WWE Cruiserweight Classic 2016 (July 27, 2016) is the 3rd episode of WWE Cruiserweight Classic 2016.
With the news that the Cruiserweight Division is returning to Monday Night Raw, the Cruiserweight Classic takes on a whole new meaning. Not only are the competitors in the tournament battling for glory, but they’ll now be out to impress Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley in hopes of earning a place in Raw’s newest division.
One man looking to ply his craft on the world’s biggest stage is Zack Sabre Jr. The “technical wizard” made his tournament debut against crafty veteran Tyson Dux, and showed why he is often regarded as the best wrestler on the planet from the get-go, taking Dux down to the canvas. The wily Canadian, no slouch on the canvas himself, reversed and took control, but Sabre showed off one of his biggest assets in the ring, the science he calls escapology, which allows him to find a way out of nearly any situation.
Sabre turned, twisted and contorted his body to slip out of Dux’s clutches, frustrating the Canadian to no end. The Englishman targeted Dux’s left arm, connecting with precise kicks. However, Sabre may have gone a little too far when he slapped Dux in the face. That sent the Canadian off the handle, as Dux took the Brit to the ground in a flash and locked on a Fujiwara armbar. But for all his efforts, Dux still found himself at the mercy of Sabre’s superior submission skills.
After Dux nearly took his head off with a lariat, Sabre trapped Dux in a double wristlock before effortlessly transitioning into a Jim Breaks Special, into an omoplata on the mat, then pulling back on Dux’s free arm, yanking on his fingers for extra punishment. With no escape, Dux had no choice but to verbally submit, ensuring that Sabre would advance to the second round.
The next first round battle was a true clash of styles, as minimalist grappler Drew Gulak took on the charismatic “Bollywood Don” Harv Sihra. There was no time for dancing in this battle, as Gulak used his mat wrestling ability to take control. Sihra, perhaps knowing he could not go hold for hold with Gulak, went for a series of cradles and crucifixes, trying to catch the no-nonsense wrestler with a surprise pin.
However, Sihra only made Gulak angry. The minimalist mutilator staggered Sihra with a series of open hand strikes before slamming him into the ropes. Harv followed up with a moonsault to the arena floor and a superplex back in the ring. However, the “Bollywood Don” was not prepared for Gulak to charge at him and trap him in a Dragon Sleeper. In the center of the ring with Gulak wrenching the hold deeper and deeper, Sihra was forced to tap out. Gulak cemented his place in the next round with the victory. His second round battle will surely be a technical wrestling exhibition, as he squares off with Zack Sabre Jr.
While Anthony Bennett was out to have a good time during his first round match in the CWC, his opponent, Tony Nese, was all business. The “Premier Athlete” feels like he should already be in WWE, and was out to prove a point. Despite being outweighed by 50 pounds, Bennett showed he could hang with Nese on the canvas. However, Nese used his strength to his advantage, muscling the 145-pound Bennett around the ring with ease.
Despite being overpowered, Bennett ditched the dancing and got serious, taking the fight to Nese, connecting with a big tornado DDT. In the end, though, Bennett made the mistake of trying to stand and grapple with the more powerful Nese and paid for it. After coming up with an injury, Bennett fell victim to a pumphandle slam. Nese followed up with an impressive 450 Splash to cement his spot in the second round of the Cruiserweight Classic.
The Brian Kendrick tugged at the heartstrings of the WWE Universe during CWC: Bracketology, when he revealed that he saw this tournament as his last shot at redemption after letting his previous opportunity in WWE slip through his fingers. However, what “The Post-Apocalyptic Scavenger” didn’t reveal in that interview was that he was willing to do anything to make sure he didn’t waste this opportunity.
But while Kendrick was in search of one last chance, his opponent, Raul Mendoza of Mexico, was looking for his first big break in the CWC. The high-flyer dazzled the WWE Universe with his aerial ability early on before locking on a unique submission, wrapping up Kendrick’s legs before picking up the former WWE Tag Team Champion and swinging him around the ring.
Unfortunately for Mendoza, he was in there with a 17-year veteran who knows all the tricks of the trade. Kendrick used the rope break to his advantage, creating enough space to clobber Mendoza with a superkick. “The Post-Apocalyptic Scavenger” then showed just how far he was willing to go to advance in the CWC, forcing Mendoza (who has braces on his teeth) to bite the middle rope, then kicked the rope back, busting the Mexican’s mouth open.
The laceration would not slow Mendoza down, as he fought back, catching Kendrick on the arena floor with a twisting dive over the ropes. Kendrick took a little too long going to the top rope himself, where Mendoza tripped him up. With the WWE Alumni hanging upside down, Mendoza climbed the opposite set of ropes and took a leap of faith across the ring, connecting with a huge dropkick that brought Full Sail University to its feet. In the end, though, Mendoza fell victim to Kendrick’s tricks. The former tag team champion feigned an injury, suckering Mendoza in. Kendrick flipped Mendoza to the mat and locked on the Bully Choke to win by submission.
Kendrick’s victory sees him move on to face Tony Nese in the second round. Now that he’s shown the lengths he’s willing to go in order to win, The Brian Kendrick may very well be the most dangerous man in the Cruiserweight Classic.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
Other on-screen talent
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