The SmarK Rant for the Mae Young Classic – S01E07
Time for the quarterfinals! I mean, even if I hadn’t been spoiled on the finals already weeks ago, it would still be 100% obvious what they’re going to be, but TOURNAMENTS ARE AWESOME and how they get there is half the fun.
Taped from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are JR & Lita
Abbey Laith v. Mercedes Martinez
They fight over a test of strength and then Mercedes goes to work with forearms in the corner until Abbey rolls her up for two. Abbey gets some armdrags and a spinkick for two, but Mercedes beats her up in the corner some more to take over. Abbey fires back with chops and a bicycle kick for two, and she throws kicks in the corner, but Mercedes throws her down and stomps her before following up with some nice sneering and running boots in the corner. They head to the apron and Abbey boots her to the floor, then follows with a dive almost went sideways on her. Back in, Abbey gets two, but Mercedes dumps her. Abbey comes back in with a german suplex for two and she tries the Alligator Clutch, but Mercedes rolls through it and hits the fisherman’s buster to finish at 8:56 and advance to the semifinals. They were working really hard here and this was good stuff. ***
Candice LaRae v. Shayna Baszler
Shayna refuses the handshake and just clobbers her to start, but misses a charge and lands on the floor. Candice follows with a suicide dive that turns into a tornado DDT on the ramp, and back in for two. LaRae spins into the Octopus and then takes her down into a crossface, but Shayna rolls her over and escapes with a sideslam. LaRae goes up and Baszler blocks, but Candice tries her neckbreaker, only to fall into the choke out of nowhere at 3:10. Good finish, but they needed more buildup to get there. They’re doing a really effective job of making Baszler look like a complete killer here. Match was pretty exciting while it lasted, which wasn’t long. **1/2 Johnny Wrestling goes to help revive his wife, so Baszler heads over and literally kicks her when she’s down. Extra points for that one.
Toni Storm v. Piper Niven
They fight for the test of strength to start and Niven holds her down for two, which gives us the spot where Storm bridges up with Niven on top, and then they both bridge up before sharing a handshake. They trade wristlock reversals and Storm shows off another bridge, so Niven splashes her for two in a funny spot. Piper with the avalanche, but a blind charge misses. Storm tries a rollup and Niven counters with a cross body for two and gets another splash for two. Senton gets two. Piper goes for the Driver, but Storm escapes with a backstabber, then dodges a cannonball and hits her own. She tries a suplex and Piper powers out and into the Michinoku Driver for two, which is actually the first time someone has kicked out of a finisher in this tournament. Which makes it MUCH more effective when it happens. Piper keeps coming with the cannonball and goes up (after some soul searching), but Storm pops up and suplexes her down from the ropes, then goes up herself and finishes with a top rope legdrop at 7:34. Felt like it needed a bigger finisher, but this had a really good storyline with the friends being reluctant to hurt each other. Piper outworking everyone was really the story of the tournament thus far, and I hope she gets a shot after this. ***1/4
Meanwhile, the Horsewomen have a confrontation in the parking lot in a WWE.com exclusive. Which again, how can that be exclusive if it’s on TV? Anyway, Dave Meltzer thinks it’s leading to an eight-woman tag match at Survivor Series, which makes sense.
Kairi Sane v. Dakota Kai
Kai wisely stays away to start, but Sane catches her with a blockbuster and throws chops in the corner. Sane goes up and Kai slams her off for two. Sane comes back with a spear and dropkicks Kai into the ropes, and a double stomp gets two. Kai fires back with a running boot in the corner for two, and they slug it out in the corner before Sane lands in the Tree of Woe. Kai misses the double stomp, however, and Sane comes off with the flying forearm for two. Kai comes back with a high kick for two, but misses a running boot and Sane hits her with the whiplash slam and finishes with the FLYING ELBOW at 7:38. Pretty disappointing, actually. **1/4
This was a really strong show, although I don’t think the Sane match delivered this time. Definitely check out Storm v. Niven, though, and the short but fun Baszler match.