By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Mae Young Classic
Taped August 9, 2018 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired October 24, 2018 on WWE Network
Mauro Ranallo narrated a video package to set the stage for the semifinals… The MYC opening aired… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Beth Phoenix, and Renee Young checked in… A video package set up the opening match. Satomura recalled having a match with Storm in Japan once and said it ended in a draw. Storm spoke about winning the MYC as her dream…
1. Toni Storm vs. Meiko Satomura in a semifinal match. The women shook hands prior to the match. The broadcast team kept their comments current by referring to the finals taking place “this Sunday” at WWE Evolution. The women worked a slow pace to start. There was a spot for a break and Satomura threw a kick at Storm, who came back a short time later with a running kick of her own. Satormura worked over Storm’s thighs with kicks.
Storm applied a leg lock and chin lock combination hold. Satormura eventually reached the ropes. Cole said it was the first time in the tournament that Satormura was in trouble. He added that Satormura was in the hold for over a minute. Storm performed a suicide dive and came up holding her left arm.
Satormura fought back and performed a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Storm performed a German supelx and a powerbomb for another good near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Satormura connected with big kicks for a pair of near falls and the crowd was in a frenzy. Storm avoided a DVD attempt and performed a sit-out powerbomb for the win…
Toni Storm defeated Meiko Satomura to advance to the finals.
After the match, the referee raised Storm’s hand and she was emotional. Satormura was on her knees and the fans chanted “Thank you, Meiko.” Storm and Satormura hugged and shook hands while on their knees. Kairi Sane entered the ring and presented roses to an emotional Storm, who hugged her. Triple H walked onto the stage and shook Satormura’s hand and then raised her arm. Fans chanted for Satormura again and she responded with a bow.
Storm was interviewed in the ring and was asked about going to the finals. Storm took the mic and the live crowd roared and chanted her name. Storm was emotional as she said she was living her dream. Storm left the ring and was greeted with a handshake and a hug from Triple H on the stage…
Powell’s POV: A fantastic match with terrific work from both women. They created tremendous drama and has the crowd buying into all of the late near falls. It’s nice to have only two matches on the show, as the wrestlers are getting more match time on this show than they did throughout the tournament. These two made he most of it.
The broadcast team spoke at their desk about the match and set up a video package on the other semifinal match. Rhea Ripley delivered a heel promo and asked if people had seen what she’s done in the tournament and what happened to Tegan Nox…
2. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai in a semifinal match. Ripley teased shaking hands and lightly slapped Shirai’s hand. Ripley targeted the ribs and back of Shirai early on. Ripley dominated the opening minutes with a slower pace and performed a suplex that led to a two count. Ripley sat on the back of Shirai and rubbed her face into the canvas. Shirai battled back with a series of forearms to the head.
Ripley went for a powerbomb only to have Shirai counter into a nice huracanrana. Shirai kicked her to ringside and let out a war cry before performing a suicide dive. Back inside the ring, Ripley came back and then jawed at Shirai, who hit her. Ripley fired back with a shot that knocked Shirai to her knees. Shirai threw a few uppercuts and then performed a 619. Shirai went up top and performed a nice missile dropkick for a near fall.
Shirai went up top for her moonsault finisher, but Ripley recovered and knocked her over on the top rope. Ripley performed a superplex and got a near fall. Ripley showed frustration over not getting the pin. Ripley tried to hoist up Shirai, who shoved Ripley through the ropes and into a post. Shirai performed double knees in the corner and performed a moonsault for the win…
Io Shirai defeated Rhea Ripley to advance to the finals.
Shirai had her arm raised by the ref and she showed good emotion while Ripley left the ring. Triple H hugged Ripley on the stage and raised her arm. Kairi Sane entered the ring to present Shirai with roses. Shirai and Sane hugged while Cole spoke about them being best friends. Shirai was interviewed. She spoke in English and said she will win and she is number one. She thanked the fans and then celebrated.
Cole, Phoenix, and Young picked winners for the finals. Phoenix went with Storm. Young picked Shirai. Cole went with Storm. Meanwhile, Triple H and Sara Amato joined Shirai on the stage. Storm came out and hugged Shirai. Triple H raised Storm’s arm, then Amato raised Shirai’s arm to end the show…
Powell’s POV: A good match. It wasn’t as special or dramatic as the previous match if we’re comparing the two, but it was still entertaining. Shirai advancing to the finals is no surprise, but Ripley had a really good showing in this tournament. I just love her heel makeover and she should be a standout in any division she works in. Most importantly, the finals between Shirai and Storm should be terrific. They were probably the favorites of most going into the tournament and yet I doubt there will be many complaints about predictability because fans love them both.
Overall, the eight episodes that led up to the finals were entertaining. While there’s something special about a first, I actually enjoyed this year’s tournament more than last year’s even though the final match hasn’t taken place yet. I would like to see them stray from the formula of having four matches on all but the eighth show next year. Go brief with some matches, go longer with others, and find a way to air the quarterfinals over two shows just to give those matches more time. Join me for live coverage of WWE Evolution on Sunday.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Jerry Lynn.