|FOR ALL THE TOSTITOS|
Screen Grab Credit: WWE.com
9:00 PM ET - And the show kicks off with... the John Cena love promo? Okay, I'm a minute behind, but damn, this is still a really good way to kick anything off, to be honest. Fuck the bigots. FUCK 'EM.
9:01 - And now... IT BEGIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINS. I know it's Triple H's baby and everything, but fuck it, does he have to go proud papa on everything? Dean Malenko was right there man. I'm sure he'd be thrilled that you remembered him for more than being World Championship Wrestling's drug hookup.
9:03 - Mauro Ranallo welcomes the audience to the show, and no, he couldn't make it through his intro without name-dropping Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask. "VHS kids, look it up." I can FEEL him pointing the daggers at all those Twitter Troglodytes he engages with even though he really doesn't have to.
9:06 - "[Perkins] was an underdog against Johnny Gargano, he was an underdog against Rich Swann, and here he is in the semifinals," still an underdog to the matriarchy. FIGHT THE POWER! FIGHT THE MISANDRY!
9:08 - Looks like WWE got the pros in the production truck to do this recap, because it looks super professional like the ones shown on RAW.
9:09 - Finally, Mike Rome is named on the program! Already, Tom Phillips is looking for a reason to get him fired. Gran Metalik vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. is the first semifinal match, and my nipples are protruding out of my Hot Topic-purchased Nirvana t-shirt. Is that too much information? I don't write that much anymore; I deserve to make you fuckers feel uncomfortable.
9:10 - Whoa, Sabre's theme song, did he go to CFO$ and ask them to Dubstep Cowboy his theme up somethin' fierce?
9:11 - METALIK OUT OF THE GATES RIGHT AWAY WITH THE DROPKICK AND THE TOPE CON HILO AND THE SPRINGBOARD SENTON AND I THINK I JUST CONCEIVED.
9:12 - Sabre blocks a springboard move, traps him in the ropes, and kicks the bottom strand. Welcome to #grapplefuck, Gran Metalik.
9:13 - One of the HOT RUMORZ around Twitter is that elements in WWE management don't like Sabre because he wrestles like a colloquial derogatory term for homosexuals, which okay, aside from being grossly offensive to even term it like that, I doubt gay sex is that painful all the time. Of course, some people might be kinky, but hey, pain gets people off, what can I say. What I'm trying to say is if Sabre isn't getting signed because WWE officials are homophobic shitbags, then I give up.
9:15 - And Metalik shows the world that luchadores can grapple too. He also showed that even the best practitioners of lucha flub at a higher clip than most with that lack of spring on the bottom springboard, but they recovered well.
9:17 - "Zack Sabre, Jr. is fired up!" does Daniel Bryan read Wrestling Twitter?
9:18 - Pooping on Sabre is trendy on Twitter, at least on my timeline lately. I don't see it. Dude counters moves like I put away snack cakes. That Mahistrol cradle counter was steamy, man.
9:19 - "They are blinding each other with science!" Mauro, you tried.
9:21 - Full Sail is booing Gran Metalik. This is the first time I've ever wanted to lash out at a crowd for a chant that wasn't racist or sexist.
9:23 - "He can only hold it for a count of four." Shame on you, Mr. "I HAVE TIL FIVE." Shame.
9:24 - HOLY SHIT THAT RANA. HOLY SHIT THAT COUNTER OF THE SPRINGBOARD INTO THE TRIANGLE CHOKE. HOLY SHIT THAT REVERSAL INTO THE MODIFIED PRAWN HOLD. HOLY SHIT METALIK DRIVER OUT OF NOWHERE! WHAT A GODDAMN MATCH!
9:25 - So the tournament has pretty much set a high bar for matches thus far, and I wasn't entirely sure how well Sabre was going to handle a luchador, but man, he just turned up the general crankiness and the pepper on his strikes. It wasn't Metalik's best performance, but he also set a high bar, and anything less was still better than most lucha or faux-lucha that has come into WWE over the last ten years or so, at least any that wasn't practiced by Rey Mysterio. Really solid opener, and I am appetized.
9:26 - William Regal out and HEY GRAN METALIK HAS JUST WON KING OF TRIOS! Oh wait...
9:27 - Metalik says FUCK YO' TRANSLATOR. YOU HEAR ME CIEN? I'MMA SPEAK ENGLISH AND MAKE YOU LOOK FOOLISH.
9:30 - Commercial for The Rock documentary thing WWE is pushing. Yes, this is exactly the forum to advertise for this thing.
9:31 - DIY is cleared! Hooray! And they're cutting a promo on The Revival. NXT is bleeding into the CWC, but I don't mind.
9:32 - Kota Ibushi vs. TJ Perkins. Time to see whether Ibushi has been bluffing about whether or not he rebuffed WWE contract offers or not.
9:33 - Perkins comes out dabbing right away, much to the chagrin of everyone who hates The Dab. Personally, I don't care either way about a dance, but if he starts cutting a promo on how Kobe Bryant is the best player in NBA history, then all bets are off.
