I’m a little sad that this will be my last review for the CWC this year. I’m heading to Japan tomorrow for a couple of weeks so I’ll be handing off reviewing responsibilities to one of the other talented guys on the site. Tonight’s episode sees the end of the quarter finals with TJ Perkins vs Rich Swann and Noam Dar vs Zack Sabre Jr. It’ll be interesting to see what Dar can do against a better opponent as some would say he has been paired with some of the weaker contestants thus far, the opening match this week will give him a chance to show what he has to offer and I really hope he delivers this week. The episode starts with some new promo packages from the competitors which brings a freshness to proceedings and gets things raring to go for the Battle of the Brits.
Match 1: Zack Sabre Jr vs Noam Dar.
As much as I have said that I am not a fan or Dar in this tournament I went into this match with an open mind looking for something great, looking for Dar to impress and hoping to high heaven he can pull it out because as much as I have said I haven’t been a fan in this tournament I want to see wrestlers do well and I get a feeling Dar has more to offer so in a match with the so called greatest technical wrestler in the world he should have no problem.
Early on Mauro informed viewers that Dar and Saber Jr had wrestled before which should work in their favour promising a smooth match as the two know each other’s styles but the beginning of things seemed like quite the opposite. The match started with a lot of scrambling and it looked messy at points, that being said the overall pace was much better than previous Dar matches in the CWC. Not only was the pacing better but Dar was actually showing off some character in the ring which was great, it allowed the audience to form a connection and it gave us more Dar than we had seen before. The more the match went on the more the counters looked Intelligent, they were still rough and there was still scrambling but it was clear the men were going for a more “real” feel to the match.
The real feel was accentuated by the two going for strong strikes throughout which is great and different as ZSJ is usually all about the submissions. Noam Dar got in a lot less offense in this match but every move he hit looked much better and had more impact. Dare I say Dar impressed me in this match. The match at points felt more like a fight which is a good thing, at this point in the CWC it’s important for matches to stand out so switching up the style like this made sure it would be remembered. The fight feel soon left however as the two had an interesting duelling leverage pin sequence before Dar started to hit some strong offense. My main criticism of this match is actually geared towards ZSJ, more specifically his selling. Before the tournament started I was told that Zack Sabre Jr’s selling left something to be desired and until this match I hadn’t really seen anything wrong with it. In this match however ZSJ looked more uninterested than injured when he took hits and it did take me out of it at points.
My disappointment was soon alleviated though with a big dropkick from Dar to Sabre Jr in the corner that was almost as good as Gallagher’s earlier in the tournament and after a few exchanges Dar carried on strong with a slick reversal into his finisher knee bar. As much as I don’t like the kneebar it played a big part in the reversal sequence making a really interest spot and memorable portion of the match and if you didn’t get chance to see it I suggest you check it out. Several great spots happened towards the end of the match stemming from the kneebar with both men rolling to the outside so ZSJ could break the submission. That roll resulting in both men selling some injures before ultimately Zack Sabre Jr switched up his offense employing a new submission that look devastating and ultimately got him the win.
This was the best match I had seen from either man thus far. It was a great start to the show and some nice selling from Dar at the end falling on to the ref was a nice touch too.
Zack Sabre Jr. Wins.
After a great start to the show I was more than ready for TJ Perkins and Rich Swann to go at it and learn the final person going into the semi-finals. TJ Perkins continued to sell his cocky and confident Schtick albeit in a more serious way this time with a nice line in “if you think your opponent is better you better find something else to do”. Rich Swann however was all about the entertainment in his promo package stating “[he’s] motivated to give the people what they want – entertainment” and with that it was time for the main event of the evening.
Match 2: TJ Perkins vs Rich Swann
This match stated in such a great way, for Swann it was all about going out and having fun. People were singing his theme, he was dancing and it was just a good time, as the bell rung and the match started he just took a little time to take it all in and he looked so happy to be where he was and I was happy to see that. When things got started we saw some nice counter wrestling with a lot of flip outs and a high pace, exactly what I expected but in no way a bad thing. From the off the crowd was very much behind Swann in this match and with his positive attitude how could you not be. It didn’t take long for TJ Perkins to go to his favourite move in the headscissors dab, something Swann did not react well to. He seemed to switch from happy go lucky to angry real quickly before things sped up in a big way. The two started to run the ropes with some big arm drags before Swann decided to parody TJP with a fab of his own initiating what Mauro referred to as a “dab duel”. At this point the match was almost about who can show off more and it was just great fun without losing the intensity.
The two men being annoyed at one another was sold through harder strikes and the intense pace. a springboard dropkick from Perkins sends both men to the ground and they both look hurt. Tj then took the lead and slowed the match right down as he started grind away at Swann with a good submission. After a spinning hook kick from Swann TJ Perkins spotted and injured knee then went to work. Much of the offense from TJ from that point on was focussed on the leg, a typical heel tactic, which is fine for TJ as that was the role he was defaulted into in the match. Swann managed to get some good offense after this but his selling was excellent, he couldn’t run full speed and his knee buckled when he landed moves it all went to serve how much of a job had been done on his leg at the hands of Perkins. Swann’s offense was sold less as a result and Perkins took the lead again soon after with a Neckbraker out of the corner. This opened the door for TJP to really start dominating in the match. At this point I had to admit that I was scared for Swann, I wanted him to win badly, and to see him losing was nerve wracking. To answer the question posed in his theme song, I cannot handle this.
Swann started to fight back but with an injured leg he was forced to switch up his offense, we saw much less of the high flying stuff and a new side of Rich Swann which was interesting. He pulled off some really good power moves along with his weakened regular offense and it really made him look like he was putting his life on the line to win this match. In a desperate attempt to win Swann teased his standing 450 despite the injury before TJ Perkins seemingly out of nowhere locks in his kneebar. At this point the match is over and as soon as Swann taps the hold is released and Perkins seems to be filled with regret it was a nice added layer to things and a nice way to end the match. People were not happy with the win but after a fantastic match from TJP the win is well deserved and the match told a fantastic story. Sad to see Swann go home and shocked to hear that be the match to get boos but it just shows how much people love Swann. I’m sure he will have a fantastic WWE Career in future.
TJ Perkins wins.
I get the feeling that the winner of this match wasn’t all that important. Ibushi has to go to the finals as he has looked like a monster all the way through this tournament. But for the semi-finals we have some special matches lined up. Ibushi Vs Perkins will be great regardless of my thoughts of its outcome. ZSJ and Gran Metalik should be a good showing too. It’ll be nice to see Gran Metalik work with a style so different to his own, eh has shown he can switch it up well with others but to see him wrestle ZSJ has me excited. Ideally I would be seeing a Metalik vs ibusihi final but whatever the outcome of the semi-finals are, I’m excited. Even though this is my last review of the CWC this year, rest assured I will be watching the finals from japan with my heart beating out of my chest to find the winner.