By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Gran Metalik def. Alejandro Saez in a First Round Match
I wasn't aware of either of these athletes coming in, but I surely won't forget them after their performances here. Wow. For a four minute match, this was a hell of a lot of fun. Metalik seemed to be the fan favorite out of the gate, but to his credit, Saez had an impressive outing and incorporated his own flavor into the match (that Shooting Star Press on the outside was incredible). This perfectly set the tone for the rest of the show as well as the tournament on the whole.
Ho Ho Lun def. Arya Daivari in a First Round Match
Daivari reminded me far too much of his brother based off his appearance alone, so it might have been best that he played the heel role here by not going through with the handshake before the bout. He actually seemed to be more of a complete package than Lun, so I was slightly surprised he didn't advance to the next round. Then again, maybe not because WWE did just broker a deal with China. Either way, Lun showed signs of potential, but he has a long ways to go before he is on the same level as others in this tournament.
Cedric Alexander def. Clement Petiot in a First Round Match
I was high on Alexander from the moment I started watching Ring of Honor regularly again last summer and it always annoyed me they weren't doing more with him. Thus, I was ecstatic when I heard a few months ago he left to be a part of the Cruiserweight Classic, and his strong showing here gives me hope he will go far in the tournament. He already has better entrance music than everyone else and has that "star" quality about him. Even if he doesn't win the trophy, he better be signed to a contract as soon as possible. Oh, and that finisher of his is devastating.
Kota Ibushi def. Sean Maluta in a First Round Match
Similar to Alexander, Ibushi is another competitor who comes across as a star when he walks out and it was fitting to have him headline the first ever episode. It was pretty obvious from the get-go that Ibushi was winning, but Maluta fared well for himself (that one botched dive aside). Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan put over Maluta in defeat and sang the praises of Ibushi as well. If any match on this show deserved to go the longest, it was this one, and I was glad it did.
Everything about the concept of the Cruiserweight Classic is absolutely awesome, something that wouldn't have even been conceivable five or so years ago. This was a very entertaining season premiere and they were smart to put notable names Alexander and Ibushi on it. Next week, Tajiri returns and TJ Perkins will be in action, so that should be a blast. Furthermore, I can't say enough good things about Ranallo and Bryan on commentary. They are a definite dream team in that they're knowledgeable, invested and genuinely passionate about what they're calling. If this show was any indication, the Cruiserweight Classic should be nothing short of sensational.
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