We get a highlight video of cruiserweight athletes in WWE and WCW history while HHH narrates over clips of the modern-era guys who will be in this tournament. Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan are shown at ringside and have their respective nations underneath their names. Corey is in the CWC control center running down tonight’s card. Hoho Lun faces Ariya Daivari, Clement Petiot faces Cedric Alexander, Sean Maluta faces Kota Ibushi and Gran Metalik faces Alejandra Saez. Metalik is Mascara Dorada of CMLL, and he says his mask proudly represents Mexico. Saez is from Chile and says he wants to show that Chileans are hardened warriors. Gran Metalik comes out in gorgeous red and gold gear while Bryan puts over him competing in one of wrestling’s oldest promotions. Saez has white and blue shorts somewhat like Tanahashi’s gear only without the fancy designs throughout it. Mauro says that he supports himself being a web designer and a graphic designer. The ref gives them instructions to shake hands and ring the bell.
They tie up and Bryan says he loves seeing guys shake hands to start. Metalik eats some shots as Saez plays heel a bit. Metalik goes for a monkey flip, but Saez avoids it and hits a basement dropkick for 2. Saez hits a springboard dropkick for 2. Metalik hits a superkick and a springboard dropkick sending Saez to the floor. He hops up to the second rope, then the third for a step-up standing swanton. Metalik gets 2 off a ropewalk splash. Metalik flips to the apron, but eats a kick to the ribs to send him down to the floor where he eats a shooting star press off the apron! A spiral tap misses for Saez and a Cradle Shock wins it for Metalik!
Bryan talks about how no on knew about Saez before this match, but now, they know who he is. We get a UFC-style post-match hand raise and his nation’s flag plays on the LED boards near the posts. We get a shot of updated brackets and find out that Lun faces Daivari next. Ariya talks about how his brother wrestled in WWE, while he will do whatever it takes to win. Lun says he is from Hong Kong and how he is going against Hong Kong culture by not going for an office job and saying he will make everyone proud by winning the tournament.
Lun gets a fairly epic theme and easily the best one used so far. Mauro talks about how Lun thought he was training in wrestling for a year before he found out he was training in judo, and eventually founded the first pro wrestling promotion in Hong Kong. Daivari gets another great theme and is playing heel here. Mauro says that Daivari says he was the best wrestler in Minnesota, and with names like Flair, Gagne, and Hennig there, it speaks volumes about how he sees himself. Daivari refuses to adhere to the code of honor here.
Daivari wins a tieup and shoulderblocks him down. Lun hits a huge dropkick that has a ton of spring in it at chest-level – looks great. Lun lands a basement dropkick to the neck for 2. Daivari ducks under a lariat and hits a flying neckbreaker for 1. Daivari sends him into the buckle but misses a stinger splash. A big knee strike hits and Daivari gets 2. Daivari punches him down and lands a running knee to the back and locks on a chinlock while Mauro talks about how Lun was influenced by Kenta Kobashi and Misawa. Lun tries to escape, but eats a knee and a tornado kick gets 2. Lun eats a slap, but lands a spinkick!
Lun is tossed into the buckle and lands a springboard dropkick. Lun goes for a German, but Daivari avoids it and lands a discus elbow. A frog splash misses for Daivari, and leads to a big knee strike and kneeling superkick for 2. The German suplex with a slick bridge wins – Lun made himself a star here in one match. He speaks English very well, has a great theme, a solid look, and is excellent. He’s someone WWE should bring in, and if they don’t, then he would be a huge asset for ROH or an asset to be wasted in the X Division in TNA. Cedric faces Petiot next.
Petiot says he was trained by Lance Storm and he doesn’t do flips – he wrestles. Cedric says he’s from Charlotte, NC and says he wants to be someone you think of when you think of Charlotte – like Ric Flair. Petiot has a fairly no-frills approach to his gear – black shorts and kickpats, with a black vest hoodie. Mauro says that Petiot has a master’s degree in sports legislation, but gave it up to train with Lance. Cedric gets a nice pop coming out and Mauro tells us that Cedric’s pastor told him he would fail at pro wrestling.
Crowd cheers huge for Cedric and we get a handshake – but only as a means of intimidation for Petiot. Lots of armlocks lead to an ankle trip and armdrags by Cedric. Backflip headscissors by Cedric leads to a big dropkick for 2. Cedric goes for an outside-in tackle, but eats a knee to the face. Petiot lands shoulders to the gut in the corner and clubs him down for 1. Floatover snap suplex gets 2 for Petiot. A powerhouse gutwrench suplex gets 2 for Petiot.
Petiot lands a sick kneeling elbow to the neck and then a high kick before a pounce and a running knee gets 2. They exchange elbows, but Petiot has a height edge being on his feet and takes him down. He goes for a punt, but Cedric snaps his neck on the rope and lands a springboard Hart Attack! Corner to corner forearms by Cedric lead to a discus lariat by Petiot getting 2! Cedric hits the Lumbar Check for the win!
We get a Tale of the Tape for Ibushi vs. Maluta. We get RevPro clips of Ibushi being amazing and saying he’s here to show his skills. Maluta says he’s from Staten Island and his uncle is Afa. He says being in the dynasty can be intimidating, but it’s what he wants. Mauro hypes up Maluta’s savate kicks and Ibushi comes out in a new Golden Star NXT shirt. His theme is pretty good – not on par with “Golden Star” though. Bryan talks about meeting him in 2008 backstage and being amazed at how hard he kicks.
Ibushi is hyped up as a man who has beaten Low-Ki and Finn Balor and he lands a nice leg kick. Ibushi’s matches with AJ and Nakamura are hyped up, and I’m slightly amazed Mauro isn’t referencing New Japan World here. They exchange matwork and Bryan says Ibushi thought about getting into K1. Maluta runs right into a roundhouse kick to the chest. A “Kota’s Gonna Kill You” chant breaks out. Maluta hits a corner forearm, but misses a corner splash.
A springboard missile dropkick lands and then he tosses him with a huge suplex. Bryan hypes up Ibushi’s Tokyo Dome experience and Maluta hits a super codebreaker. Maluta hits a flip dive to the floor and catches the rope a bit on the way out. He seems fine, but that was terrifying. Maluta lands a pair of kicks and then a neckbreaker for 2. Ibushi eats kicks and then lands a super-high dropkick. Mauro hypes up that dropkick as being worthy of Kazuchika Okada. A KENTA combo leads to a roundhouse kick to the chest and then a standing moonsault gets 2.
Ibushi goes for a superplex, but Maluta pushes him down hard. Ibushi recovers with a huge Pele kick! Ibushi hits the triangle moonsault to the floor! Kota goes for the half-nelson suplex, but Maluta elbows out and hits the savate kick for 2! Maluta gets some Kawada kicks, but misses the last one and eats a Cro Cop high kick before the sitout Last Ride ends it! Next week, Akira Tozawa debuts in the tournament!
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Tags: Cruiserweight Classic, Kota Ibushi, WWE