As quick as they came, the quarterfinals are going, folks. Let’s dig right in!
Noam Dar vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
Zack Sabre, Jr. and Noam Dar have met twice in singles action before, and each man owns a victory over the other. And indeed, both men have overcome early bouts of the crickets to get the crowd onside to varying degrees by the end of round two. Not to mention their stylistic similarities as UK-based technical grappling-oriented wrestlers. It’s a pretty even playing field. But let’s take a closer look before we finish up here.
Sabre is perhaps a more focused competitor, while Dar has a tendency to get distracted by the crowd, often hotdogging and grandstanding. Sabre has a clear experience and maturity edge, with six years on him both in wrestling experience and overall age. Sabre’s international experience must be counted as well, with many tours of Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH and Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling as well as his two year tenure as an Evolve star (among other US indie appearances) to his credit.
So, can Dar win the day or will Sabre’s World of Sport stoicism carry him into the semifinals?
Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins
Rich Swann and TJ Perkins have only squared off one-to-one once, and Swann was the victor. And Swann has the full might of the WWE machine behind him, having been at the Performance Center learning from some of the best minds in the industry for nearly a year now. His path to victory thus far has shown it, too, cutting through Jason Lee like a hot knife through butter and casting Lince Dorado aside in a hard-fought contest.
TJ Perkins, meanwhile, is coming off a match that he may well have lost had it not been for happenstance. If Johnny Gargano’s knee hadn’t been destroyed by the Revival at SummerSlam, things might have been very different. Granted, TJ Perkins is a top-shelf wrestler, there’s no doubt of this. On any given night, he can win a match against any opponent, but that knee injury changed everything, took a possibility and made it a foregone conclusion.
Both men have fought as hard as anybody to get here, but only one can prevail. Can Perkins clip Swann’s wings or will he go all night long, right to the next round?
The winner of Dar/Sabre gets Gran Metalik in the semifinals. This is, no doubt, a tough match for either man. But perhaps a tougher one for Zack Sabre, Jr., who has a grueling Evolve weekend lined up between tonight’s show and the night of the finals. Going full tilt against Johnny Gargano and Ricochet to build his standing in Evolve may, if he wins tonight, cost him the tournament of a lifetime.
The winner of Perkins/Swann faces the challenge of Kota Ibushi in the semifinals. I mean... if a Burning Hammer couldn’t take Ibushi out, even with his surgically repaired neck, what can? He may be unstoppable. And Perkins faces the same issues I mention for Sabre, with Evolve matches against Darby Allin and Matt Riddle between him and the semifinals.
There you have it, folks.