Cruiserweight Classic – August 31, 2016: They Have It All

Cruiserweight Classic
Date: August 31, 2016
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Daniel Bryan, Mauro Ranallo

The quarterfinals begin tonight with eight participants left as we head towards the finale in two weeks. Therefore we’ll probably see two matches tonight and two more next week which means longer wrestling and more action. There’s always the chance of some bonus matches but this seems like a show that’s going to stick to the lone concept. Let’s get to it.

We open with a look at the Great Eight.

Bryan and Mauro talk about the tournament so far.

Corey Graves previews tonight’s matches.

Gran Metalik thinks he’s the best around and wants to prove it in WWE.

Akira Tozawa knows he’s the best here and can’t wait to show it.

Quarterfinals: Gran Metalik vs. Akira Tozawa

Mexico vs. Japan. Bryan keeps raving over Tozawa’s German suplex as they hit the mat for some alternating leg holds. Tozawa doesn’t offer a clean break as he kicks Metalik in the ribs, only to get armdragged down. Metalik comes back with a dropkick against the ropes as the fans stay into him.

We get the first of likely multiple suicide dives to put Tozawa against the barricade before it’s off to something like a Figure Four. Back up and Tozawa starts with the kicks, earning himself some chants in the process. As you might expect, Tozawa hits his own suicide dive because that’s required viewing in a cruiserweight match.

Back in again and they chop it out until Tozawa gets bored and just punches Metalik in the jaw. Well mask but you get the idea. Metalik blasts him with a superkick and a standing shooting star (getting a bit too common as well) gets two. The Metalik Driver is countered into a Saito suplex for two more and Tozawa is stunned.

Tozawa charges into a superkick which just makes him scream more so Metalik sends him outside for the springboard flip dive. Back in again and Tozawa takes him up top for a superplex, only to get reversed into a great looking hurricanrana. The fans would like them to fight forever and Tozawa hits his German suplex for two. Metalik fights out of another German suplex and hits the Metalik Driver for the pin at 15:48.

Rating: B+. If there’s one thing I love about this tournament (and there are several) it’s how many different match styles they can have. You can have people flying all over the place or working on the mat as fast as anyone in the world or you can have a match like this with two guys both working their own styles but making them mesh together so well that it gives us an entertaining match.

They shake hands post match.

Bryan says he won’t be impartial in the next match.

Brian Kendrick knows this might be his last shot.

Kota Ibushi is one of the best in the world and wants to win because he loves wrestling.

Quarterfinals: Brian Kendrick vs. Japan

USA vs. Japan. Kendrick invites him to the floor which isn’t a common strategy in this tournament. Ibushi doesn’t bite but he does kick Kendrick in the head and hits a big dive to take over. Kota misses a kick though and gets his foot caught in the barricade so Kendrick dives in to try for a countout. They’re doing a good job here of having Kendrick win any way he can against the younger and more talented Ibushi.

More kicks have Kendrick in trouble so he grabs a neckbreaker across the turnbuckle rod for a unique counter. Brian grabs a cravate to stay on the bad (and surgically repaired) neck, only to eat a dropkick to put both guys down. A middle rope moonsault gets two for Ibushi but Kendrick superkicks his head off to get them back to even. Sliced Bread #2 gets another near fall for Kendrick so Ibushi gives him a release German superplex from just off the corner to knock Brian silly.

Kendrick tries the Bully Choke but Ibushi turns to the side to make it a regular chinlock. A Burning Hammer of all things makes Ibushi’s neck even worse, though not enough to put him away. Ibushi misses a middle rope Phoenix splash and another Bully Choke has Ibushi in trouble. He breaks the hold with a rollup though and the Golden Star Bomb finally ends Brian’s run at 13:57.

Rating: B. I thought the first match was more entertaining but this one told a better story. This was all about Kendrick throwing everything he had at Ibushi but not being able to put him away and eventually falling to the better man. The neck injury was a good bonus to the story and gave Brian enough of an opening to make this interesting. The storytelling was carrying this and it was very entertaining as a result. Good stuff here and Kendrick continues to surprise me in this thing.

Daniel cries as he talks about Brian’s run being over.

After the preview for next week’s show, Daniel comes to the ring to hug Kendrick to end the show.

Overall Rating: A-. As is so often the case, I’m not sure what else you could want from this show every week. The wrestling, the storytelling and the action are all there, along with some emotion this week from Brian and Bryan. The final could wind up being a match of the year candidate in case we haven’t had enough greatness in the preliminaries. If you’re not watching this show, I don’t know what else you’re waiting for as it’s one of the best things every single week.


Gran Metalik b. Akira Tozawa – Metalik Driver

Kota Ibushi b. Brian Kendrick – Gold Star Bomb


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  1. Bloodbuzz Bunk says:

    Two pretty good matches here and the right guys won. Tozawa needs a new finisher badly. Kendrick has been the stealth MVP of this tournament and he really brought it against Ibushi.

  2. Liam Fenech says:

    Hi Kb I was hoping you could help me understand something What’s the difference between Lucha Libre and High Flying style? It looks the same style to me.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Lucha Libre has less psychology to it and is basically just a free for all. High flying has elements of lucha involved but it’s closer to regular wrestling with some adjustments.

    Liam Fenech Reply:

    So you’re saying Libre is High Flying minus the in ring Storytelling? I’ve never watched Mexican Wrestling before alltougth Jericho did say in his DVD Documentary that Mexican wrestling and Japanese wrestling are opposites in the fact that Mexican wrestling has enphsis on gimmicks rather then Match quality and vince versa. Anyway thanks for clarifying that KB

    Bloodbuzz Bunk Reply:

    Lucha Libre emphasizes gimmicks and storylines but as in ring style it tends to be a war of escalating high spots and high impact moves. Japanese wrestling and in particular strong style relies on in ring storytelling within the match through stiff strikes and submission based mat wrestling( with the occasional high spot) instead of big gimmicks or storyline feuds. Lots of tournaments in Japan as opposed to anywhere else in the world when it comes to wrestling.

  3. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I really hope we see Brian Kendrick and Cedric Alexander on September 19th on RAW when this wraps up. Kendrick still has something left and Cedric was one of my favorites when I watched him in ROH.

    Also I was a little more impressed with Akira Towzwa and Gran Metalik.