Hooray! Trick Williams is the new NXT North American Champion! How was No Mercy for everyone? Bet Mami gonna be p*ssed haha
Wait, how could Christian wanna fight his old partner? I need some help with this idea.Edge vs Christian is the obvious one and one we're likely getting. Wouldn't mind seeing him tangle with the likes of Kenny and MJF (especially on the mic). He and Jay White could put on a banger too.
MJF VS Edge, Sting VS Edge, Or Jericho VS Edge.View attachment 557210
AEW gets another massive get in the form of the "Rated R Superstar" Adam Copeland (FKA Edge in WWE)
This Roster continues to get more and more insane.
Can't wait to see what kind of matchups he gets to be apart of over the next few years, especially against potential opponents from New Japan.
What are some of the matches you guys wanna see?
Nice. Well, I guess it only made since to WWE to make Carmelo Hayes lose his title. Maybe to go up to main roster? Well anyway is everyone ready for Fastlane? I am hyped about it a lot.Hooray! Trick Williams is the new NXT North American Champion! How was No Mercy for everyone? Bet Mami gonna be p*ssed haha
im a massive Jericho fan, but i hope they hold off on this for a lil bit, so many things even Adam said he was looking forward to prior.Jericho VS Edge.
Uh.... about that. Poor guy only reigned for 3 days.Hooray! Trick Williams is the new NXT North American Champion! How was No Mercy for everyone? Bet Mami gonna be p*ssed haha
Ohhh man that's a feud I didn't know I wanted until now!i'd personally love to see Adam Copeland v. Malakai Black - an obvious subtle nod to his Judgement Day & more importantly Brood/Ministry days prolly inevitably mentioned vaguely to make a *SINGLES - PLEASE MORE MALAKAI SINGLES MATCHES, TONY (sorry)* match really pop.
Edge and Malakai on the mic against each other? Yes please...
Hate that for Trick (think despite why they did it was a bit like "why not just wait to give it to him then?") but it was TOTALLY about next week and going against AEW since they loading that NXT card (not taking sides just stating obvious)Uh.... about that. Poor guy only reigned for 3 days.
Ohhh man that's a feud I didn't know I wanted until now!
And AEW stacked their card as well - no matter what, the fans win!going against AEW since they loading that NXT card (not taking sides just stating obvious)
I use sumn like MLW as the cutoff for Indy cus while they have pretty decent presentation, they obviously ain't a "mainstream company" (hence their suit against WWE for tryna sabotage that)I don't really watch much Indie wrestling unless a name I like pops up on a GCW/Prestige/etc card. DPW seems to be doing a lot of good stuff - especially booking joshi wrestlers whenever possible. Speaking of joshi, idk if it counts as an indie but the newly launched Sukeban had their first show 2 weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.
At this point, would Impact count as an indie? Probably not because they're bankrolled by Anthem but they have the look and feel of an indie now lol
Stardom World and WRESTLE-UNIVERSE are the official streaming services for the big 2 Joshi promotions - Stardom and TJPW. The shows usually end up on archive.org a few days after they're released on official platforms (at least in Stardom's case). Outside of that, you'd have to go to like Chinese video sharing sites and other seedier places to see em for free.that said i LOVE Joshi (but not very versed, just dont know where to catch everything easily)
Well well well I think its that time I finally did it folks!
Well well well I think its that time I finally did it folks!
Greetings once again! Today I’ve decided to follow up on a piece I’ve been teasing for a little while but never quite gotten round to until this current moment in time. That’s right folks this time you have the Incog review of the Cruiserweight Classic! The Cruiserweight Classic was a 32 man tournament that WWE hosted in 2016 featuring wrestlers from promotions all over the world. These varied from American wrestling promotions such as CZW & EVOLVE, British wrestling promotions such as ICW and PROGRESS Wrestling, Japanese wrestling promotions varying from NJPW and Dragon Gate along with several other wrestling scenes worldwide including Germany, Mexico and more! This tournament served as a pathway into the eventual recreation of WWE’s Cruiserweight Championship which the winner of this tournament would receive and eventually would lead to the creation of WWE’s side show for the Cruiserweight division: 205 Live.
