Friday, September 1, 2017

WWE Mae Young Classic Episode #4 Review

WWE Mae Young Classic Episode #4
September 1st, 2017 | Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida

It’s time for the final first round episode of the Mae Young Classic. The opening video package gave a rundown of the eight women competing on this episode.

Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle
I don’t know much about Michelle. LeRae is one of the biggest female names on the indies. She’s 31, is married to Johnny Gargano and has been working for over a decade. Speaking of Gargano, he was shown in the front row. “Candice Wrestling” chants. Candice brought fire, picking up several near falls and looking like an underdog, despite being the veteran. Michelle fired off some nice looking kicks, but ate a Code Breaker. I like how some of these girls just use other people’s finishers as regular offense. Michelle missed a moonsault, opening the door for a Candice dropkick. They went up top, where Candice hit a second rope neckbreaker to win in 5:36. Solid at best. Candice looked fine, but Michelle needs a ton of work. She looked slow in a lot of her stuff, especially when it came to running the ropes. Also, the fans loved LeRae, but were surprisingly quiet for the match. [**¼]

Alexa Bliss was shown in the audience.

Lacey Evans vs. Taynara Conti
Evans is signed to the WWE and is a former Marine. I saw her live at an NXT show in March. Conti is a 22 year old Brazilian with a judo background, also signed to WWE and has only had a handful of matches. She looks like a cross between Natalya and Renee Young. Conti bowed instead of giving the handshake. She showed heel tactics early, with Lacey retaliating by using her size. Conti busted out kicks and some impressive judo throws. She also delivered a swinging slam that showed some power of her own. Evans returned with a flurry, capped with Jig and Tonic to win in 4:42. That was better than I expected. I believe they’ve combined to wrestle less than 100 matches, but they worked well together and both showed potential. Conti looks to have a good heel in her, while Evans is quite the natural babyface. I’m intrigued by both. In the next round, Evans faces Toni Storm. [**¾]

Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez
Gonzalez is signed to the WWE and has only worked a tiny amount of matches. Savoy is billed as the “Queen of Suplexes” and is a SHIMMER veteran. Reina took the heel route, not giving the handshake. There’s been too much of that. I was disappointed to see this follow a too familiar trope of this tournament. Since Gonzalez had a size advantage, she had to have control and she beat on Savoy. That’s not Savoy’s game. Underdog babyface doesn’t work for her. Reina hit a sidewalk slam and applied Billy Goat’s Curse to continue her dominance. Savoy eventually applied an armbar to win in 4:25. Whoever laid this out had no clue what they were doing. Savoy talked about suplexes in her vignette and then just got her ass kicked. This needed to be similar to the Shayna match to work. Savoy faces LeRae in the next round, which should be better. This was the 2nd worst first round match. [*¼]

Kairi Sane vs. Tessa Blanchard
Tessa is 22 and the daughter of Tully. She’s made a name for herself around the world. Shane was formerly known as Kairi Hojo and is signed to the WWE. She’s 28 and was one of the best performers in STARDOM for a long time. Their early exchanges saw nobody get an advantage until Sane nailed a running blockbuster. Blanchard picked up the intensity and hit a sick looking lung blower in the corner. Sane cut off her momentum with a spear (she’s like, the third person to do that in the tournament). The crowd ate up everything Kairi did, including her taunts. She showed off a flying forearm that rivals AJ Styles’. Tessa slowed the pace and got two on a top rope senton. She got a gear near fall by catching a Sane forearm and pulling her into a pin. Sane came back with the Alabama Slam and pointed to her elbow pad. The fans went NUTS, knowing what was coming. Sane delivered her gorgeous elbow drop to advance at 8:38. Arguably the best match of the first round. They had great chemistry and wasted almost none of the time given. Great back and forth, evenly contested match. The fans were into this and treated Sane like a major star. Sane takes on Bianca Belair in the next round. [***½]

Sane and Blanchard hugged after the match.

Overall: 7/10. This was about on par with episode one for my favorite of the tournament so far. It was cool to see Candice LeRae, even if her match wasn’t great. Conti/Evans was much better than expected and a nice surprise. Savoy’s good, but the match she had gave her no chance to showcase herself and was the only real blemish on the episode. Sane/Blanchard was great and in contention for best match so far. This tournament is a lot like the CWC. The first round mostly separated the potential stars from the lesser known participants and things should improve in the following rounds.