Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic 2018 Review Episode One: Meiko Satomura vs. Killer Kelly, Tegan Nox vs. Zatara, Lacey Lane vs. Vanessa Kraven, and Rhea Ripley vs. MJ Jenkins in a first-round matches

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Mae Young Classic
Taped August 8, 2018 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired September 5, 2018 on WWE Network

Footage aired of Kairi Sane winning the first Mae Young Classic and then shifted the focus to the 2018 tournament and noted that the finals will be held at WWE Evolution… The MYC opening aired…

Michael Cole, Renee Young, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. Cole noted that it was the first time ever that two women had been on the broadcast team for a WWE event…

A video package aired on Tegan Nox and Zatara heading into their match. The masked Zatara spoke mostly in Spanish, but noted at the end that viewers would never forget her after the MYC. Knox spoke about how she was influenced by Molly Holly. She added that she was supposed to be in last year’s tournament, but she suffered a torn ACL a few weeks beforehand…

Kayla Braxton was the ring announcer and noted that the opening round matches have 15-minute time limits…

1. Tegan Nox vs. Zatara in a first-round match. Cole listed Nox as his favorite to win the tournament. Nox had a bulky brace on her right knee. The wrestlers shook hands prior to the match. Cole noted that Nox had a micro ligament tear earlier this year and feared she would miss this year’s tournament as well.

Zatara turned on the crowd by telling them to shut up while she was at ringside. She offered another handshake and then kicked Nox. Zatara targeted the right knee of Nox for a stretch. Nox came back while continuing to sell the knee. Nox went up top and performed a nice cross body block for a two count.

Zatara came back with a missile dropkick and double knees in the corner for a two count of her own. In the end, Nox avoided a move and then connected with a shining wizard for the win. Nox will face the winner of Isla Dawn and Nicole Mathews in round two…

Tegan Nox defeated Zatara to advance in the tournament.

Ember Moon and Alexa Bliss were shown in separate areas in the crowd…

Powell’s POV: A nice match with good storytelling regarding Nox’s injury history that is sure to be a story going forward. She also showed good emotion after getting the win. Nox is over big with the Full Sail crowd. I’m digging the broadcast team so far. Cole sounds armed with information similar to when he called the UK event. Beth Phoenix sounds more polished than she did during the Mixed Match Challenge. And Renee Young is always likable. The only nitpick is that some of Cole’s sound bytes seem robotic to the point that it feels like you’re listening to commentary on a video game.

A video package aired on Rhea Ripley and MJ Jenkins. Ripley said she made a fool out of herself last year. She noted that she’s a darker and better version of herself and she’s going in to rip every competitor apart. Jenkins described herself as “afrolicious” and said it’s an honor to compete in the tournament…

2. MJ Jenkins vs. Rhea Ripley in a first-round match. Young noted that Jenkins was trained by the Dudley Boyz. She got the fans to clap along with her entrance music. Ripley blew off the handshake. Ripley was dominant early on, but she showed frustration over not being able to put Jenkins away. Jenkins came back and got a two count. Ripley ducked a kick and then performed a sit-out powerbomb for the win. Ripley will face the winner of the Kacy Catanzaro vs. Reina Gonzalez match in round two…

Rhea Ripley defeated MJ Jenkins to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Ripley made quite a dramatic persona change since last year. She made a good impression as a blonde bombshell fan favorite last year, and now she has more of a rugged rock look. Both looks work for her, but this one really makes her stand out. She plays the badass role well and she has the size to pull it off. Jenkins was here to put over Ripley, but her pre-match connection with the crowd was impressive and I like the vibe she set in the video package.

A video package aired on the Lacey Lane vs. Vanessa Kraven match. Kraven spoke about loving hard hitting moves. Lane said she wanted to prove her whole life that she can be just as good as the guys. She spoke about being trained by the Dudley Boyz. She said she’s quick and like a pitbull in the ring. She also noted her college basketball background… Lio Rush was shown in the crowd…

3. Lacey Lane vs. Vanessa Kraven in a first-round match. Cole noted that Lane is from Winter Park and thus a hometown entrant in the tournament. Phoenix spoke about the pressure of competing in front of friends and family. Young said Ruby Riott spoke about the power of Kraven and how she once knocked out one of her teeth. Cole said the match was David vs. Goliath with the undersized Lane facing the bigger Kraven.

Lane went for a spot on the ropes where she jumped between the top and bottom rope and she slipped. She recovered and then jumped into the arms of Kraven, who dropped her on the apron. Kraven hung Lane upside down and threw some chops and a kick at her. Cole noted that Kraven graduated from hair dressing school. Back in the ring, Kraven performed a cannonball for a two count. Kraven hit a spinning side slam for a two count. Lane avoided a cannonball and performed a crucifix bomb moments later for the win. Lane will face the winner of Taynara Conti vs. Jessie Elaban in round two…

Lacey Lane defeated Vanessa Kraven to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: The botched spot was unfortunate and this was my least favorite match thus far. It worked in terms of putting over Kraven’s size. The crowd bought into her and gasped when she would throw chops. Ultimately, though, they built up Kraven to give Lane the crowd pleasing upset win.

Backstage, Natalya was interviewed by Shadia Bseiso. Natalya spoke about how she was excited to be around so many women who share her passion for wrestling and inspire her. Natalya said she was rooting for Mia Yim and Io Sharai…

A video package set up the Meiko Satomura vs. Killer Kelly match. Satomura spoke mostly in Japanese about being in the ring for WCW 21 years earlier. She said she was a rookie and didn’t have any finishers and thus lost instantly. She said that’s when she started dreaming of returning and becoming a top wrestler. She said now that she is finally in the tournament she will put her entire spirit into it. Kelly noted that she’s the first female Portuguese wrestler in WWE. She put over her dragon sleeper and kicks and said she’ll do whatever it takes to get the win…

Funaki and Tye Dillinger were shown in the crowd together…

4. Meiko Satomura vs. Killer Kelly in a first-round match. The crowd popped big for Satomura. Cole described her as a legend. The women shook hands prior to the match. Kelly threw a couple of leg kicks. Satomura threw some quick kicks in response that Kelly avoided. Satomura controlled the bulk of the offense until Kelly performed a suplex for a two count.

Satomura came back with a cartwheel into a double legs to the back of Kelly. She went up top and Kelly cut her off. Kelly went for a German suplex that Satomura blocked. Kelly applied a chokehold from the ropes until the referee’s count forced her to release it. Kelly performed a running dropkick in the corner and then got a near fall off a fisherman’s buster suplex. A “this is awesome” chant started. Satomura came back with a Pele Kick and then played to the crowd before putting Kelly away with a Death Valley Driver. Satomura helped Kelly to her feet and they shook hands. Satomura will face the winner of Ashley Rayne vs. Mercedes Martinez in the second round.

Meiko Satomura beat Killer Kelly to advance in the tournament.

Cole hyped that round two will continue next week, but they did not advertise any matches…

Powell’s POV: They saved the best for last. You had to know Satomura was going over due to her legendary status. That said, Kelly was impressive. I’m not a big fan of her generic name, but I really like the way she carried herself as a competitively arrogant wrestler before and early in the match. Overall, the tournament is off to a good start. The in-ring work was entertaining and the company did a nice job of establishing the personas of the entrants.

Check below for my interview with Britt Baker on the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast.



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