Mae Young Classic Episodes 3 and 4 Review

Can we not have both of them?

There’s not much to say here that I didn’t say in the intro to the first review as we’re still in the first batch of matches. It’s worth noting, however, that I’m not going to bother mentioning JR and Lita. They are awful, but me continuing to moan about it won’t help. Right, let’s start dishing out those stars.

Episode 3

Toni Storm defeated Ayesha Raymond

A natural star. Credit: WWE

From her video package to her entrance, Toni Storm presented herself as the biggest star in the tournament. It’s one of those things that comes naturally to some people, and whatever it is that causes it, she has it in droves. She’s also an outstanding wrestler and you don’t need me to tell you that is a good combination. Ayesha, meanwhile, strikes you as someone that Vince would love and uses her size well in the ring. This was a strange match, though. Storm got a bit of a chance to strut her stuff but ultimately relied on a mistake from Raymond to get the win. It makes you think that WWE wanted to protect both women and that this might not be the last we see of Ayesha Raymond. As for Storm, I reckon we’ll see a lot better from her later in this tournament.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Dakota Kai defeated Kavita Devi

An average match. Credit: WWE

The Mae Young Classic has set up a pretty standard formula in the early round. Place a rookie with a more experienced wrestler and then have the rookie dominate the match before the veteran picks up the win. It has made it a bit predictable, but it means people like Kavita Devi get a chance to show off a bit. Which she did a decent enough job of here. She was surprisingly light on her feet for a power based wrestler, but she still has that awkwardness to her movement that comes with being green. It also means that this wasn’t much of a showcase for Kai as she only really had two moves. The formula fell far too close to the first match as well, with Devi getting arrogant and not following up. The classic wrestling mistake that rookies make all over the world.

Verdict: Two Stars

Bianca Belair defeated Sage Beckett

I can fly! Credit: WWE

Between lethal hair and shamans, this match felt a bit indieriffic. Sage Beckett comes across as someone who is far too aware of her gimmick. If she toned it back a bit and made it slightly more natural, it might work, but at the moment it’s hard to look past the silliness. Belair has the attitude and is obviously a fantastic athlete, but it still feels like she needs a bit of polish in the ring. It was also weird to see her pick up the win with a spear on a woman much larger than her. That aside, the match was fine and fell into the long list of fine matches in this tournament so far which is what you’re going to get when people are only working for five minutes.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Piper Niven defeated Santana Garrett

And it’s all over. Credit: WWE

Piper Niven (better known as Viper) is another Scottish lass who I’ve been watching for years, so the bias comes in much like it did with Kay Lee Ray. Despite her size advantage, she’s a natural babyface, so it was a bit weird to see her heel it up here. Garrett, on the other hand, came across as a bit generic when it comes to her character but can work. The way she naturally moves around the ring really stood out after watching so many rookies in this episode. Again, the main event stole the show and it’s amazing how big a difference even a few extra minutes can make for the quality of a match. It was all about Garrett trying to keep things fast and Niven wanting to dominate her. Both women played these roles well and much like with the Sarah Logan vs. Mia Yim match it’s a shame one of them has to go home.

Verdict: Three Stars

Overall Show

Get away from me. Credit: WWE

Another solid show. I think my reviews reflect the fact that these matches are more about introducing us to wrestlers rather than great action. I do think the shorter matches have fallen into a bit of a formula with one of the competitors (usually the less experienced one) dominating until they get a bit cocky and let the other back in. If you can get past that, though, the Mae Young Classic is doing well so far.

Episode 4

Candice LeRae defeated Renee Michelle

It’s a long way down. Credit: WWE

The audience reaction to Candice LeRae told you almost everything you need to know. She comes into this tournament as one of the better-known wrestlers and has to be one of the favourites if she signs that all important WWE contract. On the other hand, Renee Michelle didn’t really stand out from the countless other women with attitude that we’ve seen so far. I feel like I’m getting repetitive when reviewing these matches but it’s hard not to. This was a veteran against a rookie and the rookie was given a lot of offence. Michelle looked athletic but like she was thinking a little bit too much while LeRae did a good job of making her look strong. Ultimately, LeRae was always going to pick up the win here and she did.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Lacey Evans defeated Taynara Conti

Off you pop. Credit: WWE

There is sometimes a disconnect between the video packages and the characters that people are playing. Taynara Conti came across a lot more heelish during her entrance than she did in the video. I don’t get Lacey Evans, I know they are going All-American but as a non-American, it does nothing for me. The match was a match. It was a bit clunky and neither of these women is particularly good at this point. Conti had a couple of nice judo throws but that’s about all I can say. I imagine Evans’ job in the next round will be to lose to Toni Storm.

Verdict: Two Stars

Nicole Savoy defeated Reina Gonzalez

Tap tap. Credit: WWE

It is strange to call yourself the Queen of Suplexes and then not hit a single suplex, isn’t it? That’s what Savoy did in this match. However, she carried herself well and certainly came off better than half cyborg half cowgirl Gonzales. I liked the struggle to get the cross arm breaker in and the instant tap when it was locked but apart from that, this was just another match.

Verdict: Two Stars

Kairi Sane defeated Tessa Blanchard

A proper superwoman punch. Credit: WWE

WWE went all out to make Kairi Sane seem like a big deal and she backed that up. Like your Storms and LeRaes, she comes into this tournament with a reputation and the fans responded well to her. I’m not quite sure about the steering wheel but ultimately it’s not going to hurt her. Once again, the main event is stacked as Blanchard is another one that you could have seen going far in this tournament. The third generation thing is right up WWE’s avenue and even at the age of 22, she is already an accomplished wrestler. It’s no surprise then that this followed the theme of the round by having the main event outclass everything that came before and leave you wishing that both women could have gone through. It was slick and fast-paced with Blanchard showing great aggression while Sane worked well from underneath. Throw in that beautiful elbow drop and we have the best match of the tournament so far.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Overall Show

Controlling the wrists. Credit: WWE

The main event and Candice LeRae aside, this episode had a lack of stand-outs. It felt like they were maybe relying on the good main event to carry a frankly average rest of the show. However, I don’t want to be too harsh because 1) that main event was really good and 2) it was just continuing the theme of the tournament so far. With this signalling the end of the first round, the quality is only going to improve from here and with a lot of the deadwood chiselled away I’m looking forward to seeing what we get.

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