The quarter-finals of the Mae Young Classic threw up some interesting clashes – and a tease for what could come between two sets of Horsewomen!
You know the score: Mauro’s opening video – which details the quarter-finalists’ paths so far – before JR and Lita run through tonight’s matches.
Mae Young Classic – Quarter-Final: Abbey Laith vs. Mercedes Martinez
Both women shake hands, and it’s a rather tentative start as commentary falls quiet until we get a test of strength that Martinez kicks away from.
Mercedes toys with Laith for a while, then grabs a headlock that Abbey escapes from… only to get a firm slap as Mercedes began to unload on the former CHIKARA Grand Champion. Some kicks keep Laith gown, but she ducks one and snatches a roll-up for a near-fall, then gets a jaw breaker at the second attempt.
Armdrags a plenty get a near-fall for Abbey, who takes Martinez to the corner for chops as commentary muses over Martinez’s shoulder injury. Regardless, Mercedes is able to get off some chops with her good arm, before taking some as Laith issues some machine gun chops and a pump kick for a near-fall.
Laith keeps kicking Mercedes in the corner, then goes for a monkey flip… but that’s stuffed and met with a boot to the chest as the veteran mounts a comeback with Yakuza kicks and a shotgun dropkick. They headed onto the apron as Martinez tries for a suplex, but Laith kicks her away and sent her falling to the floor… and now Abbey teases something else off the top rope.
A crossbody connects as Laith also crashes into the ramp, but she’s able to get a two-count before Martinez shoves her away once more. Laith’s pulled to the outside, only to rebound with a bridging German suplex after making her way back inside. She tries for the alligator clutch again, but Martinez rolled through and gets the Fisherman’s buster for the win! That’s all for Abbey, as Martinez eked out another win with a solid, if not spectacular quarter-final. ***
Mercedes’ll face Candice LeRae or Shayna Baszler in the final four – and there’s one match that sticks out as being tastier than the other! We’ll find out who… next!
Mae Young Classic – Quarter-Final: Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler
There’s no handshake from Shayna, who laid into Candice pretty much straight away with some rather nonchalant strikes.
LeRae sidesteps a running boot to tie up Shayna in the ropes, before barging her to the floor for a tope that turned into a wild DDT! Candice can only get a two-count after going back inside, but she’s able to follow it up with an Octopus stretch, before flipping out into the Gargano Escape!
Candice has to end this early if she has any hope, you feel, but rebounding off the ropes to roll into the middle of the ring was a bad idea, as Shayna picked her up for a side slam to free herself. LeRae tries to avoid a superplex, and fights her way into the Wild Ride… but Shayna shifts herself on the way down into a rear naked choke, and that’s the instant tap! Baszler takes a while to let go of the hold, and that turns the crowd against her as she booked her place in the semis against Mercedes Martinez. This was a solid one, but bearing in mind you had folks working three times in one night, you know exactly what pitfalls to expect here. ***¼
Charly Caruso’s back in the 3D studio to run through everything, and announce the live finals at 10pm on September 12 on the WWE Network.
Mae Young Classic – Quarter-Final: Piper Niven vs. Toni Storm
From the off, Piper tries to charge Storm into the corner, but it’s Toni who gets the first cheeky dig in, before Storm’s attempt at a test of strength doesn’t exactly go to plan.
Storm kicks out of some pinning attempts, and manages to keep the bridge up despite Niven leaping on her, as a monkey flip sent Piper flying. More near-falls lead to a double bridge and a handshake as Storm looks to edge ahead with a wristlock, making Piper bridge to reverse things.
Eventually, Storm bridges out of another wristlock… and gets splashed hard as Piper claimed a two-count. A corner avalanche keeps Storm on the back foot, but she’s able to leap over a second one, before Piper avoids an O’Connor roll and hits a crossbody instead. Piper headbutts Toni away from a cravat, then hits another diving crossbody for a near-fall, then a crushing back senton as those two-counts continued to stack up against the Aussie.
Storm gets a backcracker in hope, and it seems like she’s teasing those hip attacks already… but Piper sidesteps, then misses a cannonball as Storm finally rushes in with that rear. Just like that, Piper gets in the Piper Driver… but Storm gets a shoulder up just in time! The cannonball follows, but instead of covering, Niven decides to follow in with a Vader Bomb… but Toni catches her and gives her a German out of the corner!
All that’s left is for a top rope legdrop – and Toni Storm books her spot in the semis against either Kairi Sane or Dakota Kai! A really good David vs. Goliath outing – and whilst Toni may have felled the giant, it was far from decisive as all it took was one hesitation too many to put Piper on the path to defeat. ***½
A dot-com exclusive with Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir airs as they talk about Shayna’s path to the semis… but they’re interrupted by Charlotte, Becky and Bayley. Ronda challenges them to a match “anytime, any place”, but the wrestling horsewomen back away.
Mae Young Classic – Quarter-Final: Kairi Sane vs. Dakota Kai
We start off fairly methodically, with Sane looking to take down Kai with a headlock, but Dakota escapes before both women swing-and-miss into a stand-off.
Sane unleashes on Kai with a double-handed choke, then a running flipping neckbreaker as the Kiwi tried to fire back in kind… but Sane’s got the upper hand when it comes to those chops. Kai pulls Sane off the top rope and tries to catch a win from it, before instead taking Sane into the corner for a diving boot that really washed the face!
Kai kicks back in and gets a near-fall, before taking a massive spear from Sane! More chops and a springboard double stomp gets Sane a little closer to victory, before a spinning backfist makes Kai loopy again as Sane misses a corner charge…only to catch Kai on the apron for a superplex attempt.
Just like in the second round though, Kai shoves Sane away and goes for the double stomp – and misses – as Sane leaned back just in time. Kairi connects with a flying forearm for a near-fall, then a sliding forearm, before a head kick from Kai sent her down hard. Another attempt at a running boot came up short for Kai, who ends up falling to an Alabama Slam as Sane looked to end things with the elbow… and it’s just a short hop to the top rope before the crushing elbow gets Sane the win! ***½
We’ve one episode left ahead of next week’s live final (on September 12, after SmackDown) – and that’ll have our semis! The final episode’s going to give us Mercedes Martinez vs. Shayna Baszler, and Kairi Sane vs. Toni Storm… those can’t be anything BUT good matches, no? As much as I’ve enjoyed binging on this tonight, there’s a lot to be said for weekly progression… but that’s a story for another time!