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WWE Cruiserweight Tournament Report
September 7, 2016 – Week 9/10
Taped at Full Sail University
Aired on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The “Elite Eight” Quarterfinal matches tonight include:
- Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. Noam Dar
- Rich Swann vs. T.J. Perkins
The Cruiserweight broadcast opened with Corey Graves previewing tonight’s quarterfinal matches. Who will join Gran Metalik and Kota Ibushi in the Final Four? The answer is tonight.
From the arena, Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan introduced the show and previewed tonight’s matches. Bryan said he cannot wait for tonight’s match-ups. Ranallo described Swann and TJP exceeding expectations making it to the final round of their bracket. But, first, it’s a technical battle between Zack Sabre, Jr. and Noam Dar.
Video Package: Zack Sabre, Jr. talked confidently about his abilities and technique, not being affected by the worldwide audience. Sabre said he believes he can beat everyone in this tournament. And then there’s the cocky upstart Noam Dar. Dar said he’s had to adapt to his opponents thus far and he wants to make an impression very quickly on the way to winning the tournament.
In-ring: Zack Sabre, Jr. was introduced first for the quarterfinals match. Sabre popped his Union Jack ring jacket on the way to the ring like a superstar, then posed in the ring. He has such a presence and confidence in the ring. Noam Dar was out next looking confident but in a heelish way. Ranallo said they are close friends and trained together as teenagers. Both had big smiles like “wow, we’re doing this on a big stage” as they met in the middle of the ring for a pre-match handshake.
1 — ZACK SABRE, JR. (U.K.) vs. NOAM DAR (Scotland/Israel) — Elite 8 Quarterfinal tournament match — 30-minute time limit
Sabre and Dar felt each other out early on. Dar kept tugging on his ear like something was wrong, then Sabre locked him in a submission. Sabre toyed with Dar, then surprised Dar with a mean stomp to the shoulder. Sabre immediately applied a shoulder wrench, then nailed an elbow strike to the face. But, Dar kicked Sabre’s left knee to get an opening. Dar quickly capitalized with a leg submission working on the left knee.
Sabre and Dar suddenly broke into a pin attempt exchange rolling around on the mat. No three count, though. Dar then nailed a combination palm thrust and uppercut, but he decided to stand there posing, allowing Sabre to grip him from behind for a half-nelson suplex driver for a close two count. Sabre tried to nail New Japan star Shibata’s PK, but Dar ducked and again nailed the knee. Fisherman Suplex for a two count.
Moments later, Sabre caught Dar with the PK, drawing a Shibata reference from Ranallo. But, Sabre did not get it flush because of the work on his knee. Dar was able to escape a subsequent pin attempt.
They hit 10:00 with Dar targeting the knee with a kneebar, but Sabre countered with an armbar. Sabre then stacked up Dar with a straight-jacket bridging pin, but Dar escaped just before three. Both men recovered to their feet and Dar nearly got a three count on a backslide.
Back on their feet again, Sabre slapped Dar across the face before dramatically and emphatically dropping him to the mat with a cross arm-breaker. But, Dar made it to the bottom rope for a break. Dar came right back with his kneebar, but both men fell to the floor locked in the hold. Sabre sold injuring his left elbow on the landing, drawing over referee Drake Wuertz to check on him.
Back in the ring, Dar attacked Sabre’s forearm, switching up his strategy from working the leg. But, Sabre nailed him with a bicycle kick into a version of the Ring of Saturn. Sabre then used his super-bendy likes like Gumbi to stretch Dar’s shoulders almost behind his body. Dar had to tap out, giving Sabre the win.
Post-match, Sabre got his hand raised, then Sabre continued clutching his injured wrist/forearm. Dar sat down next to Sabre on the mat and embraced him. Sabre eventually got up and stood tall in the ring heading to the Final Four.
WINNER: Sabre via submission at 15:46 to advance to the Final Four. Such a great technical display. Dar seemingly coasted through his first two matches before really bringing it in this quarterfinals match. The finish was exquisite with Sabre using his legs instead of his arms for the Rings of Saturn-like submission. Just insane. WWE has to get over their hang-ups and sign him.
Control Center: Corey Graves said it’s time to fill the final slot in the Final Four between Rich Swann and T.J. Perkins.
Video Package: TJP was highlighted, then Rich Swann, who wants to give the people his best in the ring.
Arena: Ranallo and Bryan were shown on-camera to recap the quarterfinals, then set up the final match in the Elite 8.
In-ring: Rich Swann was introduced to the ring as the U.S.’s last hope for a slot in the Final Four. T.J. Perkins, who is from Los Angeles but representing the Philippines, was out next as the secondary competitor behind Swann in the eyes of the audience. Ranallo plugged these men appearing in the Cruiserweight division on Raw, which starts September 19.
