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WWE Cruiserweight Tournament Report
August 24, 2016 – Week 7/10
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 airing tonight:
- Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann
- Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. Drew Gulak
- Johnny Gargano vs. T.J. Perkins
The Cruiserweight broadcast opened with a look at the tournament trophy, as revealed Saturday night at the “NXT Takeover” special. Then, a recap of last week’s big matches between Akira Tozawa and Jack Gallagher, as well as Brian Kendrick surviving Tony Nese.
From the announce both, Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan introduced the show. They set the stage for tonight’s three matches to complete the Sweet 16.
Video Package: Lince Dorado has arrived in WWE and he believes he can win the tournament because he is a hybrid luchador. Rich Swann was highlighted for overcoming the odds to land in WWE.
In-ring: Rich Swann fired up the crowd on the way to the ring. Swann danced in the ring, then waited for Lince Dorado to be introduced as his opponent. A handshake produced the opening bell.
1 — RICH SWANN (USA) vs. LINCE DORADO (P.R.) — Sweet 16 tournament match
Lots of athleticism in a Lucha-style feeling-out process resulting in a stalemate. They teased a test of strength, but Lince stopped Rich and wanted to dance. A little Alex Wright action, impressing Swann, who then snapped on a headlock and dropkicked Dorado out of the ring to the floor. Nice opening exchange.
Back in the ring, Dorado lit up Swann with a chop to the chest, but Swann fired back with a thrust kick. Swann and Dorado then went for running scissors kicks at the same time, knocking down both men. Bryan relayed that Swann and Lince have fought each other so many times on the indies that they know each other so well.
Swann and Dorado came back to their feet trading blows in rapid-fire fashion, exhausting themselves. Swann eventually got control, then tried a double-jump 450 splash, but Dorado got his knees up to block. Dorado followed with a reverse huracanrana for a two count. Dorado then climbed to the top looking for a Shooting Star Press, but Rich moved out of the way in time.
Swann then climbed to the top to nail a twisting Phoenix Splash right into Dorado’s masked face. Wow. Swann covered Dorado for the win to advance to the Elite 8. Afterward, Rich got his hand raised as Dorado sold the effects of taking that finisher right in the face.
WINNER: Swann at 8:14. Nice match showcasing strong athleticism and high-flying. Swann definitely has a shot to advance to the Final Four.
NXT Takeover flashback: Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa had a chance to win the NXT Tag Titles, but The Revival forced Gargano to tap out to a kneebar after work on the left knee. Nice piece of continuity incorporating that into tonight’s tournament match, which was taped a month ago.
Locker Room: Johnny Gargano got his knee taped while Tommaso Ciampa watched intently. Gargano said he knows he’s one of the favorites to win this tournament, so he doesn’t want to let anyone down. He vowed to get the job done tonight.
Video Package: Drew Gulak was highlighted, then Zack Sabre, Jr. Sabre said his style is technical, but he has quite a few tricks up his sleeve. Sabre said he’s driven by his love for wrestling.
In-ring: Zack Sabre, Jr. was introduced first to the ring, walking confidently to the ring with his signature presence and cool factor. Drew Gulak was out next with a mad look on his face. Gulak threw up the Catch Point hand signal before angrily slapping Sabre’s hand instead of shaking hands. Cue the bell.
2 — ZACK SABRE, JR. (U.K.) vs. DREW GULAK (USA) — Sweet 16 tournament match
The story was Gulak was upset about everyone talking about Sabre instead of him going into this match. Sabre controlled Gulak early on, stretching Gulak in a straight-jacket submission. Gulak then trapped Gulak in a Fujiwara armbar in the middle of the ring, wrenching back on the hold trying to tap Gulak.But, Gulak escaped to his feet and lifted Sabre in the air stretching him in the Gory Special. Geez, Sabre’s shoulders bent behind his back like Michael Phelps warming up for a swim. Gulak then positioned Sabre on the mat with a Boston Crab, stretching his legs after stretching his arms. Wow.
But, Gulak escaped to his feet and lifted Sabre in the air stretching him in the Gory Special. Geez, Sabre’s shoulders were bent behind his back like Michael Phelps warming up for a swim. Gulak then positioned Sabre on the mat with a Boston Crab, stretching his legs after stretching his arms. Wow. What a display from Gulak.
Gulak slowed the pace with a submission hold, but Sabre reached his feet and put Gulak in an octopus submission. Gulak slipped out and flowed into an anklelock. But, Sabre countered, only to take a back drop from Gulak. Gulak then bodyslammed Sabre onto the ring ropes to inflict more punishment than a standard slam.
Back on their feet, Gulak lit up Sabre with forearms. Big kick from Sabre to the chest for a two count. That drew a Shibata reference from Ranallo after the PK-like blow from Sabre. Sabre and Gulak stared each other down, then slapped the crap out of each other. Sabre sold being knocked out after one big blow to the face. Gulak then rolled up Sabre for a close two count.Gulak tried a Dragon Sleeper, but Sabre rolled through into a jackknife pin and he held Gulak’s arms down to the mat to secure a three count. That was nuts!
