The first round of this year’s Mae Young Classic continues, with another quartet of matches!

Michael Cole, Beth Phoenix and Renee Young are on commentary, but only once Mauro Ranallo recapped last week’s action that saw Tegan Nox, Rhea Ripley, Lacey Lane and Meiko Satomura progress.

First Round: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Priscilla Kelly
Priscilla’s pre-match package had a lot of her beating Jordynne Grace in SHINE… while Deonna Purrazzo’s included a throwback to a match in NXT against (now) Tenille Dashwood. There’s a reference to how Deonna was an alternate last year, which spurred her on…

Kelly refuses a handshake at the bell, and we start with some switches as Purrazzo looked to keep it on the mat. She was forced to handstand out of some headscissors early, before we broke into a World of Sport (classic) style sequence that almost gave Deonna the win. A leg trip out of the corner dragged Kelly into a Fujiwara armbar, and into the ropes, as Priscilla responds with a headkick for a near-fall. Some forearms took Deonna into the corner, where chops awaited as did an arm whip out and a PK for a near-fall. Priscilla keeps on top of her with a Dragon sleeper, before releasing it to score another two-count… which prompted the fightback from Purrazzo.

Kelly leaps into a hiptoss, and quickly gets met with a dropkick for a two-count, before quickly responding with a STO off the ropes… only to get taken back down with a side Russian legsweep as Purrazzo went right back to the Fujiwara armbar for the win. A perfectly fine TV-style match – and despite the brief hope for Priscilla, it was clear from the off that it was Purrazzo who was getting the spotlight. **¾

Deonna’ll face either Karen Q or Xia Li in the next round, but first we cut abruptly to more video packages!

First Round: Zeuxis vs. Aerial Monroe
Monroe’s worked a fair bit for SHINE and SHIMMER, while Zeuxis is largely tied to CMLL in Mexico, whose selling point according to Michael Cole is that “she’s different.”

Monroe starts by having hair hair swiped by Zeuxis… and threatened her for that. Zeuxis isn’t scared, but she’s met with a headbutt before a dropkick is simply side-stepped as Monroe took an easy two-count. Zeuxis blatantly goes for the hair, which just fires up Aerial some more, as a Shotei and an uppercut blasted the luchadora, who responds with a hairmare. It seemed that Zeuxis had a death wish as she keeps going for the hair, before she pulled Monroe into an abdominal stretch… only for Monroe to counter out with a crucifix for a near-fall. Back to the hair means Zeuxis pulls Monroe down for a near-fall, then rolls her into a fish-hooking camel clutch, but Monroe gets free and hits another uppercut as Zeuxis was put into the corner.

There’s a forward roll into a delayed heel kick as Aerial nearly took the win, before a roll-up with Zeuxis putting all her weight behind it took it to another near-fall… but the back-and-forth sees Monroe hit back with a sliding STO before she got swept up onto the top turnbuckle. From there, Zeuxis nails a Spanish Fly, and that’s enough for the win! This was pretty one-sided, and not a popular result for the Full Sail crowd. Kudos to WWE for mentioning Monroe’s relationship to Cedric Alexander in a non-tabloid way… **

Zeuxis faces either Io Shirai or Xia Brookside in the next round. I don’t recall the spoilers, but I know who I’d bet on…

First Round: Kacy Catanzaro vs. Reina Gonzalez
Kacy Catanzaro’s a product of the Performance Center, having been signed after appearing on American Ninja Warrior. She’s very agile and flippy, but not in the “flippy do” sense. Heck, her entrance has her climbing up the ring post… because Ninja Warrior.

There’s a huge size difference between these two, and it shows from the off as Gonzalez ragdolls Kacy in a front facelock, before lifting her into the corner with ease. Well, according to commentary she’s literally twice Catanzaro’s size, but she’s unable to stop a gymnastic-like headscissors from the ropes that is easier to GIF than describe…

Back inside, Reina tries for a slam, but Catanzaro slips out and runs in with some headscissors, only for Gonzalez to counter with an old-school backbreaker. An Irish whip takes Kacy into the corner as Gonzalez continues to bully her, nearly winning with a slam, before she clubbed Kacy in the back as she tried to run into the ropes. JESUS! Another bodyslam plants Catanzaro, but she’s still kicking out, resisting a crushing elbow drop as Reina was getting frustrated, as seen when she dives into the corner as a shoulder tackle misses. Kacy can’t capitalise instantly though, but she does roll away from another elbow drop, before launching in with a series of low dropkicks ahead of a slingshot to the outside. A springboard back in allows Kacy to land a missile dropkick, then a flip legdrop for a near-fall, before she wheelbarrowed her way out of a choke bomb as Kacy scored the upset!

They played this as David vs. Goliath, but again it’s clear from the commentary that there’s big plans for Catanzaro. As impressive as she is on day one, the development needs to continue, hopefully with appearances on NXT rather than being a “wait until next year’s tournament” for her next set out outings. **½

Post-match, Reina stares down Kacy… and as she pulled her up with a handshake, we’ve a jump cut into a Macho Man/Elizabeth-like celebration. Kacy’ll face Rhea Ripley in the next round.

First Round: Ashley Rayne vs. Mercedes Martinez
Martinez was a losing semi-finalist last year, while Rayne may be better known to you under a different first-name: Madison.

Martinez is the huge crowd favourite here, and she starts by taking down Rayne, who responds by rolling through into a pinning attempt as the pair remained fairly even. There’s a deadlift Northern Lights as Martinez nearly wins it… but we again remain grounded, with a wacky lucha roll-up nearly giving Rayne the win. Rayne looks for a wheelbarrow, but it gets countered into a vicious half-nelson driver by Martinez for a near-fall, which deservedly gets a replay as that move looked to have shaken up Rayne. Mercedes follows up with a butterfly hold, keeping Rayne down on the mat in a bid to force a submission, before the pair ended up rolling into the ropes for a break.

Undeterred, Martinez followed up with forearms before she misses a charge into the corner, allowing Rayne to hit back with a tornado DDT attempt… but that’s caught and turned into a stalling suplex… which she then turns into an attempt at the Three Amigas, only for Ashley to retaliate with a cutter for a near-fall. A pair of sliding lariats from Rayne gets a two-count, but she lets Mercedes get back to her feet, which is bad news as that means an instant spinebuster as Rayne almost got put away.

Another exchange from Rayne sees her forearm Martinez in the chest, before a discus forearm knocked the former SHINE tag team champion down… as did a clothesline and a leaping neckbreaker, before Rayne looked to head up to the top rope. That foray resulted in a huge crossbody, but she doesn’t go for the cover, and instead picks up Martinez for a version of the Cross Rhodes that almost gets the win. Rayne tries to follow back in with the same move, but Martinez counters out… and almost gets rolled up for the win, before Rayne kept up her offence with an enziguiri.

Going for the same spin-out neckbreaker yet again was her undoing though, as Martinez shoves her into the ropes, hits a knee and then a release Fisherman Buster… and that’s enough for the win! A hell of a main event to wrap up the show, and Martinez’ll now face Meiko Satomura in the next round. Tasty. ***

Once again we’ve no clue for what’s on next week, which makes it a little more interesting – but all in all this was a solid bunch of matches as the tournament progressed!