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WWE Cruiserweight Tournament Report
August 10, 2016 – Week 5/10
Taped at Full Sail University
Aired on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
It’s the first two matches in the Sweet 16 round with Tajiri facing Gran Metalik and Kota Ibushi facing Cedric Alexander.
Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan introduced the show from the broadcast position hyping the reaction to the First Round in pro wrestling circles.
In the control center, Corey Graves hyped the First Round results. Graves previewed Kota Ibushi vs. Cedric Alexander in tonight’s main event. Plus, the first Sweet 16 match of Tajiri vs. Gran Metalik.
Video Packages: Metalik’s first round victory was recapped, followed by Tajiri’s win. Tajiri joked in his recap video that his career is older than a lot of wrestlers in the tournament. Tajiri got serious that he wants to achieve something great before he retires.
In-ring: Tajiri was introduced first for the Sweet 16 match-up against Gran Metalik. Metalik was out second representing Mexico. These matches will carry a 20-minute time limit…
1 — GRAN METALIK (Mexico) vs. TAJIRI (Japan) – Cruiserweight Tournament Sweet 16 match
Tajiri and Metalik felt each other out early on to establish a lengthy match. Lucha Libre broke out after Ranallo hyped their CMLL connections. Metalik and Tajiri went nuts with armdrag and leg sweep counters before squaring off against each other to applause.
The match moved to the mat, where they rolled around the ring trying crucifix pins on each other, resulting in nearfalls. Now on their feet, Tajiri landed a chop, but Metalik nailed a head scissors sending Tajiri to the floor. On the outside, Metalik superkicked Tajiri in the mouth. Back in the ring, Tajiri returned the favor with a buzzsaw kick to the face.
Back on the mat, Tajiri put Metalik in a head scissors, then he bent Metalik’s neck backwards in a neck vice trying to get a submission, but Metalik reached the ropes with his foot. Tajiri followed right up with a kick to the face, so Metalik slapped him across the chest, but Tajiri kicked him again. Tajiri was in total b.a. mode.
Metalik came back with a dropkick sending Tajiri to the floor. Metalik followed with a tight-rope-walk somersault splash wiping out Tajiri on the outside. Both men sold on the floor before Metalik caught Tajiri with a Dragon screw leg whip back in the ring. Metalik then walked the top rope again before nailing a diving elbow for a close two count. This is nuts.
Metalik followed with a springboard back-elbow smash to Tajri, who escaped a pin. Metalik then walked into a back-kick to the face, but Tajiri couldn’t follow up after the leg whip moments ago. Tajiri shook it off, then hung up Metalik in the corner for a Tree of Woe dropkick. But, only a two count for Tajiri.
Nearing the 10-minute mark, Tajiri caught Metalik with a powerbomb. He stacked him up, but Metalik kicked out just before three. Tajiri followed with an anaconda vice submission in the middle of the ring, but Metalik repeatedly kicked as hard as he could to kick free. Tajiri didn’t waste any time following up with a kick to the face. But, he missed a second one when Metalik ducked, Metalik hoisted him in the air, and he nailed the Metalik Screwdriver (fireman’s carry Michinoku Driver). It was good for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Metalik at 10:53. Wow, this was a fun, really good match. They really amped it up from Round 1 to Round 2 with a hard-hitting, non-stop match that engaged the crowd. Some great innovation from Metalik and a reminder of how good Tajiri still is in his mid-40s. (***1/2)
Control Center: Corey Graves hyped the main event of Cedric Alexander vs. Kota Ibushi up next to determine who joins Metalik in the Elite Eight/quarterfinals.
Video Package: Cedric Alexander talked about riding a wave of momentum in the tournament and validating all of the work he put in to get to this point. And then there’s b.a. striker Kota Ibushi. Ibushi spoke in Japanese about wrestling all over the world, and now he wrestles in front of the world.
In-ring: Kota Ibushi was introduced first to a strong reaction. Cedric Alexander was out next and the crowd was fired up for this big match-up.
2 — CEDRIC ALEXANDER (USA) vs. KOTA IBUSHI (Japan) — Cruiserweight Tournament Sweet 16 match
Crazy feeling-out process with strong counters, blocks, and exchanges before they recovered in their respective corners to get a breather. Both men slowly came back to their feet before circling the ring. Alexander grabbed a headlock, which he maintained for a while trying to keep control of Ibushi. Ibushi finally found the escape, but Alexander nailed a back-elbow and uppercut. That angered Ibushi, who smashed Alexander with a big kick to the chest that rocked Full Sail.
Ibushi let that kick sink in, then chopped Alexander in the face before dropkicking him to the floor. Ibushi tried to follow with a double spring moonsault, but Alexander ran out of the way, Ibushi crashed to the mat, Alexander ran into the ring, and he nailed a flip dive to the floor, surprising Ibushi. Back in the ring, Alexander nailed a flying clothesline for a super-close nearfall.
Reset at 7:30 with Ibushi in trouble. Alexander chopped him down to the mat, then went for a standing suplex, but Ibushi blocked. Alexander then ran the ropes, but Ibushi jumped in the air with a flying dropkick to the face that shocked the crowd. Ibushi picked up Alexander, who answered with a forearm smash. Ibushi had his own forearm. Strong Style ’16 led to Ibushi knocking down Alexander and nailing a standing corkscrew moonsault for a super-close two count.
They crossed 10:00 with Ibushi nailing an exploder suplex sending Alexander to the floor. Ibushi thought about another dive to the floor, and this time Ibushi nailed a running springboard Moonsault onto Alexander. The crowd was full-throat roaring at this point.
Back in the ring, Ibushi covered Alexander for a two count. Ibushi tried to follow with a powerbomb, but Alexander blocked and scooped up Ibushi for a Michinoku Driver resulting in a two count. Alexander and Ibushi then exchanged hard-hitting, loud strikes staggering both men. Ibushi was the first man back to his feet looking for the Golden Star powerbomb, but Alexander escaped.
Alexander came back with a brainbuster suplex, but Ibushi kicked out. Immediate sick kick to the head; one, two, and a super-close kick-out by Ibushi. The crowd went nuts and Alexander sold shock over not getting a three count on that sequence.
Alexander contemplated his next move, then set up Ibushi in the corner. Alexander climbed to the top looking for a frog splash or double foot stomp, but Ibushi moved out of the way. German Suplex, roundhouse kick to the head, and Golden Star powerbomb. Ibushi secured the pin and the win.
WINNER: Ibushi at 15:00 flat. Wow. That was insanely good, just as advertised following the TV taping. Unbelievable sequences featuring Ibushi’s trademark offense and Alexander’s reinvigorated approach after dropping 20+ pounds to qualify for the tournament. (****1/2)
Post-match, WWE replayed the high points of the match as Ranallo and D-Bryan tried to collect themselves and catch their breath after calling that unbelievable match.
Back in the ring, Ibushi got his hand raised in victory as Alexander sold dejection not getting the win. Ibushi advances to face the winner of Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese. Ibushi continued to celebrate in the ring, while Alexander dejectedly left the ring selling emotion after coming so close to defeating Ibushi.
At the control center, Corey Graves wrapped up this week’s show and plugged three Sweet 16 matches on next week’s broadcast:
- Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher
- Noam Dar vs. Ho Ho Lun
- Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese (to face Ibushi)
WWE ended the broadcast with a “bonus clip” of sorts showing Alexander getting major respect from the crowd as he walked up the ramp after his match. The audience chanted “Please Sign Cedric,” which made him tear up even more. Triple H then walked out from the back to a pop to embrace Alexander and acknowledge the chant, which WWE released footage of after the show.