The John Report: WWE Cruiserweight Classic 09/07/16 Review – Week 9 of 10

TJR Wrestling

There was a video letting us know about the two matches coming up this week: Sabre vs. Dar and Swann vs. Perkins.

The Cruiserweight Class intro video aired.

If you have missed any of my reviews so far, here’s a link to my reviews of every episode of the Cruiserweight Classic up to this point.

The announce team of Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan welcomed us to the show. They’re excited just like they are every week. So am I.

The video package started with Sabre Jr. saying his journey has been difficult so far, but it’s tested him the right way. He’s there to win and he feels like with his style he can beat anybody in this tournament. Noam Dar said he’s had a unique situation so far with guys from different parts of the continent. He said he’s trying to make an impression, but he knows it’s a tournament and he’s there to win.

Sabre made his entrance first. He beat Drew Gulak last round to advance into the quarterfinals. Dar beat Hoho Lun in the last round. Ranallo noted Sabre and Dar have known eachother for eight years and they are close friends.

Quarterfinals: Zack Sabre Jr. (England) vs. Noam Dar (Scotland)

They did some mat wrestling early on. Dar avoided a Sabre charge with a dropkick to the knee. Dar worked over the left leg, but then Sabre worked over the left arm and he stepped on it. Dar was able to knock down Sabre when he was by the ropes. It led to Dar working on the left leg a bit. Sabre wrenched on the injured arm of Dar. Uppercuts by Sabre. Each guy got a couple of nearfalls as they did a quick pinning sequence. Dar delivered with an uppercut. Sabre came back with a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Dar with a kick to the knee, enziguri kick to the head and a Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Sabre was able to avoid a submission move by striking the left arm of Dar. Sabre with a running kick for a two count. Great job of selling by Sabre as he looked like he was in pain after hitting the move. Dar powered out of a submission attempt, he nailed a kick to the knee and then a bicycle kick by Dar. Suicide dive by Dar sent Sabre out of the ring. Back in the ring, Dar nailed a running corner dropkick for a two count. Good nearfall there.

Sabre went for a submission, but Dar countered into a knee bar submission. Sabre got out of it and Dar went for the submission again. Sabre came back with an armbar and then he did the pinfall that he used to beat Drew Gulak in the last round, but Dar was able to kick out of it. Dar was able to counter a Sabre move into a backslide cover for a two count. Sabre got in some strikes, then an armbar, Dar went for a cover, Sabre went to the armbar again and Dar was able to get to the ropes. Sabre missed a knee attack off the ropes, Dar kicked him in the leg to knock him down and then Dar did a double knee attack into the left leg. Sabre avoided another attack, but Dar got a knee bar submission again. He went for a knee submission, but they both rolled out to the floor. Sabre was dealing with an arm injury when he landed. They exchanged strikes on the floor and Sabre got back in before the ten count. That was a cool near finish as well. Dar wrenched the arm of Sabre to pull him down. Sabre came back with a boot to the face, Dar with a bicycle kick. Sabre used his own legs to wrap Dar’s arms behind him, then he used some headbutts and Dar gave up. Sabre wins by submission after 16 minutes.

Winner by submission: Zack Sabre Jr.

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good and unique technical wrestling match. Both guys are proficient at using submission moves and they showed it. I liked how they each picked a body part, kept going at it relentlessly and it factored into the finish. There weren’t that many nearfalls in the match, yet they told a great story with the near submissions. Sabre got the win as expected, but I’m really impressed by how good Dar is since he’s only 23 years old (Sabre is 28). Sabre has found a way to win his matches using a different move every time, which shows how creative he is in terms of using cool looking moves. That finishing move looked so painful. It was a rare move that makes Sabre stand out as a technical wrestling master. He has certainly lived up to his reputation.

The win by Sabre means that he’s facing Gran Metalik in the semifinals next week.

Post match, both guys were selling pain after it was over. They talked in the ring and they hugged.

Commercial for WWE Backlash this Sunday.

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Back in the CWC Control Center, Corey Graves talked about the next match.

A video package aired about TJ Perkins with him saying he considers himself the best cruiserweight in the tournament. He said you have to have that confidence. He talked about how making it this far is motivating. Rick Swann said he was motivated to give the people want they want – entertainment. He said that the pressure’s real and when the pressure is on, that’s when people get the best of Rich Swann. Swann added that it feels amazing to get this far and he’s proven that dreams come true no matter what is put in your path.

Analysis: Two of my five favorite guys in the tournament. Looking forward to this one, which is the last quarterfinal match.

Rich Swann made his entrance first. He has a lot of crowd support and shows a lot of charisma as soon as he gets out there. Swann beat Lince Dorado in the last round with Phoenix Splash for the win. TJ Perkins received a pretty good reaction too. Perkins beat Gargano in the last round in one of the best matches of the tournament so far.

