TAPED 7/13/17, RELEASED 8/28/17

Watch: WWE Network

As I continue my quest to dominate the front page of Voices of Wrestling, it is time for another review of the Mae Young Classic! For those that haven’t been following along, I am the owner and operator of the #1 Joshi website in the world, Joshi City. But I watch other wrestling as well, and so far I have been enjoying the Mae Young Classic as it has introduced me to new wrestlers like Rhea Ripley. Check out my reviews of Episode #1 and Episode #2 if you need to catch up, I also go a bit more into the structure of the tournament in my first review as well.

Standard Disclaimer: I won’t mention the commentary of Jim Ross and Lita throughout since I don’t like sounding like a broken record, but it ranges from average to dull. It didn’t take away from the action for me, but it didn’t enhance it either. If you are someone that is easily distracted by so-so commentary, it may be worse for you, I generally just tune it out and focus on the action itself.

Toni Storm def. Ayesha Raymond

This episode starts off with one of my favorite female wrestlers, Toni Storm! Toni is only 21 years old but you wouldn’t know from watching her, she is extremely polished and as far as I am concerned already better than 95% of the female wrestlers that WWE currently employs. So they really should hire her if they can. Ayesha Raymond is a British wrestler also known for her work in Japan, where she wrestled as Female Predator Amazon in both Stardom and W-1.

It’s a bad sign for a match when they botch the ending. It’s even worse then they don’t clip it out. Since Toni can’t use her finisher in the tournament (her finisher is a piledriver) I was curious to see what she would use instead, but we didn’t find out here since she won with an awkward cradle. Up to the ending it was a fairly decent back and forth match, and Toni looked great, but both were acting like heels at various times so it never really clicked. I’m looking forward to more of Toni Storm later in the tournament, but a pretty average match overall.

Dakota Kai def. Kavita Devi

Another one of my favorites is up next (I have a lot of favorites). Dakota Kai wrestled the bulk of her career as Evie, she has won championships in three different countries (including a tag title run in SHIMMER) and was signed by WWE earlier this year.

Kavita Devi is from the Performance Center and this is her first pro wrestling match, she had a background in powerlifting which they mention several times to try to justify how a wrestler making their debut is in the tournament at all.

On one hand, I don’t want to be critical of someone in their debut match. On the other hand, I wasn’t the one that booked the tournament. This was really basic, but it almost had to be considering Kavita’s lack of experience. She does have some power, the match just lacked variety, which is unusual in a four minute match. Dakota looked solid working as the underdog, she is really good at that, but the match just didn’t have a ton of substance. I am sure Dakota will have more of a chance to show off in the second round, not much to see here.

Bianca Belair def. Sage Beckett

Of all the matches on this episode, this was the only one where I am generally unfamiliar with both wrestlers. Like many of the wrestlers in the tournament, Bianca is a new wrestler that is currently training in the Performance Center. She has been wrestling on live events regularly since March however, so she does have more experience than Kavita (although just barely). Sage Beckett has more of a backstory, some may remember her as Rosie Lotta Love from TNA many years ago, but she has re-invented herself since then and signed a contract with WWE in the spring.

I imagine that Bianca winning would have to be considered an upset, since she has far less experience than Sage. A good back and forth match, both had a chance to show off a bit and they worked together well. Sage uses her hair as a weapon, which makes her stand out, and for someone so early in her career she shows a lot of promise. Not a must-see match by any means, but a good introduction for both wrestlers to a new audience.

Piper Niven def. Santana Garrett

It seems that WWE intentionally spaced out the matches so that each episode ends with a quality pairing, which was a smart idea.

Piper Niven is better known as Viper, a nine year veteran that has had success in the UK and in Japan. For the last year or so she has been tearing it up in Stardom, and currently she is 1/3rd of the trios champions in the promotion. Santana Garrett also had success in Stardom and has wrestled in just about every major promotion in the United States. Cagematch tells me that Santana has over 20 title reigns in her career, so to say she is accomplished would be an understatement. Surprisingly, this is the first time in their careers that Piper and Santana have ever faced off against each other.

I’m on record as not being the biggest fan of Santana’s run in Stardom, however she is really good at the WWE match style and I am surprised they have not signed her yet. This was a solid match, they worked together well and even though it wasn’t long they used the time effectively. It was a fast paced match that stayed interesting from bell to bell, and the crowd was really into it. The power vs. speed/technique isn’t a new story in wrestling but it’s still a compelling one when done correctly, which they did here. This continues the theme from the last two shows, with the main event being the clear best match. If you are being selective on which matches you are watching, this is the one you’ll want to see from this episode.

Final Thoughts

Of the episodes so far, I think this event had the least going for it. Toni Storm and Dakota are great, but they were both in really short matches against opponents not on their level. The only surprise standout for me was Bianca Belair, even though she is early in her career she showed more composure and ability than some others in the tournament that have a lot more experience. The main event is definitely worth a watch as it was very entertaining, but none of the other matches were particularly memorable.