Wrestling / WWE Cruiserweight Classic

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"This is going to be awesome!"

The WWE Cruiserweight Classic, formerly the Global Cruiserweight Series, is a professional wrestling web television series and tournament produced by WWE with all participants billed at a weight of 205 lbs. or less. Tournament qualifying matches took place in various promotions of the independent circuit, including well known promotions such as Revolution Pro Wrestling, Progress Wrestling, and Evolve. Many cruiserweight wrestlers from around the world were given the chance to qualify for the 32-man tournament, the first three rounds were taped on June 23, July 13 and August 26, 2016. The semi-finals and final aired live on September 14, 2016, with Filipino-American T.J. Perkins emerging as the victor and the holder of the revived WWE Cruiserweight Title.

Tropes:

  • The Ace: Kota Ibushi. While there are a lot of favorites in the tournament with their own impressive resumes, Ibushi is arguably the biggest star out of the bunch and the overall favorite to win. He was upset in the semifinal round, however, by T.J. Perkins, who would go on to win the tournament.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Commentators Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan.
  • The Bus Came Back: Tajiri and Brian Kendrick, both of whom achieved some level of notoriety in WWE but hadn't been seen in a handful of years. Tajiri, in fact, hasn't competed regularly in WWE in about a decade.
  • Dance Battler: TJ Perkins, Da Mack and Rich Swann all had elements of this.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: During his quarterfinals match against Kota Ibushi, Brian Kendrick pulls out the Burning Hammer, famed for being one of the most dangerousnote  and protectednote  Finishing Moves in wrestling lore. This would be one of the rare occasions the move is ever seen in WWE. And Ibushi still kicked out of it.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Subverted with Jack Gallagher—he's got the requisite swirl, but he's actually quite the gentleman.
  • Face–Heel Double-Turn: Brian Kendrick and Raul Mendoza gradually turned over the course of their match. Kendrick was initially presented as the veteran who didn't make the most out of his chances and was looking to redeem himself by winning the tournament, whereas Raul was presented as the cocky hotshot who was looking to make a name for himself at the expense of his opponent's dreams. But over the course of the match, it became clear Kendrick was willing to do anything to win and "redeem" himself, using increasingly underhanded and brutal tactics while Mendoza tried to fight through it all to win, making him look more and more like a sympathetic underdog. By the end, Kendrick was the heel and Mendoza was the face.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • The last match of the the first round was between tag team partners Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, with this trope fully acknowledged. Ciampa had the match all but won, but couldn't find it in himself to truly hurt Gargano, allowing the latter to steal the win with a crucifix pinning combination.
    • Also evident in the quarterfinals match between Rich Swann and TJ Perkins, with Perkins immediately showing remorse and comforting his friend after Swann taps out, and the two showing each other mutual respect in the aftermath.
  • Genre Savvy: The Brian Kendrick is the oldest competitor in the tournament after Tajiri, and at his age, lacks the energy the other competitors have. He compensates for this with underhanded tricks and veteran tactics he's picked up over the years.
  • Hot-Blooded: Akira Tozawa. His constant screaming and intensity shows how fired up he always is.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Akira Tozawa is stated to be the competitor with the most speed by Daniel Bryan himself. He's also wrestles strong style, which has a particular emphasis on strikes, and his signature move is the German suplex.
    • Tony Nese, who is probably the best pure athlete in the tournament. He's incredibly quick and strong.
  • Literal Ass Kicking: Tozawa received a kick in the ass from Jack Gallagher during their second round match.
  • Masked Luchador: Two in the 2016 Tournament - Gran Metalik (from Mexico) and Lince Dorado (from Puerto Rico).
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The thirty-two men in the tournament come from several different promotions and from several countries all over the world. Major promotions represented include:
  • Mighty Glacier: In the context of this tournament (where the two speeds are "quick" and "really quick"), Tajiri. At 45, he's probably not the athlete he was in his (close to) prime with WWE in the 2000s. But if one of his kicks finds a home on your chest or head, it still hurts like hell.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: It's a tournament for cruiserweights, and contrary to popular belief, not all of them are high-flyers. Akira Tozawa in particular embodies this, with his uber-release German suplexes.
  • Proxy War: For UK fans, Zack Sabre Jr vs Noam Dar was the closest we're ever going to get to a direct Progress Wrestling vs Insane Championship Wrestling event. It was also of course representative of the traditional England/Scotland rivalry.
  • Purple is Powerful: The primary color motif for the CWC was purple, and both the new Cruiserweight Title belt and Raw's cruiserweight division followed suit with the motif.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Jack Gallagher's entrance theme is the Prelude from Carmen.
  • Ring Oldies: At 45 (will be 46 by the Tournament's end), Tajiri barely clears the threshold. Although, for this tournament, he's a definite outlier, as the next oldest competitor in the 32-man field is the 37-year-old Brian Kendrick. Both men have wrestled for the WWE everal years previously (and in Tajiri's case, he is a former Cruiserweight Champion) and this has been touted as their "last shot" with the company.
  • Snark Knight: Corey Graves, as per usual.
    Corey Graves: (on NXT regulars Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) I personally hope they both lose.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Brian Kendrick.
  • Tournament Arc: A yearly one, if the first tournament is successful enough.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Zack Sabre Jr. A self-proclaimed "technical wizard," what he lacks in strength, he makes up with his nearly unrivaled skill in submission-based technical wrestling.
  • Wham Shot: 1) The Brian Kendrick hitting the BURNING HAMMER on Kota Ibushi at the end of their match . 2) Kota Ibushi kicking out of it.
  • Worthy Opponent: The second round match between Zack Sabre Jr. and Drew Gulak started with Gulak slapping Sabre's hand away when the man offered a handshake. What followed was a technical showcase where Sabre and Gulak tried their damn hardest to out-wrestle one another. After a grueling match for both men, Sabre won. Afterwards, when Sabre offered his hand once again, Gulak, after a long hesitation, briefly and begrudgingly shook his hand in respect.
  • Wrestling Family: The Tournament features two blood brothers, Garv and Hurv Sihra, from India. Also, Sean Maluta, who is counted as yet another member of the Samoan Anoa'i clan to make an appearance on WWE programming.
    • Also, Ariya Daivari, whose older brother, Shawn, was part of WWE's old cruiserweight division.

Alternative Title(s): Cruiserweight Classic

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