Cleat Geeks

The Mae Young Classic Finals Review

This past Tuesday night, the finals of the Mae Young Classic aired live on the WWE Network following SmackDown Live. The preceding rounds of the tournament were taped in mid-July and uploaded on the WWE Network over a month later; the first four episodes hit the Network on August 28, while the following four episodes were added on Labor Day, September 4. After nearly two months, it all came down to just two women: Japanese sensation Kairi Sane and UFC veteran Shayna Baszler.

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Kairi defeated Tessa Blanchard and Bianca BelAir (in that order) in the first two rounds of the tournament, eliminated Dakota Kai in the quarterfinals, and defeated Toni Storm in the semifinals. Shayna Baszler defeated Zeda and Mia Yim (in that order) in the first two rounds of the tournament, and ousted Candice LeRae and Mercedes Martinez in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. The final match between Kairi and Shayna was a classic, IMO. Both women gave terrific performances, and quite honestly, Shayna’s doubters had to have been proven wrong following her performance. In the end, it was Kairi Sane’s top rope elbow drop that gave her the victory and crowned her as the winner of the inaugural Mae Young Classic. Following her victory, Kairi was presented with the MYC trophy and a bouquet of roses, as she was congratulated by Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Sara Amato.

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The finals was a star-studded event, as Hall of Famers Beth Phoenix and Alundra Blayze were in attendance, along with Michelle McCool, WWE’s first ever Divas Champion. Of course, Ronda Rousey and her fellow UFC Horsewomen were in the crowd as well, as were three of WWE’s Horsewomen (Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Bayley) and now-former NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. Also in attendance were four other MYC combatants: Mercedes Martinez, Candice LeRae, Toni Storm, and Piper Niven. Lilian Garcia was brought back to serve as the ring announcer for the finals; her first time ring announcing in over a year.

Speaking of the NXT Women’s Championship, it was announced after the finals aired that as a result of winning the tournament, Kairi Sane will compete for the vacant title at NXT Takeover: Houston on November 18. After Asuka vacated the title during the August 24 NXT tapings, it was originally rumored that the title itself would be the prize for the winner of the tournament. Kairi’s opponent(s) at Takeover have yet to be announced, but there should most likely be a further announcement regarding the title match in the coming weeks.

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I enjoyed the finals, though I thought it would be longer and feature some of the eliminated women competing. Though, we were treated to a six-woman tag team match on Monday during the WWE Network’s Road to the Finals special, which featured Jazzy Gabert, Tessa Blanchard, and Kay Lee Ray competing against Marti Belle, Santana Garrett, and Sarah Logan. On that edition, Beth Phoenix was on commentary with Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuinness.

The Mae Young Classic was the best thing to happen in wrestling in a long time! All nine episodes are up on demand on the Network for those who want to relive all of the action!

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