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 go watch it, or simply want to know who came out on top, this is the RealSport Recap of Round One, Night Two! Keep coming back to RealSport throughout the tournament for the ultimate home in Cruiserweight Classic coverage!
Cruiserweight Classic: Round One, Night Two
Match One: Tajiri vs. Damian Slater
The first match of the night pitted longtime veteran Tajiri, most known for his time in ECW and even in WWE in the early 2000s, against Australian underdog Damian Slater. The gap in experience was clear, but Slater is no slouch. The man who calls himself the “World Beater” and prides himself on shattering expectations did extremely well in keeping up with his skilled opponent.
Tajiri took control early in the match, but Slater did hit a very smooth rolling fireman’s carry into a bridging pin. Tajiri kicked out, and quickly went on the offensive with his powerful kicks. He began targeting Slater’s arm early, and that continued throughout the match as Tajiri tried to remove most of Slater’s offense. Damian had a few highlights, including a corkscrew plancha to the outside and a strong running knee, but in the end Tajiri hit the Buzzsaw Kick for a decisive pinfall victory. Tajiri advances.
Match Two: TJ Perkins vs. Da Mack
The next matchup focused on two extremely charismatic youngsters in the “Urban German” Da Mack taking on the cockiness of TJ Perkins. While the pre-match hype focused on personality, the early parts of the match showed an impressive display of catch wrestling and lightning quick counters by both competitors. It wasn’t long before Perkins started to pull ahead though, and he made it clear. After several big moments, Perkins was dabbing in the ring to the delight of the crowd.
He did several headscissors takeovers while doing a headstand, which he made look incredibly too easy. Perkins turned to submissions and showed his prowess with a boston crab that he modified by grabbing Da Mack’s hands and standing up while in the hold. Several times, Perkins went for (and locked in a few times) a cleanly executed Muta Lock. Da Mack kept in the fight with a big corkscrew moonsault at one point, and a top rope springboard enziguri that looked vicious. In the end, the submission skills of Perkins were too much. Once he locked in a knee bar and grapevined Mack’s leg, the match was over. TJ Perkins advances.
Match Three: Mustafa Ali vs. Lince Dorado (Match of the Night)
If you were excited about the Cruiserweight Classic because of high-flying death-defying action, this is the match for you. The Pakistani Prince, who commentary noted is also a police officer, started off the match against the “Golden Lynx” with some heavy duty brawling, but it didn’t take long for things to pick up. Dorado landing a quick headscissors, then ducked out of the way of a triangle dropkick.
Ali hit a shining wizard off the apron that gave him a temporary upperhand, but missed a moonsault later. There was plenty of back and forth, but a few moments stuck out. Lince Dorado springboarded off the ropes backwards and landed on Ali’s shoulders before planting him with a reverse spike hurricanrana. During an exchange on the top turnbuckle, Ali was able to scale the ropes and suddenly come off the top with a huge springboard spanish fly.
Ali almost had it in the bag when he went for an Inverted 450 Splash, but Dorado rolled out of the way. I cannot stress enough how mind-boggling it is to watch Ali even attempt an Inverted 450. He’s like the man gravity got raped by. A short time after Ali missed the attempt, Dorado hit an extremely crisp Shooting Star Press to pickup the pinfall victory. Lince Dorado advances.
Match Four: Akira Tozawa vs. Kenneth Johnson
For an immediate shift in tone, the night’s main event pitted the relatively unknown Kenneth Johnson against the extremely well respected Akira Tozawa. Johnson was touted before the match for what he’d overcome, including having a WWE tryout in which he had a speech impediment, and was told to fix that and come back. Johnson made great strides, and now gets an opportunity to show his skill on a huge stage. While this was far from the most exciting match of the night, it was still a fun watch.
The early minutes included lots of back and forth, as it seemed Tozawa slightly underestimated Johnson, who was able to keep up with him during a lot of back and forth action. Tozawa hit a few big kicks, but nothing out of the ordinary happened early. As the match picked up, Tozawa hit a strong roaring elbow, only for Johnson to pop up and hit a single leg dropkick only seconds later. Johnson did extremely well considering his inexperience and showed impressive toughness, but he wasn’t nearly as crisp as Tozawa.
As the match continued, both men began trading elbow strikes reminiscent of a Japanese strong style fight. Tozawa fired up at one point and hit several consecutive blows, only for Johnson to counter with a modified Codebreaker. Johnson got extremely close to winning with a few roll-ups and pinning combinations. Unfortunately for the Detroit native, once Tozawa decided it was over…there was nothing he could do. Seemingly out of nowhere, Tozawa seemed to get fed up with things, hit a snap German Suplex, and moments later drug Johnson off the ground with a deadlift German Suplex which he bridged beautifully to pick up the pinfall victory. Akira Tozawa advances.