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WWE Cruiserweight Tournament Report
August 17, 2016 – Week 6/10
Taped at Full Sail University
Aired on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The Sweet 16 round continues with three more matches on the schedule:
- Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher
- Noam Dar vs. Ho Ho Lun
- Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese (to face Kota Ibushi in the Elite 8)
The Cruiserweight broadcast opened with a recap of last week’s matches kicking off the Sweet 16 round. In the arena, broadcasters Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan talked about the buzz surrounding Kota Ibushi and Cedric Alexander from last week’s Sweet 16 kick-off. Bryan said he wanted to jump in the ring with them last week.
Video Package: Jack Gallagher wrestles the British style. And he is proud to use his technique and skills to secure victory. But, he’s facing Akira Tozawa, who brings unmatched energy and fighting spirit to the ring. Tozawa boasted that his German Suplex is the best in the industry.
In-ring: Akira Tozawa was out first ready to hurt someone. Ranallo described him as the stamina monster from Dragon Gate in Japan. They highlighted Tozawa’s first round victory over Kenneth Johnson, finishing with his trademark German Suplex. Jack Gallagher was out next representing England looking very sportsman-like. After a gentlemanly handshake, the bell sounded to begin this style clash.
1 — AKIRA TOZAWA (Japan) vs. JACK GALLAGHER (U.K.) — Sweet 16 match
An epic opening exchange resulting in a stalemate. Gallagher then slowly folded one of Tozawa’s arms, one of his legs, his other arm, the other arm together, and left Tozawa in the middle of the ring tied up in a virtual straight-jacket. What?! Gallagher took his time forcing Tozawa to find no escape stuck in the middle of the ring, then he kicked him in the butt. This man.
Tozawa, embarrassed, fired off on Gallagher with high-impact strikes before putting Gallagher in a rear chinlock. He did his trademark shouts, which prompted the crowd to shout back at him. He then told them to shush. Classic. Tozawa followed with a running splash to Gallagher’s mid-section for a two count.
Both men came to their feet for a standing exchange of forearms and chops. Tozawa then faked out Gallagher and slapped him across the jaw like Jack owed him money. Gallagher responded with a kick to the hamstring, followed by a leg stretch. Gallagher manipulated the left leg attempting to force a submission, but Tozawa hung in there.
Gallagher then whipped Tozawa into the corner, but Tozawa shot out of the corner with a surprising bicycle kick to the face with his good leg. Nice taste of Japanese strong style. Tozawa tried to follow up, but Gallagher trapped him in a heel hook. Tozawa screamed in pain trying to reach the bottom rope, and he finally made it there to get a rope break.
At 10:00, Gallagher opted not to follow up, allowing Tozawa to recover to his feet. Very gentlemanly. Gallagher again gave Tozawa room to breathe, so Tozawa came at him with a strike, but Gallagher smashed him in the face for a two count. Gallagher was no longer in nice-guy mode, putting Tozawa in another submission, but Tozawa rolled through into a small package for a two count.
Tozawa tried to deadlift Gallagher for a suplex, but Gallagher grabbed his leg trying to block it. Tozawa stopped Gallagher in mid-air, maintained the German Suplex, and slowly lifted Gallagher in the air to drop him on the back of his head with the German Suplex with a bridge pin for the win. Amazing. Post-match, Tozawa got his hand raised as Gallagher lamented the loss.
WINNER: Tozawa at 11:38. Wow, what strength from Tozawa on the finish when you wouldn’t expect it from a mid-sized wrestler. This was such a good mix of styles from two strong personalities. This is worth watching a few times because of how many interesting sequences there were in the match. (***1/2)
— WWE (@WWE) August 18, 2016
— WWE (@WWE) August 18, 2016
Video Package: Ho Ho Lun was spotlighted. Lun talked about accidentally getting into judo before finally finding a pro wrestling school. Lun vowed to make his family proud of him by doing well in the tournament. Noam Dar was spotlighted next. Dar said he believes he is the best wrestler in the tournament.
In-ring: Noam Dar was out first for his Sweet 16 match. Ho Ho Lun, the father of Hong Kong pro wrestling, was out next excited to face Dar with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
2 — HO HO LUN (Hong Kong/China) vs. NOAM DAR (Scotland) — Sweet 16 match
Dar worked on Lun’s lower body in the early going, prompting Lun to sell a lower leg injury. Dar was aggressive with a back drop suplex for a two count. He continued to work on the leg as the crowd picked up a “Dar, Dar, Dar, Dar-Dar, Dar-Dar” chant. Dar played along, then went back to work on the leg, selling being in complete control of this situation.
Lun fought back with a Fisherman Suplex, but he couldn’t complete the bridge because of the work on the knee. Dar then trapped Lun with a kneebar in the middle of the ring. Lun fought, but had to tap out, giving Dar a decisive win.
WINNER: Dar via submission at 7:02. This was a pretty one-sided match without much back-and-forth once Dar got to work on the knee. Dar will have a more competitive Elite Eight match against either Zack Sabre, Jr. or Drew Gulak.
