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Mae Young Classic recap & reactions (Sept. 19, 2018): Not my first rodeo

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Keeping Wednesday wrestling exciting, round one of The Mae Young Classic continued last night (Sept. 19, 2018) on the WWE Network. You can find all the match results and a detailed play-by-play on the live blog here.

After last week’s slightly disappointing episode this week had to deliver. Two weak episodes in a row would have been devastating to this tournament, but luckily for us this week’s episode was exactly what the doctor ordered. All four matched delivered with excellent in ring story telling and fast paced wrestling. To quote Allysin Kay, these women “didn’t come to play!”

Each match-up featured a return to the MYC and a fresh face to the competition. These pairings played out nicely bringing some interesting dynamics to the matches. Sure, everyone has something to prove, but for four of these competitors they got to the mountain twice - who knows if it’ll happen a third time?

Tonight was about reclaiming their right to be there.

Kaitlyn vs. Kavita Devi

This was one of the matches I was most looking forward to. I’ll admit I don’t know a ton about Kaitlyn (she was around during my dark ages of wrestling), but I’m really into the idea of her. I love her look, I think her story is inspiring and I’m 100% on board with her “hybrid diva” gimmick. I really wanted her to be good!

Lucky for me she looked great in the ring. I didn’t detect any ring rust and she looked like she hadn’t missed a beat!

Not being familiar with her style previously doesn’t leave me with a lot of room to comment on how she has improved, but the women on commentary seemed impressed with her in ring ability. Beth even mentioned that she’s added whole new moves to her wrestling repertoire.

The only time I’ve seen Kavita Devi was at last year’s MYC. I liked her powerful style and I’m always on board for more diversity in wrestling, but ultimately she looked very green. While she still feels a little green to me, I could tell that she has been working her butt off because not only did she keep up with Kaitlyn, but she brought a much needed intensity to her in ring work.

Because of this intensity Kaitlyn was really forced to throw everything she had at her. Devi opened the match up with some powerhouse moves, but once Kaitlyn started to roll it was all over; you could feel how much she wanted this! Amidst the “You still got it chants” Kaitlyn hit a brutal spear and won the match.

Overall, a great opening match and I’m very excited to see her in round 2.

Toni Storm vs. Jinny

Toni Storm is becoming a fixture in the WWE women’s scene and I like it! She’s one of those performers that is always on and who brings out the very best in her opponents. I miss her tiny hat (I know I am in the minority), but other than that I was happy to see her back in the MYC. (Also happy to see the IIconics supporting her. AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!)

Jinny is a competitor that I’ve heard a lot about, but haven’t seen wrestle. After watching this match I understand what all the buzz is about. At first a was put off by the whole “fashion” thing, but was then immediately back on board when she said, “I don’t care about my opponent. I literally will go to any length to win the match.” That is some A+ trash talk right there.

I was also pleasantly surprised that her snooty, fashionista, high society gimmick was followed through on in her in ring work. A feel like a lot of times gimmicks like this can get lost in the ring, but Jinny’s character work was excellent and it paired nicely with Toni’s rockstar edge.

This match was really fun to watch. Jinny has such a nasty energy; every move feels like she actually wants to hurt the person because they aren’t worthy of her. Dragging Toni by her arm, stepping on her neck, smashing her face into the turnbuckle, trapping her in a reverse surfboard - brutal.

But sadly for Jinny it’s not Jinny time and Toni had her eye on the prize. Toni hit Jinny with a beautiful German suplex, followed by a hip attack in the corner. After a bit of struggling from Jinny, she finally got her positioned to hit her finisher, the Storm Zero.

Do you know what time it is? It’s Toni Time.

Karen Q vs. Xia Li

I love Karen Q! I was so happy to see her name on the list of MYC competitors. I’ve mostly seen her work as a comedy tag team (the Bones of Contention) so I was excited to see what see was going to bring to WWE as a solo act. I enjoyed Xia Li from last years MYC, but as I haven't seen her wrestle since I didn’t really know what to expect. This match was my wild card of the night.

I appreciated that the two competitors acknowledged that they were of the same heritage. There is so little diversity in WWE and that it was a nice moment to see these two women of Chinese decent show respect to each other with a bow. A really nice moment...before they started to kick each other real hard (and I mean REAL hard).

One thing I really enjoy about Karen’s wrestling (apart from being able to yell “You got it Karen!) is that she effortlessly blends her gymnastics background with her wrestling. I think people who have trained so much in gymnastics can some times feel like their doing that move and then the wrestling move, but she blends them all perfectly so they feel like one cohesive attack.

Oh man after watching this, I want to see Xia fight Meiko and I want them to kick each other to death! I could feel Xia’s kicks through my TV. They were so powerful - it sounded like she was caving in Karen’s body.

The pacing of this match was excellent. I truly didn’t know who was going to win (aside form me always betting on the signee). They traded dominance throughout and were great foils for each other. Ultimately, Karen missed a frog splash opening herself up to a massive corkscrew roundhouse kick from Xia.

Sad to see Karen go, but ready for more kicks!

Allysin Kay vs. Mia Yim

The #FrenemiesWorldTour has made it’s way to the WWE Network. To be honest, I wasn’t as hype for this match as some of the others. I am an avid follower of both Impact and Shimmer and I, frankly, have seen these two wrestle a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both - Allysin Kay in particular is one of my favs - but I just felt like I had seen it.

I hadn’t seen it. This was honestly not only the best match I’ve seen from the two of them, but it was some of the best wrestling I’ve ever seen from them.

The word that keeps coming to mind when I think about this match is “ferocious.” These two were out for blood. Each move felt more vicious than the last. A perfect example of this is right after Mia hit her hand on the metal ring post missing AK’s head, AK went right for her hand - immediately maximizing the pain. AK followed it up with a very classy fish hook and some casual face kicks. #PinkiesUP

Mia eventually got the drop on AK when she it a rather innovative Sole Food from the top rope to win the match.

This sadly means that AK is gone from the tournament, but that we get to see Kaitlyn vs. Mia in the second round.

Overall, this episode was great. Fast paced, hard hitting, no note worthy botches. Just banger matches and some great character work.

Next week we FINALLY get to see the premiere of Io Shirai when the bracket for round two is completed.