After disassembly and a thorough cleaning/oiling the action has improved 120%. The pivot looks like it was originally lubed with some kind of yellow grease, it actually left hardened residue where the bearings rested on the cut outs on the blade. It came off easy enough with some patience and rubbing alcohol. That seemed to be the biggest issue along with the pivot being way over tightened. After all that it's now a finger guillotine. The blade drops with no effort and the action is strong but snappy. After all is said and done, my initial reaction was a bit exaggerated, I was very hyped for this knife since I first saw it (I have a minor addiction to cleavers.) Having it show up the way it did kinda crushed my spirits.
(once I'm not feeling lazy, I'll edit a quick comparison video of the action before and after the cleaning)