The Cruiserweight Classic’s First Round is over, and it has quickly become one of the highlights of my wrestling week. A fast-paced show the five to ten-minute matches have given us the taste of how talented some of the competitors in this tournament are.
However, it is not perfect and before I wax lyrical about everything I love about the show it would be remiss of me not to point out a few of the problems. The main one is that there has been a lack of character in the performers. While I love the idea of the introductory video packages, far too many of them have focused on how happy the talent it is to be there. It’s a little touch, but not everyone in wrestling can be the good guy.
In a similar vein, there is yet to be a stand out story. We have plenty of guys trying to prove people wrong or looking for redemption, but no one has set out something truly unique. It’s only a small qualm and to be honest, if the in-ring action is strong enough you maybe don’t need an in-depth story, but the occasional touches could be fun. The closest we’ve come so far is with Gargano and Ciampa, but that by its nature is already over.
Now onto the positives. Firstly – and this is purely personal – it is fucking lovely to watch the likes of Jack Gallagher and Noam Dar compete in WWE. These are guys I’ve seen wrestle in small venues in my home city, and I’ve watched Dar countless times working for ICW. It’s like seeing my guys work for the biggest wrestling company in the world, and that’s perfect.
I spoke in my review of the first episode about how impressed I was by Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo’s commentary. The two of them have such enthusiasm for the wrestling they are calling. It’s no surprise from Ranallo, but Bryan is excelling in the role. He occasionally gets carried away, but the technical know-how that he brings to the sport is so refreshing when put next to guys who struggle to name moves.
Talking about the technical aspect of wrestling the different styles on the show have been brilliant. This isn’t all about fancy flips and seeing that World of Sports style on WWE TV via Gallagher and Zack Sabre Jr. is great fun. Again that might be a partisan leaning from the British guy on the internet, but I am not going to hide it.
So as not to gush too much I’ll throw in one more downside before we bring this bad boy home. While I like the idea of what Corey Graves is doing in his green-screen control room, I’m not sure what he’s brought to the show so far. Everything he has done up there could have been done by the commentary team, and I hope they give him some more to say in the future rounds.
All things said the Cruiserweight Classic could easily become the best thing WWE has done in years. I don’t know how the viewing figures have gone, but if you aren’t watching it, you are making a mistake. What makes it all the more exciting is the action we’ve seen so far is only the start, and as the matches get longer it will only get better.