— WWE (@WWE) August 18, 2016
Announcers: Bryan and Ranallo were shown on-camera to discuss the main event of Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese. They’re the same height, but Nese has a 39-pound weight advantage.
Video Package: Tony Nese talked about being a hybrid of strength and speed. Nese said he moves like a cruiserweight and hits like a heavyweight. He said he thinks this hybrid style gives him the advantage to slow down the high-flyers when he needs to. Brian Kendrick then talked about this tournament being a re-birth or just an opportunity. He said if he falls short of winning the tourney, then it’s all been for nothing.
In-ring: Brian Kendrick was out first acting heelish, but Ranallo talked up a babyface story of knowing that he made mistakes in the past and he wants to atone for his early years in wrestling. Tony Nese was out next firing up the crowd as Ranallo talked him up as the Premiere Athlete.
3 — TONY NESE (USA) vs. BRIAN KENDRICK (USA) — Sweet 16 match
Once the bell sounded, Nese and Kendrick stared at each other, then Kendrick got a full head of steam charging Nese, who just lifted his big leg and smashed Kendrick right in the face with a knee. That was a unique and impressive start to the match. Kendrick sold being nearly KO’ed, drawing over the ref to see if he could continue the match. Nese followed right up with more punishment, including a superkick on the outside.
Back in the ring, Nese just punished Kendrick, who sold still being rocked from that match-opening knee strike. Suddenly, Kendrick raked Nese’s nose to stop Nese’s momentum. Kendrick nearly got himself DQ’ed in the corner, but he managed to trap Nese’s arm inside the top turnbuckle in the process. Kendrick got in some extra offense until the ref broke Nese free.
Kendrick and Nese then went back and forth rocking each other with lariats until Nese smashed him to the mat. Nese then tried a running kick strike, but Kendrick ducked and Nese got his leg caught on the top rope. Kendrick took advantage with an attack to the shoulder as Nese dangled in the ropes. Kendrick followed with a shoulder-wrench submission, but Nese kicked free.
Nese missed a moonsault, giving Kendrick an opening for a cross arm-breaker submission. Nese kicked and kicked and kicked trying to break free, but Kendrick re-applied. Nese pushed and pushed and pushed trying to break free, but Kendrick re-applied. Nese was trapped in this hold. Just trapped with nowhere to go. On commentary, D-Bryan talked up Kendrick learning this in their early days training together at Shawn Michaels’s school. Nese finally got free, but the damage was done.
Nese managed to get in a leg sweep to send Kendrick to the floor, then Nese built a head of steam to deliver a big dive on the outside, wiping out Kendrick. Back in the ring, Nese delivered a roundhouse kick to the mid-section, but his arm was too damaged to follow up. Kendrick blocked a suplex with knees to the head, but Nese re-adjusted and nailed a Falcon Arrow for a close two count.
Nese, exhausted, climbed to the top turnbuckle looking for a splash, but Kendrick rolled away. Big boot to the face from Kendrick, but Nese smashed him with a lariat. Nese went back to the top rope again, but Kendrick got up and crotched Nese.
At 10:00, Kendrick went back to the arm trying to get a submission. Kendrick just would not let Nese escape, so Nese just dead-lifted Kendrick in the air and delivered a one-arm bucklebomb in the corner for a close two count. Wow. They came back to their feet and Kendrick put Nese in a bully choke, but Nese blocked and fought for his life. Nese followed with a pumphandle driver for a super-close two count. It looked like it was over, but Kendrick managed to roll a shoulder.
At 12:00, Nese got up first trying to find an opening to put away Kendrick. Meanwhile, Bryan became more and more attached to Kendrick and less objective about the match. Nese nailed a big kick to the face in the corner, then climbed to the top. “No, no, no!” Bryan shouted on commentary. Nese went for his big 450 splash, but Kendrick rolled out of the way just in time. Kendrick immediately slapped on the bully choke and Nese had to tap out.
WINNER: Kendrick via submission at 13:42. This was brilliant. Absolutely terrific, from the opening to the ending, including Bryan abandoning his objectivity to root for Kendrick, capturing the desperation Kendrick had to confront against Nese. Kendrick has rebuilt himself through two matches, while Nese made himself a lot of cash with his two matches in the tournament. If he doesn’t get signed by WWE, then he needs to be in EVOLVE main events a.s.a.p.; Nese does not belong in the EVOLVE openers doing the PAB shtick anymore. If he does get signed by WWE, he’s exactly the type of star WWE is looking for with the size, look, power, speed, and ability. Hopefully one day there will be a Nese vs. Tozawa match-up pairing up two strength-masters. (****)
— WWE (@WWE) August 18, 2016
From the control center, Corey Graves hyped next week’s last three matches of the Sweet 16:
- Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann
- Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. Drew Gulak
- Johnny Gargano vs. T.J. Perkins
Final Thoughts: Two must-watch matches book-ended this show. Gallagher and Nese really shined in defeat, while Tozawa and Kendrick have some more big-time matches ahead in the Elite 8.