WWE Cruiserweight Classic – September 14th, 2016

Howdy!

Welcome to week 10 & the 2-hour LIVE finale of the Cruiserweight Classic! Tonight, we will crown our champion, with 2 semifinal matches and the final! Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

“The Cruiserweight Classic. Forged from the seeds of the underground.” Video package brings us in with highlights from the tournament so far, along with commentary from the Final Four! “4 Competitors. 4 Nations. 1 Prize. To be called….the Best in the World.”

Purple ninja! White ninja! One more time in our opening credits! They’re the Flair/Steamboat of animated opening credit ninjas!

Mauro and Bryan welcome us to the show, with Mauro waxing nostalgic about watching Tiger Mask and Dynamite Kid on tape, saying that it solidified his love for professional wrestling, that it showed what the ‘smaller guys’ could do. Daniel agrees, dropping in the Super-J Cup as a reference and talking about what these guys have shown us, not just great matches, but emotional moments.

Mauro tells us that we’re going to kick things off with Gran Metalik vs Zack Sabre Jr, to be followed by TJ Perkins vs Kota Ibushi! Video package airs with comments from the Final Four.

And here we go! Metalik is out first, and he POINTS TO THE TROPHY! It’s just like the Wrestlemania sign! Bryan is already putting over the Metalik driver as the way that Gran has won all of his matches. Sabre Jr is out next, and let’s do this thing.

Zack Sabre Jr vs Gran Metalik – Semi-Final #1

Handshake is accepted. Metalik wastes no time in hitting Sabre with a dropkick and sending him to the floor, then follows that with a tope con hilo onto Zack! Gran tosses him back in, springboard swanton bomb onto Sabre! 1,2, no! Bryan is delighted, noting that Metalik wants the quick win to rest before the finals. Irish whip by Metalik, but Sabre catches the top rope and alley-oops a charging Gran to the apron. Metalik springs in, but Zack nails him with a European uppercut, then hangs him upside down in the ropes and kicks Metalik in the arm. Snapmare by Sabre, then he puts Metalik’s head between his legs and snaps it around. Sabre puts on a reverse cravat to punish the neck further, as he seems to be playing subtle heel in this match. Metalik gets to his feet, but Zack calmly snapmares him again and puts on a headscissors. Gran tries to turn that over, so Sabre grabs the leg and goes to a half-crab. Just beautiful counters by Sabre. Metalik makes the ropes to force the break.

Sabre goes back to a standing cravat, and this time Gran armdrags out of it, then comes off the ropes with a headscissors takeover on Sabre. He follows that with a dropkick and the crowd is firmly behind Gran. Metalik with forearms, Sabre fires back with uppercuts. He goes for a kick, but Metalik catches it and steps into an abdominal stretch variant, Sabre escapes that by grabbing the ropes. Metalik gets sent to the ropes and comes off with a backflip that Sabre avoids, Metalik tries for the springboard elbow now, but Sabre catches him and puts on a modified Dragon sleeper, locking his hands to bend the neck back further and forcing Metalik to get his foot to the ropes.

Sabre stomps on the neck of Metalik, then steps on the back of his head. Sabre works the neck more, grinding his elbow into the neck on a single arm camel clutch, then stepping over into a surfboard, then stepping over the surfboard while still keeping the arms locked and putting all his weight on Gran as Sabre straddles him. OUCH. Metalik manages to get back to his feet as Sabre keeps the surfboard on, Metalik tries to somersault out of it with a two-armed armdrag to Zack, but Sabre pops right up and hits a straight kick to the face of Gran! Running European uppercut to Metalik in the corner! He tries another one, but Gran hits him with a superkick! Reverse sling blade by Metalik, running shooting star press by Gran! 1,2, NO! Metalik looks for the Driver, but Sabre escapes, Gran tries La Magistral but Sabre shifts his weight! 1,2, Metalik reverses and completes the move! 1,2, NO! Sabre reverses an O’Connor roll attempt for a two count. Gran applies a weird looking Octopus lock to Sabre, then sunset flips Zack for two.

