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WWE Clash of Champions 2016: Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins full match preview


Allow me a moment of indulgence, folks, as I marvel that this is a match that’s happening on a WWE pay-per-view. Holy crap, right? A fresh TJ Perkins, a returning Brian Kendrick, both men contesting brand new main roster cruiserweight gold? If you told me this was gonna happen a year ago I would have laughed in your face. Maybe on NXT, man. Maybe on NXT.

And yet here we are.

After ten awesome weeks of the Cruiserweight Classic, they’re here on Raw, in the flesh, and they took quite different paths to get here.

Brian Kendrick fought and scraped, every match a challenge that necessitated he dig deeper and deeper and pull out dirty trick after dirty trick. He smashed Raul Mendoza’s face bloody, trapped Tony Nese’s arm in the turnbuckle, hung Kota Ibushi by the neck over the steel turnbuckle, hell, he even busted out a Burning Hammer, one of wrestling’s most legendary and dangerous maneuvers. Even Kenta Kobashi, the man that invented the Burning Hammer, only did it seven times.

But for Brian Kendrick, it was all part of the playbook. Except it wasn’t enough, and Kota Ibushi ended his dream one Wednesday night, three-fifths of the way to completion.

One would be forgiven for assuming that that was it, but Kendrick, thanks to his hard work and determination, even in losing, he was one of the men selected for the full-time cruiserweight division on Raw. So, given the opportunity to lock the Captain’s Hook on and claw out one more opportunity, Kendrick took it, and won himself a #1 contender’s four-way match over Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik, and Rich Swann.

TJ Perkins, by contrast, almost made it look too easy. Da Mack? Out, with the cross-leg kneebar he calls TJP Clutch. Johnny Gargano? Out with TJP Clutch (and a little help from the Revival a few days before). Rich Swann? Out with TJP Clutch. A pattern was formed. And when he came up against the man Brian Kendrick couldn’t beat, when he wrestled Kota Ibushi in the semifinals, the pattern modified but continued, as he shifted away from the kneebar and locked an STF in to pick up the win.

Arguably he capitalized on the damage Kendrick had done with the neckbreaker and the Burning Hammer. Injury upon injury piled on Ibushi’s already surgically repaired neck and something had to give.

In a way, it’s poetic that Kendrick and Perkins meet here, as without Kendrick, Perkins might not have made the finals, might not have had the chance to beat Gran Metalik in the center of the ring with that same TJP Clutch.

So how does the match shape up?

TJ Perkins is one of the best, if not the best overall cruiserweight wrestler in the world today. His CWC win and resulting Cruiserweight Championship show this. He can fly, he can grapple, and he can go striking, all with equal aplomb. There are those who are better than him in each individual discipline, of course— men like his CWC final four compatriots Zack Sabre, Jr. for grappling, Gran Metalik for flying, and Kota Ibushi for striking— but there are very few men I’d call his equal in the balance of the three. Indeed, the only man I’d put on that level in present day WWE is AJ Styles, and he’s a full-bore heavyweight.

But Brian Kendrick is desperate. He’s reached the mountaintop again, you’d think that would be enough, but for him, it’s not enough. It’s never enough. He has, for lack of a better word, a gaping void in his soul caused by his failure to take off the way his training partner Daniel Bryan did. His previous WWE runs have precious few accolades to show for themselves, just a pair of tag title reigns alongside Paul London. Brian Kendrick is down, Brian Kendrick is out, and Brian Kendrick sees no tomorrow, only today. As mentioned earlier, nothing seems off-limits to him— indeed, in the four-way number one contendership match he won on Raw, he seemed to be looking for another Burning Hammer on Gran Metalik at one point.

There you have it, folks.

Can Brian Kendrick finally find the spotlight he craves, or will TJP simply come through in the clutch one more time?


Who will win?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Brian Kendrick
    (52 votes)
  • 84%
    TJ Perkins
    (274 votes)
326 votes total Vote Now

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