Please note: there are FULL spoilers for episodes 1, 2 and 3 of the Mae Young Classic here. If you have yet to watch the first episodes, read my spoiler free review here, here and here.
There are only four women left to advance to the Round of 16 of the first ever WWE Mae Young Classic. Filmed in front of the Full Sail University universe, the same place where all the NXT action comes from, there are only four matches left to determine who will go past the first round. Two women from the USA square off in the first match, as Renee Michelle takes on Candice LeRae (the wife of former NXT tag team champion Johnny Gargano), whilst Nicole Savoy takes on Reina Gonzalez, again both from the nited States. Lacey Evans will get in the ring with the Brazillian Taynara Conti, and in the final match two long time veterans will go to war, as Tessa Blanchard, daughter of Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard, has the huge task of upsetting the pre-tournament favourite Kairi Sane of Japan.
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.
+ Tessa Blanchard vs Kairi Sane (First Round Match): this was a good match, but (again!) a match in which both competitors should have gone forward. Blanchard very obviously has a future in the WWE, and Sane was the pre-match favourite to win the whole tournament. There were only a few small hiccups, perhaps due to a language barrier, but both women looked fantastic in this
+ Lacey Evans vs Taynara Conti (First Round Match): this was in parts a jodo throw, as both are highly trained judo fighters. Conti looked incredibly powerful, especially with her small stature and only being 22 years old, whilst the bigger and stronger Evans had the strikes to keep things hard and heavy. This was another good match where I wish both could have progressed
– Nicole Savoy vs Reina Gonzalez (First Round Match): nothing about this match interested me; not the competitors, the match itself or the winner. It is matches like this that, I understand, just need someone to lose in the next round, but it is still the case that Lacey Evans/Taynara Conti should have both gone forward in the match before this
– Renee Michelle vs Candice LeRae (First Round Match): I’m a long time fan of LeRae and her team with Joey Ryan, so Michelle was the wildcard in this match for me. This was not a particularly great match, and frankly I put most of that on Renee Michelle. LeRae has been a perfect fit for the WWE women’s division for a long time, and win or lose I can see this being her platform
> Kairi Sane has the best music, now. Jazzy Gabert’s was great, but Sane’s was just fantastic. I love pirate music
Should you watch this event: Finally seeing Kairi Sane was worth the wait itself, and her match with Tessa Blanchard was great, as was the battle of the blondes between Lacey Evans and Taynara Conti. An even split of good and bad matches meant this was a mixed bag, but the upcoming Round of 16 is shaping up to be fantastic.