Sabre charges into a tilt-a-whirl, but hangs on and puts on a guillotine. Metalik moves that into a Boston Crab and Sabre flips him over, where they do a messy pinfall reversal sequence as Gran gets two. Sabre Jr fires uppercuts from his knees, and when Gran responds with a shot of his own, Sabre fires harder shots. Sabre looks for another, but Metalik catches it and reverses to a lariat for two. Metalik goes for the Driver again, but Sabre escapes and hits him with an uppercut, Metalik follows him off the ropes and hits a superkick. Now the springboard back elbow from Gran hits! 1,2, no! Metalik walks the ropes and comes off….into an uppercut from Zack! Penalty Kick from Sabre! 1,2, NO! They trade shots again from their knees, and again it’s Sabre with the advantage, and he levels Metalik! Sabre jumps on top, but only gets two. Back to their feet for another slugfest, this time it’s Metalik with the advantage. Sabre tries for the half-nelson suplex, but Metalik gets an armdrag to escape, then a kick to the head of Zack.

Gran tries to come off the ropes, but Zack ran to the corner and comes out, jumping on Metalik and applying an Octopus! Gran stands up and walks to the ropes to break. Mauro says that both men are breathing ‘laboriously’, but I gotta say that Sabre barely looks winded. He puts Metalik on the top rope and goes up for the superplex. Metalik tries to fight him off, so Zack puts the cravat on him to put a stop to that, but when he goes to lift Gran up, Metalik grabs Zack and crotches him on the top rope, then ‘ranas him back into the ring! Springboard from the apron by Metalik, but Sabre catches him coming down in a triangle! Metalik manages to flip over into a bridging pin for two to break. Sabre runs at Metalik for the corner, but he gets caught in the fireman’s carry! METALIK DRIVER! 1,2,3! (Gran Metalik over Zack Sabre Jr, pinfall, 13:15)

WORTH WATCHING? – Good and bad stuff here. The match was really well-paced, as they didn’t rest and the whole match flew by as a result. My main criticism is that I’m not totally sure what the story was to this match; in the beginning, they seemed to be trying to establish that Sabre was winning the wrestling battle while Metalik was winning the big moves battle, but the neck stuff really went nowhere, at least in my opinion. There were at least three big slugfests in the match, and while I don’t mind them, I would have preferred just one big one. They kept the Driver strong, as it remains unkickoutable. This one is really close for me; objectively, it’s a good match, so I’ll go with a YES on this one, but I have to say I was hoping for more from the semis. I know that Metalik has to wrestle again tonight and they had to compensate for that; maybe my expectations were too high. The match WAS good.

Post-match, Sabre drops his head as Metalik’s arm is raised. William Regal comes in with a medal for Metalik, commemorating his part in destroying the Death Star. Nah, it just says ‘Finalist’ on it. Interview time, as he thanks the crowd and says that even though he doesn’t know who his opponent will be, and then says a bunch of stuff in Spanish. I’m pretty sure that Sabre’s name was in there.

Meanwhile, in the back, Kota Ibushi and TJ Perkins were watching on monitors. One of them will battle Metalik in the final!

Back to Mauro and Daniel, as they put over the previous match and throw us to a video package for the Cruiserweights’ arrival on Raw this Monday.

In the back now with Gargano and Ciampa, and they say that they’re 100% cleared and ready to go tonight, as they’ll take on Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar. You know, because they figured why not just keep putting on great matches for the hell of it, right?

Back to the ring now, and it’s time for the other semifinal, so play the music of Kota Ibushi! Ranallo runs down his accomplishments while Bryan talks about Kota’s kicks being amongst the most devastating in the entire world. Perkins out now, and he stares at the trophy for a moment before getting in the ring.

Mauro and Bryan are already putting over the idea that Perkins is a huge underdog in this match, and I’ve got a funny feeling in my stomach.

Kota Ibushi vs TJ Perkins – Semi-Final #2

Handshake is accepted. They circle and Perkins gets a front facelock, Ibushi takes him to the ropes to break, and Perkins checks the kick when Kota tries it. TJ with a go behind and we go to the ropes again, again TJ checks the kick from Ibushi. Greco-Roman knucklelock now, and Perkins takes Ibushi down with a single leg into a side headlock. Perkins is wrestling a very cautious match so far. They trade wristlocks into a hammerlock by Ibushi, and now Perkins pushes Kota up against the ropes for a break. Clean break by TJ, and he catches the kick from Kota this time and goes for the kneebar, Ibushi escapes to the ropes. Paying off the story nicely on several levels, as Perkins had Ibushi scouted and the kneebar is his most feared move as Kota went for the ropes immediately to stop it.

