Just two days after Stephanie McMahon announced on Monday Night Raw that she was bringing back the WWE’s Cruiserweight Division, the WWE Cruiserweight Classic aired the second set of matches from the first round of the tournament. In addition to the new emphasis on cruiserweight talent on the main roster, the WWE Draft also opened up six new spots on the NXT roster. All of this means the competitors in the tournament are going to be putting on quite a show, hoping to be asked to return to WWE in the future.
Wednesday nights on the WWE Network may be the best night of WWE wrestling on television right now. Following WWE NXT every week, the CWC plays right into WWE’s new emphasis on the New Era. Keeping up with the nationalist mentality of the Rio Olympics, WWE emphasizes the countries each competitor represents in the tournament. After this week’s episode, all three representatives of Japan in the Cruiserweight Classic have advanced to the second round. Tajiri makes his return to WWE programming, while Akira Tozawa makes his debut in the main event. Competitors representing Australia, Germany, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the United States competed on this week’s WWE CWC.
Note: The following contains the full results and spoilers for the episode of WWE CWC that first aired on the WWE Network on July 20.
WWE Cruiserweight Classic Round 1 Results: 7/20/16
The following matches and segments for the second episode of WWE CWC were taped at Full Sail University on Wednesday, June 22. A strong emphasis is being placed on each competitor’s country of origin. Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo provided commentary.
Tajiri (Japan) defeated Damian Slater (Australia)
Easily the oldest competitor in the CWC, Tajiri used his patented kicks to defeat the “World Beater” Damian Slater. The Japanese Buzzsaw advances to Round 2, where he will face Gran Metalik of Mexico. According to Daniel Bryan, Slater’s work ethic and in-ring skills have caught the eyes of WWE management, so Damian could turn up in WWE again down the line.
T.J. Perkins (Philippines) defeated Da Mack (Germany)
Both men put on an incredible show during this match. Da Mack’s “Urban German” gimmick borrows from Michael Jackson the way the Honky Tonk Man borrowed from Elvis. Both men were amazing wrestlers and had tons of charisma, so either could show up again in WWE’s new Cruiserweight Division. Perkins will face the winner of Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in Round 2.
Lince Dorado (Puerto Rico) defeated Mustafa Ali (Pakistan)
As noted by Ranallo, Mustafa Ali competes mostly in the Midwest but embraces his cultural heritage as he represents Team Pakistan. Both men are high flyers, and this match was a spot-fest. Dorado advances to face the winner of Rich Swann vs. Jason Lee. Again, with the talent and charisma displayed by Mustafa Ali — and the recent announcement that the Cruiserweight Division was returning to Monday Night Raw — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him competing under the WWE umbrella again in the future.
Akira Tozawa (Japan) defeated Kenneth Johnson (United States)
Johnson’s never-say-die attitude in the ring (and in life) is the kind of thing WWE loves to push. While Tozawa is an 11-year veteran and Dragongate alumnus, Daniel Bryan was putting Johnson over more than anyone else in the tournament so far. This main event match was the longest of the evening, prompting the announce team to remind the viewers that these first round matches have a 20-minute time limit. The mere fact that a time limit is being mentioned means it’s likely to come into play at some point in the tournament.
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Preview: WWE CWC Round 1, July 27
Next week’s Cruiserweight Classic first round matches include Zack Sabre Jr. (England) vs. Tyson Dux (Canada), Drew Gulak (United States) vs. Harv Shira (India), Anthony Bennett (United States) vs. Tony Nese (United States), and Raul Mendoza (Mexico) vs. The Brian Kendrick (United States). Still to come in the first round is the match-up between NXT tag team partners Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa.
Where to Watch
The WWE Network airs new episodes of WWE CWC on Wednesdays at 9/8c. It is available for streaming on-demand immediately. The entire tournament is scheduled to air over 10 episodes, putting the finale at September 14.
[Image via WWE]