Mae Young Classic Episode 5 and 6 Review

Sixteen left. Credit: WWE

After a decent start to proceedings, the Mae Young Classic has cut out some of the deadwood as we move into round two. Most of the wrestlers left can work and there’s a handful who are truly special so the match quality should only improve from here. Once again, I won’t be bothering with talking about JR and Lita, they still suck. Let’s hand out some stars.

Episode Five

Abbey Laith defeated Rachel Evers

Another Mae Young inspired win. Credit: WWE

Abbey Laith’s victory over Jazzy Gilbert was one of the highlights of the first round while Rachel Evers and Marti Bell stunk the place out in easily the worst match. Thankfully for Evers, this was a lot better than that. Much like the first round, Laith played the underdog to the stronger Evers and did a fantastic job of it. She’s great at firing up and the crowd were with her every time she did it. Evers meanwhile looked a lot more composed and had some nice moments. Sadly, this was another short match, so it didn’t do enough to be spectacular, but for a quick sprint, it was a lot of fun.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Piper Niven defeated Serena Deeb

Sometimes the fundamentals don’t work. Credit: WWE

Another good match. I was surprised to see Serena Deeb eat the pin but I hope she sticks around in WWE. She’d be a great person to have down in NXT helping the younger women and you could even give her a run on the main roster. Piper meanwhile continues to stand out. She’s bigger than all the other women in the tournament but can jump up a gear with impressive bursts of pace. That added something a little bit different to this classic speed vs. power match-up as Niven was able to do more than lumber around the ring. Both of these women have a lot going for them and we’re back to the first round issue of kind of wishing they could both continue.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Mercedes Martinez defeated Princesa Sugehit

Lucha! Credit: WWE

This was okay, but it stood out as the worst match on this episode. Martinez and Sugehit never seemed to blend. I don’t know if it was the clash of styles or just a lack of chemistry but everything felt like it was half a pace off and neither of them came out looking great. It made me wish that Kay Lee Ray had gone through in the first round as she and Martinez seem a much more natural pairing. As it was, this wasn’t awful but it’s not one you have to see.

Verdict: Two Stars

Kairi Sane defeated Bianca Belair

Hair meet boot. Credit: WWE

Kairi Sane is a motherfucking rock star. Whatever it is, she’s got it. It’s that natural charisma which means she’ll never have to cut a promo in her life and the fans will still love her. Daniel Bryan had it, Shinsuke Nakamura has it when he can be arsed and Sane most definitely has it. She also went out there and made the green Belair look like a star. I’m not sold on the hair thing but she showed an aggression that helped her stand out in a tournament that has seen a lot of people playing it straight. She also appears to be a pretty great athlete which let’s face it, will get you far in wrestling. Ultimately, this was about Sane, however, and once again she shone when given a chance. This woman is a star and if WWE has any sense, they’ll make her one.

Verdict: Three Stars

Overall Show

The star moves on. Credit: WWE

A nice group of second round matches for the Mae Young Classic. I was a bit disappointed to see them continue with the four matches an episode format as it didn’t allow them any more time to work, but the trimming of the weaker talents definitely helped and most of these performances were an improvement on their first time out. Kairi Sane was the star, but Laith and Niven both looked great as well.

Episode Six

Toni Storm defeated Lacey Evans

A blow against ‘Merica. Credit: WWE

I don’t think I appreciated how young Toni Storm is in my review of her first round match. The fact she comes into this as the veteran at 21 is damn impressive and if she’s this good already, who knows how far she could go. Evans meanwhile continues to do nothing for me. The gimmick makes me cringe and while she’s an accomplished athlete, she is clunky in the ring. That said, this was a good if uneventful match. Storm gave up a lot of offence to the less experienced woman and helped her to look strong which is a shame because she did the same thing in the first round and she hasn’t had a proper chance to strut her stuff. Hopefully that changes next time out.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Shayna Baszler defeated Mia Yim

Game over. Credit: WWE

Putting Baszler in with Yim might have been a mistake. Yim is terrific, and while Baszler undeniably offers something different in the tournament, it highlighted the fact that she’s still not a great wrestler. She’s at her best when she’s doing the MMA stuff but her selling and her movement around the ring could use a bit of work. I get why WWE is building her up and I like that when she locks in that hold, the match is basically over, but I can’t help feeling that someone like Yim could do a lot more with this push than she could. Still, this was a fun match as Yim worked at a ridiculous pace and made herself and her opponent look great.

Verdict: Three Stars

Dakota Kai defeated Rhea Ripley

It’s a fun photo. Credit: WWE

Rhea Ripley is another wrestler who is depressingly young. It leads to a strange situation where it feels like someone like Dakota Kai is one of the older wrestlers while actually being pretty young herself when you consider most peoples’ golden years are in their thirties. Ripley showed some impressive strength in this match but she could use calming down a tad on the facial expressions. It’s better to be expressive than not, but it’s easy to slide into pantomime. Kai meanwhile filled a similar role to Yim in the last match by bumping around for her like a trooper. It was when she on offence that the match shined though, as she displayed a really cool set of kicks and some fast-paced offence. My only complaint is that I really don’t like that finish. It requires the opponent to lift themselves into position which makes them look a bit stupid. That aside, this was another decent match.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Candice LaRae defeated Nicole Savoy

Suplex! Credit: WWE

All I wanted in this match was the Queen of Suplexes to actually use a suplex and I got my wish as she opened up by going to work on LaRae. This was worked at the pace that an eight-minute match should be worked at as they went right at each other from the bell. LaRae is obviously one of the top talents in this tournament and she looked great again but it was Savoy who impressed after an uninspiring first round. She works a very legit looking style and you can believe that everything she does hurts. There were a couple of dodgy moments as things didn’t quite go as smoothly as the women might have hoped and it could have maybe used a minute or two more but this was a solid match.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Overall Show

Awww. Credit: WWE

These shows are really easy to watch. The wrestling has yet to move into spectacular but it’s all fun and very few of the women involved are coming out looking bad. All four women who went through here seem like legitimate contenders for the win (if you ignore contract situations) while Yim and Ripley both showed a hell of a lot of promise in defeat. We’re yet to high the highs of the Cruiserweight Classic but all the blocks are in place for that to happen in the next round.

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