Another Wednesday, another batch of Cruiserweight Classic previews, folks. We're deviating from format a little bit here because two of the four announced matchups (Anthony Bennett vs. Tony Nese & Brian Kendrick vs. Raul Mendoza) for tonight are ones that I covered way back in the first preview when I had no idea what WWE was going to run in the first week of the show.
So I'm gonna just go ahead and link back to that bad boy and then present profiles and match links for the two matches I didn't cover there, as well as provide four profiles for the men who competed on that first episode and didn't get covered in that first preview.
Week One Profiles
Gran Metalik, representing Mexico, is one of the wildest high flyers in the world, with a lengthy resume that includes a year-long stint in New Japan as well as being a rare quadruple champion in his home promotion of CMLL. Better known as Máscara Dorada, the golden-masked luchador seems as though the laws of physics do not apply to him at times, diving over the ropes feet first to Frankensteiner dudes off the apron to the outside and the like. But he's not done yet, as he'll face Tajiri in the second round, and no man is safe from the Japanese Buzzsaw.
Gran Metalik in action as Mascara Dorada against Caristico, the man formerly known as the original Sin Cara, for Lucha Libre Elite.
Alejandro Saez, better known in the rest of the world as XL or Xtra Large, represents the country of Chile. Trained by WWE's own Neville and Super Crazy, Saez fit his rest-of-the-world moniker relative to the rest of the field. At 6'1" and barely making the 205 pound weight limit, perhaps getting knocked out by Metalik was a blessing in disguise, as there was no guarantee he would make weight a second time. But he put up a hell of a struggle on the other end, and he may well find himself asked back under circumstances that don't require him to get in a hot shower wearing a black garbage bag to shed the weight.
Alejandro Saez in action as Xtra Large vs. Jonah Rock vs. Super Crazy for Pro Wrestling Noah.
Trained by older brother Shawn Daivari and Pabst Blue Ribbon enthusiast Arik Cannon, Ariya Daivari has done spots for Ring of Honor and Global Force Wrestling but currently calls Dreamwave Wrestling his home. Daivari got knocked out in the first round, but he did a fine job representing Iran, a country rich in its own wrestling traditions and history, going back to the Iron Sheik and the legion of pahlevani that preceded him, with many seeming to think that he was the better man in his match against Ho Ho Lun.
Ariya Daivari in action against Arik Cannon for Prime Time Wrestling.
Ho Ho Lun
Ho Ho Lun is a man with a fire in his belly for pro wrestling. Such fire, in fact, that after getting trained on the mainland, he came back to his native Hong Kong and founded his own promotion, Hong Kong Pro Wrestling Federation. And he represents Hong Kong proudly with a series of stiff strikes and big suplexes, in addition to singing his own theme song on the way to the ring. He's moving to the second round, where he'll face the winner of Gurv Sihra vs. Noam Dar.
Ho Ho Lun in action against fellow CWC competitor Jason Lee for Hong Kong Wrestling.
Anthony Bennett vs. Tony Nese and Brian Kendrick vs. Raul Mendoza
Again, go ahead on back to the preview for week one for freebie matches and profiles for these four.
Drew Gulak vs. Harv Sihra
Most of the 32 men in the Cruiserweight Classic represent a nation, but Drew Gulak represents a philosophy. As the mastermind behind Catch Point, his ethos that through competition, he improves, has lead him to some remarkable victories. He's a CZW Triple Crown Champion, having held the CZW World Heavyweight Championship, the CZW Wired Championship, and the CZW Tag Team Championship, all while trying to make the Combat Zone a better place, with less ultraviolence and more grappling. In his current home of Evolve, he won the 2013 Style Battle tournament and was one half of the previous Evolve Tag Team Champions alongside protege "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams. One of the leading lights of the technical wrestling revolution, Drew Gulak is a man who can submit an opponent from almost any position with lightning speed.
Harv Sihra represents India along with his brother Gurv, and much like his brother, he cut his teeth working for Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling. Together as the Bollywood Boyz, they've racked up an impressive amount of tag team championships, including holding the ECCW Tag Team Championship for 651 days across five reigns and (for a real bit of 2016 pro wrestling) being the current Global Force Wrestling Tag Team Champions, but here they're going to have to go it alone.
Drew Gulak is the clear favorite here, that's obvious. No offense to Harv, but he's mainly competed as a tag team specialist and Drew Gulak owns victories over everybody from fellow Cruiserweight Classic competitors Rich Swann and TJ Perkins to Lucha Underground's Willie Mack to Evolve World Champion Timothy Thatcher to Greatest of All Time Chris Hero all to way to current WWE superstars like Kevin Owens. It's a steep hill to climb, no doubt. And even if he does, Harv has to face off against the winner of Dux/Sabre above in the second round.
Drew Gulak in action against Biff Busick for Beyond Wrestling.
Harv Sihra in action against Ethan HD in a Mumbai Strap Match for ECCW.
Tyson Dux vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
Tyson Dux made his pro wrestling debut in 1997. Think about that for a second. 19 years, pushing himself hard up and down the independents, trying to make a name for himself and move up the ladder. He got spots on WWE TV as an extra, and it never went anywhere. He was part of Team Canada at TNA's World X Cup in 2006, and it never went anywhere. He worked a few matches for Ring of Honor in 2009 and 2010, and it never went anywhere. Good enough to get the call, not good enough to get the call back, that was the Tyson Dux story. At one point he thought about retirement and dismissed it, just kept his head down and kept working. Will the Cruiserweight Classic be just another one and done, or will he finally take his career to the next level?
It is my belief that Zack Sabre, Jr. is the best cruiserweight wrestler in the world today, on an absolute level. Others may be more well rounded than him (lookin' at you, KUSHIDA), but adding it all up and looking at raw skill, Zack Sabre, Jr. is my guy. Indeed, he's one of the best wrestlers in the world today, period. On quality and volume of work, he might even be top five. They call him the Technical Wizard, and it's an apt name, as he fuses classic World of Sport action and brings it into a modern era where he's expected to wrestle everybody from revolutionary high flyers like Will Ospreay to crushing brawlers like Chris Hero to grapplers every ounce his technical equal like Timothy Thatcher.
Both men wrestle similar styles, and they're fairly evenly matched physically, with Sabre having an extra inch on Dux but Dux with about a ten pound weight advantage. Sabre's on his proverbial way up the ladder and Dux on his way down, does this affect either man psychologically? Is Dux at a point where he's got nothing left to prove or will his history weigh on him?
Tyson Dux in action against Kevin Steen for Smash Wrestling.
Zack Sabre, Jr. in action against Shinsuke Nakamura for Revolution Pro Wrestling.
So there you have it, folks.
Four more matches of international cruiserweight action (and four profiles of dudes I missed from week one!) and some samples to check 'em out before the show. Any predictions?