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    Friday, April 1, 2016

    Haaave You Met: The Seven New Participants In The Global Cruiserweight Series

    Without a doubt, the Global Cruiserweight Series is one of the most exciting things pro wrestling is seeing this year. We don't know how the whole thing's gonna work, whether the Cruiserweight Championship is making a comeback, or whether the winner gets a WWE contract, but what we do know is it's happening in July, and seven of the 32 guys who are appearing in the grand tourney have been revealed.

    Let's take a closer look at them:

    Johnny Gargano, Rich Swann, and Tommaso Ciampa

    Okay, we're going to cheat a bit with this one. These three need no introduction, as most viewers of NXT are already pretty familiar with these three indy darlings. If there's anyone they haven't met yet, it's most likely Rich Swann, who's only started to appear on the show.

    It doesn't take a dozen matches to see why Rich Swann made it to NXT: that guy is an amazing athlete, and he can fly around with the best of them.

    It's interesting to note that Gargano and Ciampa don't exactly fit the stereotypical bill whenever someone hears the term "cruiserweight." Thanks to the likes of Rey Mysterio and Ultimo Dragon, we're willing to bet that a lot of people thought this tournament was going to be a showcase for high-flyers—but just because people are under a certain weight limit, doesn't mean they're going to all be aerial. This is where Gargano and Ciampa, as well as a couple more guys we'll be discussing a little later on, come in: to prove that you can be a lightweight and still effectively wrestle a harder, heavier, or more technical (as the case may be) style.

    Akira Tozawa

    Akira Tozawa is a Japanese wrestler who wrestles almost exclusively for the number two promotion in Japan: Dragon Gate. Dragon Gate is a promotion that focuses on stable warfare, and uses a fusion of lucha libre and puroresu as its primary wrestling style.

    He’s been a wrestler for that promotion since 2005, but struggled to make an impact until he went to the USA in 2010 for excursions in various American indies such as Pro Wresting Guerrilla and the now defunct DGUSA. He eventually was able to find himself while he was there and was able to find success upon his return.

    His resume is impressive: in Dragon Gate, he’s held the Open the Brave Gate (secondary title), Open the Twin Gate (tag titles) and the Open the Triangle Gate (trios titles) championships, and is currently the leader of the Monster Express stable, which was the home of Uhaa Nation (now Apollo Crews) and Ricochet during their runs in this promotion.

    Like most wrestlers in Dragon Gate, his style of wrestling revolves around high-paced offense and high flying, but his signature moves include a top-rope brainbuster, and he uses a delayed bridging German suplex as his finisher.  His charisma transcends the language barrier (though he does speak fairly good English) and it’s no surprise that he is now a beloved figure in the world of puroresu and is one of the faces, if not the face, of Dragon Gate.

    Noam Dar

    If you follow TNA and their British Bootcamp series a couple of years back, you may have seen this name floating around, but that exposure definitely just scratched the surface.

    Noam Dar is a Scottish wrestler who's cut from the same mold as the Technical Wizard, Zack Sabre, Jr., and when we say cut from the same mold, you can expect the same catch-as-catch-can sorcery that ZSJ is now famous for (more on that later). 

    Dar's wrestled all over the UK, and it's both surprising and unsurprising that he made it on WWE's radar—surprising because he isn't a big enough name, but unsurprising when you consider that they're looking for 32 wrestlers for the GCS. This guarantees that there's gonna be more than one technical matchup, and the catch fanatics in the Smark Henry Offices are pretty excited.

    Ho Ho Lun

    Don't let his looks (which make him seem like a skinnier Chinese DJZ) fool you: according to a trusted source, Ho Ho Lun is the best wrestler in Southeast Asia.

    Hailing from the Hong Kong Wrestling Federation (yes, such a promotion exists, for those who are unaware) and known in the UK, what makes Lun stand out is that in a fledgling regional scene, he's probably the only wrestler who really has it all put together, thanks to his legit Japanese training—and this is what the WWE might have seen in him for them to bring him over.

    Lun seems to be one of the dark horses in the field as he's one of the more obscure contenders, but should he advance past the first round, he'll make for a fine underdog story in a scene full of them, not to already mention a young stallion we can all pull for here in the Philippines and around the region. (Unfortunately, not even we have any word of anyone from PWR sniffing a qualifier match for the GCS, but we'll let you know.)

    Zack Sabre, Jr.

    And finally, the favorite.

    Zack Sabre Jr. is a British wrestler who most readers should have at least heard of by now. Hailing from the Isle of Sheppey, England, he’s known throughout the wrestling world as the best technical wrestler in the business today, and this is reflected in his winning of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Best Technical Wrestler award (renamed the Bryan Danielson Award this year) two years in a row.

    Debuting in 2004 for NWA UK Hammerlock, Sabre has wrestled in promotions all over the world such as Pro Wresting NOAH and Big Japan Pro Wrestling in Japan, Westside Xtreme Wrestling in Germany, EVOLVE and PWG in the USA, Insane Championship Wrestling in Ireland and of course, Revolution Pro and PROGRESS in his homeland of England. He’s also won various tournaments like the wXw 16 Karat Gold and PWG’s 2015 edition of the Battle of Los Angeles.

    Zack Sabre Jr.’s offense focuses mainly on submissions and technical wrestling, and he does this extremely well, allowing him to win the top titles from RPW, PWG and wXw. We swear: if you've never been a fan of technical wrestling your whole life, this is arguably the man who is able to make you fall in love with it. Needless to say, ZSJ is one of the heavier favorites to win the whole thing just all on his ability and charm, and we wouldn't be surprised if his performance, regardless of whether he wins the tourney, lands him a spot on NXT.


    What do you think? Who among these seven are you pulling for? Who outside of these seven are you expecting to join the tournament? Let us know what you think in the comments!

    Photo from Top Rope Press
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    Item Reviewed: Haaave You Met: The Seven New Participants In The Global Cruiserweight Series Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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