The first round of the second annual Mae Young Classic concluded last Wednesday and will continue on the WWE Network on October 3rd at 9/8 c. If you missed out on any night’s of action, you can catch up with The Chairshot’s Steven Mitchell’s reports from each night. If you’re already caught up, here are my current favorites to win after the first round matches:
— Mae Young Classic (@MaeYoungClassic) September 27, 2018
When I first saw Tegan wrestle back in 2016, she came off as an immediate star. She was the ideal, young babyface character that I knew was going to have a bright future. She had to pull out of last year’s tournament due to an injury but she’s been working NXT house shows since then so they obviously really like her. It also says a lot when Michael Cole endorses you as his pick to win the whole thing. If they keep driving home the storyline of her injured knee then each victory will feel that much more momentous.
Meiko’s match with Killer Kelly was probably my favorite of the first round. Both women appeared to be legitimate threats to the rest of the field but Satomura prevailed. From a kayfabe standpoint, Meiko may end up being the toughest competitor to eliminate from the tournament. The only problem is that she’s a veteran of the business and has essentially done it all. Judging from the previous two UK tournaments and last year’s Mae Young Classic, the finals of these tournaments are designed to elevate younger stars so we can invest in them for years to come.
Martinez checks all of the boxes at first glance. She’s experienced, has the look, and connects with the fans. Mercedes received one of the biggest ovations during her entrance into the first round. She made it to the semifinals in last year’s tournament so that gives her validation going into the second round. Commentary also mentioned how Martinez works several jobs outside of wrestling which makes her even more relatable to the fans. Unfortunately, she’s a veteran like Satomura which doesn’t bode well for her. Meiko also just so happens to be her opponent in round two.
Coming into this year’s tournament, Io Shirai had the most hype surrounding her name. She showed exactly why after making quick work of Xia Brookside in the first round. Many have considered her one of the best overall wrestlers in the world and was my early pick to win. As arguably the most complete talent in the field, it’s hard to imagine her coming up anywhere shorter than the finals. Io has already signed with NXT so even if she doesn’t win, she’ll be one of the flagship stars for the company in years to come.
Similar to Mercedes Martinez, Toni made it all the way to the semifinals in last year’s tournament before being eliminated. She was already a fan favorite but her match against Shayna Baszler earlier this summer is what really sold me on her as an incredible wrestler. Like Pete Dunne, Toni is someone that already seems to have reached the pinnacle of her craft at a very young age. And we’ve seen the incredible title reign Pete Dunne has been on since last year. They appear to feel the same way about her because she comes across as a superstar every time she’s on screen. I was hoping Jinny would be able to get a solid run in this tournament but knew that wasn’t going to happen when I saw that she drew Toni Storm in the first round. Just as I said about Io Shirai, if she manages to fall short, there’s still a place for her to lead the next generation of female wrestlers.