Next week’s finals are all locked down after the last episode of the Mae Young Classic tapings produced the last two women standing!
Mae Young Classic – Semi-Final: Shayna Baszler vs. Mercedes Martinez
Ronda and Jessamyn are shown yet-again at ringside, and finally Shayna shakes someone’s hand!
Mercedes lands the first blows after their tentative start, taking Shayna into the corner for forearms and wild chops as Martinez was more than willing to take the fight to the former UFC star. A rear chinlock looks to annoy Baszler more than anything else, as she tweaks the wrists to fight free… before Mercedes drops a couple of elbows from above as Baszler finally roared into life.
A running knee in the corner drops Mercedes, as do some gutwrench suplexes, which earn Shayna a near-fall. Out of nowhere, Shayna grabs a heel hook, but Mercedes works free and manages to catch Baszler in a STF. That transitions into back-and-forth elbows as both women were on their knees, but again that fires up Shayna, who kicks away Mercedes’ leg before looking for the suplex.
Instead, Martinez gets away a Fisherman’s buster, but can’t make the cover as her knee’s taken too much punishment. Still, Mercedes gets back to her feet and gets off a couple of German suplexes, then a big boot before Shayna knees away a Fisherman’s buster and instead turns her into the rear naked choke as Martinez clings on… before ultimately tapping! I’d have liked to have seen more work over the shoulder, given the story that commentary had built in for Martinez during the earlier rounds, but this was another good match from Shayna, who’ll have been an eye opener from anyone who went in knowing her as “just a former UFC fighter”. That’s one half of next week’s finals sorted then… ***¼
Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Sara Amato give Shayna a bunch of roses for qualifying for the finals… Mercedes gets nothing.
Mae Young Classic – Semi-Final: Kairi Sane vs. Toni Storm
Sane and Storm grapple each other to the mat from the start as the pair jockey for position as we get a split-screen of Shayna Baszler watching TV. Normally!
The mat-based stuff continues as Sane’s deliberate offence begins to show… at least until she’s lifted onto the apron, and misses a leap back into the ring before connecting with a dropkick to take Storm down. In retaliation, Toni starts to work the arm as she tries to stop Sane from even thinking about using that elbow drop, before sidestepping a charging Sane.
Instead of a dive, Storm gets yanked to the outside as Kairi goes flying with a crossbody onto the entrance ramp! Back inside, Sane turns Storm over into a Boston crab, before a rope break leads to Storm kicking away Sane’s sliding elbow attempt.
Sane ends up in the corner for a hip attack… but after taking just one she rushes out and spears Toni down to the mat. The pair trade blows back-and-forth, before Storm gets knocked down… but she pops up to avoid the top rope elbow and instead bring down Sane with a Muscle Buster?! Instead, it’s a delayed Fisherman’s suplex that gets a near-fall, before she takes Sane down and floats over into an armbar a la Mark Haskins! Storm’s trying to wrench out the arm, but Sane rolls back into a near-fall as the pair end up clonking heads.
Storm absolutely crushes Sane with a legdrop to the back, but the impact affects both women equally it seemed. Sane tries to come back with a modified cloverleaf, but instead starts to work over Toni’s lower back, before suddenly going up top for the elbow drop that gets the win. That finish seemed rather abrupt, but this was yet another good match – with Storm and Sane having wrapped up their third of the night. What a surprise – two really good wrestlers having a good match, eh? ***½
Kairi hugs it out with Toni Storm before getting her bunch of roses, as we end with a staredown on the stage between Sane and Baszler – with the Mae Young Classic trophy looming in the background.
So, it’s down to Kairi Sane or Shayna Baszler – and yes, there’s overtones of what happened at last year’s Cruiserweight Classic. Kairi’s signed, and I’m not sure if Shayna is (at time of writing)… so the cynical view could be that the winner is already decided. Either way, it’s been a really insightful tournament; one that’s brought a lot of talent to the fore for a lot more people.
Our coverage of the finals will follow after it’s aired, since it’s airing live after SmackDown next week on the WWE Network.