Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic Review: Episode Seven featuring the four quarterfinal tournament matches

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 narrated by Mauro Ranallo recapped how remaining participants made it to the quarterfinals… The opening video aired… The quarterfinal matches will feature Dakota Kai vs. Kairi Sane, Mercedes Martinez vs. Abbey Laith, Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae, and Piper Niven vs. Toni Storm… Jim Ross and Lita checked in on commentary…

Powell’s POV: They went right to the ring introductions, meaning the match did not get a video package. It would have been nice to have had another personality profile or even simply the two women talking about their match beforehand.

1. Abbey Laith vs. Mercedes Martinez in a quarterfinal match. There appeared to be botched spot with Laith doing the splits for no good reason (perhaps Martinez was supposed to throw a kick she could duck?) and then getting up and doing a jaw jacker into the same position. In a shocking twist, the Full Sail crowd was split in their chants, and a guy wearing a Bullet Club t-shirt sat with his arms crossed just waiting to be entertained. Anyway, Martinez set up for a suplex on the apron, but Laith kicked her to the floor. Laith went op top and dove onto Martinez at ringside. Both women beat the ref’s count and Laith covered Martinez for a two count.

Laith performed a nice German suplex into a bridge for a two count. Laith pounded the mat in frustration over not getting the three count. Martinez fired back with a nice shot to the face and then performed a fisherman’s buster for the three count…

Mercedes Martinez defeated Abbey Laith to advance to the semifinals.

Powell’s POV: The match was decent, albeit a bit clunky at times. Sadly, I didn’t come out of Laith’s run in the tournament feeling like I learned a lot about her from a personality standpoint. In fact, I still don’t feel like I know much about Martinez’s persona either even though she’s in the semifinals.

A tale of the tape for the Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae match was shown. Lita noted that the tale of the tape doesn’t show the size of the heart. She said LeRae may have the biggest heart and added that she’s going to need it…

2. Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler in a quarterfinal match. Johnny Gargano was once again at ringside for wife LeRae’s match. Baszler winked at Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke as she walked past them. They were shown applauding her from their spot in the front row. Baszler blew off LeRae’s handshake offer. The fans chanted Mrs. Wrestling for LeRae. Baszler threw a high knee to start the match. Baszler taunted LeRae by softly kicking her head. She got a running start for another move, but LeRae avoided it. Baszler rolled to ringside. LeRae performed a suicide dive and turned it into a tornado DDT on the floor. Great spot.

Back inside the ring, LeRae put Baszler in an octopus. It looked like Baszler was going to escape, but LeRae countered into a a crossface, which got a big rise out of the crowd. Baszler managed to escape the hold. Rousey and Duke expressed concern when they were shown in the crowd. A short time later, LeRae went for her Wide Ride finisher, but Baszler applied a choke hold on the way down. LeRae tapped out instantly. Baszler kept the hold applied despite the referee and the broadcast team urging her to release it. She eventually did release the hold and was booed. Baszler will face Mercedes Martinez in the semifinals. After the match, the referee raised the arm of Baszler while Gargano checked on his wife. Baszler walked over and kicked the knee of LeRae before leaving the ring…

Shayna Baszler defeated Candice LeRae to advance to the semifinals.

Powell’s POV: A brief, yet fun match with LeRae putting up a good fight as the underdog before the bully Baszler put her away. LeRae was the perfect person for Baszler to pick on and the crowd ate it up. The disrespectful kick after the match was great.

Caruso spoke about the live finale of the tournament taking place on September 12 in Las Vegas… The broadcast team spoke about Baszler’s performance and questioned who could stop her…

3. Toni Storm vs. Piper Niven in a quarterfinal match. The women shook hands before the match. Storm backed Niven into the corner and gave her a taunting mock punch. Niven smiled and clapped. Niven got two counts by forcing Niven to the mat with a test of strength. In a cool spot, Niven tried to use her weight to put Storm down, but Storm maintained her bridge. Storm monkey flipped Niven. the referee counted them both two two. They both bridged and then smiled at one another and shook hands, which led to cheers and women’s wrestling chants from the crowd. Later, Niven set up for an Avalanche, but Storm recovered and performed a nice German suplex from the second rope. Storm followed up with a top rope leg drop for the win. Storm will face the winner of the Kairi Sane vs. Dakota Kai match. Storm and Niven got emotional as they hugged afterward…

Toni Storm defeated Piper Niven to advance to the semifinals.

Powell’s POV: A nice match Niven using her size, while Storm eventually battled back and got a feel good win. Niven made a real impact during the tournament. She stood out due to her size, but she also had some nice in-ring showings.