I should warn you that this first installment will actually be a preview of all 32 competitors and their backgrounds before entering this tournament with the Round 1 Review starting off on the next post.
Now with all that out of the way, here’s the bracket for the tournament!
There's some juicy matchups on this bracket at least in the first round most notably Ciampa/Gargano but I'll get onto each of these briefly as I do the preview. With that being said, going in alphabetical order we’ll start by previewing…
Akira Tozawa - Akira Tozawa is an absolutely fantastic wrestler to have included in this tournament. If you could’ve picked any guy to represent Dragon Gate in this tournament, this was absolutely the right guy. Prior to this tournament, the most you might’ve heard about Tozawa would’ve been if you’d seen his excursion to America and most notably PWG when he was working with studs like Chris Hero and Kevin Steen or if you was a Dragon Gate watcher who had watched some of his work in Japan whilst he was leading factions such as Monster Express. His Dragon Gate work was fairly good and had success capturing gold whether it be the Open the Brave Gate Championship (think of it like DG’s Intercontinental Championship) or the Open the Twin Gate Championships (basically Tag Team Championships). There’s a lot to check out if you’re wanting to watch more of his work. I’d definitely recommend those aforementioned contests with Chris Hero and Kevin Steen but if you want to watch his Dragon Gate stuff, you can watch either some of his Brave Gate reign or some of his tag work with Shingo Takagi. His first round opponent is Kenneth Johnson who doesn’t have too much experience in the ring so only time will tell how I’ll find that match to be.
Alejandro Saez - Alejandro Saez is an interesting competitor to put in this tournament as pretty much unless you’ve scoured the Chile independent wrestling scene like WWE have, you’ll most likely have never heard of this guy prior to the tournament. According to research, Saez worked a little bit for Pro Wrestling NOAH prior to this tournament too so you might have seen him in a tag match but not have remembered him. With that being said, I’m not expecting a ton from Saez but he has a chance to prove me wrong in his match against Gran Metalik who is very experienced.
Anthony Bennett - When I first saw Anthony Bennett get revealed for this tournament, I thought to myself “Who is this and why does he look like nothing but an absolute goofball?” I had no idea who he was so I had to research. All of Anthony Bennett’s work before this tournament came in a promotion called MFPW in America so there was nothing really you could find on this guy unless you were in the New Jersey area watching this promotion. This makes Anthony Bennett more of an unknown commodity in this tournament. Hard to know how his ring work is until he gets in the ring against Tony Nese as he could be either a complete flop or a hidden gem.
Ariya Daivari - Ariya Daivari for those who don’t know is the brother of Shawn Daivari who used to work WWE back in the mid 2000s managing wrestlers such as Kurt Angle, Mark Henry and even The Great Khali but also would just do singles work from time to time. Ariya comes into this tournament trying to surpass what his brother did in WWE and that’s being relevant and also a tournament winner. Looking into Daivari’s past bookings, nothing too much sticks out in terms of the promotions he’s worked prior to this tournament except a squash match on Main Event against the aforementioned Great Khali and interestingly working the Ring Ka King promotion in India that was owned by TNA at the time. He has a chance to impress against HoHo Lun.
Brian Kendrick - Brian Kendrick to most fans probably needs no introduction. Most people like myself before this tournament will have known him either under the ring name of “Spanky” in the early 2000s or as Brian Kendrick who teamed with Paul London to win the WWE Tag Team Championships in the middle of 2006 or lastly as The Brian Kendrick who was flanked by Ezekiel Jackson in 2008-2009. Regardless going into this tournament, Brian Kendrick was probably one of the most well known names for a casual viewer, especially one such as myself at the time. His first round match is against Raul Mendoza who certainly seems like an interesting prospect. We’ll see if Kendrick can keep up in the Round 1 review.
Cedric Alexander - Before this tournament, Cedric Alexander was working for Ring of Honor and wasn’t really being utilised all too much but on preview, is definitely one of the more widely recognisable names in this tournament. Compared to others who are more unknown commodities, Cedric Alexander at least has a notable history and that gives him something over other competitors. As for his in ring talent, we’ll see how that is starting in his bout against Clement Petiot.
