The Cruiserweight Classic has officially kicked off! If you missed the action, want an idea of what you’ll get when you go watch it, or simply want to know who came out on top, this is the RealSport Recap of Round One, Night One! Keep coming back to RealSport throughout the tournament for the ultimate home in Cruiserweight Classic coverage!
Cruiserweight Classic: Round One, Night One
Match One: Gran Metalik vs. Alejandro Saez
To open the tournament, the first match we were treated to was between Mexican standout Gran Metalik (known in NJPW and CMLL as Mascara Dorada) and Chile’s Alejandro Saez. Saez lived up to his reputation in Chile for looming “Xtra Large” against his opponents, as he used a size advantage to take control of the match early on. Saez couldn’t hold Metalik for long, as the lucha libre style and speed of Gran Metalik quickly allowed him to take control. Later in the match, Saez hit an impressive shooting star press off the apron to the floor, but in the end it was Metalik who took the victory after a powerful fireman’s carry into a fisherman driver. Gran Metalik advances.
Match Two: Ariya Daivari vs. HoHo Lun
It was clear from the very beginning how this match would play out, as Daivari showed utter disrespect, as well as a chip on his shoulder, by refusing to shake the hand of HoHo Lun before the match. Lun got an early edge, but Daivari was quickly able to take control with powerful knee strikes and began to wear down Lun. After a huge spinning kick, Daivari garnered a near fall and continued to wear down his opponent.
Lun finally managed to shift the momentum as he hit a spinning heel kick, several forearms, and a big missile dropkick. Lun tried to finish him off with a German Suplex, but it was countered by Daivari, who quickly followed up with a roaring elbow. Daivari went for the kill with a frog splash, but Lun rolled out of the way. A few big kicks later, Lun was able to plant Daivari with a bridging German Suplex for the pinfall win. HoHo Lun advances.
Match Three: Clement Petiot vs. Cedric Alexander
It looked like Petiot might refuse the handshake, like Daivari did, but he instead snatched the hand of Cedric Alexander during the pre-match handshake and pulled him in, butting heads and cranking up the intensity right off the bat. The two traded combinations briefly to begin the match, and Cedric faked a dive to the outside early on. It was only before Petiot took control of the pace, exhibiting the methodic, yet explosive, offense that is very reminiscent of his trainer, Lance Storm.
Petiot hit several big suplexes and power moves, slowly wearing Cedric down. Alexander managed a few spots, and a springboard clothesline, but it wasn’t enough to finish off the frenchman. It seemed like Clement Petiot had the match firmly in hand, but Cedric spun out of a suplex and hit the Lumbar Check out of nowhere on Petiot to take the pinfall victory. Cedric Alexander advances.
Match Four: Sean Maluta vs. Kota Ibushi (Match of the Night)
The Samoan heritage of Maluta was played up early, and both competitors were slow to start as they began cautiously feeling out the style of one another. Not long into the match, Ibushi hit a stiff kick to the chest of Maluta, which caused his eyes to light up as he realized just how hard the man can kick. Bryan reaffirmed on commentary that Kota Ibushi is one of the hardest kickers he’s ever been in the ring with. This proved to be the definite match of the night, as the young Sean Maluta gave Kota Ibushi a run for this money.
Ibushi landed a t-bone suplex and springboard dropkick early, but Maluta was able to leap off the second turnbuckle and hit Ibushi with a Codebreaker that sent him to the outside. Maluta then tried a somersault over the ropes, and nearly wiped himself out. After some more back and forth with both men in the ring, Maluta was caught with a big strike combination from Ibushi and a standing moonsault for a near fall. Ibushi then looked to be trying to take Maluta off the top with a superplex, but Maluta shoved Kota to the mat. Before Maluta could go airborne, Ibushi somehow hit a pele kick on a top-turnbuckle mounted Sean Maluta.
This sent the Samoan to the outside in a heap, and Ibushi following up with a triangle moonsault to the outside. Once both men were back in the ring, Ibushi managed a near fall, but Maluta hit a Savate Kick out of nowhere for what looked to be an upset finish in the making. Ibushi kicked out in the nick of time, allowing the wrestling world to breathe a sigh of relief. A few moments later, Ibushi caught Maluta with a huge roundhouse kick to the head and followed it up with a sitout powerbomb for the pinfall victory. Kota Ibushi advances.