The winner of this year’s Mae Young Classic was crowned as part of WWE’s news-making Evolution pay-per-view… so who won?
We’re coming from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, as part of the Evolution PPV which has been covered to death elsewhere by now. Michael Cole, Beth Phoenix and Renee Young are on commentary.
Mae Young Classic 2018 Final: Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai
Toni’s got new music, so look out for that at the Ballroom in the coming months!
They spotlighted Jessika Carr, the first female referee in WWE in quite a while… those who follow the indys may have remembered her under a different name.
After a handshake, we get going with Toni grabbing a headlock, but Shirai counters right back, only to get taken to the mat as the pair looked to neutralise the other. Storm scoots out of some headscissors as we get another handshake, before they rotated through more holds, with Storm flipping out of a wristlock ahead of some body blows. A low dropkick catches Shirai for a near-fall, as Storm keeps up with the strikes, throwing in uppercuts and forearms… but Shirai backflips away and lands a dropkick of her own as she looked to stay in the match. There’s a vicious handstand into a knee drop that gets Shirai a near-fall as she tries to pull Toni into a version of the Rings of Saturn… turning it into an Octopus-like stretch, but Storm makes it to the ropes as a break’s forced.
Storm leaps over Shirai before catching her with a German suplex, sending Shirai into the corner for a hip attack. From there, Toni heads up top, but she’s caught as Io sprung up and hit a leaping kick to send Storm down, following up an Orihara moonsault to the floor. They both end up on the apron, where Toni teases a Storm Zero Tiger Driver… but Shirai wriggles free, only to get dumped with a German suplex onto the apron. Ow.
Barely beating the count, Shirai’s forced to kick out of a cover as Storm keeps up the offence… only for Shirai to hit back even harder, before she ran into a lariat from Storm. Toni follows that up with a Storm Zero Tiger Driver for a near-fall, forcing Shirai to the ropes as she tried to find some respite… Shirai hits back with a 619 as Toni was in the ropes, then a picturesque springboard sunset flip… but Storm kicks out at two, only to get clocked in the corner with a running double knees. Io heads up top for the moonsault… but Toni lifts her feet up, and quickly catches Shirai with a Storm Zero, and that Tiger Driver gets her the win! ***¼
Post-match, Toni’s presented with the winner’s trophy, while everyone gets flowers and hugs. As for what’s next… well, a Crown Jewel advert. Oh, and nothing about what that’ll turn into for Toni Storm – a NXT Women’s title shot? That final was a bit of a letdown, truth be told. While the match was good, it felt extremely curtailed, with a finish that was rushed… but in comparison to last year’s final, which was part of a SmackDown taping, I’d rather take this being part of a wider event than what it was.