Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Round two of the Mae Young Classic begins! With some of the less experienced talent eliminated, it should allow for an uptick in quality, just like we saw during the Cruiserweight Classic last year.
Laith advanced over Jazzy Gabert in a great first round match, while Evers beat Marti Belle in the worst opening round contest. Kassius Ohno was in the crowd as a noted supporter of Evers. Laith used her quickness to combat Evers being so much stronger. They pointed out that the strategy worked against Gabert. The crowd was split, popping for a Laith suicide dive and when Evers delivered a cutter and BIG GIRL SENTON. When Laith looked on the verge of winning, Evers pulled her off the top with a super powerslam for two. The fane ate up that near fall. Laith retaliated with a powerbomb and the Mae Young alligator clutch to win at 4:49. That was a high quality sprint that ended too soon for my liking. Evers erased the memory of her bad opening round match. They worked hard and had a hot crowd, while playing to their strengths. My major issue was the rather anti-climactic finish and short length.
Deeb got past Vanessa Borne in a solid outing, while Niven beat Santana Garrett is one of the best first round matches. As expected, Niven overpowered Deeb early and often. Deeb found small openings, like getting her knees up on a BIG GIRL SENTON and kept going back to the headlock. There was a great sense of desperation from Deeb. She’d scramble over for pin attempts and you really felt like she was fighting for her life. Niven dodged the spear and aggressively whipped her into the corner. She followed with the Vader Bomb, but Deeb kicked out to the surprise of many. Niven missed a big splash, but caught Deeb with a Michinoku Driver to advance in 7:10. Good stuff. Like the opener, there was a sense of urgency and they told a great story. Deeb gave her all to overcome her larger opponent and make a last run in her career, but just didn’t have enough.
Sugehit beat Kay Lee Ray, while Martinez went over Xia Li. These are the two most experienced women in the tournament. Kalisto was shown in the audience. Sugehit wore Wonder Woman tribute attire. After some mat work to start, Martinez moved to strikes, where she had an advantage. Sugehit came back with speed and nailed a Codebreaker. They battled up top, where Sugehit won out and delivered a tornado DDT. She applied her armbar, but Martinez fought free. A fisherman buster later and Martinez advanced in 5:13. I was disappointed by this. I know Martinez is capable of better and Sugehit impressed me more in the opening round. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t feel important or like they were fighting for something that meant anything. Things didn’t connect the way I wanted and it was awkward at times. Martinez meets Abbey Laith in the quarterfinals.
Belair beat Sage Beckett in a solid match, while Sane went over Tessa Blanchard in a high quality match. Belair is the unproven youngster, who doesn’t have enough experience to fully grasp how much of an underdog she is here. She held her own early, and cockily blew a kiss as Sane. Sane caught it and stomped on it to a great pop. Belair got in trouble and resorted to whipping Sane with her braid. It made some pretty sickening sounds. She remained in control, wearing down Sane and impressing with some power-based offense. Sane rallied and applied a strangle submission, but Belair used her strength to fight out. They traded strikes and Belair won out. She busted out a sweet 450 splash for a great near fall, especially when you consider the outcome to this was obvious. Sane came back with an axe kick, back fist and the incredible elbow drop to win in 9:59. Way better than I expected. Belair showed potential in round one with her charisma and character, but mixed in some impressive looking offense here. She came off looking like a star. Sane was great, as expected. Lots of good action and solid performances from both.
Overall: The second round got off to a good start. Three good matches, including a standout main event. The only thing I wasn’t feeling was Martinez/Sugehit. Everything else clicked and hit as well or better than I thought it would.