Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic Review: Episode Four with Kairi Sane vs. Tessa Blanchard, Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle, Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans, and Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez

By Jason Powell

WWE Mae Young Classic
Aired on WWE Network
Taped on July 13-14 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A video package focussed on the winners of previous tournament matches and then hyped Kairi Sane vs. Tessa Blanchard, Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle, Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans, and Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez as the final first-round matches… Jim Ross and Lita were on commentary… The Mae Young Classic opening video aired…

The Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle match was featured in a video package. Michelle said she wants to show that women can be just as good, if not better than the men. LeRae noted that she’s from Anaheim, California and said she’s a modern day Mighty Mouse. She said she doesn’t use the term high flyer, she’s a high risk wrestler. She said Johnny Gargano is her husband, but she’s made it clear to him that she wants no help in getting to WWE…

1. Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle in a first round match. LeRae’s name appearing on the big screen got a nice pop from the live crowd. Gargano was shown applauding his wife in the crowd. Ross noted that Michelle’s heritage includes being part Cuban and Native American. She played up the Native American part with her in-ring apparel. The crowd chanted “Mrs. Wrestling” for LeRae. Michelle grabbed the back of LeRae’s head and slammed her face into her knee. She also threw some kicks and performed a modified neckbreaker for a two count. Later, Michelle struggled to kip up, but she threw a kick for a two count. LeRae avoided a second rope moonsault, then threw a kick of her own that led to a two count. A short time later, LeRae performed a Wild Ride off the second rope and scored the pin. Gargano was shown applauding in the crowd. LeRae will face the winner of Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez in the second round…

Candice LeRae defeated Renee Michelle to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Michelle has a good, exotic look and is clearly athletic. She needs more seasoning, but she’s someone to keep an eye on. It would be nice to

A video package showcased the Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans match. Evans, a Marine, noted that she is a wife, mother, and sister, and spoke about proving to the word that everything is possible. The Brazilian Conti spoke in Brazilian of studying judo for 15 years and destroying every person she faces…

Alexa Bliss was shown smiling in the crowd…

2. Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans. Ross said Conti is a high level prospect who has been on WWE’s radar for a number of years. Lita noted that she made it to the Olympic tryouts for judo. Evans had her family in the crowd. Evans offered a handshake, while Conti bowed instead. Evans placed Conti upside down over her back and then dropped down on her chest and scored the pin…

Conti slapped Evans’ hand away after the match. Evans will face Toni Storm in the second round…

Powell’s POV: I don’t really understand Evans’ entrance. She comes out in an old school outfit and twirls her skirt off and then makes a Marilyn Monroe-like “oops” gesture. WWE might be better off going with something that feels more typically associated with her Marine background. The match was awkward at times, but the finish was cool. Ross was complimentary of Conti, who has a good look and will be someone to watch develop.

Charly Caruso checked in from the control room and set up the video package for Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez… Gonzalez spoke about her father Ricky being a pro wrestler and some brief footage was shown of him in the ring. Savoy spoke about being the Queen of Suplexes. She said she is one of the best in the world and it’s go time…

3. Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez in a first round match. Gonzalez wore a mask that covered half her upper face and chaps. Ross noted that Gonzalez was a college basketball player and is a legitimately six-feet tall. Savoy sold a clothesline from Gonzalez by landing on the back of her head. Gonzalez dominated the match, but Savoy came back and put her away with a Cross Arm Breaker. Savoy will face Candice LeRae in the next round…

Nicole Savoy beat Reina Gonzalez to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Gonzales seems to have an identity crisis as she’s one part giant and another part desperado. The face mask is unique, but the chaps were odd. The finish was the best part of the match, as Gonzalez tried to fight off the submission hold by locking her hands, but Savoy kicked her a couple of times before finally getting the hold locked in. It was strange to not see suplexes from the woman who dubbed herself the Queen of Suplexes, so hopefully that will change in the next round.

