Welcome back to the Cruiserweight Classic! It’s Steph here again today, with a play-by-play I’m not entirely sure about, but we’ll give it a go anyway. This week, we’re in Winter Park, Florida, and we have our usual announce team of Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan.
We get a little backstory before we begin, with Mauro praising the Alexander/Ibushi match, and Bryan saying that there were many good matches in the second round. Obviously, Daniel talks about Brian Kendrick’s win being a highlight for him, as well as Perkins winning over Johnny Gargano.
In the CWC control room, Corey Graves is hyping up the mat wrestling skills of Zack Sabre Jr. and Noam Dar, the way Rich Swann’s high-flying and Kota Ibushi’s unique styles capture the imagination.
We get some talk from Gran Metalik, who says he’s enjoying himself competing against some of the best wrestlers in the world, and being able to showcase his Lucha Libre style. He talks about trying to be different from everyone else, and that he’s motivated by the support of the fans.
Akira Tozawa tells us that his biggest dream is to be part of WWE, and that to win this tournament would be a dream come true. He says he’s the best in the tournament, and that he’s going to take WWE by storm.
MATCH: Akira Tozawa vs. Gran Metalik – Quarter-Finals
- Quick kick from Metalik, keeping Tozawa at a distance. Tozawa goes for the leg, applying a waist lock, into a front face lock. Wrist lock from Metalik, reversal from Tozawa with a single leg takedown, followed by a toe hold.
- Reversal from Metalik into a leg lock, Tozawa with a side-headlock and takedown. Headscissors from Metalik, escape from Tozawa. Lock up again, both trying to gain the advantage. Metalik backed onto the ropes, kick from Tozawa, arm drag from both men. Side headlock from Tozawa.
- Shoulder tackle from Tozawa, Metalik stays up, so Tozawa beckons for the same move, telling Metalik to come off the ropes – Metalik does, but Tozawa stays standing. Forearms from both men, Metalik with the dropkick. Irish whip from Metalik, sent to the apron. Kick and springboard dropkick from Metalik, followed by a suicide dive. Both men on the floor outside.
- Brawl on the floor, both back in before the ten count. Springboard cross-body for a near fall from Metalik. Modified figure four from Metalik, but Tozawa gets to the ropes to break the hold. Kick to the head, followed by a round kick and a near fall.
- Chop and a knee from Metalik. Handspring move from Metalik, countered by a dropkick from Tozawa, followed by a bicycle kick to take Metalik off the apron. Suicide dive from Tozawa. A further suicide dive from Tozawa onto Metalik, who stumbles into the barricades. Tozawa takes Metalik back into the ring for a two count.
- Slam and a back senton from Tozawa for a two count. Chops back and forth between the two men, before a fake out chop from Tozawa, leading to a punch for a near fall. Choke to Metalik, Tozawa hitting a dropkick in the corner. Tozawa with an Irish whip, missing an elbow, Metalik coming back with a superkick. Metalik walks the ropes, hitting a missile dropkick, then a standing shooting star press for a two count.
- Metalik with a springboard back elbow for a two count. Metalik gets Tozawa up onto his shoulders, but Tozawa fights away, onto his feet. Sunset flip from Metalik, Tozawa rolling through and hitting a running boot for a two count. Irish whip from Tozawa, followed by a running bicycle kick and a Saito suplex for a two count.
- Superkick from Tozawa, Metalik using the ropes for leverage on a dropkick. Springboard plancha onto Tozawa, both men returning to the ring. Slam from Metalik, heading to the top rope, going for a moonsault, but Tozawa gets his feet up and gains a near fall as a result.
- Both men back to their feet, Tozawa putting Metalik on the turnbuckles, setting up for the superplex. Metalik drops Tozawa onto the apron and kicks him. Springboard attempted move from Tozawa, but Metalik with an enzuigiri. Metalik with a rana for a near fall, and then chops to Tozawa. German suplex from Tozawa, Metalik lands on his feet, another German from Tozawa, deadlift German, but Metalik kicks out of the pin.
- Another German attempt from Tozawa, the arms trapped, and Metalik gets him up for the Metalik Driver – and takes the win.
