Kota Ibushi def. Cedric Alexander (Second Round Match)
Cedric Alexander faced the biggest challenge of his career in the Second Round, taking on tournament favorite Kota Ibushi of Japan. Alexander took control of the match early on, targeting Ibushi’s arm and grounding his opponent. However, Ibushi showed why he’s revered as one of the best wrestlers on the planet by flipping out of Alexander’s grasp, then tackling him to the ground.
The two competitors went right back to grappling on the canvas, with Alexander using his amateur wrestling experience to gain the upper hand. It was clear that both men were well-prepared for this showdown as the two traded holds back and forth, ducking strikes and going for quick pinfalls. Alexander staggered Ibushi with a back elbow to the jaw, but “The Golden Star,” one of the hardest hitters in sports-entertainment, immediately answered with a kick so hard that the sound echoed through Full Sail University. Realizing that this bout was not going to be a cakewalk, Ibushi kicked things up a gear, going for the Golden Triangle Moonsault, only to crash and burn at ringside as Alexander moved out of the way.
Alexander answered with a daredevil dive of his own over the ropes to the floor, then springboarded back into the ring with a big clothesline. Ibushi fought back, unleashing a flurry of vicious strikes that left his rival in perfect position for a standing corkscrew moonsault, but he could not put Alexander away. “The Golden Star” took flight again, launching into the air with another moonsault, this time to the arena floor.
The two men were not only fighting against each other, but also the clock, as the 20-minute time limit drew closer and closer. Alexander flipped out of a hurricanrana off the ropes, then clocked Ibushi with an elbow, but the Japanese striker answered back with a Pele kick that left the American reeling. Ibushi saw an opening for victory and went for the Golden Star Powerbomb, but Alexander slipped out and countered by spiking Ibushi on his head with a brainbuster. However, for everything Alexander threw at Ibushi, it was not enough to put his world-renowned opponent down. The brainbuster only got a two-count, as did a kick to the head of The Golden Star.
With just over five minutes left in the match, Alexander went for broke from the top rope, adjusting in midair to land safely when Ibushi rolled away. Unfortunately, he ran right into a German Suplex and head kick from the Japanese grappler, which left him open for the Golden Star Powerbomb and the three count, as Kota Ibushi advanced to the CWC Quarterfinals.
Having delivered the performance of a lifetime in an incredible battle, only to come up short, Alexander was devastated when it sank in that he was eliminated from the Cruiserweight Classic. Though he did not advance, Cedric Alexander walked out of Full Sail University with the respect of the WWE Universe, who did not stop cheering for the American competitor after the end of the bout. As an emotional Alexander took in the sights of Full Sail University chanting “Please sign Cedric!” WWE COO Triple H emerged and put his stamp of approval on the incredible competitor, signaling that, perhaps, the WWE Universe hasn’t seen the last of Cedric Alexander.