Footage aired of Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir being interviewed outside of Full Sail University. They were singing the praises of their Four Horsewomen of MMA partner Shayna Baszler when Charlotte, Bayley, and Becky Lynch, three of the Four Horsewomen of WWE, confronted them. Rosey told them to name the time and the place. Bayley nodded her head. The WWE trio started to back away. “How about today?” Rousey asked. She said they would be waiting to hear from them…

Powell’s POV: It’s a bit odd to see Bayley coming off a little cocky rather than her usual sheepish self, but I’ll totally get over if they follow through with this teased match. What a great hook for Survivor Series or any WWE pay-per-view this would be.

4. Kairi Sane vs. Dakota Kai in a quarterfinal match. The women shook hands before the match. Sane threw some wicked chops early on. Kai caught her on the ropes with a kick to the head and then dumped her back inside the ring. A short time later, Kai connected with a big running boot in the corner for a two count. Kai got Sane in the tree of woe and went for her double stomp, but Sane avoided it. Sane followed up with a punch from the ropes for a two count. Kai rebounded with a nice kick to the head. She went for a running kick in the corner, but Sane avoided it and put her down with an Alabama Slam. Sane went up top and performed the top rope elbow drop for the win. Sane will face Toni Storm in the semifinals. The women shook hands afterward…

Kairi Sane defeated Dakota Kai to advance to the semifinals.

Ross and Lita spoke about the semifinal matches with Shayna Baszler vs. Mercedes Martinez, and Kairi Sane vs. Toni Storm…

Powell’s POV: A good match. Still, it’s odd that Sane faced a babyface in this match and will now face another babyface in the semifinals. Meanwhile, they essentially have two heels with Mercedes Martinez facing Shayna Baszler in the other semifinal match. I realize you’ll get some of that in tournaments, but it’s especially strange that they didn’t have the likable underdog Kai eliminated by a heel, which could have produced some good heat if done right. Overall, the quarterfinals were entertaining and one can only hope that the best is yet to come with only four women remaining. The most likely finals (and I don’t know the spoilers) would seem to be Baszler vs. Sane at this point, but we’ll see if they surprise me in episode eight. Check by for my review of that show later today if all goes according to plan.

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Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic Review: Episode Seven featuring the four quarterfinal tournament matches

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 narrated by Mauro Ranallo recapped how remaining participants made it to the quarterfinals… The opening video aired… The quarterfinal matches will feature Dakota Kai vs. Kairi Sane, Mercedes Martinez vs. Abbey Laith, Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae, and Piper Niven vs. Toni Storm… Jim Ross and Lita checked in on commentary…

Powell’s POV: They went right to the ring introductions, meaning the match did not get a video package. It would have been nice to have had another personality profile or even simply the two women talking about their match beforehand.

1. Abbey Laith vs. Mercedes Martinez in a quarterfinal match. There appeared to be botched spot with Laith doing the splits for no good reason (perhaps Martinez was supposed to throw a kick she could duck?) and then getting up and doing a jaw jacker into the same position. In a shocking twist, the Full Sail crowd was split in their chants, and a guy wearing a Bullet Club t-shirt sat with his arms crossed just waiting to be entertained. Anyway, Martinez set up for a suplex on the apron, but Laith kicked her to the floor. Laith went op top and dove onto Martinez at ringside. Both women beat the ref’s count and Laith covered Martinez for a two count.

Laith performed a nice German suplex into a bridge for a two count. Laith pounded the mat in frustration over not getting the three count. Martinez fired back with a nice shot to the face and then performed a fisherman’s buster for the three count…

Mercedes Martinez defeated Abbey Laith to advance to the semifinals.

Powell’s POV: The match was decent, albeit a bit clunky at times. Sadly, I didn’t come out of Laith’s run in the tournament feeling like I learned a lot about her from a personality standpoint. In fact, I still don’t feel like I know much about Martinez’s persona either even though she’s in the semifinals.

A tale of the tape for the Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae match was shown. Lita noted that the tale of the tape doesn’t show the size of the heart. She said LeRae may have the biggest heart and added that she’s going to need it…

2. Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler in a quarterfinal match. Johnny Gargano was once again at ringside for wife LeRae’s match. Baszler winked at Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke as she walked past them. They were shown applauding her from their spot in the front row. Baszler blew off LeRae’s handshake offer. The fans chanted Mrs. Wrestling for LeRae. Baszler threw a high knee to start the match. Baszler taunted LeRae by softly kicking her head. She got a running start for another move, but LeRae avoided it. Baszler rolled to ringside. LeRae performed a suicide dive and turned it into a tornado DDT on the floor. Great spot.