They trade wristlocks again, and this time Perkins manages to maneuver out into a headscissors takeover, but he doesn’t dab! Blasphemy. He leaps over into a pin attempt for two, then goes back to the side headlock. Ibushi shoots him off, they run the ropes, and Kota comes off with a big kick! TJ sells it like he’s been blasted with a shotgun, thus paying off his avoiding Kota’s kicks earlier. Kota whips TJ to the ropes, Perkins catches himself and dumps Ibushi on a charge, but Kota immediately jumps back to the apron and catches a charging Perkins with a springboard missile dropkick, sending TJ to the floor! Ibushi runs across the ring to the top rope as Mauro namedrops Low-Ki on WWE television, but TJ counters the moonsault with a kick to the….well, the posterior. Still, Ibushi gets sent to the floor as TJ’s scouting pays off again. Ibushi tries to get back in at a 6 count, but falls off the apron! TJ’s calling for the countout, but Kota makes it back in at 8.

TJ dropkicks Ibushi in the shoulder and covers for two, then slaps on a chinlock. Kota elbows out and nails Perkins with a kick, but TJ is ready for the next one and hits a dragon-screw legwhip. He works the leg of Ibushi and crosses it over in a figure-four position, then applies a front facelock with a double underhook, locking the hands behind Kota. Ibushi gets out and shoves TJ to the corner, burying the shoulder in Perkins. TJ leaps over a charging Ibushi and runs the ropes, but he runs right into a dropkick from Ibushi! Charge by Kota is met with boots to the face, but Ibushi snaps off a ‘rana to send Perkins to the floor in response. Ibushi runs to the corner, springboard moonsault to the floor hits! Ibushi tosses Perkins back in and goes up, missile dropkick to TJ! Cover, 1,2, NO!

Kota charges TJ in the corner, but TJ is ready with a kick! Now TJ charges, but Kota gets a powerslam, then does a forward roll to the corner, springboard moonsault off the second rope….he hit the knees! Perkins slaps on the kneebar! Kota makes the ropes quickly. Perkins charges and takes a shot from Ibushi, but responds with a jumping back kick! Perkins with the fireman’s carry, but Kota slips out and gets a German suplex with a bridge! 1,2, NO! Ibushi starts hitting kicks to TJ now, and the last one sends him to the apron. Ibushi keeps kicking him, over and over, until TJ is just jelly draped on the apron. Ibushi tries for the German suplex from the second rope he did against Kendrick, but TJ elbows out of it.

TJ back in now, and he gets his springboard dropkick to Kota draped on the ropes and goes up, but Ibushi nails him on the top with a Pele kick! Powerbomb attempt by Ibushi is reversed to a DDT by TJ! Inverted lungblower by TJ! 1,2, NO! Ibushi goes for another Pele kick, but TJ catches it and hooks the kneebar! Ibushi backs up on TJ and rolls through, big strike by Kota! They trade palm strikes! They trade kicks to the midsection! Ibushi got the best of that one and hoists him up; Golden Star powerbomb! 1,2, NO!!!! Perkins kicks out of the powerbomb! Crowd goes BONKERS for that. Ibushi can’t believe it. He lays TJ out and goes up….

“Ibushi….misses with the Phoenix splash! The H20 was drained from the pool!”

Thanks, Mauro! They slug it out and Ibushi misses a kick, Perkins with the Benadryller! He goes for a wheelbarrow, but Ibushi stops his momentum and drops him on his head and shoulders! 1,2, NO! Crowd is on the verge of losing their minds with every kickout here. Roundhouse kick to the head by Ibushi! He gets him up for another powerbomb, but Perkins goes over the top and rolls through a sunset flip into the kneebar! Ibushi tries to stand out of it, but Perkins cinches it tighter and crosses the leg! Ibushi still won’t quit! Perkins leans forward and puts his hands underneath Ibushi’s chin and pulls back while keeping the kneebar on! Ibushi……TAPS!!! (TJ Perkins over Kota Ibushi, submission, 14:52)

WORTH WATCHING? – Yeah, there’s no way that the Finals are topping that one. Period. YES, this one is going to probably be the match of the night and one of the best in the entire event, with a shocking upset on top of it all. How much did I enjoy this match? Well, I liked the beginning, as TJ tried to stay away from the feet of Ibushi and did his damndest to counter all of Kota’s signature stuff; later in the match, they proceeded to the big kickouts that popped the crowd and worked because they had built the match on a solid foundation up to that point. The selling wasn’t much to write home about, but Bryan and Ranallo got over Ibushi’s repaired neck well enough to make the final submission look badass, as Perkins needed just a little more to beat Kota, but he still finished with a kneebar variant to keep the move strong. Exquisitely paced match, just well done stuff. It was Ibushi at half-speed, sure, but TJ did an excellent job of keeping up with him.

