Mae Young Classic Episode Seven: New Orleans on April 8 is a Place and Time

Mae Young Classic Episode #7
Date: September 4, 2017
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Lita

We’re down to the final eight and that means four quarterfinal matches tonight. You can probably guess what’s coming for the final four but that’s what makes these rounds exciting: there’s the chance of a big upset and that could change everything. Things were a lot better in the second round and hopefully that’s the case here too. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of how all eight made it to the quarterfinals.

No bio videos here, though to be fair you should know who they are at this point.

Quarterfinals: Abbey Laith vs. Mercedes Martinez

Abbey takes her down in a test of strength to start until a hard palm strike to the jaw slows Laith down. Mercedes headlocks her for a bit before a heck of a slap staggers Abbey again. A spinning kick is countered so Abbey just does the splits instead of getting dropped again. Laith kicks at the arm a bit and JR brings up the two years off that Mercedes needed for a shoulder injury. That little background information often helps things so much and I wish we got more of it in WWE.

Abbey chops her back and kicks Mercedes in the head for two. That just earns Abbey a hard whip into the post and they fight to the apron with Lita joining the IT’S THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING club. Abbey kicks her out to the floor (which hasn’t been the case very often in the tournament) for a crossbody to leave both of them laying.

Back in and Abbey tries to get fired up but Mercedes sends her outside for a breather. That goes nowhere so Abbey grabs a bridging German suplex for two, drawing a heck of a scream out of Laith on the kickout. Mercedes grabs the fisherman’s buster for the pin at 8:57 in another fast finish.

Rating: B. These finishes coming out of nowhere aren’t doing much for me and they’re becoming a pattern around here. Mercedes advancing is the right call as she’s been treated as a veteran killer so sending her to the semifinals makes sense. Good match here too, which is all you can ask for.

Johnny Gargano is here and you know what that means.

Quarterfinals: Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler

The winner gets Martinez in the semifinals. Shayna wastes no time with a hard knee lift and looks like she’s toying with Candice to start. A kick misses though and Shayna crotches herself to give Candice a breather. Shayna gets sent outside for a suicide dive into a DDT (cool) to drop her on her head. Back in and we hit an Octopus hold on Baszler, followed by the Gargano Escape for a nice touch. Baszler calmly powers her up for a side slam and tries a super gutwrench suplex. Ms. LeRae’s Wild Ride is easily countered into the rear naked choke for the tap at 3:11.

Rating: C+. They were getting going here until the very sudden ending, though this was the right idea. The idea behind Baszler is that she can finish you in the blink of an eye and that’s exactly what they should be going for with her. LeRae is going to be fine wherever she goes and that suicide DDT was freaking sweet. Throw in the submission tease and they had me going a few times here. Give this more time though and it’s instantly better.

Baszler won’t let go of the hold, to the point where I thought they were going to reverse the decision for a second. She even kicks at LeRae as the doctors check on her. Now that’s how you book a heel.

Quarterfinals: Piper Niven vs. Toni Storm

Storm takes the far bigger Niven into the corner and gives her a playful tap on the jaw. For some reason Toni thinks a test of strength is a good idea with Niven taking her down. Storm bridges up and Niven can’t break it for an impressive strength display. Like, a very impressive one as Toni isn’t that big. They bridge up at the same time and shake hands upside down for a cute bit.

Niven powers her down and gets two off a splash, followed by Toni getting the same off a crossbody. Two more splashes give Piper the same so Toni grabs a Backstabber (popular move in this tournament) for a breather. A German suplex is countered into the Michinoku Driver for two and Piper is stunned. She tries the Vader Bomb, only to get caught in a German superplex. A top rope legdrop sends Storm on at 7:36.

Rating: C+. I don’t think anyone was buying the idea that Niven was anything more than a dragon for someone to slay. Storm is as good of an option as anyone else as she has a great look and feels like someone they want to push the heck out of, especially over time. Good enough match here and while Storm isn’t making it to the finals, she’s getting noticed, which is often more important.

Baszler’s fellow Four Horsewomen are proud of her win but here are Bayley, Charlotte and Becky Lynch for the staredown. Rousey: “Anytime, anyplace.” Say…..New Orleans perhaps? Maybe early April?

Funaki is here.

Quarterfinals: Kairi Sane vs. Dakota Kai

Kairi headlocks her down to start and the fans seem pleased at an early standoff. A spinning backfist misses and Kai gives her a martial arts pose. Kairi takes her into the corner for some hard chops as this is getting physical. The fans are behind Kairi but get quieted down with a running kick to the jaw in the corner. Kairi is tired of getting hit in the face so she spears Kai down for a breather.

Kai hits another running kick in the corner but gets sent into the corner. Kairi can’t hit a superplex but can avoid a top rope double stomp with Kai tweaking the knee on the landing. A top rope Phenomenal Forearm gives Kairi two but Kai kicks her down again. Another running kick in the corner misses though and it’s an Alabama Slam it’s the top rope elbow to send Sane to the semifinals at 7:42.

Rating: B. I’m starting to get the appeal of Sane and a lot of it is due to having her do stuff like this. Kai was very game here and that made for a more entertaining match. People like Sane are going to get more out of this than by squashing someone so it’s definitely the right call. Kai will have a job in WWE if she wants one but this is Sane’s tournament to win. Maybe.

The semifinals are set:

Kairi Sane

Toni Storm

Mercedes Martinez

Shayna Baszler

Overall Rating: B. I’m not sure what it says that I’m more interested in the Four Horsewomen battle than the tournament but that was definitely one of the big draws of this whole thing. The final four are interesting and while you can almost pencil in Sane vs. Baszler for the whole thing, that’s not the worst result in the world. Good show here and I’m fired up for the last two shows.

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  1. Sagar says:

    Do you think there’s a chance they do it at Survivor Series this year instead of Mania?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    That would be the second best option.

    Sagar Reply:

    I am not sure but I would give it more than 50% chance of it being at Survivor Series. Mainly because:

    1. The Network subscription has been way down post Wrestlemania and they need stronger numbers going into the last quarter of the year so they might put this as an attraction. They have already been loading up non Big 4 PPVs lately.
    2. Both Cena and Lesnar are probably going to not be at SS and in their absence they need a big draw.
    3. It’s the 30th anniversary of Survivor Series so they might put this on to make it feel bigger.

    Off-topic, but is it just me or was that backstage segment just really cringeworthy? Rousey’s acting skills have matched Stephanie in whatever I have seen of her in movies and stuff and it was on display here as well. It all just felt rushed and kinda awkward lol.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    You very well may be right. You can tell they’re stacking up No Mercy to keep the Summerslam people in.

    As for Rousey….she can do whatever she likes. Ignore the dopey grin and love hearts circling my head at the moment as I assure you they’re completely unrelated to what I was talking about.