WWE finishes up the opening round of this year’s Mae Young Classic with incredible international flair! But the main attraction: Io Shirai of Stardom!
- Rachel Evers VS Hiroyo Matsumoto; Matsumoto wins and advances.
- Jessie Elaban VS Taynara Conti; Conti wins and advances.
- Isla Dawn VS Nicole Matthews; Matthews wins and advances.
- Io Shirai VS Xia Brookside; Shirai wins and advances.
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The second Mae Young Classic’s opening round wraps up!
We already have 12 of the Sweet Sixteen established, now it’s time to find out who are the final four in and the final four out! Who takes one step closer to WWE’s first ever All Women’s PPV, Evolution?
Rachel Evers VS Hiroyo Matsumoto!
The One-Woman Wrecking Crew and the Queen of Strong Smile is a second generation superstar as the daughter of WWE Hall of Fame manager, Paul Ellering! Rachel wants to carve her own path in the WWE, but she also wants to make the best of her return. Back then, she was bright eyed and bushy tailed, but she lost focus and lost to a veteran in Abbey Laith. Now Rachel is more prepared than ever before. Meanwhile, the Lady Godzilla vows to destroy any woman in her way! Her elbows, her lariats, her crossbodies will crush everything in their path. And once you see her in the ring, you’ll never forget her. Her strength and energy are like the great kaiju himself, but whose strength of will will earn them a spot in the next round?
The two shake hands, the bell rings and fans chant “Fight for Evers!” Rachel and Hiroyo circle and tie up. They go power for power and it’s Rachel who pushes Hiroyo back. Hiroyo digs in her heels and the two go down to the mat. They break and fans applaud this evenly matched up pairing. They both decide to run the ropes, side to side, then they collide. Neither woman backs down so Rachel throws a clothesline. Hiroyo stays up, and she throws a clothesline. Rachel stays up, but Hiroyo knocks her over with a shoulder! Lady Godzilla is fired up and fans are fired up with her. Hiroyo runs but Rachel trips her up to then dropkick her in the face. Cover, ONE, but Rachel keeps on Hiroyo with a gut wrench. Hiroyo resists so Rachel clubs her to lift and slam her! Cover, TWO!
Rachel brings Hiroyo up, Hiroyo fights back but Rachel boots her. Hiroyo sees Rachel coming and slips out to then hotshot her back! Hiroyo fires up and climbs up. She aims at Rachel and leaps for a big missile dropkick! Hiroyo unfolds Rachel then covers, TWO! Rachel gasps for air while Hiroyo backs off. Fans duel but Hiroyo brings Rachel up by her hair. Then she throws Rachel by her hair, too! Hiroyo drags Rachel up again, snapmare to big elbows. She wrenches Rachel back but fans rally up. Rachel feeds off the energy but she gets a stiff chop. Hiroyo chops Rachel again, then she eggs Rachel on. She shoves Rachel, runs back in, and stops the kick. She swings the leg sideways and sets Rachel up on the second rope for an elevated mudhole stomp. Fans boo but Hiroyo just goes back for more.
Hiroyo backs off and some fans cheer as she runs back in. Big corner splash! Hiroyo then climbs up, for a Vader Meteora! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Rachel but Hiroyo stands first. Hiroyo drags Rachel up and goes for a suplex, but Rachel fights out. Rachel runs but Hiroyo reels her back in. Rachel fights back and dodges the lariat to then shove and SPINEBUSTER! Both women are down but fans fire up. Rachel gasps for air with those bad ribs, but she’s still up first. Hiroyo follows, and now it’s a brawl! Forearm for forearm and the fans are divided. Rachel fires off several, but then Hiroyo throws a fastball! Hiroyo runs, but into the boot! Then a cutter! Rachel hits a big back senton! Cover, TWO!! Rachel was so close, but fans are loving it.