9:35 - Smilin' Drake Wuertz is the referee, and I guarantee you he made weight and smashed a plate glass window over his head in preparation for stepping in just in case Ibushi breaks every bone in his body on a bad spot.
9:37 - Jesus, this grappling and countering is red meat, and I am the goddamn Ryback. I hope they do Inoki Genome Federation shit for the whole match at this point.
9:38 - Ranallo mentioning Antonio Brown twerking from Monday Night Football the other night. I wonder if Vince McMahon is going to hold that against him for his job review. And WHOA, Ibushi busts out the first big high spot of the match with a springboard dropkick.
9:39 - Ibushi goes up for the Golden Triangle Press, but Perkins is there to kick him right in the butt. This match is delivering so far, and they haven't even gotten started yet.
9:40 - Ibushi roundhouse kicks Perkins in the chest, and I felt it all the way from my living room. Then Perkins counters the second one into a dragon screw and I don't think my heart can take this much longer.
9:41 - I just finished my coffee (to be fair, I started it while NXT was still on), so I'm at full attention.
9:42 - And for good reason, because Ibushi just did a no-hesitation top rope Asai moonsault to the outside. If only I could do mescaline with no fear of repercussion from my shoot day job, because I bet that shit woulda been trippy as fuck on drugs.
9:43 - God, these counters making my neck snap like a rubber band, and then boom, Ibushi drops Perkins on his head with a snap German suplex that makes Akira Tozawa's quick snap German look like his Everest version.
9:45 - GODDAMMIT PERKINS I WANTED TO FUCKING SEE THAT RING IN GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE ROPES MY GOD YOU COCKTEASE.
9:46 - Perkins counters the Golden Star Bomb into a DDT and then into Tiger Knee Lift to the Face thing he does, and for a moment, divorce law in the United States favors fathers, if only for a few minutes like when the Mississippi River ran backwards after the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1848.
9:47 - PERKINS KICKED OUT OF THE GOLDEN STAR BOMB???
9:50 - OH HOLY FUCK THAT SUBMISSION HOLD. AND PERKINS IS STRETCHING IT UP TOO. HOLY FUCK.
9:51 - I give Ranallo some crap for his name drops and pop culture references, but no one else was gonna be able to call that match. Also, holy shit, that match was a buffet of counters and big strikes and huge spots, and I can't even describe it without breaking down into nervous energy. It was the avatar of what this new cruiserweight division should be like. Like, Perkins has been spotty at times this tournament, and in his matches with Johnny Gargano and Rich Swann, it felt like he was coasting. But here, he met Ibushi head on and matched him for his intensity and his pacing. And the snugness by both guys. Holy shit. It's one of the matches of the year.
9:57 - Noam Dar needs a translator more than Metalik needed one earlier.
9:58 - It's the cavalcade of stars in the crowd! Sasha Banks! Kalisto! Rich Swann! Jack Gallagher! Adam Cole! Bayley! Only one of those names is made up!
9:59 - The interstitial tag match is Dar and Cedric Alexander vs. DIY. This match is a nice palate cleanser for the rest of the show.
10:00 - Even the non-tournament matches have the trappings of the tournament. Continuity is a good thing.
10:01 - C'mon Ranallo, a headscissor takedown isn't a reverse rana. What Bayley did to Banks at the first Brooklyn on the top rope was a fucking reverse rana.
10:03 - Cedric Alexander is gonna own in WWE unless he runs into the Racism Wall. Hopefully, Triple H goes to bat for him as hard as he was mugging for the cameras after the Ibushi match in the round of 16.
10:04 - Tommaso Ciampa sees all those fancy leaping counters by Alexander and says "Fuck you, I can do it too" before doing his handspring dropkick.
10:05 - Johnny Gargano and Ciampa are doing this tag team thing like bosses right now. Too bad Ciampa's turning on him by the end of the year at the absolute latest.
10:06 - OH MY GOD, CED, STOP DOING THE M-DRIVER II THAT WELL, SAMI ZAYN IS GETTING JEALOUS.
10:07 - One of those "everyone gets hit with a big move and everyone's dead" spots appears, but man, it is beautiful when it's done right, like it is right now.
10:09 - Avalanche Air Raid Crash tease, I am about to aneurysm. But Ciampa gets left in the corner with his head jammed/stuck bent over like Curt Hawkins looking through his Jesus Zipper the night before on Smackdown. Even staying in that spot for as long as he did was impressive.
10:10 - Sorry Dar, you're only 23, but you now have CTE.
10:11 - Even the interstitial tag match owns and own hard. Has any single run in wrestling history had this return on investment? Maybe some New Japan buffs can answer with one of the G1 tournaments, but I can't remember anything in America that has had this kind of bang for its buck. The tag match kinda dragged a little when Dar was in there selling, but the other three guys just brought it and brought it in spades when they were doing their things. I need a carton of cigarettes now, and the CWC final still has yet to come.
10:15 - Bryan is talking cardio in advance of the finals, so you know shit is about to get serious. And hey, now William Regal is in the booth! It's a put over Triple H party!