Perkins celebrates like he just won the tournament (which he probably did), while Kota puts his hands over his head on the mat. Ibushi raises the hand of Perkins and leaves the ring as the crowd chants “Thank you Kota!” while Regal comes in and hangs the Finalist medal on Perkins. Perkins gives the post-match interview, saying that he went into the tournament thinking that he just had to win one, then win one more. If he focuses a little more, he’ll be ready for the Finals.

In the back, Metalik is being iced up, but he’s been watching.

We’re with Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar in the back. What’s their gameplan for Gargano & Ciampa? Dar: “The gameplan? We only need to be on the same page for the 1,2,3.” Alexander agrees, saying they’re going to show why they’re some of the best on the planet.

Sasha Banks is here! You can see Izzy behind her. Kalisto is standing next to her, along with Rich Swann, Jack Gallagher, and Bayley!

And there’s the music of Noam Dar! He’s followed by Cedric Alexander, before the music of Ciampa & Gargano hits. As I am an ROH fanboy, I must once again state that ROH had Cedric Alexander for almost FIVE YEARS and couldn’t figure out what to do with him. It still blows my mind, truly.

Cedric Alexander & Noam Dar vs Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa

Handshakes all around are accepted. Ciampa and Cedric start, and a lockup turns into both guys running the ropes. Cedric gets a ‘rana on Ciampa, but misses a dropkick when Ciampa hooks the top rope. Ciampa runs the ropes now and runs….right into another dropkick by Alexander. Whoops. Tags to Gargano and Dar now, and they trade a few slick reversals until Gargano chops Noam down. More reversals on the mat now, as Dar takes him over with a bodyscissors into a sunset flip, but Johnny escapes into a rolling crucifix for two. Dar slides through the legs of Johnny after he gets sent to the corner, but Gargano turns and hits him with a knee to the face.

Tag back to Ciampa, who puts Noam in a reverse cravat. He hits a knee to the face of Dar, but Noam gets a dragon-screw to escape to the corner and tag in Cedric. Alexander comes in with a running kick to Gargano on the apron, then clotheslines to Ciampa. Ciampa reverses an Irish whip on Cedric, so Alexander just does a handspring off the ropes into a reverse kick on Ciampa! Cedric with a head of steam, tope con hilo onto Ciampa on the outside! JESUS ROH, WHAT THE F---? HOW DO YOU LET THIS GUY WALK? Alexander back on the apron, he hits Get Over Here on Ciampa! (Used by a wrestler named ACH in Ring of Honor, the wrestler leaps through the middle rope and hits a flatliner on the other wrestler by shifting his weight.) 1,2, Ciampa grabs the bottom rope!

Waistlock by Cedric, Ciampa with a nasty back elbow to break it. Alexander hangs on and tries for a handspring off the ropes again, but Ciampa hits a basement dropkick to Cedric’s face! Tag to Gargano, and he comes in with forearms and a belly to belly throw on Cedric, sending him to the corner and a tag to Dar. He runs at Gargano, but gets sent to the apron and Gargano levels him with a jumping kick! Ciampa is on the floor and puts Dar in an electric chair, Gargano runs across to the apron, superkick by Johnny Wrestling to Dar, sending him tumbling to the apron and then the floor! Alexander comes in with an elbow to Johnny and Cedric runs the ropes, looking to fly, Gargano with the spear back into the ring! 1,2, NO! Gargano puts Cedric on the top rope, but Cedric blocks and shoves Johnny off, Gargano turns, HUGE Michinoku Driver by Cedric! 1,2, NO! My GOD, he got him in the air.