The fans cheer Rachel on as she drags Hiroyo back up. Rachel wants a bomb, but Hiroyo back drops out. Hiroyo runs corner to corner but misses, then walks into an STO! Rachel hurries up, double jump leg drop! Cover, TWO!? Rachel keeps her cool while fans continue to rally. Rachel drags Hiroyo up again, and throws haymakers. She spins but into Hiroyo’s palm strikes! Hiroyo spins, but into Rachel’s palm strike. Rachel runs, Hiroyo follows, Rachel dodges, but it’s Hiroyo who runs Rachel over with the lariat! Cover, TWO! Now Hiroyo grows frustrated as she works on one more idea to finish Rachel.
Full Sail is dueling as Rachel catches Hiroyo in a small package! TWO and Hiroyo is shocked she got out, but then her discus back elbow hits! Hiroyo German Suplexes Rachel, but Rachel stands right up!! Rachel eggs Hiroyo on then boots her down, only for Hiroyo to clothesline her again. Hiroyo drags Rachel back up, prepares the powerbomb, but Rachel powers her up. Hiroyo sunset flips and deadlifts Rachel for the BOMBZILLA! But that’s not all, Hiroyo ends it with the Rock Drop saido suplex!! Cover, Hiroyo wins!!
Winner: Hiroyo Matsumoto, by pinfall; advances to the second round
Lady Godzilla conquers the Daughter of Ellering! It was a strong showing from Rachel, will the third time be the charm? And as for Hiroyo, will she destroy all in her path to the top of the tournament? Or will she be done in by the Storm?
Jessie Elaban VS Taynara Conti!
The young Brazilian judoka returns to the MYC after falling short. She’s also worked hard in NXT, and her confidence is back up as the TRUE black belt of WWE. Meanwhile, the most “amazeballs” and “glumsy” girl of NXT hopes to show that her eccentric full-body style will be more than enough to win. It’s serious versus silly, what will carry over into the Sweet Sixteen?
Jessie offers a handshake but Taynara gives a bow per judo. The bell rings and the two tie up. Taynara gets the arm, then the judo throw! She stands Jessie up to throw her again. Taynara taunts Jessie, because the experience gap between her, a black belt, and Jessie, a relative rookie in wrestling, is so great. Jessie rushes in but gets caught in a waistlock. Jessie manages a standing switch but so does Taynara. Taynara grins but then she gets an elbow and high kick! Jessie adds a penalty kick then a back senton, cover, ONE! Taynara gets to a corner but Jessie runs in for a big splash, only for Taynara to deflect it into ropes! Taynara wraps the arm around the ropes to pull on it. She stops at the ref’s count of 4. Jessie pushes back but ends up in an STO. Cover, TWO!
Taynara tries again. ONE, so Taynara yanks hair. Another cover, ONE, and Taynara grows frustrated. Taynara stomps Jessie’s hand then puts the arm into a high keylock. Taynara pulls on it but fans rally up for Jessie. Jessie tries to get free but Taynara shifts to an armbar. Taynara bends the wrist, then the elbow. Jessie stands up but Taynara throws her down. Taynara rolls over to go back after the arm. It’s almost a Fujiwara as Taynara pulls on the wrist, fingers and forearm! Jessie endures as Taynara shouts for her to give up. Jessie makes it a cover, TWO, and Jessie throws forearms. Taynara gets mad and kicks Jessie down! Taynara puts Jessie’s hand against the ropes, to give the webbing between the fingers rope burn! Conti is creatively cruel, and enjoys herself as she kicks Jessie to a corner.
Taynara stomps a mudhole into Jessie, then tells the ref to shut up about the count. She drags Jessie out but Jessie grabs ropes, so Taynara kicks the arms out! Jessie dodges and Taynara kicks ropes! Jessie fights back and gets a takedown. She catapults Taynara right into the mat! Then she dropkicks Taynara down again and again. Jessie fires up and hits that corner clothesline. Taynara staggers and Jessie ax kicks her down. Cover, TWO! Fans cheer Jessie on as she keeps her cool. Jessie brings Taynara up but Taynara counters the suplex with a swing-out side slam, the Taya Goshi! Cover, Taynara wins!