Back inside the ring, LeRae put Baszler in an octopus. It looked like Baszler was going to escape, but LeRae countered into a a crossface, which got a big rise out of the crowd. Baszler managed to escape the hold. Rousey and Duke expressed concern when they were shown in the crowd. A short time later, LeRae went for her Wide Ride finisher, but Baszler applied a choke hold on the way down. LeRae tapped out instantly. Baszler kept the hold applied despite the referee and the broadcast team urging her to release it. She eventually did release the hold and was booed. Baszler will face Mercedes Martinez in the semifinals. After the match, the referee raised the arm of Baszler while Gargano checked on his wife. Baszler walked over and kicked the knee of LeRae before leaving the ring…

Shayna Baszler defeated Candice LeRae to advance to the semifinals.

Powell’s POV: A brief, yet fun match with LeRae putting up a good fight as the underdog before the bully Baszler put her away. LeRae was the perfect person for Baszler to pick on and the crowd ate it up. The disrespectful kick after the match was great.

Caruso spoke about the live finale of the tournament taking place on September 12 in Las Vegas… The broadcast team spoke about Baszler’s performance and questioned who could stop her…

3. Toni Storm vs. Piper Niven in a quarterfinal match. The women shook hands before the match. Storm backed Niven into the corner and gave her a taunting mock punch. Niven smiled and clapped. Niven got two counts by forcing Niven to the mat with a test of strength. In a cool spot, Niven tried to use her weight to put Storm down, but Storm maintained her bridge. Storm monkey flipped Niven. the referee counted them both two two. They both bridged and then smiled at one another and shook hands, which led to cheers and women’s wrestling chants from the crowd. Later, Niven set up for an Avalanche, but Storm recovered and performed a nice German suplex from the second rope. Storm followed up with a top rope leg drop for the win. Storm will face the winner of the Kairi Sane vs. Dakota Kai match. Storm and Niven got emotional as they hugged afterward…

Toni Storm defeated Piper Niven to advance to the semifinals.

Powell’s POV: A nice match Niven using her size, while Storm eventually battled back and got a feel good win. Niven made a real impact during the tournament. She stood out due to her size, but she also had some nice in-ring showings.

Footage aired of Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir being interviewed outside of Full Sail University. They were singing the praises of their Four Horsewomen of MMA partner Shayna Baszler when Charlotte, Bayley, and Becky Lynch, three of the Four Horsewomen of WWE, confronted them. Rosey told them to name the time and the place. Bayley nodded her head. The WWE trio started to back away. “How about today?” Rousey asked. She said they would be waiting to hear from them…

Powell’s POV: It’s a bit odd to see Bayley coming off a little cocky rather than her usual sheepish self, but I’ll totally get over if they follow through with this teased match. What a great hook for Survivor Series or any WWE pay-per-view this would be.

4. Kairi Sane vs. Dakota Kai in a quarterfinal match. The women shook hands before the match. Sane threw some wicked chops early on. Kai caught her on the ropes with a kick to the head and then dumped her back inside the ring. A short time later, Kai connected with a big running boot in the corner for a two count. Kai got Sane in the tree of woe and went for her double stomp, but Sane avoided it. Sane followed up with a punch from the ropes for a two count. Kai rebounded with a nice kick to the head. She went for a running kick in the corner, but Sane avoided it and put her down with an Alabama Slam. Sane went up top and performed the top rope elbow drop for the win. Sane will face Toni Storm in the semifinals. The women shook hands afterward…

Kairi Sane defeated Dakota Kai to advance to the semifinals.

Ross and Lita spoke about the semifinal matches with Shayna Baszler vs. Mercedes Martinez, and Kairi Sane vs. Toni Storm…

Powell’s POV: A good match. Still, it’s odd that Sane faced a babyface in this match and will now face another babyface in the semifinals. Meanwhile, they essentially have two heels with Mercedes Martinez facing Shayna Baszler in the other semifinal match. I realize you’ll get some of that in tournaments, but it’s especially strange that they didn’t have the likable underdog Kai eliminated by a heel, which could have produced some good heat if done right. Overall, the quarterfinals were entertaining and one can only hope that the best is yet to come with only four women remaining. The most likely finals (and I don’t know the spoilers) would seem to be Baszler vs. Sane at this point, but we’ll see if they surprise me in episode eight. Check by for my review of that show later today if all goes according to plan.

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