Quarterfinals: TJ Perkins (Philippines) vs. Rich Swann (United States)

The crowd was behind Swann singing the “Can you handle this?” song as Ranallo noted these two guys are very good friends. Perkins did a headscissors takeover, then did a Dab taunt, but then Swann grounded him with his legs around the head of Perkins. When Perkins got out of it, he did another Dab taunt with Swann looking at him with a shocked look on his face. Swann used his speed to connect with some arm drags, then he did some dancing of his own including a Dab taunt of his own. The crowd cheered loudly for that. Perkins looked frustrated. They went into a slugfest, Perkins tripped him up and Swann got to the ropes. The intensity was picking up. Swann with a perfect dropkick sent Perkins to the floor. Swann kick on the apron, he went for a moonsault on the floor, but Perkins moved and Swann landed on his left leg. Perkins with a springboard dropkick over the top rope. Both guys were down, but Perkins rolled him back in. Perkins hit a senton splash over the top as he favored a back injury. Perkins with a regular suplex into a back suplex for two. Swann with a spinning hook kick, Perkins avoided a dropkick and then Perkins slammed the left knee into the mat. Perkins applied a leg bar submission as he grounded Swann. Perkins wrenched the knee into a more painful submission.

Back to their feet, Perkins missed a corner splash. Swann with a neckbreaker and Bryan commented that Perkins was moving slow because of the rib injury. Swann with a running kick in the corner followed by a jumping DDT for a two count. Bryan noted that Swann didn’t have his usual vertical leap when he hit that move. Perkins came back with a neckbreaker, then Perkins picked him up and dropped him down with a double knee attack to the chest. They battled on the top rope, Swann sent Perkins crashing to the floor, then Perkins got back up with a punch to the face and a springboard Frankensteiner by Perkins. That was impressive. Perkins was on the top rope, but Swann came back with a headscissors takedown. Rolling thunder by Swann, then a cartwheel into a moonsault for a two count. Kick to the head by Swann. Swann with a Michinoku Driver like slam for a two count. Really good nearfall there. Swann went for his standing 450, but Perkins grabbed a knee bar submission. Swann grabbed the rope to break the hold because he was close to the ropes. They’re at 15 minutes now. Perkins went for a move, but Swann got a rollup for two. Swann with a Tiger Driver powerbomb into a bridging pinfall for two with Swann selling the knee as he’s doing the pin. Perkins connected with a spinning hook kick, but then Swann came back with a hard kick of his own. The referee was tending to Swann as he collapsed with the leg injury. Perkins with a fierman’s carry into the Pele Kick. Perkins with a knee bar submission. Swann tried to fight it, but then he tapped out after 18 minutes.

Winner by submission: TJ Perkins

Immediately after the match, Perkins went up to Swann’s face to check if he was okay. Bryan put over Perkins for the great show of sportsmanship there.

Analysis: ***3/4 Great match. That was a long match that was easy to get into early on. It slowed a bit as Perkins worked on the knee to tell the main story of the match. They really picked up the pace towards the end. Swann did an awesome job of selling the knee. Perkins kept on working on the knee relentlessly and it paid off for the finish of the match. It was the third match that Perkins won by submission, so it shows how diverse of a wrestler he is because he’s more than just a high flyer. I mentioned it a few times during the match that Swann was excellent in terms of selling the knee injury the entire match. It played into the finish so well. People probably thought of Swann as just a high flying wrestler, but he showed he’s a whole lot more in this match. I was really impressed by Swann in this match. Perkins is a guy I’ve seen for many years and know how great he is, which he proved again in this match. I like his style a lot. I’d love to see this match again because they have a lot of chemistry.

After Perkins was announced as the winner, they hugged in the ring.

With the win, Perkins moves on to the semifinals against Kota Ibushi.

On another Perkins related note, he joined us on the TJRWrestling Podcast this week and talked with us for an hour. He’s a great guy and it was an insightful discussion. Click here to listen to it.


Looking Ahead To Next Week

A final video aired promoting the live semifinals and finals show that will air next Wednesday September 14 on WWE Network. It’s a two-hour show starting at 9pmET.

The final matches in the tournament will be Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Gran Metalik and Kota Ibushi vs. TJ Perkins. The winners of those matches move on to the finals to end the show.


Final Thoughts

It was an awesome show like usual. The first match was more of a submission based technical match. The second match had the submission aspect to it as well, but there were more believable nearfalls. I liked the story in that match a bit more.

I’m interested in how the finals are going to go. Ibushi and Sabre Jr. were the favorites going in, but as of now the word is neither guy has committed to a WWE deal at this point while Metalik and Perkins are starting on the Raw Cruiserweight division in less than two weeks. It could mean Perkins beats Ibushi and Sabre to win or Metalik does. I don’t really know. I’m intrigued to find out what may happen.

I plan on writing about the Cruiserweight Classic finals live next week on so join me for the live coverage or check it out after the show is over.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays.

John Canton –

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