Ross and Lita were shown at their desk and spoke about their excitement for the final first-round match… A video package focussed on Tessa Blanchard and Kairi Sane (a/k/a Kairi Hojo). Tessa said she’s proud to be a Blanchard (her father is Tully, her grandfather is the late Joe), but she said it’s time to make her own name. Sane spoke mostly in Japanese and spoke about having an original style. Her entrance was showcased. She said she is the only representative from Japan in the tournament and her goal is to win it. “Please cheer for me,” she said…

Shinsuke Nakamura was shown in the crowd and he played to the fans as they chanted his name…

4. Tessa Blanchard and Kairi Sane in a first round match. Ross spoke about Sane being a global star and added that WWE officials have been trying to sign her for a long time. Ross said that Tessa was largely raised by Magnum T.A., who married her mother. There were dueling chants for the women, but the Sane chants were louder. Ross noted that Sane’s ring attire is because she is a yacht person, which explains why she carries a boat’s steering wheel during her ring entrance. Blanchard performed a nice neckbreaker for a two count early on. She caught Sane in the ropes and performed a, well, frontstabber for another near fall. Cool spot.

Sane came back with a nice spear that popped the crowd. Sane marched and ended up throwing a forearm from the top rope and got a two count. Blanchard bounces back with some short-arm clotheslines and a back suplex that led to a two count. Sane caught Tessa on the ropes, but Tessa caught her with two headbutts and then performed a top rope senton for another two count. Tessa flashed an exaggerated look of surprise at the kickout. Tessa countered a running elbow into a nice rollup for a two count. Sane put her down with an Alabama Slam and then pointed at her elbow. Sane went up top and played to the crowd more before performing a great top rope elbow drop for the win. Sane will face Bianca Belair. Blanchard showed emotion as the ref raised Sane’s hand, but then she clapped and hugged Sane and raised her hand before bowing and leaving the ring…

Kairi Sane defeated Tessa Blanchard to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Another case where you hate to see one of the women lose in the opening round, but they obviously made the right call in terms of putting over Sane. This was the most enjoyable match of the opening round. In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder if this should have aired on the first show, perhaps even as the opener with the goal of hooking the fans. Either way, this was really fun and Tessa was impressive in defeat, while Sane lived up to her strong reputation. I will be by later today with an All Access audio review with my thoughts on the first four episodes of the tournament. The next four episodes will be released on Labor Day (next Monday), and my plan is to cover them in this same manner on Tuesday and/or Wednesday.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Joseph Dominick Stabile September 13, 2017 @ 2:26 pm

    People from Brazil speak Portuguese, not Brazilian.

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Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic Review: Episode Four with Kairi Sane vs. Tessa Blanchard, Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle, Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans, and Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez

By Jason Powell

WWE Mae Young Classic
Aired on WWE Network
Taped on July 13-14 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A video package focussed on the winners of previous tournament matches and then hyped Kairi Sane vs. Tessa Blanchard, Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle, Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans, and Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez as the final first-round matches… Jim Ross and Lita were on commentary… The Mae Young Classic opening video aired…

The Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle match was featured in a video package. Michelle said she wants to show that women can be just as good, if not better than the men. LeRae noted that she’s from Anaheim, California and said she’s a modern day Mighty Mouse. She said she doesn’t use the term high flyer, she’s a high risk wrestler. She said Johnny Gargano is her husband, but she’s made it clear to him that she wants no help in getting to WWE…

1. Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle in a first round match. LeRae’s name appearing on the big screen got a nice pop from the live crowd. Gargano was shown applauding his wife in the crowd. Ross noted that Michelle’s heritage includes being part Cuban and Native American. She played up the Native American part with her in-ring apparel. The crowd chanted “Mrs. Wrestling” for LeRae. Michelle grabbed the back of LeRae’s head and slammed her face into her knee. She also threw some kicks and performed a modified neckbreaker for a two count. Later, Michelle struggled to kip up, but she threw a kick for a two count. LeRae avoided a second rope moonsault, then threw a kick of her own that led to a two count. A short time later, LeRae performed a Wild Ride off the second rope and scored the pin. Gargano was shown applauding in the crowd. LeRae will face the winner of Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez in the second round…

Candice LeRae defeated Renee Michelle to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Michelle has a good, exotic look and is clearly athletic. She needs more seasoning, but she’s someone to keep an eye on. It would be nice to

A video package showcased the Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans match. Evans, a Marine, noted that she is a wife, mother, and sister, and spoke about proving to the word that everything is possible. The Brazilian Conti spoke in Brazilian of studying judo for 15 years and destroying every person she faces…