Tag to Dar and they look to doubleteam Johnny, but Gargano sends a charging Cedric to the floor, then avoids Noam to tag in Ciampa. Ciampa comes in and hits a running knee to Alexander on the apron, but Dar catches him with a kick to the leg immediately after. Noam with a dropkick in the corner for two. Ciampa fires back with knees to the face, then a big strike and a jumping knee to Dar. Ciampa tosses his elbow pad at Dar and looks for the discus elbow, but Alexander comes flying in off the top rope with a clothesline to Tomasso! Gargano comes in and takes a kick from Dar, but hits an enzuigiri off the ropes to put a stop to that. Jumping knee from Cedric takes out Gargano, but Alexander turns around into a discus lariat that turns him inside-out from Ciampa, and everyone is down. Crowd is RABID for this ‘cool-down’ match.

Gargano and Dar get proper tags and they clothesline each other as they enter the ring. They slug it out, which Dar wins with uppercuts, but he stops to do his pose and Johnny just LEVELS him in the back of the head. That was gross. Irish whip by Johnny, Dar turns that into a dropkick to Ciampa on the apron. Johnny attempts his roll-up into a kick, but Dar is ready and catches the leg in an ankle lock, then the kneebar! He stomps away at the back of Gargano, but Ciampa comes in with stomps to the head of Dar to break it up. Ciampa puts Dar on the top rope with chops, then goes for a top rope Air Raid Crash, but Dar slips out and traps Ciampa’s head against the buckle.

Leaping big boot to Johnny on the apron by Dar, then a blind tag to Cedric as he comes off the ropes, tope suicida by Noam to Johnny! Cedric comes in with a running kick to the upside-down head of Ciampa in the corner, then a brainbuster by Alexander! 1,2, NO! Spinning heel kick by Cedric to the head of Tomasso! 1,2,….3? It sure LOOKED like 3 to me. The ref says that Ciampa got his shoulder up, though, and we continue. Mauro and Bryan both thought it was three. Tag to Dar by Cedric, and they look to double-team Ciampa, but Cedric gets sent to the floor off a charge, then Dar misses his and hits the top buckle. Tag to Johnny, superkick to Dar! Cedric springboard in, but Gargano and Ciampa hit him with a superkick/knee strike combo to take him out of the equation. Gargano gets Dar on his shoulders with a running start, lawn dart to the second buckle by Johnny Wrestling! Tag to Ciampa, superkick/knee strike combo to the head of Dar by Ciampa and Gargano! 1,2,3! (Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa over Noam Dar & Cedric Alexander, pinfall, 9:48)

WORTH WATCHING? – Hey, if you put 4 really good wrestlers in the ring, they can have a hell of a match! Who knew? Fast-paced action all the way through, with some brutal shots and chances for everyone to shine. YES, this one is definitely worth the 10 minutes of your life. This was fun tag wrestling, and a way to show that Ciampa and Gargano are back on the same page. Man, when Ciampa turns on him, it’s gonna be nuts.

Post-match, Mauro says that Johnny Gargano’s fiancee can rest easy, because he’s bringing home the winner’s purse tonight. Okay, does anyone know WHY we can’t say Candice LeRae’s name? She doesn’t work for TNA or anything, why exactly do they keep referring to her mysteriously? It’s happened more than once recently and I don’t get it, I really don’t; Mauro namedrops dudes who work for NJPW all the time, so it’s not like they don’t acknowledge that other wrestlers exist outside the WWE. Ciampa and Gargano face the camera and make the motion to the Revival that they want the belts!

We’re back with Bryan and Mauro, who talk up the tournament so far, and Bryan talks about cardio being a huge factor in the finals. They welcome William Regal to the booth, and Regal talks about finding the wrestlers for the CWC from around the world. Regal got to see Tiger Mask before he was Tiger Mask! He puts over the two finalists, and puts over the ability of all the competitors. Mauro thanks Regal, then talks to Bryan about people’s lives being changed through the tournament, and how it’s bittersweet that the cruisers are heading to Raw, bringing in Corey Graves. Nice tie, Corey. His favorite thing about the CWC was Kendrick; I think it’s mine, too. We see video from the matches earlier tonight, and it’s time for the Finals!

A shot of the trophy, and there’s the music of TJ Perkins! He does his flip into the ring….and nearly slips. Whoops. Gran Metalik is out next, with Mauro dropping some rapid-fire history of CMLL into his entrance. Crowd is SOLIDLY behind Metalik during the handshake, and it looks like we’re set to go…..but by GAWD, that’s Triple H’s music! He comes out to the ring and immediately stops the show to cut a promo explaining his actions on Raw a few weeks ago.

