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WWE Cruiserweight Classic results: Kota Ibushi vs. Sean Maluta

Triple H’s voice opened up the show, narrating about cruiserweights and showing highlights of famous cruiserweights of the past in WCW and WWE. He mentions it’s time for a new era of cruiserweights to step out of the shadows and enter the spotlight.

Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo open the show. Ranallo mentions that Bryan has wrestled a lot of these men and Bryan says yes, in fact Brian Kendrick was his first ever opponent in pro wrestling.

They throw it to Corey Graves who runs down the card for tonight. The graphics and presentation here look pretty slick and different than what WWE normally does.

They did a series of vignettes before each match. Gran Metalik is interviewed first. He’s here to represent his mask as well as Mexico. Alejandro Saez wants to prove that Chile has hardened warriors. To be a world luchador, you have to fight for what you want.

Seems as far as time limits go, each match has a 20 minute limit. They did a combination of mixed martial arts/boxing (giving out instructions and asking for questions before the match) and Ring of Honor (a handshake before the bout) style presentation before the match started.

Gran Metalik (Mexico) vs. Alejandro Saez (Chile)

This started out a bit rough as Saez didn’t look at all on the same level as Metalik, but it got a bit better as the match went on. Metalik did his step up springboard senton to the floor and Saez did a shooting star press to the floor. Saez went for a sky twister press but Metalik dodged, then hit what’s normally called the Dorada Screwdriver for the win.

More MMA presentation as both guys stood in the center of the ring between the referee and Metalik’s hand was raised.

Ariya Daivari is profiled. He mentioned his former WWE superstar brother, then mentioned he’ll do whatever it takes to get the win. HoHo Lun says he’ll do his best to make Hong Kong proud of him.

HoHo Lun (Hong Kong) vs. Ariya Daivari (Iran)

Daivari did not shake hands before the bell rang. Daivari came across as far more polished in the ring, but Lun was popular with the crowd and has a babyface kind of appeal that could work well for him. It needs work, though. 

Daivari controlled a lot of the match. Lun was making a comeback, but Daivari countered with a roaring elbow. Daivari misses a splash that allows Lun to get the win after a superkick while Daivari was kneeling then finished him off with a bridging German suplex.

Clement Petiot is interviewed and puts over Lance Storm as his trainer. He doesn’t do flips was the gist of what he said. Alexander mentions he’s from Charlotte, North Carolina, like Ric Flair and hopes to someday be mentioned in the same breath as him.

Cedric Alexander (USA) vs. Clement Petiot (France)

Petiot tried to punk out Alexander before the bell rang. The announcers put over Petiot has a hard hitter. I sensed more a cerebral style, he worked as a heel with general WWE-based heat.

Petiot cut off Alexander’s comeback with a clothesline, but Alexander hit the lumbar check out of nowhere and got a nice looking win. Both men looked good here.

A Kota Ibushi interview is shown. WWE is a new audience for him and he hopes he can make them happy. Maluta mentions that his uncle is Afa of the Wild Samoans. There was no doubt that when he was old enough, this is what he wanted to do.

Kota Ibushi (Japan) vs. Sean Maluta (American Samoa)

Ibushi was over with this crowd. Maluta looked very good, though completely botched a flip dive to the floor that looked really scary. A lot of good back and forth action followed that. The announcers put over that Ibushi might not be fully recovered from his herniated disc injury.

Maluta hit a savate kick for a nice looking near fall. Maluta struck some nice kicks, but Ibushi came back with his own then pinned Maluta with the Last Ride powerbomb for the win. Very nice match.

Maluta raised Ibushi’s hand after the match. Judging by the brackets, Ibushi will meet Alexander in the second round.

Next week:

Tajiri takes on Damien Slater. TJ Perkins and Da Mack battle it out. Mustafa Ali battles Lince Dorado, and Akira Tozawa will face Kenneth Johnson.

Final Thoughts:

I really liked this in terms of presentation. It was something WWE normally doesn’t do, putting over styles and making everything (and everyone) feel important. The MMA vibe and trying to make this come off as a slick, athletic presentation came off really well too.

Most of the matches came off as highlighting wrestlers we’ll see in the second round, but that’s why they went for 32 participants in the first place, so this can last 10 weeks. The main event was really fun, as Maluta surprised me by just how good he was and Ibushi did his usual spots that got him over big in Full Sail.

It’s different than many other WWE shows you’ll see these days and that is what makes CWC already stand out above the rest, it’s not your usual WWE programing, and that alone makes it worth checking out.