Clement Petiot - Clement Petiot prior to this tournament had mainly been working around the world but mostly in Europe. Notable places include the Netherlands, England but most notably his native home country of France. Nothing majorly notable unfortunately but hopefully he’ll have something notable after his first round match against Cedric Alexander.
Da Mack - My knowledge on Da Mack is very limited with the most I actually know being that Da Mack worked for German promotion wXw quite regularly and was once in a tag team called Hot And Spicy with Axel Dieter Jr (the now Ludwig Kaiser at the time of writing this and formerly Marcel Barthel) but also apparently the wXw Shotgun Champion going into this tournament. Da Mack was never really somebody who lit the world on fire as far as I’m aware but I’d have to ask someone who’s more educated on wXw and the German independent scene. His inclusion in this tournament and what he can do should be visible after his match against TJ Perkins.
Damian Slater - I must admit I had to look up Damian Slater cause I couldn’t remember this guy to save my life barring the fact that he was the only representative from Australia in this tournament. According to my research, this guy has certainly done a lot of wrestling dating all the way back to 2003 apparently. A lot of his stuff is on independent promotions in Australia such as PWA and MCW just before the CWC but interestingly enough he had a couple matches in Japan for the promotion Zero-1 in 2012 under the name Ocean Neal including a singles match against Masato Tanaka. He has one of the more intriguing matches of the first round going up against Tajiri.
Drew Gulak - Drew Gulak was a name that stuck out to me as a name I’d seen in EVOLVE before this tournament. At this current point in his career, Drew Gulak was the leader of the stable known as Catch Point in EVOLVE which featured several notable wrestlers including TJ Perkins, Matt Riddle along with Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi. He’s a very technical wrestler but I’m not sure how he’s going to fare with Harv Sihra.
Fabian Aichner - Fabian Aichner is certainly a name I’ve not heard of going into this tournament and doing my research I can see why. He hadn’t really gotten a place to shine and showcase his craft to a big stage with his notable work only really being in small promotions across Europe. Hopefully this match against Jack Gallagher should be his opportunity to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
Gran Metalik - Gran Metalik is a fascinating case to me. Before entering the CWC, Gran Metalik was working CMLL in Mexico under the name Mascara Dorada. Now unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of watching his work there but this tournament might make me look into some more of his work. He also worked NJPW a few times, usually during NJPW/CMLL collaboration shows or the occasional IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship challenge. Given his style of wrestling, I’m definitely interested to see how his match with Alejandro Saez will end up being.
Gurv Sihra - Similar to a lot of the competitors in this, Gurv Sihra, one half of the tag team “The Bollywood Boyz” was not a competitor I’d heard of in the slightest. Upon research, I found out that both Gurv and Harv both worked for the promotion ECCW initially under the tag team name “The Bollywood Lions” before they eventually became the Bollywood Boyz. As a tag team wrestler, I’m unsure how he’s gonna fare with Noam Dar but maybe it’ll be something entertaining.
Harv Sihra - Similar to a lot of the competitors in this, Harv Sihra, one half of the tag team “The Bollywood Boyz” was not a competitor I’d heard of in the slightest. Upon research, I found out that both Harv and Gurv both worked for the promotion ECCW initially under the tag team name “The Bollywood Lions” before they eventually became the Bollywood Boyz. As a tag team wrestler, I’m unsure how he’s gonna fare with Drew Gulak but maybe it’ll be something entertaining.
HoHo Lun - HoHo Lun isn’t really a name I’ve heard of at all going into this tournament. You’d be required to really check out the Chinese independent scene which I believe as research is telling me HoHo Lun was the pioneer into establishing that scene. That could mean he’s the best wrestler in China or he’s just getting the basic fundamentals going for everybody else. I’m likely leaning towards the latter. We’ll see how he performs against Ariya Daivari first.
Jack Gallagher - Jack Gallagher was a name I’d heard of in the British independent scene only due to PROGRESS posting how Jack Gallagher qualified for this tournament on their YouTube channel (I should note that not everybody had to qualify only certain individuals strangely enough) in a match against Pete Dunne before he took off into the stratosphere. Gallagher prior to this tournament was working mostly British promotions with PROGRESS and ICW being the most notable but also interestingly enough worked BJW and Zero-1 back in 2013 under the name Jack Anthony. He has a good opportunity to showcase his work here against Fabian Aichner.
