WWE Cruiserweight Classic: T.J. Perkins becomes Raw’s first WWE Cruiserweight Champion
The biggest tournament of the summer started off with 32 of the world's best cruiserweights, and culminated in T.J. Perkins winning the Cruiserweight Classic to become Raw's first WWE Cruiserweight Champion!
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Cruiserweight Classic Results : Quick Hits
Cruiserweight Classic Results : Full Details
Gran Metalik def. Zack Sabre Jr. (Semifinal Match)
ORLANDO, Fla. — Gran Metalik kicked off the Cruiserweight Classic Live Finale in stellar fashion, defeating England’s Zack Sabre Jr. in the Semifinals to secure his spot in the CWC Final.
Metalik wasted no time at the bell. He sent Sabre to the arena floor with a dropkick, then followed up with a daredevil tope over the ropes, and a Senton Bomb back into the ring. The luchador’s opening flurry was cut short when Sabre trapped him in the ropes, kicking the cables into Metalik’s neck, which became the focus of “The Technical Wizard’s” attack. Sabre tried to slow the pace down and keep close to the luchador, not giving him space to take flight.
Gran Metalik’s screams echoed throughout Full Sail University as Sabre twisted the masked Mexican marvel into positions the human body was not meant to be put in. The luchador fought through the pain, however, and showed off submission skills of his own, catching Sabre off-guard.
This all-important battle turned into a slugfest as the two competitors traded blows on the canvas – Sabre unloading his trademark European uppercuts, Metalik answering with elbows, superkicks and whatever other strikes he could muster. The luchador tried to take flight again, but instead dove into a triangle hold from the Brit.
Gran Metalik fought out of the submission and got back on the offensive, finally catching Sabre with the Metalik Drive and securing his place in the evening’s Cruiserweight Classic Final.
T.J. Perkins def. Kota Ibushi (Semifinal Match)
When the field was announced for the Cruiserweight Classic, many people saw it as a foregone conclusion that Kota Ibushi would make the Final, if not win the entire tournament. Most wrote off T.J. Perkins as just another win along The Golden Star’s march to glory.
Only one person seemed to think the impossible was possible: T.J. Perkins. Motivated by the mantra “Do what they say you can’t,” The Fil-Am Flash did just that, forcing Ibushi to tap out and exit the tournament in their Semifinal bout.
Perkins wrestled with no fear, going right after Ibushi but trying to evade the Japanese star’s vicious kicks. The Filipino grappler showed The Golden Star just how quickly his fortunes could change, slipping into perfect position to apply the kneebar that got him here. Ibushi wriggled free of the submission, but not out of Perkins’ grasp. He then looked to turn the tide of the bout by clobbering Perkins with a springboard dropkick. However, The Fil-Am Flash leapt up to the ring apron and prevented Ibushi from hitting the Golden Triangle Moonsault, taking out his rival’s legs and sending The Golden Star crashing to the arena floor.
The underdog went right to work on Ibushi’s leg, but the Japanese competitor was resilient, finally connecting with a breathtaking Golden Triangle Moonsault at ringside. Ibushi seemed on his way to victory, surviving the kneebar and dumping TJP on his neck with a German suplex. Perkins didn’t back down, though. Absorbing a flurry of thunderous kicks from The Golden Star, he slipped out of the Golden Star Powerbomb and planted Ibushi into the canvas with a DDT. Ibushi’s second attempt at the powerbomb connected, but Perkins kicked out, stunning Ibushi and the Full Sail University crowd in attendance.
Ibushi went for broke on a Phoenix Splash, but found nothing but canvas after Perkins moved out of the way. The Fil-Am Flash, fueled by the doubts, stayed in the bout and again locked on the kneebar. Adding more pressure by crossing his legs and standing up to pull back on The Golden Star’s surgically repaired neck, Perkins forced the Japanese star to tap out.
Even though he had pulled off the biggest upset of the CWC, Perkins couldn’t celebrate; he had to go to the locker room and recover before his showdown with Gran Metalik in the tournament Final.
Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa def. Cedric Alexander & Noam Dar
Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa showed that teamwork has its benefits during the Cruiserweight Classic Live Finale, defeating fellow CWC competitors Cedric Alexander & Noam Dar in raucous tag team action.
The makeshift tandem looked to be in control – the speedy Alexander used his agility to keep the hard-hitting Ciampa off-balance, while Dar flustered Johnny Wrestling with his mat wrestling skill. Once the DIY duo regrouped, though, Gargano & Ciampa firmly demonstrated that being on the same page pays off.
The tag team battle was a demolition derby-style affair, with all four competitors laying in brutal strikes. Dar eventually went after the injured knee of Gargano, forcing Johnny Wrestling to retreat and tag in Ciampa. Alexander nearly won the match with a brainbuster and kick, but Ciampa managed to kick out. The ensuing melee ended once Dar found himself alone in the ring with Gargano & Ciampa. It was at that point the duo clobbered the Scot with their patented running knee/superkick combo to pick up the victory.
Triple H makes a blockbuster announcement
The Cruiserweight Classic Final between T.J. Perkins and Gran Metalik was on its way to starting as everyone had expected. That is, until WWE COO Triple H made his presence known in shocking fashion.
The Game said this night was about making history. After praising both finalists, Triple H said that there could only be one winner. Furthermore, that person would not only be the winner of the Cruiserweight Classic, but he would go to Raw Monday night as the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion!
T.J. Perkins def. Gran Metalik (Cruiserweight Classic Final)
With the stakes of the Cruiserweight Classic Final raised by Triple H and the new WWE Cruiserweight Championship on the line, both T.J. Perkins and Gran Metalik had more reason than ever to fight through the pain after grueling Semifinal battles.
Perkins took the bout to the mat early on, trying to pin Gran Metalik and claim the title. The masked marvel was able to slip free and take to the air, where he is unlike any other competitor in the world. However, Perkins – having spent many of his 18 years in the ring in Mexico – showed off lucha libre skills of his own, sending Metalik to the floor with a hurricanrana over the ropes. The daredevil luchador soon answered by one-upping Perkins, hurdling over the top rope to connect with a hurricanrana of his own, then following with the unbelievable dive he calls Brillo Metallik.
“El Rey de las Cuerdas” showed his skill on the ropes back inside the ring, coming at Perkins from all angles. Yet The Fil-Am Flash stayed grounded for the moment, finding the opening he needed to lock on his kneebar. The wear and tear of the grueling 10-week tournament showed on both grapplers as they traded strikes, the thud of skin and bone reverberating through the arena. Metalik went for a moonsault, but connected only with the extended Jordans of TJP, who then trapped him in his devastating kneebar.
Metalik escaped the hold, but the damage to his knee was done. Still, the luchador fought on, striking Perkins so hard that welts emerged on the Filipino’s chest. Gran Metalik caught Perkins on the top rope and went for a top-rope Metalik Driver out of desperation. However, the damage to the masked marvel’s knee would come back to haunt him. Perkins took Metalik to the canvas and locked the kneebar on the damaged leg. In the center of the ring, TJP crossed over his free leg for extra pressure, leaving Metalik with no option but to tap out.
An 18-year journey that led Perkins around the world, to homelessness and back, culminated with The Fil-Am Flash in the center of the ring. It was there that Triple H put the brand-new WWE Cruiserweight Championship around his waist, in front of a worldwide audience that now recognized him as the winner of the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Championship.