It was a very busy week for WWE as Smackdown put forth its first exclusive PPV since the brand split, and much more importantly, the much acclaimed Cruiserweight Classic reached its final climax and led to the crowning of the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion. I was rather disappointed with the outcome of the tournament originally, but I’ve had half of a week to marinate and come to peace with it. Though RAW had a great main event with Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns and Backlash’s main event between Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles was also very good, everything the main roster did was completely overshadowed by the CWC finals, which was easily the greatest WWE show I’ve ever seen. And believe me, I’ve seen a hell of a lot of them. My winner for best match and the two runner-ups all come from that show.
Contender: CWC Final: TJ Perkins vs. Gran Metalik
Even though I’m not as cross now as I was when I watched this live, even looking at things objectively this match wasn’t quite as good as the two semi-finals matches that preceded it. I guess that’s understandable given the fact that both men had worked strenuous matches beforehand. The match started out slower than the night’s previous ones, and while the two men gave great performances rife with near-falls, technical showmanship, and some great high-flying from Metalik, this match just never quite reached the fever pitch that it needed to in order to outpace its predecessors.
My Rating: ****
Contender: CWC Semi-Final: Gran Metalik vs. Zack Sabre. Jr.
It took a couple of weeks, but Zack Sabre Jr. really grew on me as a performer. The man is skinny as hell, almost shockingly so, but that odd frame works to his advantage as he’s able to bend his body to deliver some truly shocking submission holds. The match started off fast right out of the gate as Metalik was looking to finish Jr. early, but of course this was far from the conclusion. I wasn’t sure going in how the two individual’s styles would mesh, but it ended up providing a thrilling contest, even if I was pretty sure going in that Metalik would come out the victor. Both men were on top of their respective games, producing what has to be career performances. But as great as this match was, the one that followed just barely topped it.
My Rating: ****1/2
Match of the Week: CWC Semi-Final: TJ Perkins vs. Kota Ibushi
I’m deeply saddened by the departure of Kota Ibushi from Orlando, because this man, who I was not familiar with before this tournament, is simply amazing. He can truly do it all, from high-flying to brutal kicks, to technical offense. He may be the best all-around performer I’ve seen since Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, and was easily the MVP of this tournament. Unfortunately however, he didn’t choose to sign with WWE and so his loss in the CWC was guaranteed. The question, though, was whether he would lose in the semi-final or the final. And frankly, he outclasses TJ Perkins so much, that I though he would win this one, and then lose in the final match to Gran Metalik. I was wrong. And that’s what made this match so exciting. Unlike with Metalik and Sabre Jr., I was unsure about the outcome of this match until the very end, which is something that just doesn’t happen that often in today’s WWE. And that was what made this match, and the CWC as a whole, so fantastic: it mattered who won. It sounds simple and obvious, but the fact is: it just doesn’t really matter that much who wins matches on the main roster with the exception of some title matches. That was the problem with Backlash for me; I didn’t really care who won any of the matches. But in the CWC, I always cared. And even though I thought the wrong guy won at the time, I was emotionally invested throughout. And that’s something for which WWE should always strive.
My Rating: ****1/2