Jason Lee - Jason Lee, similar to that of HoHo Lun was a fairly unknown commodity going into this tournament. Both represented China’s wrestling scene but to the casual eye, not really a recognised name. According to research, before this tournament Jason Lee had worked entirely around Asia with Zero-1 in Japan being the most notable of the lot but Jason Lee also was working for promotions in Malaysia and even Singapore. He’ll get his chance to show what he’s learned across Asia against Rich Swann.
Johnny Gargano - Johnny Gargano coming into this tournament was one of the more well known names due to being on NXT TV quite regularly. At this point, he was in the DIY tag team with Tommaso Ciampa as well as working several independent promotions from EVOLVE to past promotions he used to work for such as Dragon Gate USA to PWG showcasing the hard work Gargano put in to get to where he was here. On the note of Tommaso Ciampa, he faces off with his tag team partner in what’s sure to be the highlight of this round.
Kenneth Johnson - Researching into Kenneth Johnson, this guy barely has any matches to his name prior to this tournament. Very concerning because it probably means he’s very green compared to the rest of this tournament yet allegedly by the logic of WWE: is one of the 32 best cruiserweights in the world. I’ll believe it if he has a good match with Akira Tozawa.
Kota Ibushi - Where do I even begin with Kota Ibushi? He’s the biggest name in this tournament next to Zack Sabre Jr and in my personal opinion is one of the craziest yet one of the best wrestlers in the world. His volume of work varying from matches with Kenny Omega in DDT to matches with Kazuchika Okada and Shinsuke Nakamura in NJPW certainly showcase as much. It’s incredibly intimidating how talented he is even when he’s willing to throw a Moonsault off a balcony. In this instance, Kota Ibushi has a relatively unknown opponent to work with in Sean Maluta so we’ll see how this match pans out.
Lince Dorado - Lince Dorado isn’t a name that immediately stands out to people like myself in this tournament. That is of course unless you watched some of Lince Dorado’s previous work in CHIKARA, Dragon Gate USA or even EVOLVE. He’d done his fair share of rounds before this tournament starting from the late 2000s according to research. Known best for his high-flying style, we’ll see what he can bring to the table against Mustafa Ali.
Mustafa Ali - Mustafa Ali didn’t have any notable promotions of work that he did previous to this tournament at least from what I could see. Research shows that he worked for AAW a little bit which I’m slightly familiar with due to a match I watched a while ago but past that I recognise nothing of the promotions he worked for. Also notable that Mustafa Ali was actually a substitute for a Brazilian wrestler named Zumbi who couldn’t get visa issues cleared before the tournament so Ali was the replacement for him. This is a huge opportunity to show what he can do especially because he wasn’t originally scheduled to be in this tournament against Lince Dorado.
Noam Dar - Noam Dar I’d heard a bit about coming into this tournament but most notably watched his match for British wrestling promotion WCPW at the time against Jay Lethal. That match against Jay Lethal sold me on Dar going into this tournament. To go with WCPW, Dar was working promotions in the UK at the time such as ICW and PROGRESS. This is Dar’s opportunity to continue that momentum starting off against Gurv Sihra.
Raul Mendoza - Raul Mendoza was a complete unknown to me before this tournament but my first impression when I saw him during the CWC introductions was that I was very curious to see how he’d do. Research suggests that before this tournament: Mendoza had worked a lot in Mexico with brief appearances in AAA and also working for DTU (The promotion of which Flamita came out from) as well as working for Pro Wrestling NOAH in 2014 under the ring name “Jinzo”. Quite the surprisingly well rounded background! He absolutely has one of the best chances to shine against well-known veteran Brian Kendrick so hopefully he ends up doing so!
Rich Swann - Rich Swann is probably one of the most recognisable names in this tournament if you’ve followed his journey. Swann has worked his rounds around the world at this point with him working for PWG, EVOLVE, Dragon Gate, Dragon Gate USA but also most notably signed to NXT prior to this tournament making him one of three wrestlers representing the NXT brand in this tournament! That’s just the start of his work which should make him a really exciting wrestler in this tournament. He has a perfect opportunity to showcase what he can do against Jason Lee.