Winner: Taynara Conti, by pinfall; advances to the second round
The black belt beats the newbie, and Taynara is crying tears of joy. Taynara takes one step closer to glory, will she make all of her work worth it by reaching the finals? Or will facing the lightning quick Lacey Lane be her downfall?
Isla Dawn VS Nicole Matthews!
NXT UK’s Scottish Sorceress takes much inspiration from the Celtic occult and goddess worship. Women are creators of life and full of power, and Isla plans to use that power, that drive and that determination to conquer the world of wrestling. She’s ready for a straight up fight all the way to the finals. Meanwhile, everyone who has ever faced Nicole knows what she’s capable of. It doesn’t matter if her opponent has three months or 30 years of experience, she will throw them, stretch them and hurt them. She was an alternate for last year’s MYC, but since she didn’t make it in, that tournament didn’t really have the best of the best. It isn’t a revolution without her, but will there be an Evolution without her?
The two shake hands, but neither lets go at first. Both women smile with confidence as the bell rings. They tie up, and Nicole powers Isla to a corner. She backs off and pats Isla’s head. Isla shrugs it off and circles with Nicole. They tie up again, and Isla puts Nicole in a corner now. Isla returns the pats, then backs off. They circle again, and Isla gets the wristlock. Nicole throws her down by her hair, then runs. Isla trips her then double stomps her! Then an ax kick to front kick to another kick. Isla runs and drops double knees! Cover, TWO, but barely.
Nicole gets herself to a corner and Isla runs in. Nicole dodges and sends Isla to buckles. She sets Isla up on the second rope for a draping neckbreaker! Nicole drags Isla over for a cover, TWO, but she keeps her cool. She kicks Isla stiff in the back, then again. Isla gets to ropes, but Nicole brings her up to whip. Nicole picks Isla up for the pendulum backbreaker, then the backbreaker rack. She chops Isla right on the chest and it even stings her own hand. Isla fights back but Nicole clubs her down. Isla keeps fighting but Nicole rocks her with a right. Nicole puts Isla in a corner for chops, then runs back in. Isla dodges and rocks her back. Isla rolls and hits a running European Uppercut. She rolls and runs again, but into the big shoulder! Nicole covers, TWO!
Nicole seems surprised, but then she puts Isla on the ropes. She puts Isla’s arms back to kick her square in the chest! Nicole won’t let the spotlight be taken away from her as she shoves Isla back in. Cover, TWO! Nicole drags Isla up for elbows to the shoulder and neck. She then pulls back on Isla’s arms while fans rally up. Isla feeds off the energy and stands up, but Nicole knees her in the ribs. Nicole kicks a leg out, then eggs Isla on. Isla throws a forearm but Nicole gives a kick. Nicole keeps trash talking but Isla fires off more forearms. Isla boots and kicks away on Nicole. She runs and knees Nicole in the face!
Fans fire up with the Modern Day Witch as she goes to whip. Nicole holds ropes, so Isla boots her and saido suplexes! Isla roundhouses then fisherman’s to the Perfect Plex! TWO! Isla grows frustrated while fans rally up. Isla drags Nicole up and whips. Nicole reverses but Isla holds ropes. Isla boots but Nicole catches and counters with a back elbow. Nicole goes to suplex but Isla fights out to throw a forearm, then an Olympic Slam! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally up while Isla formulates a plan. Isla drags Nicole up in a waistlock, but Nicole resists the lift. Isla clubs Nicole back and hits a knee trigger! She runs but into a clobbering clothesline! Nicole drags Isla around for the Lion’s Tamer! Isla taps, Nicole wins!
