Kaitlyn def. KAvita Devi in a First-Round Match
In all honesty, this could have been way worse than it was. Devi had a really bad outing in the 2017 Mae Young Classic while Kaitlyn has largely been out of the ring for the past four and half years. However, Kaitlyn looked good here and Devi didn't embarrass herself, either. It was smart to keep this as short and as sweet as possible, in addition to allowing Kaitlyn to advance to the next round.
Toni Storm def. Jinny in a First-Round Match
Both women being cut from the same cloth in the NXT/UK women's division helped a lot along with how they've probably faced off on countless occasions in the past, so they had that history. Storm is an absolute star who deserves to go all the way this year, and I hope the rumors of her being signed to some sort of deal to WWE are true so that can become a reality. Storm had the crowd in the palm of her hand the entire time and Jimmy had a decent showing in defeat.
Deonna Purrazzo def. Priscilla Kelly in a First-Rounda Match
I've been following Purrazzo on the independent scene for years and am stoked she's finally getting a chance to shine on the big stage. She's a welcome addition to the Mae Young Classic and she proved she belongs among these elites with her showing here. It wasn't the most must-see match, but both women looked good in defeat and Purrazzo getting emotional afterward was a cool moment.
Zeuxis def. Aerial Monroe in a First-Round Match
This was easily the weakest match on the show, but that's not to say it was bad by any means. Nothing stood out as special about it and neither of them did anything to leave a lasting impression on me, but it was a passable bout. Plus, I did like Cedric Alexander (Monroe's husband) and their son watching on from the front row because that added an extra layer to it.
Tegan Nox def. Zatara in a First-Round Match
Michael Cole referred to Nox as his dark horse to win the whole thing and he might have been right on the money because she is a star on the rise. She got in all of her signature spots here and had the crowd behind her the entire time. It's a shame an injury kept her out of last year's Mae Young Classic, but she should have a hell of a showing in this year's tourney. It isn't hard to see why her and Dakota Kai have teamed up in the past because they are so similar.
Rhea Ripley def. MJ Jenkins in a First-Round Match
Ripley was one of the unknowns from last year's Mae Young Classic that impressed me the most, and since then, she has done a great job of reinventing herself and creating a character fans can invest in. Jenkins had a fine showing (I'm somewhat familiar with her from the few matches I saw her during her IMPACT tenure), but Ripley was the real standout. I wouldn't be surprised to see her go far this year.
Kairi Sane def. Shayna Baszler to Win the Mae Young Classic
There were better opponents Sane could have faced in the finals, but Baszler had been built up so well and has looked like such a beast in her dominance of her opponents up to this point that she had the best chance of beating Sane. They told a great story with Sane fighting from underneath throughout, and although Baszler is still fairly green, she had a solid showing here as well. They put together a real good match (that the crowd thankfully wasn't dead for) with the right woman going over. Sane has the potential to be a major star for not only NXT but WWE going forward, while I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Baszler in a WWE ring.
WWE did advertise a six-man woman tag team match as taking place on this event as well, but it instead occurred on the "Road to the Finals" special that aired after Raw on Monday night on the WWE Network. For those curios, Jazzy Gabert, Kay Lee Ray and Tessa Blanchard defeated Marti Belle, Sarah Logan and Santana Garrett. Anyway, this was obviously a one-match show, but it was a quality contest and well-worth checking out. The Mae Young Classic was a success in my book and I'd be in full favor of the company holding something similar for the women down the line.
Shayna Baszler def. Mercedes Martinez in a Semifinal Match
Baszler and Martinez have a history from the independent scene, so unsurprisingly, they had great chemistry from the get-go. It was established in her previous three matches that Baszler can lock in a submission out of nowhere and win instantly, so with that in mind, they told a solid story that saw Martinez avoid those submissions at all costs. The effort was excellent and the action was very physical, so this certainly felt like a semifinal tournament match with high stakes.
Kairi Sane def. Toni Storm in a Semifinal Match
This might have been the longest tournament match yet, and rightfully so because they maximized their minutes and delivered an exceptional match. Sane's "injured" arm was once again targeted by Storm, and after hitting most of her signature moves, it looked like Storm had a chance of emerging victorious. Of course, Sane battled back, so the psychology was topnotch I thought. Storm is another individual I wasn't too familiar with prior to the tourney yet I really want to see more of her in WWE. She has a presence about her that forces you to take notice.
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