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WWE Cruiserweight Classic Preview (August 24th): Drew Gulak vs. Zack Sabre, Jr., Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann, & Johnny Gargano vs. TJ Perkins

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Finishing up the second round tonight, folks! After last week’s enjoyable-but-not-blowaway night of international cruiserweight action, they’ve stacked tonight with three of the most exciting matchups possible. On with the action!

Drew Gulak vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

The deck is stacked against Drew Gulak here. He’s wrestled Zack Sabre, Jr. in singles action four times prior to meeting here in the Cruiserweight Classic, and three times he’s lost. Indeed, the one time he won was years ago, a clash for CZW in 2011 with Gulak’s CZW Wired Television Championship on the line.

Both men competed at Evolve 66 & 67 this past weekend, and both men went 1-1, but Zack Sabre wrestled two relatively gentlemanly contests against Cody Rhodes and Cedric Alexander whereas Drew Gulak finished his weekend losing an all-out war against Timothy Thatcher and getting choked out after. Could this have an effect on the outcome?

Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann

Rich Swann and Lince Dorado, too, have met in combat many times before. They’ve contested easily a dozen matches on opposite sides of the squared circle from one another, but only have only met one-on-one three times. In those contests, much as in nature, lynx beats swan two to one.

But Rich Swann has been training for a year now in the Performance Center, picking the minds of the best and brightest in the wrestling world, and it showed in the last round when he dispatched Jason Lee in just 3:47, the shortest of any of the first round matches. Dorado’s match against Mustafa Ali went 5:55 and the Freelance Champion gave Lince one of the hardest fights anybody had on the way to first round victory, busting out every flip in the handbook.

Will the quarterfinals be the proverbial cat’s meow or will Lince Dorado prove incapable of handling Rich Swann?

Johnny Gargano vs. TJ Perkins

Johnny Gargano got here by beating his friend and tag team partner Tomasso Ciampa in an absolute war, the hardest match anybody faced in the first round of the Cruiserweight Classic. One must assume that he’s steeled and ready to face off against TJ Perkins here. And indeed, like the other men on this week’s episode, they’ve met in the ring before. Only once in singles action, which surprised me given how long both men have been national stars, but all the same, Gargano stands one up on TJ Perkins, having beat him at last year’s DDT4 for PWG.

Both men should be fired up coming off major tag team losses this weekend— Gargano came up empty alongside Ciampa in their attempt to wrest the NXT Tag Team Championship from the Revival, and TJ Perkins failed in Catch Point’s effort to regain the Evolve Tag Team Championship from Drew Galloway, DUSTIN, and Ethan Carter III. Indeed, both men took the fall in their respective matches, Perkins eating an Awful Waffle and a piledriver on one of the title belts and Gargano falling to a diving knee to his grapevined leg and Scott Dawson’s inverted figure four leglock.

Only one man can succeed tonight, however. Will there be (Garga)no escape or will TJP come through in the clutch?

Looking ahead

The winners of Swann/Dorado and Gargano/Perkins face off against each other in the quarter finals. Any of the four possible contests here will pit a pure high flyer against more of a hybrid technician, but while Swann has competed at the highest level in Evolve, Dorado seems more likely to fall against either Gargano or Perkins’ grappling acumen.

Meanwhile, the winner of Gulak/Sabre faces Noam Dar in the next round. Either way it’ll be a technical wrestling contest, and Dar’s leg-based assault will impact either man equally significantly. Sabre’s arsenal of kicks can be taken away from him and the bodyscissors that makes the Gu-Lock so dangerous may be weakened to the point of uselessness.

There you have it, folks.

Who you got advancing to the next round?