Strong match from both men, and while it’s sad to see the end of Tozawa in this competition, Metalik has been at the top since the start, and is wonderful to watch, so I can’t be too sad that we’re going to see more of him.
Daniel and Mauro are talking about how the Metalik Driver is the most dangerous move in the tournament, and then we’re onto talking about the next match. Daniel Bryan is talking about Brian Kendrick, and how he thinks he’s the hardest worker in this competition. Obviously, with their history, he’s happy to see his old friend in WWE, and it’s rather lovely to see how excited Bryan is to see his friend in the ring, the closer we get to the finals.
Into the video packages, and Brian Kendrick says that this is his last chance to make it in WWE, that these other men have chances later on in their lives, this could be his last big chance to make it. He says it’s all or nothing, and that his desperation helps him in his fight. If he doesn’t win this, it really is all over.
Ibushi says that wrestling is more than a job to him, it’s a way of life. He wants to show the audience things they’ve never seen before, and he says that he’s going to win because he loves wrestling more than anyone else.
MATCH: Brian Kendrick vs. Kota Ibushi – Quarter-Final
- We start with Kendrick pushing Ibushi from behind, and beckons that he wants Ibushi to come down to the outside with him. Kendrick gets back into the ring, as Ibushi doesn’t follow him. He blows a kiss at Ibushi, and Ibushi takes advantage of this, grabbing at the leg and connecting with forearms.
- Waist lock from Kendrick, Ibushi with a standing switch, Kendrick following up with an elbows and eating a roundhouse kick for his troubles. Kendrick to the floor, Ibushi hitting the double jump moonsault onto him, sending Kendrick back into the ring – but Kendrick rolls back out again. Ibushi follows him, but is pushed against the barricades.
- Missile dropkick from Ibushi, and a pin for two. Forearms and kicks from Ibushi, sending Kendrick back down to the mat, before Ibushi is sent to the apron, responding with a forearm that brings Kendrick out there too. Neckbreaker onto the turnbuckle from Kendrick, Ibushi falling to the floor. Shoulder from Ibushi, but Kendrick kicks the ropes and Ibushi lands awkwardly, Kendrick gaining a pin for two. Kendrick with a cravate, holding onto it to prevent a slam, but Ibushi with knees to the back to escape the hold.
- Dropkick from Ibushi, both men down. Back to feet, Ibushi runs into a boot, but hits a powerslam and a moonsault for a two count. Punches and a kick from Ibushi, but Kendrick gets his knees up as Ibushi tries to hit the standing moonsault, and it’s nearly a win for Kendrick. Superkick from Kendrick, both men down, Ibushi coming back with forearms, which Kendrick returns.
- Kendrick with elbows to the head and a kick, before hitting Sliced Bread #2, Ibushi kicking out. Kendrick goes to the turnbuckles, applying a sleeper hold, Ibushi follows up with elbows. Ibushi hits a Pelé kick, Kendrick knocked from the turnbuckles and onto the apron.
- Kendrick is lifted for a German superplex, but holds onto the ropes for a second – it doesn’t stop Ibushi hitting the German for a two count! Kendrick blocks Ibushi’s powerbomb, gets hit instead with a kick to the arm and another attempted powerbomb.
- Bully Choke attempt from Kendrick, then a second where he manages to lock it in, but Ibushi makes it to his feet and fires back with elbows. Burning Hammer from Kendrick for a pin for two – so close!
- Knees and elbows to the head of Ibushi, who gets free and responds with a kick, turning a victory roll from Kendrick into a modified sit-out powerbomb for a two count. Attempted Phoenix Splash from Ibushi misses.
- Kendrick gets the Bully Choke on, but Ibushi manages to roll him up for a near fall. Kick from Ibushi, followed by the Golden Star Powerbomb – and the pin for three.
Fuck. What a match. Daniel Bryan makes his face to the ring, and hugs Brian Kendrick, crying for his friend as the crowd shows their support, and it’s an amazing and emotional moment, one of those brilliant moments in wrestling where the human element far outweighs the fancy moves and impressive bumps. It’s heartening to see. Ibushi moves on to the next round.
Well, we’ll be back next week, and perhaps you’ll get Jordan’s more eloquent play-by-play, but that’s it for this week’s Cruiserweight Classic!