Sean Maluta - I hadn’t heard of Sean Maluta at all going into this tournament so I don’t really have any expectations of him. I decided for the sake of this preview however that I’d do some Sean Maluta research! Now unfortunately pre CWC, there’s barely anything on him with all of his work coming out of a different promotion also called WXW (different from the more well known one) so this match with Kota Ibushi is probably the biggest match of his career.
TJ Perkins - Prior to this tournament, TJ Perkins had done a fair share of rounds around the world. From PWG (under the name Puma initially), Impact also known as TNA (under the name Manik) along with EVOLVE as part of the Catch Point faction amongst others, TJ Perkins wasn’t exactly a name you’d hear talked about too much unless you were familiar with his work on the independents and thought he stood out. He has a chance to showcase everything he’s learnt against Da Mack.
Tajiri - Where do I even start? Tajiri has been wrestling since at least 1994 and is probably next to Brian Kendrick, the name most WWE fans will know the best in this tournament. His first major exposures to the world came from working in ECW at the end of 1998 as well as WWE (known as WWF at the time he joined the promotion) in 2001. Tajiri is a veteran of the business who’s been working for nearly 30 years at this point (at the time of the CWC around 20+ years) and it’s really good to see him working this tournament. He gets to return against Damian Slater which should be interesting.
Tommaso Ciampa - Tommaso Ciampa coming into this tournament like his partner Johnny Gargano was also working for and signed to NXT. He was in the same DIY tag team with Gargano but was working different independent promotions from bits of EVOLVE, PROGRESS but mainly his big note of relevancy at this current point in his career was his tenure in Ring of Honor where he won the ROH Television Championship. He faces current partner Johnny Gargano in what’s sure to be the biggest match in the first round.
Tony Nese - My first impression of Tony Nese was “Who is this guy? Does this guy love flexing his abs?” but my research shows before the CWC that Nese had done a considerable amount of work in promotions such as Dragon Gate USA (and Dragon Gate in Japan), EVOLVE along with PWG. Most of his body of work features him in a tag team with Caleb Konley under the team name “The Premier Athlete Brand”. He faces Anthony Bennett in what’s set to be an intriguing match.
Tyson Dux - Prior to this tournament, Tyson Dux wasn’t really a name I’d heard about at all to be quite truthful. I decided to do some digging to see what I could find out about what he’d done and what I found was quite interesting. Dux had mainly done work for the independent scene in Canada working for most notably SMASH Wrestling! Additionally, he’d also worked in Japan a few times for AJPW and Zero-1 which is quite the background. Something also to add is that Tyson Dux apparently worked for WWE back in 2004 but was pretty much relegated to Sunday Night Heat and Velocity. This is his best chance at a redemption arc starting against Zack Sabre Jr.
Zack Sabre Jr. - Going into this tournament, the name Zack Sabre Jr was one of the names I’d heard the most about. Sabre was known at this point in time for being one of the best technical wrestlers on the planet with his unparalleled submission holds and having a comparison to that of Daniel Bryan in that regard. Before this tournament, Sabre was working pretty much all over the world varying from European promotions like RevPro, PROGRESS and wXw, Japanese promotions like Pro Wrestling NOAH and American promotions such as PWG and EVOLVE the former of which Sabre was actually their world champion going into this tournament. He has a chance to show off his wizardry against Tyson Dux in the first round.
With that all being said, this concludes the Cruiserweight Classic Preview. Round 1 Reviews will be up very soon as this will be split into more than likely 3-4 parts beyond this point. With that, for now I bid you adieu until the next one!
It was very good for its time and definitely looking at some of the people in this tournament now compared to back then gives you quite the perspective to see what trajectory their careers went down. I'll be covering that as the reviews go up. There's so much talent out there from people in WWE to AEW to people all over the world that the possibilities for incredible matches and talent for a CWC 2 would be endless in my eyes.I legit wish WWE did this again. I know more companies got certain stars signed now but this would be so good again.