KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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By James Caldwell & Sean Radican, PWTorch Staff
The Cruiserweight Tournament and Final Four was set up for the mega-final of Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
However, both lost their semi-final match in Wednesday’s tournament finale.
T.J. Perkins and Gran Metalik, who both signed deals with WWE beyond the Cruiserweight tournament, made it to the finals.
TJP then won the tournament, ending a run where he was the “underdog” and not-expected-to-win in the eyes of the fans in four consecutive matches against Johnny Gargano, Rich Swann, Ibushi, and Metalik.
Ibushi and Sabre ended up not signing deals beyond the tournament, which was a big factor in who won, especially since WWE wanted the tournament to be a springboard into the re-launch of the Cruiserweight division on Raw.
Therefore, Ibushi only signing for the tournament and Sabre not reaching an agreement with WWE ruled them out of consideration for winning. We previously reported that Ibushi signed a deal with WWE, but it turns out that he only signed for the tournament.
WWE wanted to showcase Metalik in a big way, prompting his decisive victory over Sabre in the Final Four. Then came the decision of whether Perkins or Metalik should win the final match.
Two factors were Metalik needing time to relocate from Mexico to the U.S. after signing with WWE, so he would not have been ready for the Cruiserweight debut Monday night on Raw. There is also a language barrier of wanting to make sure the Cruiserweight tournament winner and newly-introduced CW champion would be able to walk onto Raw Monday night and verbally connect with the main WWE audience.
Therefore, TJP got the nod. Perkins is also really good in the ring and he has a story that WWE wants to tell. Perkins being positioned as the chief representative of the division allows WWE to tell Perkins’s “inspirational story” of his journey from homelessness to winning the tournament.