On September 5th, WWE released their second batch of Mae Young Classic tapings. These episodes contained the second round, alongside the quarter and semi-finals. With the more inexperienced competitors out of the tournament, it was time for some of the more experienced and renowned superstars to showcase their range as a wrestler. Episode Five was the first half of the second round which showed off some of the more acclaimed wrestlers coming into the tournament and gave them the platform to showcase their respective styles. With that in mind, here is a recap of the first half of the second round of the Mae Young Classic.
Abbey Laith vs Rachel Evers
This was a much better match than Rachel’s first match with Marti Belle; she was able to showcase more of her offense effectively. This match was a test of power against agility, with Abbey hitting high flying offense such as a suicide dive and a top rope arm drag. Rachel hit some old-fashion offense such as a cutter and a top rope power slam. The spot of the match was when both women were able to hit stereo big boots of each over, knocking each other down much to the delight of the full sail crowd.
The match ended with Abbey countering a big boot attempt into a powerbomb before transitioning into the Alligator Clutch, an ode to Mae Young, to pick up the victory. This was a good match for Rachel to show us what she can do as a wrestler, while Abbey continued to look impressive in her performances. Overall, it was another fun match that deserves viewing.
Piper Niven vs Serena Deeb
These two were able to tell a nice little story during this match. Serena Deeb was trying to get Piper off of her feet with moves such as the monkey flip and with various slams, while Piper was trying to showcase her impressive agility for a woman her size in an attempt to throw Serena off her game. Serena hit Piper with a very impressive body slam, whilst Piper tried, and missed, a top rope splash. Serena showed off some very impressive punches, showing off some moves that Rip Rogers surely taught her from her OVW days.
Viper was the default heel of the match despite not really wrestling as one, and if she could get some viciousness in her game she could be very effective. The match ended with Piper countering a Spear and hitting Serena with the Michinoku driver. This match had an old school feel to it, so it may not be your thing is you’re into a more modern day match, but the match was very enjoyable and effectively made Piper look strong and Serena look valiant in defeat.
Mercedes Martinez vs Princesa Sugehit
This match was the battle of the two Latin veterans of the tournament. Mercedes was the grizzled veteran heel with a chip on her shoulder and Princesa was the typical Lucha styled babyface in the form of an Atlantis or a Mil Mascaras. This was a great tribute to Mexican wrestling, with both women hitting several moves synonymous with that style of wrestling such as Mercedes hitting Three Amigos and Princesa hitting a Tornado DDT.
The match was fast paced and showed great ring psychology with Mercedes trying to counter the faster pace of Sugehit, and with Princesa trying to find innovative ways to counter Mercedes big moves. The match ended with Mercedes hitting Princesa with a Fisherman Buster for the win. This match further put Mercedes over as being a great wrestler, while Princesa looked handy in defeat. One criticism with Mercedes is that she may not have quite connected with the crowd as much as some expected, but she looked impressive nonetheless.
Kairi Sane vs Bianca Belair
This was easily the best match of the tournament thus far. The two showed great physicality and played their respective roles to perfection. Bianca Belair was able to showcase several spots that wowed the audience, including an impressive 450 splash, and a double chicken wing slam. She was also able to hit Kairi with some unique offense in the form of a hair whip, again playing up the idea that she is a Willow Smith cosplayer. Kairi worked as the underdog to the powerful and agile Bianca.
If there is a criticism against WWE, it’s that they used the formula of ‘Underdog against dominant opponent’ story a little too much, which made some matches feel the same. Kairi had some brutal strikes, including a sick spinning back fist. Both women effectively played to the crowd, creating some great crowd engagement beyond the sometimes tiresome ‘This is Awesome’ chants.
The match ended with Kairi’s Diving Elbow Drop, which ended up looking more like a diving hip attack. This match was incredible. Bianca looked great for a rookie and impressed a lot of people, while the match really showed Kairi’s range from the great selling, to the facial expressions, to her brutality. Out of every match in the tournament, this was easily the most recommendable.
- Abbey Laith def. Rachel Evers
- Piper Niven def. Serena Deeb
- Mercedes Martinez def. Princesa Sugehit
- Kairi Sane def. Bianca Belair