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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist SHOOTS HARD on The Doc - Auditing the Cruiserweight Countdown (#50-41)
By Dave Fenichel
Mar 4, 2018 - 9:19:05 AM

Hi kids.

It’s on like Donkey Kong. Last Summer, The Doc, along with two other degenerates that shall remain nameless, absolutely roasted my Summerslam Main Event countdown. They took my criteria and warped it into something that wasn’t even recognizable anymore for the sole purpose of pushing their nonsense agenda.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Now that The Doc has published his own countdown, I took it upon myself to take a good hard look at how he did. Spoiler alert, the results aren’t pretty. Here we go:

50. Chris Jericho v Dean Malenko Great American Bash 1998.

You absolutely CANNOT include a non-finish on a top 50 list. You just can’t do it. While I prefer my cruiserweight matches to be of the high flying variety, a technical mat-based match is fine as long as the action is A+ crisp. This match wasn’t, especially early on. The psychology was off here. There were missed opportunities to really enhance the story. The crowd popped huge for Jericho’s Lion Tamer and even louder for Malenko’s Texas Cloverleaf, but in both instances the other escaped for too quickly to allow the fans to believe in the false finish. This match is just one of the many and has NO PLACE on this countdown.

49. Jack Gallagher v Akira Tozawa – Cruiserweight Classic Round 2.

I liked this match but I’m not sure it’s top 50 worthy. Too much of the match was based on comedy. Seriously, comedic spots took up the entire first half of the match. Much as was the case with Jericho v Malenko, there were serious problems with the psychology of the match. Tozawa couldn’t walk at all but thirty seconds later was able to attempt a flying tornado kick? That doesn’t make sense to me. There were some cool chain wrestling spots and a great ending to the match, but I can’t help but think the inclusion of this match was Chad’s inexplicable love for 205Live rearing its ugly head.

48. The Great Sasuke v Taka Michinoku – IYH Canadian Stampede 1997.

Allow me to tell you a quick story. One of my good friend’s absolutely hates Asians. She doesn’t hate Asians because she is racist, but because my friend’s most recent girlfriend prior to her was Japanese. Like my friend’s wife, Doc must have had a bad experience that leads him to have an irrational hatred for Asians. There is absolutely no other reason for him to rank a top 10 cruiserweight match 48th. This match had it all - incredibly stiff strikes, awesome hot spots, ridiculously fast pacing and a great ending. This is the second best cruiserweight match in the history of the WWE and it ends up 48th on the list. Ridiculous!

47. Alex Wright v Ultimo Dragon – Fall Brawl 1997.

Alex Wright is no more of a cruiserweight than Bastion Booger! Don’t believe me? Just watch the match. Ultimo Dragon looks like a circus midget standing next to him. Also, LOL @ the missed spinning wheel kick by Ultimo. Cringeworthy botch. As for the rest of the match, it’s slow, plodding and completely uninspiring. I don’t get this one at all.

46. Akira Tozawa v Brian Kendrick: Street Fight – 205Live 05/23/17

WHY IS THIS MATCH ON HERE CHAD?!?!?!! The only rationale is that The Doc must have said “hey, the cruiserweights had a hardcore match once. It’s different so I’ll put it on the list”. Seriously, this match is TERRIBLE. It’s a street fight without any teeth to it. It’s not the wrestler’s fault – the PG era doesn’t allow them to do any of the things needed to be successful. There was one run of the mill table spot to close the match, but even that wasn’t good. It wasn’t set up at all – it just happened. Worse than that, the dumb need to make the pin fall happen in the ring led to Tozawa dragging him back in and cooling off the spot. This match wouldn’t even crack my top 100.

45. Brian Pillman v Tom “Z-Man” Zenk – Wrestlewar 1992

I was ECSTATIC to see this included on the countdown. It’s not flashy, but it’s the epitome of old school wrestling and everything a cruiserweight match could be in an era where North American cruiserweight wrestling wasn’t yet a thing. The storytelling during this match is absolutely brilliant. Chad is right – the moves don’t quite match up with later cruiserweight era matches, so this is probably the correct spot on the countdown. Enjoy one of your few victories Doc.

44. Tajiri v Rey Mysterio – No Mercy 2003.

How is this only the 44th best cruiserweight match in history? While I think that Rey’s WWE cruiserweight run was largely unmemorable due to his desire to bulk up in size, this match against Tajiri is certainly an exception. Their styles were a perfect contrast for each other – Tajiri’s mat based wrestling and kicking game against Rey’s aerial assault. I loved that they used innovative set-ups to their big moves – spots that were often monotonous. Although only 11 minutes long, this match had tremendous pacing and built to the ending. Add in an innovative finish and I’m floored by The Doc’s short changing. I guess he needed more room for the dozen or so do-nothing 205Live matches that are destined to be on the list.

43. Rey Mysterio v Super Calo – Fall Brawl 1996.

ONE MOVE DOESN’T MAKE A MATCH CHAD! Super Calo, although a tremendous MMA Troll account on Twitter, was an absolutely terrible professional wrestler. He had no idea how to work a match. He was supposed to be a heel but would bust out weird face high spots out of nowhere. He dropped a ton of rest holds on us during this match, most of which came from nothing and had no purpose. Rey did his best here and but he was working with trash. There were some horrendous botches, including a flying crossbody spot that was supposed to see both men crash to the floor. Instead, Calo couldn’t get his body over the top, and he ended up being the rope in a tug of war between Rey trying to pull him over and Randy Anderson trying to pull him back into the ring. The ending is every bit as awesome as The Doc describes it to be, but the entire match is a complete disaster.

42. Mustafa Ali v Drew Gulak: 2 out of 3 Falls – 205Live 07/18/17.

You know, whenever the Doc prefaces a match by citing the story or calling it “smart”, it’s usually a surefire sign that he’s about to justify why he’s going to feed you a $hit sandwich. I went into this match wanting to absolutely torch it for that very reason. Unfortunately for me, I think Chad is right here. This was a very solid match. I am a big fan of Ali. I think he has the best move set of all the current cruiserweights. His high flying style was a perfect foil for Gulak’s mat wrestling. The third fall in this match is just spectacular and I loved the ending which saw Gulak cost himself the match by refusing to jump off the top rope. The match wasn’t without its flaws – the first fall was 1:50 and felt too fluky and the second fall didn’t built to the ending. However, I’ll begrudgingly admit that this one belongs right about where it landed.

41. Billy Kidman v THE JUICE v Psicosis v Rey Mysterio – Souled Out 1999.

Here’s another bad choice that I can’t wrap my brain around. These are four of the best cruiserweights ever. There are literally dozens of matches between them to choose from. This was one of their WORST outings together. The spots were good but not great. The botches were obvious and plentiful. They tried to play up to the idea that these were two tag teams conflicted with how they should approach this match against their respective partners, but it didn’t work. While I appreciate The Doc paying homage to the best era of Cruiserweight wrestling, every Nitro had a cruiserweight match better than this. I can’t help but think that Chad must have been boozing hard when he included this one on the countdown.

That’s a wrap kids. Doc, I sure hope that next installment on the countdown is better than this one. If not, I’m coming for you.

Facebook: David Fenichel
Twitter: @FFFightLeague

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