Toni Storm def. Hiroyo Matsumoto in a Second-Round Match
What I like most about Storm (aside from her star-like presence) is that, based off what I've seen from her, she's able to adapt to anyone else's style in the ring. Matsumoto is a very hard-hitting competitor and Storm successfully went toe-to-toe with her in what turned out to be a great match. I don't know if WWE would be interested in signing Matsumoto, but she impressed me enough that I could certainly see her being a good fit in NXT's women's division. As for Storm, her advancing was the right call.
Kacy Catanzaro def. Rhea Ripley in a Second-Round Match
Catanzaro had a hell of a showing in the first round and I wasn't sure if she'd be able to have a repeat performance, but she somehow managed to outdo herself this time. This was a ton of fun and the crowd was into everything they did. Despite not being incredibly polished, Catanzaro is crazy athletic and thus she's so unique and different from everyone else in the tournament. Hell, she even botched down the stretch but still managed to make up for it and rebound by pulling it off with ease. I'm happy Ripley is moving on to the next round, but Catanzaro has so much potential waiting to be tapped into. Don't be shocked to see her on NXT TV before long.
Lacey Lane def. Taynara Conti in a Second-Round Match
The biggest issue with this match is that both of these women are works in progress. They both have the look and the raw skills to be something special, but they are still on their way and need fine tuning. This easily the weakest match of the night, but on the bright side, it was kept short and sweet. Conti is already a part of the NXT roster and therefore has nothing to prove, so Lane moving on was smart.
Meiko Satomura def. Mercedes Martinez in a Second-Round Match
Michael Cole called this the strongest match of the tournament so far on commentary, and honestly, it's hard to argue with him. This was an absolutely excellent matchup that only got better and better as it went along. Then again, I probably shouldn't have expected anything less from these two seasoned veterans. It was super physical and neither woman held anything back. It's a shame Martinez couldn't even make it past the second round after advancing all the way to the semifinals last year, but that just goes to show how stacked the tourney is this year. As for Satomura, she continues to prove why she is one of the best in the world right now.
The first round matches were solid, but the Mae Young Classic kicked it up a notch entering the second round. Lane vs. Conti was a bit rough yet exactly what it needed to be. The other three matches were terrific, and better yet, none of them felt the same. Check this episode out if you're in the mood for exceptionally entertaining wrestling because this show features plenty of it. If this is what the second round has in store for viewers, then I can't wait for the rest.
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