Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic Review: Episode Eight featuring the semifinal 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 focussed on the four semifinalists… Jim Ross and Lita checked in on commentary… A video focussed on the Shayna Baszler and Mercedes Martinez match. Basler said dismantling an opponent is just business, but she also wants to send a message. She said that’s why she held the choke hold on Candice LeRae in the last round. Martinez talked about how wrestling his her life and this is where she needs to be. She also spoke about having respect for Baszler and having her in her squad. Baszler said Martinez is a mentor and she respects her, but it’s about winning the tournament…

1. Shayna Baszler vs. Mercedes Martinez in a semifinal match. Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke were in their usual spot at ringside next to the entrance ramp. Ross noted that Martinez missed two years with a shoulder injury and added that it’s been problematic for her in the earlier tournament matches. The women shook hands prior to the match. Lita acknowledged that it was the first time that Baszler shook hands in the tournament. Baszler missed a spinning kick and Martinez was all over her with punches in the corner and a big chop.

Baszler came back and applied a leg lock on Martinez, who sold it nicely by screaming in agony. Later, Martinez avoided a Baszler suplex and countered into one of her own. She remained on the mat and continued to sell her right knee. Later, Bazler powered her up for a sit-out suplex and applied a rear naked choke hold for the win. Rousey and Duke were shown celebrating in the crowd. Bazler will meet the winner of Kairi Sane vs. Toni Storm in the finals…

Shayna Baszler defeated Mercedes Martinez to advance to the tournament finals.

After the match, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Sara Amato stood in the ring and applauded as Baszler was named the winner. Baszler and Martinez hugged. Triple H presented Baszler with a bouquet of roses while an emotional Martinz hugged Amato. Stephanie and Amato then raised the arms of Baszler for each side of the ring while Triple H stood in the corner and applauded…

Powell’s POV: A cool teacher vs. pupil story. It was strange that Baszler went from being an all out heel in her previous match to showing respect for Martinez prior to this match. Even so, this was a quality match. I love the way Baszler entered the tournament with some steam due to her MMA background, but has quickly been established as a badass heel star. Martinez was terrific in this match and while I’m not sure if WWE would bring her in for a regular run at age 36 (they should), one would think that she could be a nice addition to the WWE Performance Center staff.

A video package set up the Kairi Sane vs. Toni Storm semifinal match…

2. Kairi Sane vs. Toni Storm semifinal match. Storm’s entrance was a bit subdued compared to her earlier entrances. Lita said she thought Storm might be able to get the victory only because she didn’t see her coming this far. What? The women shook hands before the match. Storm was out to the early advantage when Sane pulled her off the ring apron.

Sane went up top and played to the crowd before performing a cross body block. Sane’s face hit the grating of the entrance ramp and it appeared to cause an abrasion on her cheek (unless it was there coming into the match). She popped up seconds later and played to the crowd. Sane brought Storm back inside the ring and applied a Boston crab, which Storm broke by reaching the ropes.

Later, Storm and Snae traded punches and kicks. Sane ran the ropes and Sane knocked her down. Sane went up top for her big elbow finisher, but Storm cut her off and performed her Strong Zero finisher, but Sane kicked out at the last moment. Storm showed a look of shock. Storm blocked a back fish and countered into a great armbar submission hold. Sane screamed out in agony. Storm wrenched the arm. The fans chanted Kairi before she countered out of the hold and into a rollup for a two count. Great drama.

Storm knocked Sane down and then let out a war cry before going to the top rope. Storm looked to the crowd and then performed a leg drop onto the back of Sane. Both women stayed down for a bit. Storm got to her feet first, but Sane caught her with a back fist and then applied a leg hold only to release it before dropping an elbow onto the back of Storm. Sane went up top and performed her elbow drop finisher to the back of Storm, then rolled her over and scored the clean pin. Sane will face Shayna Baszler in the tournament finals on September 12 in Las Vegas…

Kairi Sane defeated Toni Storm to advance to the tournament finals.

A shot aired of Baszler watching the scene on a backstage monitor. They replayed footage from the match. Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Sara Amato stood in the ring and clapped as the referee raised Sane’s hand. Storm spoke to Sane and hugged her while both women got emotional. Triple H presented Sane with a bouquet of roses and hugged her. Stephanie also hugged her, then Amato did the same. “The littlest dog in the fight is going to fight the biggest dog in the yard,” Ross said of the finals. Stephanie raised Sane’s hand again. The broadcast team recapped the finish as replays of the top rope elbow was shown from different angles.

Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Sara Amato led Sane to the stage. She stood by the trophy. Shayna Baszler came out and they posed briefly. Baszler blew off Sane’s handshake attempt. Hunter pulled Baszler back by the shoulder. Baszler put out her fist and glared intensely at Sane, who then did the same. Sane held up her elbow as the staredown continued while Ross hyped the live finals for September 12 in Las Vegas…

Powell’s POV: A very good match with the best drama of the tournament. The focus is obviously on Sane and Baszler going to the finals, but Storm is a star and an amazing talent. That said, the tournament finals should be a lot of fun. It will be interesting to see if they do more with the Horsewomen vs. Horsewomen feud that is being teased at the finals or if they keep the focus on the last match. Check back next Tuesday night for live coverage of the finals as they air on WWE Network.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. Not to nitpick, I know these matches were taped and edited but has anyone even timed how long every match was? They don’t even show the times on Wikipedia either

  2. I typically do note the match times. With eight episodes to watch, I know there would be more stops/starts than usual, so I didn’t bother with the times. Sorry.

  3. First off, a very fun tournament [mostly]. I especially like Piper in spite of the fat shaming from wrestling websites. Girl does a rolling cannonball [is that what its called] so she is athletic. Good draws, some surprises, lots of new talent for the NXT women’s division which sure needs it. But. BUT. BUT. C’mon Vince, build your darned wrestlemania card on your own. I know this is scripted, I know the results are predetermined but as soon as I saw Rhonda sitting at ringside during the first round I knew the end results of the tournament. The Get Rousey To Wrestlemania Classic it should be called, May Young deserves better as do the other 31 entrants.

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