No, he doesn’t. He tells us that tonight, we’re here to make history; we started with 32, now there are 2 of the best in the world. But we’re not looking for two, we’re looking for one. We’re looking for the one who will be the winner of the FIRST (He emphasizes the world ‘first’ here while looking in the camera) Cruiserweight Classic. And even more importantly than that, we’re looking for the one (he pulls a belt out of a bag) that will go to Raw on Monday as the NEW Cruiserweight Champion!

MAN, that belt is FUGLY, yo. I’m pretty sure that my local fed’s title belt is better looking than that monstrosity.

HHH shows the belt to both guys and shakes their hands, then exits to chants of “Thank you, Hunter!” You know what? Me too. ‘Cause I’m damn sure that this thing wouldn’t be happening if Vince were still the only idea man, so thanks, HHH. I mean it. The ref holds up the title belt, and rings the bell!

TJ Perkins vs Gran Metalik – Finals match

We start off with an armwringer reversal sequence off a lockup, with Perkins in control. Snapmare takeover by Metalik into a crucifix, but TJ escapes easily and we have a stalemate. Knucklelock and Metalik takes him down to the mat, but Perkins gets back to his feet and gets the headscissors takeover. Metalik gets back to his feet and presses TJ’s shoulders to the mat, TJ takes him over again, Metalik counters to a headscissors of his own now. TJ gets a Boston Crab on the escape, then grabs the arms of Metalik to put the full rocking hold on. Perkins floats over into a pin attempt for two. These guys are exhausted out there, but they’re pacing the match accordingly, giving themselves time to work through it.

Side headlock takeover by TJ, Metalik back to his feet, Perkins takes him down again. He needed to muscle Gran over there. Metalik gets back to his feet and shoots him off, and they run the ropes with their respective tumbling routines, and Perkins gets a headscissors lock on Metalik. Drop toehold by Perkins, who transitions into the Mutalock from that. Metalik makes the ropes to break and rolls out. Perkins springs to the apron, but gets his legs taken out from under him by a Metalik dropkick. Metalik back in and he runs the ropes, tope suicida to TJ on the outside! Replay shows that Bryan is right, they definitely knocked noggins there. Metalik tosses Perkins back in, Gran goes up and walks the top rope, springboard senton bomb from Metalik! 1,2, NO!

Metalik crosses the legs of Perkins in a figure-four position, then puts Perkins in a surfboard, putting his foot against TJ’s back for more pressure. TJ finally manages to free an arm to make the ropes. Big chop by Metalik in the corner, and he sends TJ to the other corner. TJ does a handstand on the top rope, then catches Metalik coming in with a headscissors takeover. TJ goes up, springs off with a ‘rana that takes Metalik over the top and to the floor! Perkins tosses Metalik back in, then springs in with a senton for two. Snapmare and a dropkick to the back of the head by TJ gets two. Perkins goes to an underhook on the mat with an elbow pressed to the side of Metalik’s head, but Gran reaches out with his foot and makes the ropes. Sideslam by TJ for two.

TJ wraps the arm of Metalik into a hammerlock using the leg, then applies the chinlock. Man, these dudes are TIRED. I can’t blame them, but still. Suplex by TJ and he pops the hips to look for the belly-to-back, but Metalik lands on his feet, where a European uppercut by TJ sends Gran to the corner. Metalik alley-oops TJ to the apron, but TJ hits him with a palm strike. TJ takes too long out there, though, and Metalik comes flying across the ring, jumping over the top rope and hitting a ‘rana to the floor! DAMN. That was sweet. Metalik back in the ring now, he runs for a big tope con hilo….and almost misses Perkins COMPLETELY, taking a flat bump to the floor while his arm barely grazed TJ. I honestly thought he was injured there, he took that move flat on his back. That was terrifying.