2 — RICH SWANN (USA) vs. T.J. PERKINS (Philippines) — Elite 8 Quarterfinal tournament match — 30-minute time limit
Clean handshake in the middle of the ring, then Swann danced for the crowd. Perkins smiled to not be shaken by the dance tactics, then both men circled the ring before locking up. After some back-and-forth, Perkins finished an exchange with a Dab, insulting Swann. Swann said it’s on and they emphatically locked up again. Swann finished the exchange with an armdrag, dance number, and Dab right back at TJP, popping the crowd.
Perkins came right back with a kneebar, driving Swann to the ropes for a break. Swann’s facial expressions reacting to the action are impeccable. High-level enhancement of what’s happening in the ring. Swann then smashed TJP to the floor and followed with a moonsault attempt, but TJP moved and Swann sold injuring his knee. So, Perkins nailed him with a springboard dropkick.
Back in the ring, Perkins targeted the knee with various submissions. He then tossed Swann into the air for a lungblower to the chest, resulting in a two count. Swann gasped for air as Perkins sized him up for more offense. Perkins took Swann to the top turnbuckle looking for a super Tiger Suplex, but Swann back-elbowed TJP down to the floor.
Back in the ring, Swann sprung on TJP with a huracanrana. Swann delivered Rolling Thunder followed by a cartwheel into a standing moonsault, but that hurt Swann just as much as Perkins. Bryan noted that Swann’s offense is not having the usual impact because of the damage done to him.
Swann dragged TJP to the corner looking for his double-jump moonsault, but he could not execute it because of the body damage. Perkins capitalized with a kneebar, but Swann got to the bottom rope. Perkins held on for an extra few moments, then released just before five to avoid a DQ. The damage was done, though, as Perkins followed up with a fireman’s carry into a Pele Kick. TJP then slapped on the kneebar in the middle of the ring. Swann tried to make it to the ropes, but he had to give it up. Perkins is in the Final Four.
Post-match, Perkins immediately embraced his friend to check on Swann, who sold intense pain in his leg. Perkins sold concern for Swann after doing what he needed to do to get a win to advance. Great moment and visual.
WWE replayed the high points, finish, and TJP’s immediate remorse after the finish. Back in the ring, Perkins got his hand raised to make it official that he’s in the Final Four against Kota Ibushi. Perkins then knelt down next to Swann and embraced him, before lifting Swann up to his feet to show good sportsmanship. Perkins stood tall in the ring as the crowd applauded Swann on the way out, before focusing on TJP left in the ring.
WINNER: TJP via submission at 17:03 to advance to the Final Four. This was really great storytelling. Not necessarily an epic match from an in-ring perspective, but the friendship story, Swann’s excellent facial expressions, and TJP finding himself again on this big stage made for a memorable wrestling match. Really well done to cap the Elite 8.
Next Week: A shiny trophy is awarded. The Cruiserweight tournament winner will come from the underground. Who will it be? In a two-hour live broadcast, the first tournament winner will be determined…
- Final Four: Kota Ibushi vs. T.J. Perkins
- Final Four: Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. Gran Metalik
- Winners meet in Championship match
|Alejandro Saez||Round of 32|
|Ariya Daivari||Round of 32|
|Clement Petiot||Round of 32|
|Sean Maluta||Round of 32|
|Damien Slater||Round of 32|
|Da Mack||Round of 32|
|Mustafa Ali||Round of 32|
|Kenneth Johnson||Round of 32|
|9||7/27||Zack Sabre, Jr.||8:28|
|Tyson Dux||Round of 32|
|Harv Sihra||Round of 32|
|Anthony Bennett||Round of 32|
|Raul Mendoza||Round of 32|
|Jason Lee||Round of 32|
|Gurv Sihra||Round of 32|
|Fabian Aichner||Round of 32|
|Tommaso Ciampa||Round of 32|
|Cedric Alexander||Sweet 16|
|Jack Gallagher||Sweet 16|
|Ho Ho Lun||Sweet 16|
|Tony Nese||Sweet 16|
|Lince Dorado||Sweet 16|
|23||8/24||Zack Sabre, Jr.||8:27|
|Drew Gulak||Sweet 16|
|Johnny Gargano||Sweet 16|
|Akira Tozawa||Elite 8|
|Brian Kendrick||Elite 8|
|27||9/7||Zack Sabre, Jr.||15:46|
|Noam Dar||Elite 8|
|Rich Swann||Elite 8|
|Zack Sabre, Jr.||Final Four|
|Kota Ibushi||Final Four|