Please note: there are FULL spoilers for the first four episodes of the Mae Young Classic here. If you have yet to watch these episodes, read my spoiler free reviews starting here.
The first round of the inaugural Mae Young Classic is in the books, and of the 32 competitors, 16 have advanced and 16 have gone home. Four more matches are on the show in this fifth episode: Serena Deeb versus Piper Niven, Kairi Sane facing off against Bianca Belair, Rachel Evers doing battle with Abbey Laith and Mercedes Martinez getting in the ring with Princesa Sugehit. As with all of the action from the first round, WWE Hall of Famers Jim Ross and Lita call all the action from Full Sail University, the home of NXT.
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.
+ Kairi Sane vs Bianca Belair (Round of 16 Match): I’m still not sure how I feel about Belair using her long braid as a weapon, but the crowd made their opinion known very quickly. Sane is so damn good it is hard to imagine anyone else on her level (in the world of this tournament), but I admit that Belair managed to hang with Sane throughout. Belair was significantly bigger and more powerful, and busted out one of my favourite submission moves – a full nelson camel clutch, for those of you playing at home. This was a fantastic match, with an ending that I certainly didn’t see coming after the match we saw
+ Mercedes Martinez vs Princesa Sugehit (Round of 16 Match): these were the two most experienced women in the tournament, so it was fate they would meet in only the second round. This was not the most flashy of matches, nor was there a clear underdog, but this ended up being a good match
+ Serena Deeb vs Piper Niven (Round of 16 Match): this was a David vs Goliath battle, and it was another pretty good match. Deeb looked great, as the smaller but far more experienced wrestler, but it was Niven who really came into her own as the monster/powerhouse. If nothing else, Niven’s unique look will serve her well in her wrestling future, whatever that may be. This was another good match for the show
+ Rachel Evers vs Abbey Laith (Round of 16 Match): this first match of the second round, and it really set the bar high for what is to follow. The crowd loved both women, and both women seemed to love beating up their opponent (with respect, of course). I really liked the ending, here, too
> as we get deeper into the tournament, the hype videos get better and better. I am looking forward to the semi- and final-rounds’ videos.
> there are so, so many Bullet Club/Kenny Omega/Villain Club/Young Bucks T-shirts in the crowd. Obviously you can’t stop everyone from wearing them, but damn it is a jarring visual
Should you watch this event: This was easily the best episode so far, and only bodes well for the rest of the tournament. The main event of Kairi Sane/Biance Belair was one of the matches of the tournament so far, and all three other matches were worth watching as well.