Metalik gets TJ back in, springboard elbowdrop! 1,2, NO! Metalik tries for a splash in the corner, TJ moves! Spinning back kick by Perkins! Perkins with a whip, Metalik walks the ropes and hits a dropkick! Running shooting star press by Metalik misses! Perkins gets the kneebar! TJ tries to cross the leg, but Gran makes the ropes to force the break. Perkins stands Metalik up, kick to the leg! Again! TJ goes for it a third time, Metailk with a huge overhand chop! They slug it out, Perkins with a jumping kick to Metalik! TJ off the ropes, superkick by Gran! Metalik off the ropes, Perkins dropkicks the knee! Sort of, pretty sure there was a lot of air there. Perkins jumps at Metalik in the corner, but eats the buckle when Gran moves. Superkick by Metalik! Metalik goes for the Driver, TJ counters into the Benadryller, Metalik counters into a DDT. 1,2, NO! Metalik goes up, moonsault hits the feet of Perkins! Reverse lungblower by Perkins! 1,2, Metalik kicks out but TJ transitions into the kneebar! TJ pulls him back to the center, but he can’t cross the leg. He tries again, rollup by Gran! 1,2, NO!

Metalik puts TJ on his shoulder, Metalik Driver! But he hurt his knee on the way down and can’t cover! Finally, he manages to drape an arm over TJ, 1,2, NO! Metalik hits Perkins with strikes from his knees, then a big overhand chop! Gran goes for the Driver again, but Perkins gets an armdrag out of it, sending Metalik to the ropes. Springboard dropkick to the apron by Perkins! Perkins goes up, but Metalik hits him with a kick to stun him. Metalik goes to the top and he wants a SUPER Metalik Driver, but Perkins manages to escape it and trip Gran when he comes down! Perkins with the kneebar again! TJ fights for it and manages to cross the leg this time, wrenching it in! Metalik is reaching for the ropes, reaching…..Metalik taps! It’s over! (TJ Perkins over Gran Metalik, submission, 17:49)

WORTH WATCHING? – Oy. Let’s talk about it. First and foremost, these guys were clearly exhausted out there. There was more standing around between moves, a few that all but missed, and some of it was unsafe; that tope con hilo to the outside was crazy and could have injured Metalik seriously. The transitions were awkward in a lot of spots too, and I personally didn’t think they meshed very well. It was a decent enough match, to be sure, and I’d hate to say no to the tournament final…..but it had real problems. That having been said, the focus on the knee from TJ was good, and the fact that they had already wrestled once was part of the story, so I can work with it. I’ll go with a mild YES, this was above average and worth watching, but if you have to pick, Ibushi/Perkins is just better. I think this match was the poster child for why they should have split the semis and finals up; they should have done it like NJPW does the BOSJ, where the other competitors wrestle on the undercard and both guys are fresh for the big finale. That’s the smart way to handle this.

Post-match, Perkins has a nasty bruise forming on his shoulder with the welts looking like he broke some blood vessels. Highlights from the match are shown, then back to live action, as TJ gets his hand raised, then HHH straps the belt on him. Perkins and Metalik exchange a hug, then Metalik raises TJ’s hand. HHH and Regal are next to raise TJ’s hands, and TJ looks emotional as hell.

Interview time! TJ says that on his necklace, he always keeps a key that was the last place he lived before he was evicted and had to live on the street; he kept it as a reminder that it was a place that he couldn’t go back to. Now, he feels like he doesn’t need it anymore, because he knows he’ll never have to go back there. Aw, now that’s a good promo and a good line by TJ. TJ says that during that time, he searched for inspiration, and it was his heroes that wrestled that were that inspiration; now, he wants to be the inspiration, and it feels good.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, your Crusierweight Classic Champion, TJ Perkins!”

The confetti hits the air as Mauro and Daniel take us out.

“On this night, how do you spell history? T.J.P.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: Yeah, the show was great and totally worth watching.

I don’t have much here, except to thank each and every one of you. This has been an incredibly fun two and a half months; I really love cruiserweight wrestling and have for years. One of the first tapes that I ever traded for back in the tape-trading days was the ’94 Super J-Cup, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since.

To each of you who read these recaps, left a comment, or took a moment out of your day to even just skim the match recaps, thank you so much. I love wrestling and I love to write about wrestling, so this was a joy. And knowing that people cared enough to give me a click makes it all the better.

You can still find me recapping Ring of Honor every week and continuing to wonder why in the world they let Cedric Alexander go.

THE BOD BRACKET CHALLENGE:

No one got anything right this week, as both Cult and Ripner predicted a Sabre Jr/Ibushi final. So the point totals remain tied from last week, and we go to the tiebreak, which was the bell to bell match time of the Finals; your winner, with a predicted match time of 16:00…..

CULTSTATUS! Congrats, Cult. Enjoy the bragging rights.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter