Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic Review: Episode Two featuring Sarah Logan vs. Mia Yim, Mercedes Martinez vs. Xia Li, Miranda Salinas vs. Rhea Ripley, and Marti Bell vs. Rachel Evers

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: Sarah Logan vs. Mia Yim, Mercedes Martinez vs. Xia Li, Miranda Salinas vs. Rhea Ripley, and Marti Bell vs. Rachel Evers… The Mae Young Classic opening aired… Jim Ross and Lita were on commentary…

A video package focussed on the Mercedes Martinez vs. Xia Li match. Li spoke in Chinese about her martial arts training. Martinez said she’s not a high flyer, and she’ll knock you down if you get in her face. She said Li was on the way of her dreams and she would do whatever it takes to advance. She said this is her time to shine…

1. Mercedes Martinez vs. Xia Li in a first round match. Li had a cool fan entrance. Martinez was arrogant and disrespectful during the pre-match handshake. The broadcast team hyped this as Li’s first match. Li threw some nice kicks early. Martinez came back with a spinebuster and then protested when it only led to a two count. Martinez applied what Ross described as a modified Dragon Sleeper for the win. Martinez will face Princesa Sugehit in round two. Lita noted that it would be a battle of the two most experienced women in the tournament…

Mercedes Martinez defeated Xia Li to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: The veteran went over, but Li had a nice showing. She has a cool look, a good entrance, and throws some nice kicks. She definitely has a presence despite being new to the business.

Ross set up a video package on Rachel Evers vs. Marti Bell. Evers noted that her father Paul Ellering did not take her to shows or even let her watch it. He said that Ellering now sees that wrestling is different than it was when he was at his prime. Bell, who is from the Dominican Republic, said she moved to New York when she was seven “and that’s where I became me”…

Powell’s POV: Bell was a member of The Dollhouse faction in TNA. Evers uses the real last name of her trainer Lance Storm rather than her family name.

2. Rachel Evers vs. Marti Bell.The women shook hands before the bell, but Bell was cocky. Evers performed an awkward spinebuster for a two count. She picked up Bell in a fisherman’s buster suplex positiion, but slammed her down instead for another two count. Bell came back with a nice “face first plant” according to Ross, but Evers came right back with an inside cradle for the win. Evers will face Abbey Laith (Kimber Lee) in round two…

Rachel Evers defeated Marti Bell to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: A rough match. Marti showed potential in TNA, but she also had a disappointing feud with Jade (Mia Yim) following the Dollhouse breakup. She would benefit from a stay at the WWE Performance Center.

Ross pointed out American Ninja Warrior’s Kacy Catanzaro and Shadia Bseiso in the crowd. Ross noted that Bseiso was signed following a tryout in Dubai… Footage aired of Paul “Triple H” Levesque addressing the tournament entrants at the WWE Performance Center. He congratulated them and wished them good luck…

Ross set up a video package on Rhea Ripley vs. Miranda Salinas. Ross noted that Ripley is 20 and from Australia. Salinas said she is five foot tall and people will look down on her, but she is trained by the best. She said she wanted to make her opponent tap because a 1-2-3 isn’t good enough for her. Ripley is a former soccer player. She said she is a mosh kid from heavy metal concerts. She said she has determination and charisma, and said she would rip apart everyone she faces in the tournament…

3. Rhea Ripley vs. Miranda Salinas in a first round match. Lita marveled at the confidence of the 20 year-old Ripley. Salinas hesitated before shaking hands. Ross said the WWE Performance Center staff is amazed by how mature Ripley is in the ring at this point in her career. Ripley caught Salinas with a running big boot in the corner, then followed up with a running dropkick on a seated Salinas before covering her for a two count. The fans rallied behind Ripley with an “Aussie/Oi” chant. Moments later, she connected with a high kick and a Full Nelson Slam for the win. Ripley will face the winner of Dakota Kai vs. Kavita Devi in the second round…

Rhea Ripley defeated Miranda Salinas to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: This was a showcase match for Ripley, who dominated the bulk of the audience. It was very impressive that she exuded so much confidence in the ring despite being so young. She has the type of look that WWE has wanted over the years, so she should have a bright future.

A video package focussed on Mia Yim vs. Sarah Logan. Yim noted that she is a second degree black belt in taekwondo. She noted that she went public with her story of domestic violence last year. She said being a woman’s wrestler and having gone through that shows that anyone can go through it. She said she is here to stay in WWE for a long time. Texas native Logan said she had to wake up at the crack of dawn and kill what they wanted for dinner. She said she saved up money and bought a plane ticket to Japan so that she could become the wrestler she envisioned. She said she will work harder than any woman in the tournament to get what she wants…

Beth Phoenix and Natalya was shown in the crowd…

Powell’s POV: This is a match I’m looking forward to. Yim shined late in her TNA run as Jade. She was always good in the ring, but it took some time for the company to cast her properly, as she always felt like she was forcing it when she was trying to be the sweet girl on the mic, but once she was much better once she was given a chance to be herself. Meanwhile, Logan made a name for herself as Crazy Mary Dobson on the independent scene before arriving in NXT.

4. Mia Yim vs. Sarah Logan in a first round match. Lita noted that she was sporing a purple fingernail just as Yim was, as it signifies the goal of putting an end to domestic abuse. Lita also noted that one of Logan’s first matches in Japan was against Yim. Ross noted that Logan is a trained firefighter and a member of her high school wrestling team. Yim threw some nice kicks early in the match. Logan hit her with a headbutt to the chest and also connected with a dropkick to the chest of a kneeling Yim. The crowd had dueling chants for the women.

Yim applied Tajiri’s Tarantula hold over the ropes. A short time later, Yim applied choke, but Logan was able to escape it and traded slaps with Yim while both were seated on the mat. Logan performed a nice cartwheel into a running knee for a two count. Yim came back with a suplex into a bridge for a two count. Yim performed another German suplex and got another two count. Logan got a near fall off a suplex of her own. Logan performed running double knees in the corner, then followed up with a fisherman’s suplex for a two count. Yim came back with Eat Defeat and scored the clean pin. Yim will face Shayna Baszler in the second round…

Mia Yim defeated Sarah Logan to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: The only negative of this matchup is that one of the women had to be eliminated in the first round of the tournament. This was the most intense match of the tournament thus far. Logan has a bright future, and one can only assume that Yim is NXT bound.

Charly Caruso recapped the show as highlights aired and then she hyped additional first round matches for the third episode…


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