Gulak tried a Dragon Sleeper, but Sabre rolled through into a jackknife pin and he held Gulak’s arms down to the mat with his feet to secure a three count. That was nuts! Gulak sold shock being out-witted by the technical wizard. Sabre breathed a sigh of relief as Gulak continued to act shocked. Afterward, Sabre asked for a handshake and show of respect. This time, Gulak quickly shook Sabre’s hand and bailed from the ring.
WINNER: Sabre at 8:27. That was an epic confrontation and display of technical skills. Sabre is so good in the ring.
Control Room: Corey Graves broke down the bracket with seven of eight quarterfinal spots filled. Graves noted Johnny Gargano is not 100 percent going into his match against T.J. Perkins, but don’t count out Gargano’s heart and determination.
Video Package: T.J. Perkins said he would like to be his generation’s representative on the big stage. Perkins talked big about his aspirations to be a big deal at this point in his career. Standing in his way is Johnny Gargano, whose First Round victory over Tommaso Ciampa was highlighted.
In-ring: Johnny Gargano was introduced to the ring first selling his left knee. T.J. Perkins was out next. Handshake and it was match time.
3 — T.J. PERKINS (Philippines) vs. JOHNNY GARGANO (USA) — Sweet 16 tournament match
Perkins quickly targeted the knee with an Indian Deathlock, but Gargano suddenly nailed TJP with a dropkick sending Perkins to the floor. Gargano followed with a suicide dive rocking Perkins. Gargano tried to shake off the knee injury as Bryan noted Gargano’s two-plus-year DGUSA Title run.
Back in the ring, Gargano stretched TJP with a surfboard. TJP reversed into a rocking horse submission, which he followed with a bottle-opener. Perkins and Gargano came back to their feet, where Gargano slapped Perkins across the face. He followed with a torpedo spear to rock TJP. But, the knee became an issue again.
Standing kick exchange, but TJP caught Gargano’s foot, ducked underneath, and lifted Gargano into the air for a sit-out powerbomb that resulted in a two count. The two men sold on the mat as Ranallo noted the 20-minute time limit for these second round matches.
Perkins then hopped to the ring apron, where Gargano met him with a kick strike. Gargano then flew off the apron with a dive to Perkins’s face that also knocked out Gargano, who crashed into the timekeeper’s table. What a wipe-out. Gargano sold injuring his knee on the landing.
Back in the ring, Gargano jumped right into a fireman’s carry leg whip. Perkins followed with a fallaway gutbuster for a super-close two count. Gargano continued to sell the leg as Perkins blasted him with right hand blows. Gargano sold losing feeling in his leg, which led to Perkins slapping on a kneebar. Gargano fought, then switched to a cross-face, but Perkins blocked the full application.
They crossed 10:00 with Gargano still favoring the knee. TJP took Gargano to the top turnbuckle, but Gargano slipped out and facebustered Perkins into the top turnbuckle. Running lawn dart into the opposite buckle, then Gargano with a cover for a close two count. The crowd fired up as both men sold the effects of the match.
Gargano tried a superkick, but Perkins ducked. Second try and this one landed to the back of the head. Gargano tried a slam, but Perkins rolled through into a kneebar targeting the leg. Gargano crawled toward the bottom rope, but he couldn’t reach it. Perkins then grapevined the leg, trapping Gargano’s legs together. Gargano had to tap out, and the crowd freaked out, shocked by the result.
Post-match, Perkins celebrated and had a party in the ring as Gargano clutched his face selling disbelief. Gargano was in tears cursing the condition of his knee as Perkins continued the big celebration. Bryan called it the biggest win of Perkins’s career.
Back in the ring, TJP got his hand raised while Gargano slumped down to the mat continuing to sell the knee. Perkins then shook Gargano’s hand and lifted him up to show respect. Meanwhile, a trainer checked on Gargano and his knee. Perkins celebrated on the way out as Gargano sat on the ring apron selling disbelief.
WINNER: TJP via submission at 12:18 to advance to the Elite 8. Heck of a match and story focusing on Gargano’s tough week. Perkins looked really good in this match and seems to have finally found his niche on mainstream TV after the strange run as Suicide/Manik on TNA TV.
— WWE (@WWE) August 25, 2016
Back at the control room, Corey Graves hyped the Elite 8 advancing to the quarterfinals of the tournament: Kota Ibushi, Gran Metalik, Akira Tozaawa, Noam Dar, Brian Kendrick, Rich Swann, T.J. Perkins, and Zack Sabre, Jr.
Graves said the quarterfinals begin next week on WWE Network, but did not say which matches will be airing. Those matches will be taped this week at Full Sail University.