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Mae Young Classic recap & reactions (Sept. 5, 2018): It’s Meiko Time!

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Night one of the Mae Young Classic officially debuted last night (Sept.5) on the WWE Network. You can find all the match results on the live blog right here.

Night one featured four of the 16 round one matches featuring two of the most talked about wrestlers in the entire tournament - Tegan Nox and Meiko Satomura. While there were no real surprises or upsets (despite what Micheal Cole says) night one set the bar high for the rest of the first round.

Match One: Tegan Nox vs. Zatara

I’m going to be honest, this match is hard to watch. Not because the wrestling was bad - far from it - but because we know that Tegan Nox gets injured and is pulled from the tournament entirely. This of course is doubly upsetting considering that she was pulled last year from the MYC due to a similar injury.

I get it, injuries happen, but it’s hard to watch a person succeed and triumph over their past knowing full well that they are going to lose it all again. Especially since the WWE is building a comeback kid story with every video package. It’s just SAD!

Despite my despair, or perhaps because of it, the story they are telling with Nox made this match up with Zatara the perfect kick off match.

The match started slow with the competitors sliding in and out of various arm, wrist and collar and elbow lock ups but quickly picked up steam after Nox hit Zatara with a head scissors take over and a dropkick sending Zatara out of the ring. Undeterred Zatara, the wiley veteran, gained control of the match by brutally attacking Nox’s injured leg!

Zatara attacking Nox’s injury was perfect baby face fodder for Nox and Nox sold it brilliantly (probably because it actually hurt a bunch!). When Nox finally regained control of the match the crowd were solidly in her corner and the building erupted when she nailed Zatara with the Shiniest Wizard for the win.

Hook, line and sinker. Tegan Nox is the one everyone is rooting for!

* crying emoji *

Match Two: MJ Jenkins vs. Rhea Ripley

I didn’t like Rhea Ripley last year and I like her even less this year. I guess, it’s good she found a character other than “sporty teen”, but the darker side of Ripley feels like a bad 80’s teen movie knockoff. I was leaving room for the gimmick to grow on me, but then it was said on commentary that Ripley “treats the ring like a mosh pit” and I was out forever.

On the opposite side of the character spectrum I’ve seen MJ Jenkins wrestle one match and cut one interview and I’m 1,000 percent in on her! Her energy is infectious, her hair is amazing and her wrestling is really fun to watch.

Ripley controlled most of this match up, pushing Jenkins around the ring with a high and mighty attitude. Despite my misgivings regarding Ripley’s character her wrestling has only improved. In the middle of the match Ripley held Jenkins over her head in a delayed vertical suplex for an impressive amount of time and immediately applied a standing cobra twist after a failed pin attempt. She really let her nasty side show when she clawed and elbowed Jenkin’s ribs in the hold. I may not like it, but at least she’s committed to her character.

The crowd counts as Ripley holds Jenkins for an impressive amount of time!

Frustrated after another failed pin attempt Ripley continued to pummel Jenkins, but this time Jenkins had enough! Jenkins may have danced into the ring, but there was only so much of Ripley’s smack talk and disrespect she could take. She let out an ear piercing scream and nailed Ripley with an uppercut and a vicious spinning back fist. It was satisfying.

But just when it looked like Jenkins was firing up for the win, Ripley ducked a roundhouse kick and caught Jenkins with a beastly pump handle powerbomb. 1-2-3 the angsty teen makes her way to round two.

I was sad to see MJ Jenkins lose, but I look forward to seeking out her matches on the indies...and I suppose I’ll learn to like Ripley if she continues to be this impressive in the ring.

Match Three: Vanessa Kraven vs. Lacey Lane

This will come as no surprise, but one of my favorite wrestling promotions is Shimmer. I’ve got my logical picks to win the tournament, sure, but every competitor I’ve seen in Shimmer holds a special place in my heart. Vanessa Kraven is one of those people. I legit started a Mount Kraven chant in my living room much to the dismay of my cats.

