Wrestling Review: WWE Mae Young Classic – Episode 1 (2017)

In a similar vein to the Cruiserweight Tournament held in late 2016, and the United Kingdom Championship Tournament from January 2017, comes the WWE Mae Young Classic. 32 of the top female competitors from around the world will take part in the single elimination tournament, including Tessa Blanchard, Mercedes Martinez, Serena Deeb and Kairi Sane (formerly known as Stardom’s Kairi Hojo). This first episode will feature action between Kay Lee Ray of Scotland versus the Mexican Princesa Sugehit; Serena Beed versus Vanessa Borne; Zeda, of China, fighting the American Shayna Baszler; and the American Abbey Laith getting in the ring with the monstrous German Jazzy Gabert. All the action will be commentated by two WWE Hall of Famers, as Good ol’ JR, Jim Ross is joined by former Women’s Champion Lita.

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I’ll admit, I am only familiar with a handful of the competitors, so this will be mostly a ‘clean slate’ for me to form my opinions.

+ Abbey Laith vs Jazzy Gabert (First Round Match): hot damn, Gabert is huge (she was called the Alpha Female on the indies for a reason), and reminded me of a mixture between Gina Carano and Dolph Lundgren, not to mention she has the best theme song so far. But if wrestling needs anything, it is a good underdog, and Abbey Laith might be the best underdog so far. It is a shame that someone had to lose this fantastic match, because both women should have gone much further
+ Kay Lee Ray vs Princesa Sugehit (First Round Match): This was a pretty good match, I thought, though it did have a few sloppy moments (perhaps due to a language barrier, I can’t say). For the first match of the show and the tournament as a whole, this was more than acceptable

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The German Alpha Female, Jazzy Gabert, may well be one of my new favourite wrestlers.

– Zeda vs Shayna Baszler (First Round Match): with Baszler, we got our first real bad-guy of the show, as the two legitimate mixed martial artists went to town trading holds. This was in many ways a mixed martial arts fight, and it lasted about as long as one. If a MMA fight is what you want, then cool, but unfortunately on a wrestling show this was just not good
– Serena Deeb vs Vanessa Borne (First Round Match): Deeb may be familiar to fans of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society, though she has much more hair, here. The story of the match was Deeb using her veteran knowledge to take on the youthful exhuberence of Borne, but frankly it was the inexperience of Borne that took the spotlight. This was interesting, but sloppy

> there was a female referee, too. I don’t know if I have seen her before. I barely noticed it, until Lita mentioned her, and not noticing a referee is the best thing you can do, so good on her
> Zeda had a near identical facial structure to Ronda Rousey (who was in attendance, with the rest of the UFC Four Horsewomen). It was fascinating

Should you watch this event: This first episode was mixed as it gets, with an even split of two good matches, and two not so good matches. Definitely have a look at the Laith/Gabert main event.

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