By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Gran Metalik def. Zack Sabre Jr. in a Semifinal Match
These two undoubtedly benefited from opening the show because the audience was engaged and red-hot for everything they did. Their styles meshed perfectly and while I was never too high on Metalik up to this point, he impressed the hell out of me with his phenomenal performance here. As for Sabre, he's one of the best in the world today and I had him making it to the finals, so I was certainly shocked he didn't. I don't know if he turned down a contract or they didn't offer him one, but he better be a part of WWE eventually given how good he truly is.
TJ Perkins def. Kota Ibushi in a Semifinal Match
Every Ibushi match in this tournament has been absolutely incredible and this matchup was zero exception. I was initially worried that the crowd would be too burned out from the previous bout to get fully invested in this one, but that was far from the case. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it was the better bout and these guys freakin' killed it. There never seemed to be a dull moment, the constant counters were insane, and the final few minutes were fantastic. Ibushi losing shocked the hell out of me, but I suppose I should have seen that coming considering he has said he doesn't want to join WWE at this time. Hopefully sooner rather than later, though!
Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa def. Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar
I initially thought the special was one hour long, so I liked how they filled out the two hours with this special attraction match. Gargano and Ciampa are obviously an awesome team as we already know from their tag team work on NXT, but I was really happy we were able to see more of Dar and especially Alexander here. All four men have been signed to Raw's Cruiserweight division I believe and I can't wait for them to make an impact. This was the perfect showcase of their skills and I really hope they're allowed to have matches such as this one on the flagship show starting Monday.
TJ Perkins def. Gran Metalik to Win the Cruiserweight Classic and Become the Inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Champion
Did anyone have the tournament coming down to Perkins and Metalik? It was simply surreal for that reason alone, and they worked very well together and produced a hell of a fun match. Metalik did an excellent job of selling the knee injury throughout the bout and although that telegraphed the finish a bit, it was still a monumental moment when Perkins won given his background and how he had to overcome adversity in order to arrive at this point. I was curious how the handling of the Cruiserweight Champion when the division debuted on Raw would go, and it was cool that they made this match for the all-new title as a last minute surprise. Perkins is the perfect person to lead that division from the get-go, and I'm excited to see what kind of matches he can have with the rest of the competitors. How TNA managed to under-utilize him I'll never know.
I wouldn't argue with anyone who called this the best WWE-produced event of the year. Everything about the Cruiserweight Classic, from the presentation to the outstanding in-ring action, has been unbelievable and the season finale lived up to the hype. The bar has been set for the Cruiserweight division on Raw as well as future installments of this tourney that I hope follow. This was the quickest two hours of wrestling you will ever watch.
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