Monday, August 28, 2017

WWE Mae Young Classic Episode #1 Review

WWE Mae Young Classic Episode #1
August 28th, 2017 | Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida

I’d love to pump out reviews of these episodes as quickly as possible, but I have quite the busy schedule for school (at Full Sail, no less) this week. Except for Tuesday. Therefore, I’m going to do my best to review at least one episode per day this week. I’ll be using the date I watch each episode as the date listed on the review.

Stephanie McMahon, pioneer for all things women’s wrestling related, voiced over the opening video package that showcased women throughout history. It called this the “greatest era” for women’s wrestling.

Jim Ross and Lita were on commentary. They had to re-record their work due to some issues.

Kay Lee Ray vs. Princesa Sugehit
Like the CWC, we got a video package to highlight the competitors. Sugehit is a 37-year old Mexican luchador with over 680 matches under her belt. Ray is 25 and from Scotland. I’ve seen Ray in PROGRESS and SHIMMER in the past, but never any Sugehit. They did the handshake gimmick like the CWC. The setting was quite dark as the lights in the crowd were very dim. Fans were behind Ray. She was confident, but Sugehit used her quickness to combat it. Sugehit busted out an impressive Code Red that was probably the best spot. Another highlight was Ray turning a kickout into a Koji Clutch, but Sugehit countered. Ray’s high risk style cost her, as she missed a swanton and Sugehit made her tap to an armbar in 5:58. Good way to start the tournament. The cocky, younger, more popular girl made a few too many mistakes and the veteran made her pay. Good stuff. [***]

Naomi was shown in the crowd.

Serena Deeb vs. Vanessa Borne
The video package showed Borne is 28 and has a past as a broadcast announcer and cheerleader. She is signed to WWE. Deeb (31) obviously worked as Serena in the Straight Edge Society, but had alcohol issues that cost her the job. Deeb has had quite the body transformation and looks very different. Of note, this was the first match officiated by WWE’s first female referee. Deeb controlled early with her experience edge. Borne had some nice offense, including a sliding headbutt that I don’t think I’ve seen before. She wore Deeb down for a bit, before the comeback started. Borne took a great bump on a neckbreaker. Deeb missed a spear, and Borne tried a few moves that weren’t enough. The frustration was clear, opening the door for the Deeb rally and Spear to win in 6:05. I thought this was solid. Borne is clearly still learning, so pairing her with Deeb was wise. She led a smart match and Borne showed some flashes. I could see Deeb either getting a run with the WWE or as a trainer at the PC out of this. [**¼]

Charly Caruso gave us nothing of note in the control center. Ronda Rousey, Marina Shafir and Jessmyn Duke were shown in the crowd to support Shayna Baszler.

Shayna Baszler vs. Zeda
Zeda is signed to WWE and has a short background in MMA. She represents China. Baszler is 37 and one of the “Four Horsewomen” of MMA. No handshake from Shayna and we got “Shayna’s gonna kill you” chants. She took Zeda down and disrespectfully slapped her. They grappled around on the mat, with Shayna having the upper hand. Zeda surprised many by picking up a near fall with a monkey flip. Shayna countered a hanging guillotine into a falcon arrow/rear naked choke combo. Zeda tapped at 2:19. Pretty much the perfect way for Shayna to start. You establish her as a killer and Zeda’s the kind of girl who can take a loss like this since she has no name value and will continue to work at the PC. [**¼, but **** booking]

Abbey Laith vs. Jazzy Gabert
Laith is better known as Kimber Lee. She’s 27 and currently signed to WWE, hence the name change. Gabert is 35, represents Germany and is one imposing looking woman. Gabert gave the handshake, but pulled Laith in hard. Laith came out of the blocks with fire, but her shots didn’t have much effect. The crowd ate everything up. Gabert began tossing her around. They did a cool spot where Gabert caught a kick and slammed Laith’s leg down, only for Abbey to go into a split and show it didn’t hurt. Gabert walloped her with strikes and Laith had to fight for her life to escape submissions. Laith made her comeback and hit the swanton bomb that Kay Lee Ray missed earlier. It wasn’t enough and Laith looked at a loss for what to do next. Gabert wrecked her with a lariat and some mounted punches. As Gabert went for the kill, Laith countered into the Alligator Clutch pin, which she learned her trainer who was taught it by Mae Young, to score the upset in 7:09. The best thing on the show. Great David vs. Goliath story and both women came out of this looking awesome. Laith showed strong fire, Gabert was a brilliant monster and everything they did made sense. The added touch of a Mae Young finish to the match was great. [***½]

Overall: 7/10. I found this to be a good way to kick off the tournament. Nothing on the show was bad and everything flowed nicely. The format is very much like the CWC, which is fine. The biggest issue was the commentary, as it came off clunky and awkward. Ray/Sugehit was good fun, Borne/Deeb was solid for what it was and Borne showed potential. Baszler was booked expertly and the main event was very good, getting both women over. I look forward to more.