15th Sep2018

‘Mae Young Classic 2018′ – Episode 2 Review

by Nathan Favel

mae-young-large

Welcome to this week’s Mae Young Classic review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and I’m still alive. I’ve been recovering from a pulled calf/twisted knee injury I incurred on Monday afternoon, as well as a minor cold I got the next day. I’m still on a cane with a knee brace, but I should make a full recovery by the middle of next week. We’ve got the second week of the tournament to cover, so let’s do so before a dog pops out of nowhere and humps my injured leg into traction… Scooby Dooby Doo!

Match #1: Deonna Purrazzo def. Priscilla Kelly in a First-Round Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Living up to her reputation for playing mind games, Priscilla Kelly wasted no time tying to get under Deonna Purrazzo’s skin, slapping away The Virtuosa’s pre-match handshake. As the psychological warfare turned physical, Purrazzo used mat-wrestling magic to confound Hell’s Favorite Harlot and stay one step ahead. A big boot helped Kelly turn the tide and cleared the way for the mischievous mauler to stretch Purrazzo’s spine with a Dragon Sleeper. The Virtuosa endured the attack and fought back with a hip toss/dropkick combination before coolly dropping Kelly with a side Russian legsweep. She followed up with her signature hold, the Fujiwara Armbar, forcing Kelly to tap out in agony.

My Take: Deonna looked good here and Kelly wasn’t very far behind. I’m writing this review while listening to Nature Cat on PBS and humming the theme song for Josie and the Pussycat at the same time. Yeah, I’m getting a little loopy from all of this injury stuff. I mean, the cat is wearing Robin Hood’s fall collection. Any-way, this was a short yet exciting match that gave the right fighter the victory.

Match #2: Zeuxis def. Aerial Monroe in a First-Round Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With her husband Cedric Alexander and her 4-year-old daughter watching at ringside, Aerial Monroe was determined to make the most of her first Mae Young Classic debut. Unfortunately for Monroe, her opponent in the First Round, Zeuxis, couldn’t care less about Big Swole’s support system. Zeuxis enraged Monroe by tussling her emerald hairdo in the opening moments. The blatant show of disrespect sparked a lightning-quick exchange that saw Zeuxis score with a knee strike and Monroe dodge a subsequent dropkick. Monroe trash-talked Zeuxis and delivered rapid-fire palm strikes, but the masked luchadora withstood the blasts before throwing Monroe around the ring by her green locks. Monroe rebounded to drill Zeuxis with a head kick, but once the battle moved to the top rope, she was firmly in Zeuxis’ territory, at which point there was no turning back. Zeuxis grabbed Monroe tightly and backflipped into the ring, bringing Monroe crashing to the mat with an eye-popping Spanish Fly for the win.

My Take: This was a decent match that had some nice work from both women, but I wouldn’t really consider either to be the best prospects for being in the tournament finals. I just watched Batman Forever a couple of days ago and Zeuxis’s mask reminds me of the part when The Riddle and Two-Face break in to Batman’s mansion while disguised as trick-or-treaters. Hey, it’s been a long week. Kiss from a rose… would hurt a lot. I look forward to seeing where both of these competitors go in the years to come, but they just weren’t ready yet to be in this tournament, when there are likely other women who are at least a bit more prepared.

Match #3: Kacy Catanzaro def. Reina González in a First-Round Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

In her first televised match, former “American Ninja Warrior” star Kacy Catanzaro showed exactly why she is one of the most widely hailed prospects to ever be recruited by WWE. Despite being a foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter than her opponent, the rugged Reina González, Mighty Kacy refused to accept anything less than victory in her debut. It wasn’t easy, of course. González muscled Catanzaro around the ring with an assortment of power moves. Whenever she broke free of Gonzalez’s grip, Catanzaro unleashed innovative moves (including hand-standing on the top rope and leaping into a flying headscissors).

Catanzaro frustrated Gonzalez with her speed, too, using a breathtaking springboard dropkick to try to take down the tough Texan. Gonzalez rallied and lifted Catanzaro high overhead, but Catanzaro reversed it into a tight rollup to pin Gonzalez’s shoulders to the mat for the upset victory. Clearly impressed by her opponent’s clever maneuvers, Gonzalez shook Catanzaro’s hand after the match, and in a display of good sportsmanship, she lifted the spectacular rookie onto her shoulder. Can Catanzaro reach even greater heights in the Second Round, where she’ll face another powerhouse, Australia’s Rhea Ripley?

My Take: This was Vince McMahon’s mind in a nut-shell, even though it’s Triple H that’s supposed to be in charge. The match was good, but the idea of putting more women who are good, but not ready, in a tournament that is supposed to be celebrating all of the great women who are ready for national television is a mistake. Kacy has promise, but there are plenty of women out in the world who missed out on their chance to be in this tournament because a spot was given to people who aren’t ready, for one reason or another. Plus, we also had the inclusion of the big versus small angle that feels too dated to work for most wrestlers now. Once you’ve seen Bruce Lee fake a fight with a man quadruple his size and still find a way to logically beat that massive opponent, it makes it hard to go back to “big guy win always ‘cuz big big smash small small”. That being said, Kacy is being promoted well so far, so her impact should be a good one if they take care of her.

Match #4: Main Event – Mercedes Martinez def. Ashley Rayne in a First-Round Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

A big-fight feel hung in the air inside Full Sail Live as two of the Mae Young Classic’s most experienced combatants, Mercedes Martinez and Ashley Rayne, squared off. Martinez opened the match in the most brutal fashion imaginable, driving Rayne head- and neck-first into the mat with a package slam. Having fought for more than 13 years for her chance to compete in a WWE ring, Rayne would not give up that easily and somehow kicked out at two.

The Latina Sensation stunned Rayne with a stalling suplex, but when she went to the well a second time, Rayne countered with a modified RKO for a near fall. The action went back and forth from there, with The Queen Bee relying on her superior quickness to offset Martinez’s brute force. Late in the match, Rayne avoided Martinez’s first attempt at hitting the Fisherman Buster (one of The Latina Sensation’s preferred methods for trouncing opponents), but she couldn’t escape fate for long. Rayne went for a guillotine, but Martinez shook her off, clobbered her with a knee strike and planted her with the Fisherman Buster once and for all. The pin was academic from there. With the win, Martinez returns to the Mae Young Classic Second Round for the second year in a row, where she’ll meet Japanese legend Meiko Satomura.

My Take: This match was too short for its own good, but had excellent action, so it all worked out. This had the makings to be a real classic, but had to settle for good enough. It’s weird to see Madison as Ashley, especially since I would argue that her name is valuable the way it is, but Vince is not that kind of promoter. If Vince McMahon had gotten a boob job in 1999, would he have fought his daughter for the Women’s Title? Martinez is a sight for sore eyes if there ever was one and I’m glad she is getting her shot at more time on national television. I liked the speed that these two wrestled here and were able to serve as a reminder of how much you can do with a short amount of time.
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Final Verdict: 2.5 out of 5 – This was a solid night of action that failed to be as exciting as last week’s card, but was able to lay the foundation for further stages of the tournament.

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