And then there were four.
The WWE Cruiserweight Classic has been quite the ride thus far. Last week, the quarterfinals began, this week they ended. Eight stars, four matches, determining who would go on to take it all next week in the semi-finals and finals of the tournament. With WWE going live on the network to wrap it up, it’s pretty damn exciting to think about.
But that’s next week. This is this week. And boy, what a week it was. If I could think of one word or phrase to describe this week, it’s “brotherhood.”
If I had to come up with another, it’s “attack the leg.”
Zack Sabre Jr. and Noam Dar clashed in the first match of the night. Both men work a submission-based style, both men wrestle out of the UK, and they are by no means strangers. Throughout the match, Mauro Ranallo spoke of their friendship, mentorship, and overall relationship. It wasn’t just a passing mention either, as both men have wrestled each other previously, knew each other well, and continuously countered each other.
The focus throughout the match was on body parts. Noam Dar seemed to have Sabre’s number as he continuously worked the knee throughout, and an opening even gave him a chance to work the arm too, but perhaps that was not the best way to go.
Overall, this was easily Dar’s best performance in the tournament to date. I’m not sure if something just clicked, or if it was a result of working with Sabre Jr. The pace seemed more comfortable to him – methodical, calculated, patient. And for me, I found it enjoyable overall, but I wasn’t surprised when Zack Sabre Jr. picked up the win after a sick looking Rings of Saturn-like move to put Dar away. After the match, the two hugged in a nice show of sportsmanship and friendship, both men selling the effects of the match.
With ZSJ’s win, it places him in the semi-finals against Gran Metalik, which should be an entertaining match.
Next up, Rich Swann took on TJ Perkins. One again, the announcers hyped up their friendship and knowledge of each other. This was a much faster-paced match, not surprisingly. The two had a few standoffs after some nice exchanges, and Swann even took a shot at Perkins for his “dab” dance moves.
More fast and furious action between the two, with a number impressive reversal sequences. A crash and burn by Swann to the floor seemed to injure his leg however, and thus begins TJP’s attack on the knee. Perkins continued to focus on the leg, ultimately causing Swann to tap out, and immediately he released the hold to check on his friend in a touching moment.
Both men pushed each other to their limits, and told a fine tale about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, especially at the end. It was a fine way to wrap up the match, and I’m looking forward to watching Perkins take on Kota Ibushi next week.
So we have the final four remaining – Zack Sabre Jr., TJ Perkins, Gran Metalik, and Kota Ibushi. I am expecting to see three very good matches next week, and who knows what else is in store for the two-hour live special. Perhaps we’ll get an exhibition match to give us a tease for Raw the following week? I guess we’ll have to tune in to find out!