Episode three of the Mae Young Classic has quite the line-up. You’ve got the return of Kaitlyn, plus the likes of Toni Storm, Jinny, Mia Yim and Allysin Kay (who is perhaps better known as Impact’s Sienna). With that group involved it’s probably a safe bet that we’re going to continue the theme of these being delightful slices of TV.
Kaitlyn defeated Kavita Devi
I imagine most of you know Kaitlyn, a former Diva Champion who made her name in WWE. She’s playing the role Brian Kendrick did in the Cruiserweight Classic as a returning veteran on her last shot, although she is only 31, so that’s ridiculous. Kavita Devi, meanwhile, is an Indian wrestler trained by the Great Khali. She’s a Performance Centre baby who didn’t last long in last year’s tournament as Dakota Kai put her out in the first round.
Kaitlyn has changed up her look a hell of a lot since she last appeared in WWE. She was rocking MMA gloves and working a very physical style. Devi is a powerhouse who still sucks. She hit a few simple power moves on Kaitlyn then went straight into a rest hold. Is that what they teach people to do at the Performance Centre? They seem to be breeding young athletes who need to take a rest every few minutes.
In contrast, Kaitlyn looked good. I don’t remember her being particularly brilliant, but despite being the smaller woman, you bought her as a physical threat as she made short work of Devi. It might have been our most decisive victory yet and, despite Devi’s shortcomings, Kaitlyn earns it the thumbs-up.
Verdict: Thumbs Up
Toni Storm defeated Jinny
Toni Storm is currently one of the top women on the indies. From wXw to Stardom every company that’s got their hands on her has thrust her into the limelight. Although, at least in the UK, Jinny isn’t too far behind her. She’s a Projo graduate who was the first ever RevPro Woman’s Champion and is the current PROGRESS title holder.
I’m a bit surprised this didn’t close the show. These two have wrestled many a time, and with Jinny signed to the UK brand, it felt like a natural fit. Not that they seemed to let the lack of time get to them as they started slow, allowing Jinny to assert her arrogant heel persona.
The match came to life when Toni booted Jinny halfway across the ring. From there, we got a good back and forth encounter that with a bit more time could have been great. These two were smooth as hell with Jinny taking control and berating Storm as a ‘stupid girl.’
Unfortunately, that might have just served to wind Toni Storm up. A German Suplex was the game changer as she followed up with the Hip Attack and a Strong Zero (which in WWE is now a Tiger Driver, I swear it used to be an Air Raid Crash). This might not have been the main event, but it was still a good match.
Verdict: Thumbs Up
Xia Li defeated Karen Q
Xia Li is another homegrown talent as she was one of WWE’s Chinese signings. Like Devi, she competed last year only to crash out in the first round. Karen Q is probably best known for her work in ROH, but she has a decent indie CV. While I’ve only caught bits and pieces of her, she’s generally well regarded.
These two took on martial arts poses as they faced each other and the crowd went crazy. A few seconds later, Renee spoke about them wanting to break down stereotypes. Maybe the better way to break down stereotypes would be to have the Asian wrestlers not use the martial art gimmick? Just a thought. (For what it’s worth, this is a more general point rather than explicitly saying these two shouldn’t use it. They may well have legitimate backgrounds in that field).
One stereotype Xia Li did break down was that all Performance Centre graduates are crap. She didn’t grab a single resthold and, despite being green, showed off some fun offence. Q led the match, but the kick laden action that they presented played into both women’s strengths. The result was immaterial, both of them came out looking good.
Verdict: Thumbs Up
Mia Yim defeated Allysin Kay
As I mentioned in my intro, Allysin Kay is perhaps better known as Sienna in Impact, although she has worked as Kay elsewhere. She’s also incredibly annoying. Everything she said in her intro package made me dislike her a little bit more. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. Mia Yim is another former Impact Knockout, who has bounced around the indies and done quite a lot of work with WWE before. She has an inspiring story that is worth looking up and broke Kay’s nose in a previous encounter, so there was a bit of history to this one.
That played into the story of the contest as Yim and Kay went straight after each other. There were a lot of fists being thrown and, thankfully, a lack of rest holds. Yim’s speed seemed to be giving her the advantage right until she chopped the ring post at which point Kay lept on the opportunity to take control and assert her power game.
You could criticise these two for having more ideas than they had minutes. It felt like they were trying to cram everything in and it meant some spots didn’t have time to breathe. I can’t sit and moan about rest spots in five minute long matches and then also complain about that, though. I’d rather see them pack their time with action than struggle to fill it.
The final few minutes was a combination of big moves and stiff strikes. It was the moment where these two working together in the past became crucial. They were able to pull out things that other people in this tournament simply couldn’t do. A fact that culminated in Yim hitting Soul Food (Gail Kim’s Eat Defeat) from the second rope for the win. Yim and Kay gave us a show-stealer.
Verdict: Thumbs Up
With the main events continuing to get more time than everything else, it’s no surprise that they are grabbing the headlines. However, I think Kim and Kay had their work cut out for them after two strong matches in Storm vs Jinny and Q vs Li. Still, they pulled it off and capped the best show yet with a great main event. This Mae Young Classic is going from strength to strength and the names going into the second round give me hope that the good times aren’t going to stop.