Alexa Bliss was shown smiling in the crowd…

2. Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans. Ross said Conti is a high level prospect who has been on WWE’s radar for a number of years. Lita noted that she made it to the Olympic tryouts for judo. Evans had her family in the crowd. Evans offered a handshake, while Conti bowed instead. Evans placed Conti upside down over her back and then dropped down on her chest and scored the pin…

Conti slapped Evans’ hand away after the match. Evans will face Toni Storm in the second round…

Powell’s POV: I don’t really understand Evans’ entrance. She comes out in an old school outfit and twirls her skirt off and then makes a Marilyn Monroe-like “oops” gesture. WWE might be better off going with something that feels more typically associated with her Marine background. The match was awkward at times, but the finish was cool. Ross was complimentary of Conti, who has a good look and will be someone to watch develop.

Charly Caruso checked in from the control room and set up the video package for Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez… Gonzalez spoke about her father Ricky being a pro wrestler and some brief footage was shown of him in the ring. Savoy spoke about being the Queen of Suplexes. She said she is one of the best in the world and it’s go time…

3. Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez in a first round match. Gonzalez wore a mask that covered half her upper face and chaps. Ross noted that Gonzalez was a college basketball player and is a legitimately six-feet tall. Savoy sold a clothesline from Gonzalez by landing on the back of her head. Gonzalez dominated the match, but Savoy came back and put her away with a Cross Arm Breaker. Savoy will face Candice LeRae in the next round…

Nicole Savoy beat Reina Gonzalez to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Gonzales seems to have an identity crisis as she’s one part giant and another part desperado. The face mask is unique, but the chaps were odd. The finish was the best part of the match, as Gonzalez tried to fight off the submission hold by locking her hands, but Savoy kicked her a couple of times before finally getting the hold locked in. It was strange to not see suplexes from the woman who dubbed herself the Queen of Suplexes, so hopefully that will change in the next round.

Ross and Lita were shown at their desk and spoke about their excitement for the final first-round match… A video package focussed on Tessa Blanchard and Kairi Sane (a/k/a Kairi Hojo). Tessa said she’s proud to be a Blanchard (her father is Tully, her grandfather is the late Joe), but she said it’s time to make her own name. Sane spoke mostly in Japanese and spoke about having an original style. Her entrance was showcased. She said she is the only representative from Japan in the tournament and her goal is to win it. “Please cheer for me,” she said…

Shinsuke Nakamura was shown in the crowd and he played to the fans as they chanted his name…

4. Tessa Blanchard and Kairi Sane in a first round match. Ross spoke about Sane being a global star and added that WWE officials have been trying to sign her for a long time. Ross said that Tessa was largely raised by Magnum T.A., who married her mother. There were dueling chants for the women, but the Sane chants were louder. Ross noted that Sane’s ring attire is because she is a yacht person, which explains why she carries a boat’s steering wheel during her ring entrance. Blanchard performed a nice neckbreaker for a two count early on. She caught Sane in the ropes and performed a, well, frontstabber for another near fall. Cool spot.

Sane came back with a nice spear that popped the crowd. Sane marched and ended up throwing a forearm from the top rope and got a two count. Blanchard bounces back with some short-arm clotheslines and a back suplex that led to a two count. Sane caught Tessa on the ropes, but Tessa caught her with two headbutts and then performed a top rope senton for another two count. Tessa flashed an exaggerated look of surprise at the kickout. Tessa countered a running elbow into a nice rollup for a two count. Sane put her down with an Alabama Slam and then pointed at her elbow. Sane went up top and played to the crowd more before performing a great top rope elbow drop for the win. Sane will face Bianca Belair. Blanchard showed emotion as the ref raised Sane’s hand, but then she clapped and hugged Sane and raised her hand before bowing and leaving the ring…

Kairi Sane defeated Tessa Blanchard to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Another case where you hate to see one of the women lose in the opening round, but they obviously made the right call in terms of putting over Sane. This was the most enjoyable match of the opening round. In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder if this should have aired on the first show, perhaps even as the opener with the goal of hooking the fans. Either way, this was really fun and Tessa was impressive in defeat, while Sane lived up to her strong reputation. I will be by later today with an All Access audio review with my thoughts on the first four episodes of the tournament. The next four episodes will be released on Labor Day (next Monday), and my plan is to cover them in this same manner on Tuesday and/or Wednesday.

  1. Joseph Dominick Stabile says:

    People from Brazil speak Portuguese, not Brazilian.

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