We're onto the Elite 8 of the Cruiserweight Classic now and I can't help but feel like picking winners is becoming increasingly more difficult, yet whoever wins will still make me happy because just about any of the Elite 8 are worthy of winning this in my opinion. We have two strong matches right away and I'm excited for both of them.
Match One: Gran Metalik def. Akira Tozawa
Gran Metalik was one of the first CWC competitors to be revealed as having signed with WWE which meant that either a) he could win this whole tournament and it could be used as a vehicle to push him or b) he could get eliminated and still have a shot in NXT to have rematches with whoever eliminated him. Akira Tozawa on the other hand has recently been announced for the Cruiserweight Division on RAW, so he's kind of in the same boat. This had that Tajiri-Metalik style to it only Tozawa is much different than Tajiri and these two just put on a more modern version of Tajiri-Super Crazy from the ECW days. As much as I want to say that Gran Metalik is advancing to the Final Four because he is a luchador and that style has had such a huge impact on cruiserweights and so it should be represented as such, does that mean that since Ibushi is likely to be in the finals we don't need Akira Tozawa representing the Japanese style anymore? I feel like, even though Tozawa and Ibushi are both Japanese, they are different styles of wrestling as much as they come from different promotions. I really want to see what Tozawa can do in both NXT and the WWE main roster and as such this feels like less of a "goodbye" for Tozawa and more of a "see you again soon". Seeing Gran Metalik advance to the finals against ZSJ is interesting though because if anyone can play foil to ZSJ I imagine it could be Gran Metalik.
Match Two: Kota Ibushi def. Brian Kendrick
What you have to understand about the CWC and this episode is that in a lot of ways these two matches were opposites. While the winner of the previous match would go on to face the winner of ZSJ-Noam Dar (which will likely be ZSJ and then ZSJ will likely defeat Gran Metalik to advance to the finals) this match is more about making who goes to the finals, as the winner of the Rich Swann-TJP match will likely lose to Ibushi. The thing is, TJP upset Gargano so he could upset Ibushi as well, but I just don't see it happening. I also felt at some point that Brian Kendrick could have won this match and then it would have set up Kendrick-TJP with TJP going to the finals as the dark horse. But I've been predicting Ibushi-ZSJ finals since day one and it looks like that's where we are headed. Brian Kendrick had a great showing here and was hugged by Daniel Bryan after the match. Is it odd that I kind of wish Daniel Bryan was still wrestling so he could have been a part of all of this as well? Especially seeing him in there with Brian Kendrick. Imagine them in the finals together, when they had their first match together back at the start of their careers. What a story it could tell. In any case, Kota Ibushi is now one step closer to facing ZSJ in the finals and we have one more match to see who he will defeat next. I'm not really pulling for Rich Swann or TJP because I feel like either will lose to Ibushi, but I do kind of want to see Ibushi-TJP a little bit more. TJP has just been announced for the Raw Cruiserweight division, as has Brian Kendrick, which I find strange because Brian Kendrick made it seem like if he didn't win this tournament his career was over and now he's going to be on Raw. And while we're talking about it, I like the idea of Raw having the cruiserweight division, but at the same time, I don't like that it's going to put guys like Jack Gallagher into these stereotypes where he might not be allowed to, say, challenge for the United States Championship or something. I mean, if booked properly, Gallagher- for example- could have a great feud with Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship, but will WWE allow us to see him (or others) as more than just cruiserweights is the real question.
So we have one more set of Elite 8 matches to go before we're into the Final Four. I'm hoping the Final 4 is broken down into two weeks, with each match (I'm assuming Gran Metalik-ZSJ and Ibushi-TJP) getting the full hour. I think this week is also the last taped set and then we go live with the Final Four as well, but yes, I am ready for some just amazing wrestling heading into the finals of this all.