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Tuesday, September 19th 2017.
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WWE Mae Young Classic- Round 2

by Scrooge McSuck

Mae Young Classic

- Taped from Full Sail University, it's time for Episodes #5 and 6, covering the entire second round (field of 16). Jim Ross and Lita are still hanging around to call the action and read cue cards for interesting facts on most of the participants. If you missed the 1st Round, the results were...

  • Princesa Sugehit def. Kay Lee Ray
  • Serena Deeb def. Vanessa Borne
  • Shayna Baszler def. Zeda
  • Abbey Laith def. Jazzy Gabert
  • Mercedes Martinez def. Xia Li
  • Rachel Evers def. Marti Belle
  • Rhea Ripley def. Miranda Salinas
  • Mia Yim def. Sarah Logan
  • Toni Storm def. Ayesha Raymond
  • Dakota Kai def. Kavita Devi
  • Bianca Belair def. Sage Beckett
  • Piper Niven def. Santana Garrett
  • Candice LeRae def. Rene Michelle
  • Lacey Evans def. Taynara Conti
  • Nicole Savoy def. Reina Gonzalez
  • Kairi Sane def. Tessa Blanchard
Wow, a Round of 32 seems to be too much when you list it that way, with quite a few questionable booking choices. Well, that's behind us. TIME FOR THE SECOND ROUND!

Rachel Evers vs. Abbey Laith:

One had to survive a super-powered monster, and the other was told she was winning mid-way through a dumpster fire of a performance from her opponent. You guess which one was which. Laith quickly takes Evers down with an arm drag. Evers with a waist-lock throw. Laith with a leg sweep and sliding forearm to the back. Charge to the corner and she springboards off the ropes to send Evers out of the ring with an arm-drag, then quickly follows with a suicide dive. Back inside, and Evers hits an RKO (out of nowhere), but only gets a two count. Evers with strikes in the corner, followed by a reverse leg sweep and springboard leg drop for two. Whip reversed, Evers blocks a roll up and connects with a bicycle kick. They do the roar spot and nail each other with kicks, dropping both. They fight back to their feet, trading forearms. Laith gets the advantage and connects with a spinning roundhouse kick. She climbs the ropes, but Evers slows her progress, goes up with her, and takes Abbey down with a super power-slam for a near fall. Evers comes off the ropes for a hurricanrana, but Laith counters with a powerbomb, and the Alligator Clutch finishes at 4:48. *** Post-match, they hug it out. Criminally short, but they packed a great match into a little package.

Serena Deeb vs. Piper Niven:

I'd assume they're pushing Piper as the advantage holder based on her size. Lockup into the corner and they do the same spot with Piper's smugness being rewarded with a shove. Piper with a more aggressive lockup, but misses a strike. Serena grabs a side headlock, but can't take her over. She makes the mistake of going for a slam, and Piper lands on top for a two-count. Serena ducks under a short clothesline and rolls Piper up for two. She grabs another headlock, but Piper counters with a back suplex. She comes off the ropes and hits the diving body splash for a near fall. Serena gets the knees up to counter a running senton and hits the turnbuckle to finally get Piper over with the headlock. Serena counters a second back suplex and unloads with strikes. She takes Piper over with a monkey flip and (kind of) plants her with a slam. Hangman's neck breaker for two. Piper blocks a fireman's lift, throws Serena into the corner, and hits the cannonball for two. Serena escapes the Michinoku Driver and hits a modified face-buster for two. Serena loads up for the Spear, but Piper side-steps it. Whip to the corner for a chest-first bump and Piper crushes her with the Vader Bomb for two. She makes a trip to the high rent district, but misses a splash. Serena misses the Spear again, and the Michinoku Driver finishes at 7:11. ***1/4 I liked how they put a lot of focus on Serena just trying to ground her larger opponent early, but in the end, it was a well-masked outclassing with Piper never really being in trouble, except for two hope spots.

