Powell’s WWE Mae Young Classic 2018 Ep. 4 Review: Io Shirai vs. Xia Brookside, Rachel Evers vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto, Jessie Elaban vs. Taynara Conti, Isla Dawn vs. Nicole Matthews in the final 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 26, 2018 on WWE Network

Mauro Ranallo narrated the video package that set up this week’s matches… The MYC opening aired… The broadcast team of Michael Cole, Beth Phoenix, and Renee Young checked in. Cole noted that this show would feature the final first round matches…

A video feature aired on Rachel Evers and Hiroyo Matsumoto. It was noted that Evers is the daughter of Paul Ellering. She said she wants to pave her own path. She said she was a starstruck girl in last year’s tournament and it led to a new level of preparation. Matsumoto spoke in a combination of English and and Japanese and said she will destroy everything and win the MYC… Kayla Braxton was the ring announcer…

1. Rachel Evers vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto in a first round match. Kassius Ohno was shown in the crowd (I believe he and Evers are still dating). Young spoke about what a big fan of Matsumoto she is. Cole noted that Matsumoto is the first female student of Funaki. The women shook hands prior to the match. Matsumoto threw a great missile dropkick for a two count. She also dropped double knees from the middle rope. Evers came back with a powerbomb.

Evers performed a nice cutter and a running senton for a two count. Matsumoto came back and got a two count off a clothesline. Evers caught Matsumoto in a small package. Matsumoto performed a German suplex, but Evers stood up and called for Matsumoto to bring it. Matsumoto caught her with a clothesline and eventually hit a powerbomb and her finisher for the win. Matsumoto will face Toni Storm in a great second round match…

Hiroyo Matsumoto beat Rachel Evers to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: If they can’t wait to acknowledge that Evers is the daughter of Ellering then why don’t they have her go by her real last name rather than the real last name of her trainer Lance Storm? Is that a WWE thing or her choice? Anyway, this was a really good match and the broadcast team raved about it being the match of the first round. Cole raved that Evers will be a star.

A video package set up the Jessie Elaban vs. Taynara Conti match. Conti’s judo skills were spotlighted and she said she’s the real blackbelt of the division. Eleban said her in-ring style is an extension of her goofy and clumsy self and she throws her body at people rather than perform technical moves…

2. Jessie Elaban vs. Taynara Conti in a first round match. Dana Brooke was shown in the crowd. Cole noted that Elban was a volleyball player who started training at the WWE Performance Center roughly 18 months ago. Elaban offered a left-handed shake, but Conti blew it off. Elaban threw a nice kick that connected with Conti, who was behind her. Conti worked the arm and wrist of Elaban early. It looked impressive, but Cold never put it over and instead gave background info. He did freak out when Conti rubbed the webbing of Elaban’s fingers on the top rope. Elaban had a brief run of offense, but Conti performed a judo sideslam and scored the pin. Conti will face Lacey Lane in round two…

Taynara Conti defeated Jessie Elaban to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: Not the most exciting match, but Conti has improved since last year. She carries herself like a heel. She is better offensively than she is when she’s selling at this point, and she looked a little tentative when she was asked to run into Elaban’s offense.

A video package aired on the Isla Dawn vs. Nicole Matthews match. Dawn spoke about how she won’t give up and will power through. Mathews was cocky as she spoke about throwing people around, taking shortcuts, and beating people up. She said she doesn’t care if she hurts herself. She noted that she was an alternate in last year’s tournament and questioned how you could have a women’s tournament without her…

3. Isla Dawn vs. Nicole Matthews in a first round match. Matthews was the heel and patted Dawn on the head for an early rope break. Young spoke about how respected Matthews is with the women on the main roster who have worked with her. It was all Matthews early to the point that Phoenix said Dawn needed to bring it on the big stage. Dawn came back and performed a nice running knee to the face of Matthews. She eventually performed a fisherman’s buster suplex for a two count. Later, Matthews cut off Dawn with a clothesline and then applied a Liontamer for the submission win. Matthews will face Tegan Nox in the second round…

Nicole Matthews beat Isla Dawn to advance in the tournament.

Powell’s POV: The crowd was attentive, yet they never really rallied behind Dawn despite the clear babyface/heel dynamic. They reacted to moves and especially popped for the Liontamer at the end. The heel work was there from Matthews, but Dawn wasn’t able to rally the crowd behind her.

The broadcast team spoke about how they couldn’t believe they were already almost through the first round of the tournament. They set up the video package on the Io Shirai vs. Xia Brookside match. Shirai spoke about being a high flyer and working strong style. She cited Rey Mysterio as being a major influence on her career. She said she was number one in Japan and will do what she did there by winning. Brookside noted that she is 19 years old and said it was an honor to be in the tournament. She spoke about being the daughter of Robbie Brookside, a longtime wrestler and current trainer at the WWE Performance Center…

4. Io Shirai vs. Xia Brookside in a first round match. Xia made her entrance and hugged her father, who was in the front row. Cole noted that Robbie had never actually seen his daughter wrestle a match in person. Cole said Robbie told him that he was so nervous that he didn’t even want to come out in front of the crowd. Kairi Sane was shown in the crowd applauding Shirai prior to the match. Cole noted that Shirai was unable to work last year’s tournament due to a neck injury. Shirai and Brookside shook hands prior to the match.

The bell rang and Brookside raced over to the corner and hit Shirai with four forearms to the chest. Shirai did an early flip off a head scissors takedown attempt, which led to the crowd cheering and chanting her name. Shirai threw double knees in the corner on a seated Brookside and then got an early two count. Brookside came back and they showed her father cheering. Cole said it would be the upset of the year if Brookside won the match, Shirai came right back and performed running double knees in the corner, then followed up with a top rope moonsault for the win. Shirai helped Brookside to her feet, and Robbie was shown applauding in the crowd. Shirai will face Zeuxis in the second round…

Io Shirai defeated Xia Brookside to advance in the tournament.

Shirai played to the crowd and then the broadcast team wrapped up the show and hyped the second round coming up and the finals of the tournament taking place at the WWE Evolution event on October 28. A video package recapped this week’s show and the winners of the matches…

Powell’s POV: Shirai was a star to many in the crowd coming into the match and likely won over those who were unfamiliar with her. That moonsault at the end looked painful for Brookside. By the way, Brookside came off very well in the pre-match video. She was humble and polite as you’d expect a 19 year-old babyface to be heading into a match with a legendary figure. Brookside has a great pedigree and a bright future. Overall, this was an entertaining episode with the matches involving the Japanese talent standing out as the most entertaining. If you are short on time, watch those two bookend matches. Most of the second round looks good on paper and I continue to enjoy this year’s tournament.



Readers Comments (4)

  1. I don’t mean to nitpick or being a smartass, but it’s Shirai, not Sharai.

  2. Cole gushing over the Evers/Matsumoto match felt forced to me, as it clearly wasn’t the best match of the first round. Maybe that’s just my taste? I thought both Dawn vs.Matthews, and Shirai vs. Brookside were better, and that’s only on this show alone.

    One thing about Dawn- I think WWE failed her a bit this time around in framing her as the babyface. Matthews was clearly doing the stronger heel work, which they might’ve thought would steer the crowd? It was interesting to find out that Dawn has been training with Alister Black, though. You can see the similarity in personas, to an extent.

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