The battle between Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak in the semifinals of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship was more than just the last step to competing at WrestleMania; it was also the latest chapter in the longtime – and bitter – rivalry between the two Superstars. Both Cruiserweights were focused on the task at hand, knowing the high stakes and implications of their battle.
With the ring of the opening bell, both competitors locked up and exchanged in a dual showcase of technical prowess. Advantages shifted, but Ali maintained leverage by using his agility. The clash of styles continued as Gulak utilized high-impact blows while Ali tried his hand at quick strikes with the objective of keeping his opponent’s aggression at bay.
Taking down Ali with a huge clothesline and countering a high-flying maneuver from the top-rope, Gulak managed to channel his rage, stomping on Ali in the corner and keeping him grounded. However, the more that the Philadelphia native unleashed his aggression, the more Ali seemed to feed off of it and begin showing signs of his own anger. Using that to his advantage, Ali moved for more powerful strikes that kept Gulak on defense.
Gulak’s ring awareness proved crucial, as he drove his opponent face-first into the turnbuckle before laying him out with a huge spinning clothesline. Continuing to press forward, Gulak laid out Ali a second time before attempting a pinfall. Amazingly, Ali reversed the pin into an innovative submission hold that Gulak barely escaped.
With his opponent recovering outside the ring, Ali threw caution to the wind with a high-risk move, taking down Gulak. After unloading fists on his opponent, Ali threw him back in the ring and prepared the 054. Unfortunately for the Chicago native, Gulak knocked him off the top rope, crashing to the floor below. Remaining aggressive, Gulak threw Ali into the barricade and then the ring, but Ali rolled back out.
Keeping the battle outside of the ring, Ali countered a charge from Gulak, first tossing him over the announce table before leaping over and unloading a flurry of strikes on his opponent.
Refusing to win by count-out, Mustafa prepared to put Gulak through the announce table, but Gulak countered and launched Ali over his head onto the arena floor. With no love lost for his longtime rival, Gulak threw Ali face-first into the ring post before dumping him into the timekeeper’s area. Although Gulak tried to win by count-out, Ali showed his resilience, narrowly beating the 10-count.
With his opponent still stunned, Gulak attempted the Dragon Sleeper, but Ali managed to counter the hold into a rolling DDT. Seizing the opening, Ali quickly ascended the ropes and executed the 054 and secured his place on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
After the match, Ali told the WWE Universe that he wasn’t going to WrestleMania, but “we” were going, gesturing to the WWE Universe, and that no matter who you are, all that matters is what’s in your heart.
Ali will take on his friend Cedric Alexander for the vacant WWE Cruiserweight Championship in what is sure to be a thrilling title bout at The Show of Shows.
Article source: WWE.com