The Cruiserweight Classic continued on Wednesday with more heart-pounding action! If you missed it, want an idea of what you’ll get when you watch it, or simply want to know who came out on top, this is the RealSport Recap of Round One, Night Four! Keep coming back to RealSport throughout the tournament for the ultimate home in Cruiserweight Classic coverage!
Cruiserweight Classic: Round One, Night Four
Match One: Rich Swann vs. Jason Lee
The first match of the night featured NXT’s own Rich Swann taking on Hong Kong’s Jason Lee. While Swann has only had a few matches on NXT, his charisma and energetic style was on display here. As for Lee, he’s another member of HoHo Lun’s promotion in Hong Kong. The match started with a brief bit of back and forth including a series of dodges before Swann did a full front flip over the top of Lee and followed it up with a dropkick. Swann transitioned into an armbar, but Lee was able to slip out and hit a quick succession of kung fu strikes before finishing the combination with a big kick to the back of the head.
After some more back and forth, Rich found himself sitting on the turnbuckle, he fought Lee off and then leapt off with a huge hurricanrana. Swann followed it up immediately after with a big roll into a frog splash for another near fall. After some more striking and struggling from both side, including a stiff roundhouse kick by Rich Swann, it was time for the most mindbogglingly athletic move of the night. Swann hopped a few times to prep and then suddenly hit a Standing 450 Splash. I’ll say that again. A Standing…450…Splash…for the pinfall victory. Rich Swann advances.
Match Two: Noam Dar vs. Gurv Sihra
Now it’s time for the Scottish-Israeli sensation Noam Dar to take off one half of The Bollywood Boyz, Gurv Sihra. Dar is a staple of the British independent scene and was the clear favorite coming in, but Sihra quickly showed that he’s got a deceptive amount of pure strength. The two met with a collar and elbow tie-up to get things started, and Dar hit a dropkick to the knee early. Sihra countered pretty quickly with a stiff elbow and later a heavy side slam. Dar looked as if he might have underestimated Gurv at this point, as the stronger competitor began to take control of the match with heavy forearm strikes to the back. After being sent into the turnbuckle with a heavy irish whip, Noam slowly struggled to his feet using the ropes for leverage.
Gurv Sihra rushed him, but Dar dodged out of the way and Gurv got caught up in the ropes. Noam Dar immediately hit a stiff kick to the back of the leg of Sihra while he was caught in the ropes. Sihra went back on the offensive shortly after and attempted to go for a sharpshooter, but Dar was able to power out of it and hit several strikes, including a devastating throat thrust. After a big dropkick in the corner, Dar managed a near fall, and Sihra appeared to still be holding strong. Noam Dar went for the leg, but got pulled into a small package that almost gave Sihra the win. Gurv followed up with a big kick and a second rope elbow drop, but Dar rolled out of the way. He followed it up with an enziguri and a fisherman buster before locking in a knee bar. Sihra tried to struggle out of it, but Dar increased the tension and Gurv was forced to tap out. Noam Dar advances.
Match Three: Jack Gallagher vs. Fabian Aichner
This match appeared to have the most obvious and noticeable size differential as Jack Gallagher looks like a tiny little man who might as well be the third Vaudevillain. Aichner looked like he’d have a clear advantage, but there was no doubt Gallagher’s scientific skill and intelligence would even the playing field. Gallagher opened things up with a wristlock, which Aichner tried a few times to roll out of including a headstand in his escape attempts. Fabian’s counter worked as he got Gallagher in an armbar, but Jack immediately slipped out and locked back on the wristlock. This technical tête–à–tête continued for most of the match, as Gallagher showed his skill and Aichner showed he’s got plenty more than just a little power to work with.
Fabian powered out at one point and got on an armbar, but Gallagher dropped down and did a simple toe trip to knock Aichner down. Gallagher later showed more finesse as he did a twisting monkey flip, but at this point Aichner finally put some power to use with heavy striking to wear down The Gentleman Grappler. Aichner hit a powerful backbreaker, then did an amazing double springboard moonsault that shocked the crowd and earned him a near fall.
Gallagher manages to ground Aichner with a crossbody block, and a bit later wraps him up with a headscissors into a guillotine. It looked like Gallagher had a good grip, but Aichner showed his power again as he pulled him up into a suplex position, but flipped him mid-air and caught him in a huge sitout powerbomb. Aichner went for a frog splash, but Gallagher rolled out of the way. Jack found his opening as he hit a straight headbutt to the jaw and followed it up with a terrifying running dropkick to the corner that nearly decapitated Aichner and let Jack pick up the pinfall win. “Thank you both!” was the chant by the crowd after the match. This would’ve been Match of the Night…but then the main event happened. Jack Gallagher advances.
Match Four: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano (Best Match of Round One)
Finally it was time for the final match of the first round and easily the most anticipated one, as tag team partners Johnny Wrestling and “Psycho Killer” Tommaso Ciampa were set to face off. The match got off to a slow start with a test of strength and a lot of quick counters. Several times both men managed deep armdrags and hit stunning transitions into other maneuvers. Gargano got a wristlock at one point, but Ciampa elbowed him so hard in the jaw that it looked like Johnny might have had a tooth knocked into the third row. Ciampa stayed on the offensive as he put Gargano on the apron and hit a vicious knee strike. Tommaso kept the intensity high with some devastating chops and a knee to the side of the head.
Gargano slipped out of a chinlock and landed a few chops, but Ciampa hit another big back elbow and brought Gargano to the corner. Ciampa looked to be going for a superplex, but Johnny slipped out, hit a kick to the head, and slingshotted himself over the rope and landed a snap ddt on Ciampa. It didn’t keep the man down for long though, as Ciampa got Johnny into a fireman’s carry position and began to climb the ropes, looking as if he might attempt an Avalanche Air Raid Crash off the top. Fortunately for Johnny Wrestling, he managed to slip out and go for a sunset flip. Ciampa grabbed tight to the ropes and held himself in place, but it backfired moments later.
Gargano slid out and pulled Ciampa’s head down to where it was sitting against the front of the turnbuckle, then Johnny suddenly hit a terrifying superkick to the side of the head. Gargano looked to go for a powerbomb, but Ciampa got to the outside and was met with a suicide dive by Johnny. Neither man seemed able to gain an upper hand at this point, and the action was emotional, fast, and furious. Gargano tried his signature slingshot shoulder tackle through the ropes moments later, but ended up sending himself into a knee to the head. As Ciampa went for a powerbomb, Gargano slipped out and went for a roaring elbow, but got hit with a high knee lift. Ciampa tried once again with the powerbomb, but this time Johnny got loose and landed an enziguri.
Both men ended up on the apron a bit later and were trading blow, when suddenly Ciampa hit a big boot. He picked up Gargano and then hit a huge Air Raid Crash onto the stiff apron, but Gargano STILL kicked out. The “Psycho Killer” pulled down his knee pad and looked to be going in for the kill, but he hesitated before attacking his partner. This was just the opening as Gargano hit a sudden superkick, only for Ciampa to hit a knee and then bring Johnny down into a Powerbomb Lungblower! It looked to be over, but Gargano STILL kicked out. The two men eventually got back to their feet and were trading blows inbetween exhausted breaths, but suddenly Gargano pulled Ciampa into a rolling crucifix pin for the quick three count! Johnny Gargano advances.