano.
- Winner, via pinfall, Johnny Gargano.
Well, I said it would be a tall order for the main event to beat the third match – and by god did it deliver! This match had everything you could ever want, and I loved each and every minute of it. And in the end we see a very special moment as Ciampa, unable to shake Gargano’s hand, instead sits beside him and embraces his friend.
That’s it for round one of the WWE Cruiserweight challenge! I’ve been Jordan, and you can join me next week when we start off round two.