Mae Young Classic
Wednesday, October 10th
RESULTS: Io Shirai over Zeuxis, Deonna Purrazzo over Xia Li, Tegan Nox over Nicole Matthews, Mia Yim over Kaitlyn
-This show featured the remaining matches from the second round and was headlined by Mia Yim and Kaitlyn. Their match was the best on the show and a big improvement from Kaitlyn’s opening round match against Kavita Devi. The match story was simple with Mia Yim coming in with an injured hand that was taped up and tried to work her offense around the injury. During the match, Yim went after the knee of Kaitlyn with a logical submission strategy to compensate for the hand injury. They had some creative elements with Yim mounting Kaitlyn and landing a punch and shaking the hand in pain. Yim then went for another punch, missed and hit the mat as Kaitlyn took the hand and bent it. The audience elevated the match reacting to nears fall both with Kaitlyn hitting a spear and Yim with Soul Food (Gail Kim’s Eat Defeat). The end saw Kaitlyn try to stomp the injured hand, missed and Yim locked on a kneebar and Kaitlyn tapped. This was the most heated match on the show, I wouldn’t say it was the best match of the tournament but was the best match of the show.
-Tegan Nox defeated Nicole Matthews in a short match that felt abrupt. Matthews is the veteran playing the bully and took the beginning of the match. The announcers constantly brought up Nox’s ACL injury that took her out of the Mae Young Classic last year and requires Nox to wrestle with a knee brace. Matthews went for a Lion Tamer, it was reversed with an inside cradle and led to Nox’s comeback. She hit a cannonball into the corner, then tripped, which was weird but made sense given the pre-existing knee injury and the announcers mentioned that. Nox landed the shining wizard and won out of nowhere. This wasn’t long enough to leave an impression on me.
-Deonna Purrazzo defeated Xia Li, the latter looking very impressive given her relative lack of experience. Li displays a lot of emotion and fire in her offense and both worked hard, but it never felt the audience was with it. Purrazzo’s offense is centered around weakening the arm to set up the Fujiwara armbar. Li was stunned when Purrazzo didn’t stay down from a head kick, she came off the turnbuckle and was caught with the Fujiwara armbar with Purrazzo tying both arms behind her back and forcing the submission. The finish looked great and they had a good match. This wasn’t quite as good as Li’s opening match with Karen Q, but she had a good outing in this tournament.
-The opening match featured Io Shirai defeating Zeuxis, who had numerous pronunciations of her name between the commentary team and ring announcer Kayla Braxton. Zeuxis attacked Shirai’s shoulder and was in control until Shirai tripped her from the apron. Shirai hit a suicide dive at a different angle than most. Zeuxis went for the Spanish Fly from the top, it was countered with a top rope Frankensteiner. Shirai hit the knees to the back of the head and a top rope moonsault to win the match. Michael Cole referred to the finishing maneuver as an Asai moonsault, but it was a standard top rope version. This was a fun, short match to start the show.
-The quarter-finals matches are Io Shirai vs. Deonna Purrazzo, Tegan Nox vs. Rhea Ripley, Lacey Lane vs. Meiko Satomura, Mia Yim vs. Toni Storm.
-It was an average episode of the series and if you’re unfamiliar with a performer like Io Shirai I would recommend the match with Zeuxis to get a sample of her work. The main event was a good match to end the show with and the audience was most engaged for that one. As the tournament narrows down to the final eight you’re getting to the elite members of the tournament and some strong matches on paper.