NWK Reviews WWE Crusierweight Classic Episode 2 (SLATER VS TAJIRI)

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NWK Reviews WWE Crusierweight Classic Episode 2 (SLATER VS TAJIRI)

Post by NWK2000 » Aug 19th, '19, 14:53

July 20, 2016, Orlando Florida

Pre-show stuff: Mauro congratulates D-Bry on becoming Smackdown GM, but D-Bry quickly defers to the show at hand. The guys and Corey pimp the reception the CWC has gotten. This was a great semi-cold open, that felt like real sports, that I wish would happen more often. Corey throws to

Night 1 video package: GREAT

Tajiri makes his entrance and we get.
Damien Slater video package: Odd. They have to pad his with workout footage. He also has a babyface story, but his mannerisms and verbage come across as heel. Plus, he might have the douchiest entrance theme in the entire tournament.

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CWC Round 1 Match
Tajiri vs Damien Slater

We get a "young technical wizard vs wily veteran" flourish early, when Slater takes control but Tajiri steps outside the ropes to reverse the hold. Arn Anderson would be proud. Slater is the first person to do a shoulder block and not stare at them. Everything Slater does is smooth but it's no match for Tajiri's strikes and technical know how. Some sloppy dropkicks give way to some Tajiri kicks and great technical wrestling. Even during a dive, Slater has the knowledge to sell his arm. Tajiri grabs the wrist as they're entering the ring, and Slater's attempts to remedy the situation are countered, but Slater fires back anyway. Tajiri is ne of those guys who looks like he's in a real fight when he wrestles, just with simple little scrappy flourishes. Tajiri unleashes some nasty kicks but Slater has a counter! We get Tajiri's greatest hits now, but up until the last two kicks it felt like Slater was on even ground. Buzzsaw Kick nets the win from Tajiri.

This was a goddamn fight, on par with anything you'd see in New Japan's Junior division. A lot of that was Tajiri obviously, but Damien Slater deserves more love.


TJ Perkins video package: GREAT! He comes across as cocky, but in a subdued, almost endearing way.
Da Mack video package: GREAT! Put him in the "why was he not signed" category. Da Mack has starpower and presence that we haven't seen from these video packages so far.

CWC Round 1 Match
TJ Perkins vs. Da Mack

We get a technical crusierweight flourish that would no doubt make Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero smile. Mauro brings up TJ being cocky but Daniel defends it. I like the multi-faceted tweener character they're giving TJ here. The commentators bring up how one of TJ's major influences is the original Tiger Mask, and as they say this he does a spinning headscissors into a legscisssors, which reminded me a lot of Tiger Mask. He also dabs, which gets the crowd into it. Now it's Da Mack's turn to be stylish, with a pop up high knee that sounds disgusting. Rocking Horse stretch followed by an Indian Deathlock sends Mack scrambling for the ropes. Da Mack takes control slamming TJ's face on the apron and with a tope. Da Mack gets more dance based offense in, while TJ gets more crazy submissions. Mack gets a springboard cannonball out of nowhere which leads to a double down. Big strikes into some flash nearfalls. TJ recovers from a missed 450 immediately, does a wacky pancake slam thing, the Detonation Kick, and a heel hook for the submission win. At least the finish plays into a tease at an injury Da Mack caused to himself from earlier

This was a weird match. Both guys did good with what they were given, both guys got their characters over, but this felt like it should've been a Round 2 match, after both guys got to show off what makes them cool against some of the cannon fodder. Also, I'm glad TJP made the Detonation Kick his finisher, it seems so wacky and indy to go from a big move like that to a submission.


Mustafa Ali video package: Weird to see him playing a slightly conceited heel

Lince Dorado promo: Good. Whereas the Lucha House Party benefited Metalik, it handcuffed Lince, as he can actually cut a decent babyface promo, although I'm sure the merch check the guys get says otherwise.

CWC Round 1 Match
Lince Dorado vs Mustafa Ali

Man, Mustafa looks horribly uncomfortable during every part of his entrance. If you'd told me when this tournament began that he wuld be one of the centerpieces of 205 Live I would've laughed.

Mustafa gets over with his no-nonsense attitude and striking. Meanwhile, Lince does the slowest triangle dive I've ever seen. How he managed to get the hangtime to fall that slowly I have no idea. This is a showcase for both guys, and Lince gets across how solid of a hand he is, everything he does looking fluid. Meanwhile Mustafa is there to just hit his offense that's exclusive to him (Top Rope Spanish Fly, Rolling Neckbreaker) He misses the 054, and Lince hits his SSP to win.

This might be the worst match of the tournament so far. I think that ties back to the fact that Ali was a sub for someone else, but this match initially negatively impacted how I felt about him, to the point where I was furious when he got signed over guys like Mack, Slater, Clement, etc. Proves that somebody who works for WWE knows better than I though.


Mustafa is conferring with the medics, poor guy.

Akira Tozawa video package: GREAT! You can tell WWE had a top Crusierweight Division babyface on their hands

Kenneth Johnson video package: Dude has an inspirational story, but he cannot cut a promo to save his life. It sounds more like a Warrior Award speech than a wrestling promo.

CWC Round 1 Match
Kenneth Johnson vs Akira Tozawa

This is another one of those brilliant bracket design moments. They found a loud, emotive jobber (Johnson) and put him up against a guy who's louder with infinitely more skill and charisma (Tozawa). Johnson and Tozawa have a unique technical exchange to start. Initially they tell the story of Tozawa underestimating Johnson Tozawa gains the momentum and gets over his general loudness and strikes, but Kenneth fights back. Big strike trade after some submissions. Johnson no sells a German and a double down occurs. More strike exchanges. D-Bry is working over time selling us on Johnson, and it's working. Okay, Johnson getting a two 1/2 count after a codebreaker is a little much. Johnson nearly breaks his leg missing a twisting nothing. Johnson hits a rollup, so Tozawa goes full tilt and hits a snap German, followed by a Deadlift German for a three.

This might be the weirdest comparison ever, but this match almost reminded me of later Memphis, where Lawler would put on 4 star matches with a guy in a monster costume who, at maximum, could do three things effectively. Tozawa, or whoever was agenting, took a super limited guy, and, not only told a story that was an effective showcase for Tozawa, but also made Johnson look like a threat. Round of applause for both guys.



The badness of the Lince/Ali match and the greatness of Slater vs Tajiri counterbalance to make this another good show. ZSJ debuts next week, as does Gulak!
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