Winner: Nicole Matthews, by submission; advances to the second round
The versatile veteran wins with a shout out to Y2J and a smile on her face. Will she be able to show up Tegan Nox? Or will the Shiniest Wizard succeed where the Scottish Witch failed?
Io Shirai VS Xia Brookside!
This is the main event of tonight and of the entire first round! It pits the Genius of the Sky against the 19-year-old second-generation sweetheart. Io flies but hits hard, and takes much inspiration from Rey Mysterio. Io promises to prove women’s wrestling isn’t lesser than men’s, but 100% equal. She was the best in Japan, and Japan style is stronger, so if she does what she did there, she’ll definitely win. Meanwhile, the young English superstar had her father pave the way, but she’s built her skills up all by herself. Will the youngster’s heart be enough to surprise the ace of Stardom? Or will the inevitable happen as Shirai takes the first step to the very top?
The two shake hands and bow out of the utmost respect. But then the bell rings and Xia rushes Shirai! She fires forearm after forearm on the Stardom superstar, but Shirai reverses the whip. Xia comse back with a headscissor but Shirai handsprings through. Fans love “Io! Io!” already. Xia runs into a kick, then Shirai puts Xia into a corner hard. Shirai backs off to run back in for a big back elbow. She stands Xia up for forearms, then sits her down with a stiff shot. Shirai stomps Xia then grinds in both boots. She backs off at three to give a swinging meteora! Shirai drags Xia to a cover, TWO! Xia survives and swings, but ends up right into a crossface!!
Shirai smiles while Xia endures. It isn’t a sinister, sadistic smile, Shirai is just having too much fun. Xia powers her way out and tries to lift Shirai. Shirai rolls Xia to give her a knee strike! Xia is down but Shirai waits for her to stand. Xia slowly rises, and manages to block the buzzsaw! Shirai comes back but Xia shoves her away to jawbreaker back. Xia runs and gives a facebuster! She fires up as she aims at Shirai now. She kicks but Shirai ducks to SHORYUKEN! Shirai fires herself up now as she aims at Xia. Shirai runs in for another meteora! And she’s not done there, either, she ends this with her BIG Moonsault! Cover, Shirai wins!
Winner: Io Shirai, by pinfall; advances to the second round
The Genius of the Sky wins fast and dominant, but that takes nothing away from the heart and determination of her young opponent. Xia has a long career ahead of her, the day will come when she is in the same spot Shirai is in tonight. As for Shirai, she shows respect and encouragement to Xia as she helps her up to her feet. They shake hands and bow again, but now Shirai moves on. Will she blaze a trail all the way to the end? Or will Zeuxis pull off a Sweet Sixteen shocker?
The first round is over, and I can see why these four matches were left for the end. These four were very competitive and highly anticipated matches, especially Io Shirai’s WWE debut. Evers VS Matsumoto was great for how both women were so even in strength. There was great story for how Evers really wanted to succeed where she failed last year, but unfortunately she was up against another veteran who was just a bit better. Evers is second generation, and apparently in a relationship with Kassius Ohno, so she already has her way in with WWE. Matsumoto will make for a great match-up with Toni Storm in round two, but I’d expect it’s to help boost Storm as she advances back to the quarterfinals.
Conti winning her match was great, because it really does make sense for the black belt to beat someone who only just got going in wrestling. At the same time, Elaban has a long career ahead of her, so she’ll definitely be somewhere someday as a sort of nerdier Bayley Face. Nicole Matthews wins because she, too, is a veteran, and Isla Dawn always has NXT UK to fall back on. Plus, Matthews will surely serve a similar role as Matsumoto, she’ll put the younger Tegan Nox over to establish Nox as an Elite Eight. Shirai VS Brookside was pretty good for being so quick and so obvious. As I said, Xia has a long road ahead of her, one loss to such a big name doesn’t hurt her. Shirai will surely win against Zeuxis and make her way to the finals at Evolution, it’s just logical.
My Score: 8.6/10