The WWE has dazzled fans with its presentation of the new Cruiserweight Classic, which has exclusively aired on the WWE Network. The tournament, which featured 32 wrestlers, has now dwindled down to eight, many of whom have proved to be the best under-205ers in the world.
Not only that, but the wrestlers in this tournament have more to look forward to, as Raw will be bringing the division to its show. That means you could be seeing some of these competitors on that show in the near future.
So now, let’s rank the remaining Cruiserweight Classic competitors. These rankings will be based on popularity, as well as first and second round performances.
8. Noam Dar (def. Gurv Sihra, Ho Ho Lun)
Through two matches on the Cruiserweight Classic, I still find myself not that impressed by Noam Dar, despite the fact the WWE is treating him as a top talent. His opening round bout with Gurv Sihra was a snooze fest, and while his second round bout with Ho Ho Lun was a vast improvement. Sure, not all cruiserweights need to be flashy high flyers, but guys like Jack Gallagher, Zack Sabre Jr. and Brian Kendrick find a way to make their matches intriguing and fun. He takes on Sabre in the next round, so I expect Dar to make his exit from the tournament against one of the top favorites.
7. Brian Kendrick (def. Raul Mendoza, Tony Nese)
Given his age and the wear-and-tear on his body, Brian Kendrick has adjusted his style nicely. He is not nearly the athlete he used to be, but he uses his ring psychology and unrepentant brutality to make him even more nasty. His match against Raul Mendoza in the first round was entertaining, but his match with Tony Nese in the second round was even better. He played at a disadvantage for most of the match, as Nese’s athleticism, agility and strength was just too much for him. However, Kendrick’s craftiness and creativity pulled him through the match. He has the tough task of taking on Kota Ibushi in the next round, the man who many think will win the tournament. Kendrick could find himself putting over the young star.
6. Akira Tozawa (def. Kenneth Johnson, Jack Gallagher)
Given the amount of hype the WWE was throwing the way of Jack Gallagher, I really thought they would put him over Akira Tozawa. That said, I have no problem with the bookers putting Tozawa into the final eight of the tournament. Tozawa is amongst the heaviest hitters in the tournament and has put in two really good efforts thus far. His match with Kenneth Johnson was solid, but his match with Gallagher was a technical attraction. Despite getting outmaneuvered early on, Tozawa turned in a stiff, fun effort. Everything he throws just looks like a bundle of misery for his opponent. His next foe will be Gran Metalik in what should be a barn burner.
5. TJ Perkins (def. Da Mack, Johnny Gargano)
Many people thought Johnny Gargano would be in this tournament until at least the final four, but TJ Perkins, in unison with an injury slowing Gargano down, made sure the NXT star was escorted out of the tournament. All of the experience Perkins has is finally paying off, as he looks like one of the most polished guys in this tournament. His match with Da Mack was impressive, but his match with Gargano was of the sta-making caliber. The CWC fans appreciated the great effort both men put in, but it was the performance of Perkins that fans accepted. He is now a serious contender. He has a tough task in the next round, but his bout with Rich Swann should be bonkers.
4. Zack Sabre Jr. (def. Tyson Dux, Drew Gulak)
Zack Sabre Jr. is certainly one of the most gifted technical talents in the world, and he continues to show that match by match. He is not going to be the guys who overpowers you and hits an amazing, high-flying move off the top rope. He is going to engage in a beautiful grappling exchange where he pulls out mind-boggling holds and positions. I think what has somewhat exposed in his last match. His first match against Tyson Dux was impressive because he went up against a guy that was similar in size. In his last match against Drew Gulak, who took on a rough neck that worked a stiff, hard-hitting match. Truth be told, I was more impressed with Gulak. I found myself at the end of the match rooting for Gulak. All things considered, Sabre is still a favorite. He will wrestle Noam Dar in the next round, and I believe he will be in the final four.
3. Rich Swann (def. Jason Lee, Lince Dorado)
I was kind of disappointed with Rich Swann in his first round matchup with Jason Lee, but he more than made up for it against Lince Dorado. In one of my favorite matches of the second round, Swann and Dorado put on a technical thriller, complete with high flying moves. Swann is insanely athletic and has incredible leaping ability. His standing 450 Splash is magnificent and the Phoenix Splash he used to finish Dorado was one of the best I have seen. He has jumped into top contention after his Dorado match and I expect bigger things from him. He will take on TJ Perkins in the next round.
2. Gran Metalik (def. Alejandro Saez, Tajiri)
There are few who have dazzled a crowd like Gran Metalik has in the CWC so far, and that’s saying something in this tournament. The king of the ropes has shown some very innovative, high-flying moves that have had fans on their feet. He has also shown some surprisingly good technical ground skills, especially in his match with Tajiri in the second round. Against the Japanese buzzsaw, he showed a more wrestling-based attack, as opposed to his lucha styling (though that’s not to say we didn’t see his lucha side). In what should be a dazzling affair, I expect Metalik’s third round bout with Akira Tozawa to be off the chains.
1. Kota Ibushi (def. Sean Maluta, Cedric Alexander)
Kota Ibushi is on another level than most people at this point. If you want an example, just watch his second round matchup with Cedric Alexander. In what was the best match in the CWC so far by a long shot, Ibushi and Alexander put on an all-time class. It actually looked like Ibushi might lose his bout with Alexander, as several near falls after high impact moves sold Alexander as the potential conqueror and Ibushi has the prey. That didn’t happen, as Ibushi rallied and won the amazing bout. In my opinion, he is the outright favorite to win this entire tournament, and would be a great addition to the main roster immediately.