10:16 - I'd much rather hear Regal talk about World of Sport dudes influencing the cruiserweight oeuvre than hearing about how Trips put this tournament together with his huge wolf dick. But that's just me.
10:18 - Hey, it's Corey Graves to talk about how the cruisers are going to RAW! RAW has been such a goddamn slog lately, as long as the division is more of what the CWC has been, maybe it'll be tolerable going forward!
10:19 - Ranallo's getting all verklempt! That's how you know the finals are coming up next. But oh god, just because the cruisers are going to RAW doesn't mean you should be subjecting us to the godawful Shinedown theme song during the semifinal recap.
10:21 - "They say the Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy to win in all of sports," THAT'S BECAUSE HOCKEYMANS SO TOUGH, THEY GO OUT FOR SHIFT EVEN IF THEY ONLY HAVE ONE LEG TO STAND ON. Sorry, streams got crossed for a second.
10:23 - Kid in the front row has a "Dab on 'em, TJP" sign so you know he's not part of Wrestling Twitter.
10:25 - AND HEY HERE COMES PAPA TRIPS TO MAKE IT ALL ABOUT HIM YES THIS IS WHAT I WANT OUT OF MY CWC FINAL.
10:27 - HOLY SHIT, TRIPLE H ANNOUNCES THIS MATCH IS FOR THE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP, IT IS OFFICIALLY LIT.
10:28 - No you marks, don't chant "Thank you, Hunter!" Goddammit.
10:30 - I love love love the countering, but Metalik slapping Perkins in the back is my everything. I love the prick moves, especially when done to real pricks.
10:31 - I think the story of the match is starting to unfold nicely. Perkins is gonna try to stretch Metalik, while Metalik is gonna do flippy shit. I hate the phrase "Styles make matches," but hey, it is kinda true. Then Metalik just low dropkicks Perkins off the apron and dives on him and I'm all hot and bothered again.
10:33 - When you got Metalik doing the rope walk dives, who needs Aerostar? (Note, you always need Aerostar.) OH GOD THOUGH, METALIK GETTING THE FOOT UP INTO PERKINS' BACK ON THE ROMERO SPECIAL, MY GOD. MY GOD. Perkins escape by ripping his wrist out. As the Family Hales says on Twitter, this match is becoming a certified shoot.
10:34 - The early match roles have reversed, and holy shit, Perkins just rana'd Metalik OVER the top rope. Jesus.
10:36 - Perkins is back to grinding the shit out of Metalik, which makes for good heeling. The crowd is split, but credit to Perkins here for wrestling heel and not giving into the adoration.
10:37 - OH MY FUCKING GOD METALIK JUST FOSBURY FLOPPED OVER THE TOP AND CAUGHT PERKINS WITH A RANA ON THE WAY DOWN OFF THE APRON, I JUST HAD A LITTER OF PUPPIES. Just turn Metalik into powder and inject him into my veins, I need it to survive now.
10:39 - Seriously, how can you look at Metalik and decide you hate flippy shit? He makes it look so good even when he misses the running shooting star press and getting caught in the big kneebar.
10:40 - When you run as fast as Metalik does, it looks really fuckin' gnarly when Perkins low-bridges your ankles with a dropkick at full gait. Someone bottle this match and let me drink it nightly for the rest of my life.
10:41 - Countering from the Metalik Driver into the Benadryller into that DDT was as spry as it would have looked in round one. I may quit wrestling after this just to keep this memory as my last match ever watched. It's pristine.
10:42 - Metalik just countered getting dragged to the middle for reapplication of the kneebar into a victory roll, and I'm sitting here shocked, but then he hit a janky Metalik Driver and sold the knee. Goddammit, this is perfect.
10:44 - Metalik's hard-ass slaps and chops give me life.
10:46 - TJ Perkins wins the Cruiserweight Classic with the kneebar. He's the one guy I didn't want to win, but I will respect the work he put in, especially during this final. The final had a lot to live up to, like a shitload of matches, even that night to live up to, and in its own way, it fit into the grand scheme of things. Metalik's chops landed just more crisply. Perkins' counter game was just that much more tighter. Outside of Perkins oléing the one Metalik dive, it was the peak of what they seemed to want to do. I still would put Ibushi/Alexander, Gargano/Ciampa, and Ibushi/Kendrick above this one, but goddamn, if this wasn't an appropriate way to end the tournament.
10:49 - That being said, Perkins is already dedicating this win to Kobe in his mind, and I hate him for it.
10:51 - I can't concentrate on what Perkins is really saying, because his chest looks like it got splattered by Jackson Pollack and Lizzy Borden doing a collaborative painting.
10:53 - This might be a snap judgment, but the Cruiserweight Classic has been, top-to-bottom, the best longterm thing WWE has ever done. It's hard to compare it to single shows like WrestleMania XXX or other individual pay-per-views, but WWE has never done anything that lasted longer than one night that was better than this. I don't care how it follows up. I don't care about the aftermath. I don't care if the cruiserweights get the same treatment on RAW that WCW gave them in the '90s right now. I'm just fucking stoked to have been able to live through and experience this tournament as it was presented.