The inaugural Cruiserweight Classic tournament concluded last a week ago and most fans have stated that it was a massive success overall and did a wonderful job in displaying the very best wrestlers under-205 lbs walking the planet today. After picking up impressive victories throughout the tournament it was T. J. Perkins of The Philippines who stood tall over fellow finalist Gran Metalik and was crowned the first Cruiserweight champion of this new and exciting era of pro-wrestling.
Personally I couldn’t get enough of the showcase and after tuning in every week I was always left wanting more – it reminded me of the G1 Climax in this sense as, whilst the format, competitors and style are completely different, it gave me that same wrestling craving.
The presentation, the commentary, the wrestling itself, the lesser heel/face dynamic, the whole thing just worked perfectly and regardless of what direction the Cruiserweight division moves on Raw this tournament will be looked on with fond memories by myself and many, many others.
Interested to hear what others thought of the contest I issued a survey to the wrestling community and after 1436 responses, the results were as follows. I will be showcasing the top 5 results from each of the large categories but at the bottom of this page there will be a link to the results in a spreadsheet for your viewing please.
#1 – Who was your Favourite Wrestler in the CWC?
The golden star of this tournament, Kota Ibushi takes the crown as the most-loved wrestler to appear in the CWC; from night one in his match against Sean Maluta to the final night when he succumbed to T.J. Perkins he constantly thrilled the crowd at Full Sail and at home. Experience from big matches in Japan clearly helped as his vast arsenal of moves won the hearts and minds of the western viewers too. He killed it.
Second place was fellow Japanese pro, Akira Tozawa, third was the gentleman Jack Gallagher, fourth, technical master Zack Sabre Jr. and fifth, the champion, T.J. Perkins. All these guys offered something entirely different to one another and epitomised what was so wonderful about the CWC; many style and cultures of wrestling combining to create something unique, interesting and mind-blowing.
Personally picking, I was torn between Tozawa, who won me over as he progressed through the tournament, and Brian Kendrick. Kendrick stunned me with his work and I wanted him to win the trophy so so badly as his performances got me so emotionally invested in him, but hey, at least he is on Raw and getting a second shot at the biggest company in wrestling.
#2 – What was your Favourite Match in the CWC?
Seemingly the tournament match quality peaked in round 2 as Ibushi met Cedric Alexander in a 15 slobber-knocker. Both pulled out a whole heap of creative offence and showed why they were two much talked about names before the tournament kicked off. The only disappointment with this one can be that it wasn’t later in the bracket as this clash and Cedric himself both deserved to appear in the latter stages.
The Japanese sensation also featured in highly acclaimed matches against Perkins and Kendrick which were voted in second and fourth respectively. Third went to the best contest of the first round as the DIY tag partners, Gargano and Ciampa, beat the living crap about of one another, and fifth was the amusing and extremely fun battle between Gallagher and Tozawa as the twosome showed how well alternate styles can mesh in the ring. My favourite, Metalik v Tozawa from the quarter-finals, landed in seventh place, just behind the final between T.J. and the aforementioned luchador.
#3 – Who was the Biggest Disappointment in the CWC?
Now this one is set to cause some controversy, and before I get into the results I would like to say that I left this question open to interpretation but the community have spoken and they have voted that T.J Perkins was the biggest disappointment in the CWC. It could be because fans did not feel he was the rightful winner of the tournament, that people hate dabbing or maybe even that his style wasn’t enjoyable to some, I certainly do not know, as personally, I thought everything surrounding T.J was wonderful.
Ho Ho Lun being so high on this list is unsurprising as he looked very green, especially in his opener against Ariya Daivari; he looked much better against Noam Dar in the second round so hopefully it will be onwards and upwards for him. British wonderboy Zack Sabre Jr. was certainly the most polarising wrestler in this tournament as after being voted 4th favourite he has also been placed at 3rd most disappointing. This is likely down to his unconventional wrestling style, which personally, I love.
4th and 5th were Noam Dar and Rich Swann. Both of these guys have been signed to the division on Raw and will hopefully excel there as both are extremely talented young men who are surely set to expand their skillsets and learn a lot as a part of wrestling’s premier weekly show.
#4 – Who did you predict to win the CWC?
Massive pre-CWC favourite Kota Ibushi again tops the polls, as the biggest name in the tournament it is unsurprising that he was voted to the top here. Had he signed with WWE he almost certainly would have taken home the gold but he states that he still has more to experience in Japan instead. The choice to not sign with WWE may have also been the reason Zach Sabre Jr. did not win too – having won PWG’s BOLA and being arguably the biggest name in British wrestling he was hyped up as a potential winner.
Finalists Metalik and Perkins were also voted into the top 5 as many people made good calls that these two fine fighters would make it very far. Hotly tipped Jonny Gargano didn’t make it nearly as far as people had predicted but he did have two stellar matches in the bracket and we will thankfully be seeing him a lot more on the network in NXT.
#5 – Who do you think should have won the CWC?
And a final victory on the votes for former New Japan star Kota Ibushi; even though he hasn’t put pen to paper and remains a free agent, a large number of fans still believe he was the right man to win the trophy and the belt as he would have added a ton of prestige to both as the debut victor. Actual winner T.J. followed just behind him and was certainly a rightful winner in my eyes – he has worked his entire life to get to the summit and can be an excellent face at the forefront of the Cruiserweight division.
Metalik, Tozawa and Sabre Jr. would have all been worthy winners too. All 3 had some great matches that will be re-watched time and time again, and whilst it isn’t too late for the first 2 to win the Cruiserweight Championship in WWE, for now, Sabre doesn’t look like he will ever get his hands on that prize.
#6 – Out of 10, how highly would you rate the CWC overall?
Only 10.2% of people who took this survey gave the tournament a core of 6 or less which is a fantastic statistic to showcase how much many people enjoyed the Cruiserweight Classic. I hope that WWE takes the superior presentation, wrestling and timing into account when producing their other shows because as an overall package so many people enjoyed the hell out of the weekly production as over half of voters rated the tournament either a 9 or 10!
These percentages then lead well into our final question…
#7 – Should there be another CWC next year?
Just under 60% said yes, meaning just over 40% said no. I for one, am very surprised by this and expected a much higher amount of people to want another CWC next year. However, people probably don’t want this concept to be worn out, as seeing a new set of 32 stars in 12 months may not be possible and instead, the rumoured women’s invitational, or an extended tag team tournament may be more favourable to keep the format fresh.
So thank you to WWE for putting on one of the finest wrestling contests we have seen, here’s to more Crusierweights on Raw and any future tournaments of this kind.
Thank you for reading, further responses to this survey can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZNwI8a4qowU9PAFwt421yadPv706O4KcLNYL4Oz-4sI/edit#responses