Princesa Sugehit vs. Mercedes Martinez:

According to the J.R. Stat Sheet, these are the two most experienced wrestlers in the tournament. Martinez really didn't get to show much, easily defeating her 1st-round opponent, so this will be our first shot to really see what she can do. Three matches and all clean handshakes. Lockup, Sugehit with a waist-lock, countered with a drop toe hold. Sugehit with a roll-up for a one-count. She wrestles Martinez to the canvas and they trade cradles. Martinez with strikes in the corner. Whip across the ring and Sugehit comes back with a roll-up, sending Martinez into the bottom turnbuckle. Cannonball for two. Martinez catches Sugehit coming off the ropes with a Big Ending for two. Martinez with a modified Three Amigos. Instead of a third suplex, uses the middle rope for a swinging neck breaker. Sugehit avoids a running boot and connects with a code breaker. Martinez blocks a second attempt and hits a pair of open palm strikes. Sugehit blocks a super-plex, drops Martinez face-first, and connects with a Tornado DDT for two. Sugehit with a head-scissors into the Fujiwara arm-bar, but Martinez rolls through to escape. Sugehit keeps going for the arm, but Martinez with a boot to the face and a Fisherman Buster for three at 5:13. **3/4 Another good, short match, although it seemed to miss a little something.

Kairi Sane vs. Bianca Belair:

I'm pretty sure we know who's walking away the winner from this matchup. Lockup into the corner. Kairi grabs a waist-lock, but Belair counters with a takedown. Belair grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and she runs Sane over with another shoulder tackle. She blows a kiss, but Kairi slams it down and stomps all over it. Crisscross and Sane with a dropkick for only a one-count. Sane with forearm strikes. Belair avoids a roll-up and whips Sane with her ponytail to the biggest heel reaction thus far in the tournament. She whips Sane like a government mule and connects with a clothesline for two. Sane rallies, but Belair drives a knee to the midsection and connects with a delayed vertical suplex for two. Belair with a seated full nelson, transitioned to a double chicken-wing. Kairi gets knees up to counter a splash. She lands a series of axe-handle slaps to the chest. Whip to the corner and Kairi with a flying forearm for two. Kairi with a double clutch lock, but Belair fights to her feet and escapes with a snap mare. Belair with a power-slam for two. They trade blows, with Belair having a clear strength advantage. Kairi pumps herself up, only to get planted with a spine-buster. Belair to the top rope and a 450 splash gets two. Sane side-steps a charge, resulting in Belair meeting the post. Sane marches across the ring and hits a sliding forearm to the chest. She connects with a back-hand strike, and the flying elbow drop finishes at 10:00. ***1/2 This was better than I expected, based on Belair's limited experience.

Lacey Evans vs. Toni Storm:

Based on level of experience, this should be Storm's match to win. How can people not love Storm's crazy little hat?! Lockup and Evans quickly goes for the arm. Storm with an escape, into the headlock takeover. Evans counters with a head scissors, and we're back to a neutral stance. Evans takes advantage of a friendly gesture to reapply a headlock, but gets caught with a straight kick to the face. Storm with a trio of hip attacks, but on the third Evans counters with a school boy for two. Evans with a straight right for another two-count. Evans with a swinging kick to the back, followed by a leg sweep and springboard elbow for two. Evans works the neck in the corner, sweeps Storm off her feet, and drives a fist into the abdomen for two. Storm battles back with strikes and catches Evans in the ropes with a back stabber. Storm with a running hip attack and a sloppy northern lights suplex, dropping Evans on her head. Evans blocks an Alabama Slam. She sets up for her seated slam, but Storm counters. Evans with a neck breaker, but a rolling splash meets knees. Storm with Strong Zero (White Noise, with the neck hitting the knee instead of a straight slam), and that finishes at 5:08. **1/2 Evans, like Belair, was given more shine here than her 1st-round match, even with her lack of experience.

