Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic Review: Episode Three featuring Ayesha Raymond vs. Toni Storm, Kavita Devi vs. Dakota Kai, Bianca Belair vs. Sage Beckett, and Santana Garrett vs. Piper Nevin

By Jason Powell

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

Mauro Ranallo narrated a video hyping the four matches that will air on this episode: Ayesha Raymond vs. Toni Storm, Kavita Devi vs. Dakota Kai, Bianca Belair vs. Sage Beckett, and Piper Nevin vs. Santana Garrett… The Mae Young Classic opening aired… Jim Ross and Lita were on commentary…

A video on Ayesha Raymond vs. Toni Storm preceded their match. Storm said she doesn’t think people realize what’s inside of her. She said she just does in the ring and takes heads off. “Poor girl, I’m just sorry in advance for the damage that I will be causing you,” she said. Raymond said she is the Deadlift Diva. She said she can deadlift over 210 kilos. She wore cat makeup and said she sees felines as being strong and that’s how she portrays herself in the ring. She said she was always told that she couldn’t, but now she can say that she can…

1. Ayesha Raymond vs. Toni Storm. Ross noted that Raymond was discovered in a WWE tryout in Glasgow, Scotland. Storm wore a tiny top hat and had an energetic entrance. Lita said she transforms when her music hits. Ross noted that Storm is Progress Wrestling’s first women’s champion. The ref called for the handshakes. Storm offered, but Raymond declined. Storm used her backside as a weapon by slamming it into the face of Raymond at one point. Raymond used her power, but Storm came back with a headbutt and followed up with a Backstabber in the corner. Raymond caught her on the top rope and slammed her to the mat. Raymond heeled on the crowd, then went to the top rope and went for a splash that Storm avoided. Storm rolled up Raymond for the pin. Storm will face Lacey Evans vs. Taynara Conti in the second round…

Toni Storm defeated Ayesha Raymond to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: A weird finish with Raymond dropping down from the rope, heeling on the crowd, and then going for her top rope splash from another corner. It wasn’t a showcase type of win for Storm in that it felt like it was more the product of Raymond screwing up than it was about Storm’s offense getting the win. That said, Storm has a good look and is charismatic, so I look forward to seeing more of her in the tournament.

-Charlotte Flair and Sara Amato (Sara Del Rey) were shown in the crowd…

Ross set up a video package on Kavita Devi and Dakota Kai. Devi spoke about being trained by Great Khali, and it was noted that she is the first Indian woman in WWE. Kai noted that she is from New Zealand and is a girl next door and friendly, but it all changes once she enters the ring. She said her style is quick and evasive. She does a lot of strikes and she kicks hard…

2. Kavita Devi vs. Dakota Kai. Ross noted that Devi is a powerlifter. The women shook hands. Devi smiled and Kai acted like her hand was in pain. Devi did a walk up the top rope while holding onto the arm of Kai. She performed the move again and took down Devi while holding onto her hand. Devi showed off her strength with a military press before dropping Kai to the mat. Kai avoided a charging Devi and then blasted her with a big boot in the corner. Kai followed up with a double stomp from the top rope and scored the pin…

Dakota Kai beat Kavita Devi to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Kai worked as Evie on the independent scene. She summed up her act very nicely in the pre-match video package. Devi looked very green. The match was kept basic for the green Devi, but it also played to Kai’s ability to work from underneath as the underdog.

Dany Garcia (Rock’s ex-wife and longtime business partner), Simone Johnson (Rock’s daughter), Ata Johnson (Rock’s mom), and Nia Jax were shown in the crowd…

A video package aired on Bianca Belair vs. Sage Beckett. Belair spoke about how her long braid is a lethal weapon. Beckett said she’s not a witch, she’s a shaman who uses the air, the earth, and the fire within her when she enters the ring. She said she is vicious and it’s raw and natural…

3. Bianca Belair vs. Sage Beckett in a first round match. Beckett caught Beckett in a Full Nelson position and ended up slamming her on her backside, which led to a two count. Beckett performed a splash in the corner and a big boot to the head that only led to a one count. Later, Belair avoided a Vader Bomb and ended up slamming her braided hair into Beckett and then spearing her for the win. Belair had a bloody mouth after the match. She will face the winner of Kairi Sane vs. Tessa Blanchard in round two…

Bianca Belair defeated Sage Beckett to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Believe it or not, Beckett worked as Rosie Lottalove in TNA and Betsy Ruth elsewhere. She lost over 100 pounds and completely changed her look and gimmick. Good for her. The match was decent and I’m mildly curious to see how else Belair incorporates her braided hair into her matches. I can’t really say that I understand the Bianca Belair name, as it sounds like a gimmick name for a typical rich, mean girl heel, but that’s not the role that she is playing.

A preview of Santana Garrett vs. Piper Niven aired. Garrett is labeled as WWE’s Wonder Woman. She said she was told that she would never make it, so being a part of the tournament is everything to her. She said she hopes it’s a platform to show what she can do and what she has to offer. The plus-sized Scottish wrestler Niven said she proves she can do things that the women who are half her size do. She vowed to prove what makes her bigger, stronger, and smarter…

4. Santana Garrett vs. Piper Niven. The women shook hands before the match, but Niven pulled Garrett towards her as she was trying to walk away. Niven backed Garrett into the corner. She gave a clean break, but then mocked her with a taunting slow and simulated punch to the face. Garrett avoided a Samoan Drop and again moved when Niven went for a sit-down splash. There were dueling chants for the women. Garrett performed a nice DDT off the ropes for a two count. Garrett performed a springboard elbow in the corner, but Niven came right back with a running splash for a good near fall. Garrett caught Niven on the ropes with a nice punch and then head-scissored her onto the mat for a near fall that popped the crowd. Garrett tagged Niven with a superkick, but then Niven avoided an acrobatic handspring splash. Niven won a few seconds later with a Michinoku Driver. Niven will face Serena Deeb in the second round…

Piper Niven defeated Santana Garrett to advance in the tournament.

A video package hyped Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle, Taynara Conti vs. Lacey Evans, Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez, and Kairi Sane vs. Tessa Blanchard for the next episode…

Powell’s POV: A nice match and this was one of the first times that I was genuinely curious to see which woman would get the win. Niven advancing is logical because her size brings something different to the table. That said, I’m not sure why Garrett hasn’t ended up under a WWE or GFW contract. She’s worked for both companies, yet has not signed with either to the best of my knowledge. She has a good look and is solid in the ring, so I’m not sure what I’m missing. Overall, this was one of the stronger episodes thanks to the main event and the Toni Storm and Dakota Kai appearances.


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