Kraven is a powerhouse wrestler that has a huge size advantage over most other female wrestlers, but standing next to the diminutive Lacey Lane she looked like a beast! Micheal Cole was right, it may be a cliche, but this was a classic David and Goliath situation.

I’ve never seen Lacey Lane wrestle, but I’ve always heard good things. It’s appropriate that they showed Lio Rush in the crowd and cited him as one of her former opponents (yay intergender wrestling!), because she has a similar quality to Rush. She may be small but she is fast and she is clever!

Right out of the gate she attempted to get Kraven off her feet with a drop kick, but Kraven was just too strong. She threw a myriad of punches and kicks, but Kraven pushed her away with ease. Lane did manage to get Kraven outside of the ring with a little lucha action, but her cartwheel, superkick, diving cross body didn’t quite go her way and Kraven took control of the match.

Kraven tied Lane up in the ropes outside the ring and laid a formidable chop on her chest before pushing her back in the ring. But what Lane lacks in height she makes up for in heart and she wiggled out of Kraven’s back breaker.

Kraven threw every things she had at Lane, but couldn’t quite catch Lane to hit her finishing move, the chokeslam power-bomb. Using Kraven’s frustration against her Lane ducked a punch and hit Kraven with her crucifix pile-driver.

David once again beats Goliath.

Excited to see more of Lacey Lane, sad to see Kraven go, but so SO happy she was in the MYC.

Match Four: Killer Kelly vs. Meiko Satomura

The first three matches of were great, but we came here to watch Meiko Satomura wrestle in WWE! She’s the big BOSS that everyone else has to beat if they even want to look at the MYC trophy. Even my fiance - who has never seen Satomura - said “Wow. She looks scary!”

Heck yes she does!

I’ve only ever seen Killer Kelly wrestle in the UK Tournament earlier this year. I was impressed then, but didn’t know how well she would hold up in the ring with Satomura. I was more than pleasantly surprised. Just watching the match you could tell that Kelly was wrestling with everything she had and that she was excited to share the ring with such a legend. Her hunger came through with every move she hit.

Man, this match was good.

It began with the two of them trading kicks and testing the waters. My first thought was “Man, who tries to out kick Meiko?” but my second was “Good for Kelly!” I really liked that Kelly didn’t seem afraid of Satomura. She stayed in character the whole time and really brought the fight to Satomura. Even when Satomura practically busted her chest in with strong style kicks she never stopped fighting. It was never fear on her face, but ferocious determination.

We saw a vertical suplex earlier in the show from Ripley, but when Killer Kelly caught one of Satomura’s kicks and scooped her into a vertical position I was on the edge of my seat. Of course I thought Meiko was going to win, but Killer Kelly was taking control! What if she really did cause the upset of the tournament!

They continued to trade blows and eventually Satomura laid Kelly out and headed to the corner to prep for some kind of top rope move but she was cut off by Kelly who attempted a German suplex. Satomura blocked her, but Kelly answered the block with hanging dragon sleeper!

Kelly got Satomura down from the ropes and hit a beautiful fisherman suplex, but she couldn’t quite put Meiko away! Kelly tried to hit a german suplex again but was denied with a pele kick from Satomura.

Satomura rose to her feet with a look that said “I’m done playing games.” She picked Kelly up in a fireman’s carry and hit a devastating death valley driver. Kelly finally fell and Meiko Satomura heads into the second round!

My heart is still racing this match was so good!

Like I said before Killer Kelly really rose to the challenge and the two of them set the bar for the match to beat. My favorite part of the whole show was post match when Killer Kelly broke kayfabe and was clearly overwhelmed with what just happened.

Can you imagine sharing the ring with one of your idols? It was a beautiful moment and exactly what a tournament like this should be about.

Overall a really solid show - I can’t wait for next week!