Mia Yim vs. Shayna Baszler:

Oh look, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Bayley just happen to be at ringside, as are Baszler's posse, also known as the Four Horsewomen. I wonder if they're shooting an angle. Baszler opts not to give a handshake. They trade kicks at the start, with Baszler getting the better of the exchange. Yim counters a kick with a roll-up for two, then comes off the ropes with a head scissors, sending Baszler to the floor. Yim loads up and follows her out with a suicide dive onto the ramp. Back inside, Yim with kicks of her own. Baszler counters Eat Defeat with a leg sweep and hooks a modified Ankle Lock. Baszler with rolling gut-wrench suplexes for a two count. Yim with a boot in the corner and a Tarantula, followed by a cannonball for two. Baszler's kick out is transitioned into an ankle lock, but Yim is in the ropes. Yim with a flurry of strikes, ending with a Pele Kick for two. Baszler counters a second cannonball with a knee to the head for two. Yim blocks a suplex and takes Baszler over with a German Suplex for two. Baszler counters a second attempt and hooks an Ankle Lock in the center of the ring. Yim rolls to her back and escapes with kicks. Yim catches a kick and connects with a sit-out Powerbomb for two. Yim to the top rope, but she meets knees on the 450, and Baszler with the rear naked choke for the tap-out at 5:38. ***1/4 Good blend of striking, submission, and big moves for near falls. Post-match, Baszler stares down the WWE's “Four Horsewomen.”

Dakota Kai vs. Rhea Ripley:

It's Australia vs. New Zealand! Both were featured in matches with completely unexperienced opponents, so again, this should be better than what they could do in the first round. Lockup and Ripley quickly goes for the arm. Kai with the roll-through counter. Crisscross and Kai with a pair of arm drags, followed by a dropkick. Snap mare, kick to the back, and sliding knee to the chest for only a one-count. Whip to the ropes, Ripley gets sent to the floor with a back drop. Kai follows her out, but Ripley catches the boot and drops Kai face-first across the apron for two. Ripley with a snap mare and basement dropkick for two. Kai avoids a charge and rolls Ripley with the O'Conner roll for two. Ripley with a body press drop for two. Kai from out of nowhere with a Pele Kick. Kai with a series of kicks and a dropkick, followed by a running boot to the face for two. Ripley with a Northern Lights Suplex for two. She seats Kai across the top turnbuckle and unloads with forearms. Kai fights her down, trapping Ripley in a tree of woe, and the coup de grace ends it at 7:03. **1/4 Seemed like two people exchanging moves without cohesiveness.

Candice LeRae vs. Nicole Savoy:

Final match of the Second Round. Once again, both seemed hampered by significantly less experienced opponents in their first matches. Savoy heels it up, kicking away the handshake. Savoy with a wristlock and takedown. Whip to the corner and Savoy misses a charge by a week and a half. LeRae with a springboard DDT for two. Savoy with a handful of hair and drifting back suplex for two. Savoy with another back suplex and cradle for two. LeRae counters into a seated surfboard. Savoy grabs a rear choke, but LeRae escapes with elbows and connects with a knee to the face. Savoy meets a boot, charging into the corner, but recovers in time to sweep LeRae off the ropes. Savoy with a pair of under-hook suplexes, but LeRae blocks a cross arm-breaker. LeRae with short rights, but a springboard is countered with a German suplex. LeRae slips out of a double under-hook and lands a boot to the face. LeRae with a spinning head scissors into an Octopus Lock, but Savoy powers free, ramming LeRae into the corner. LeRae fights Savoy off on the top turnbuckle, and the Wild Ride (Swinging neck breaker) finishes at 5:54. ** Weakest match of the second round, but still better than most from the first round.

- Coming up in the Quarter-Finals...

  • Abbey Laith vs. Mercedes Martinez
  • Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler
  • Kairi Sane vs. Dakota Kai
  • Piper Niven vs. Toni Storm
Final Thoughts: Much better wrestling across the board. Most of the less experienced workers were eliminated early, and the ones that carried over into the second round mostly impressed in defeat. Shayna Baszler is clearly being positioned as the biggest heel moving forward, and Kairi Sane is undoubtedly the crowd favorite. The two matches closing out the round weren't impressive, but were decent enough, and the rest all ranged from good to very good. Two more episodes that are just easy to sit through.

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