Time for more lady wrestling! This is the final episode of Round One Mae Young Classic matches, and after some sick highlight package and the opening video deal we head to Full Sail University where JR and Lita are standing by, ready to drop some mediocre commentary on us.
We are shown videos about Candice LeRae and Renee Michelle. Renee Michelle cuts a pretty standard issue arrogant heel promo about being the best during her interview. It’s a fine interview, but nothing really that special.
Candice LeRae’s video package has a bunch of footage of her wrestling elsewhere. I think this footage here is the first time I’ve seen her wrestle other women. Usually I see her and Joey Ryan’s dick involved in intergender shenanigans. She’s married to Johnny Gargano, but wants to win this tournament on her own or something.
Meanwhile in the Audience…
Johnny Gargano is in the crowd to be supportive of his wife.
Match 1: Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle
LeRae and Michelle work a pretty solid back and forth wrestling match in the early going. Both women went for early pins and did some fancy wrestling counters to get out of pinning predicaments. LeRae gets some “Candice Wrestling,” chants from the crowd early on.
LeRae nails Michelle with a jawbreaker and then hits a lucha arm drag. She follows up with a a dropkick that gets her a two count. She tries to keep Michelle grounded but gets cut off by Michelle with a facebuster that earns Renee Michelle a two count.
Michelle follows up with kicks but LeRae makes a comeback and nails her with a Code Breaker. She follows up with a clothesline and some elbows before hitting a neckbreaker that gets her a two count.
Michelle fights back and hits a Superman punch and then kips up and hits LeRae with a high kick that gets her a near fall. She goes up top for a moonsault but misses. LeRae capitalizes and hits a basement dropkick that earns her a near fall. They then head up to the middle rope and LeRae hits Miss LeRae’s Wild Ride (a neckbreaker off the middle rope) to pick up the win and advance in the tournament.
Winner: Candice LeRae
Another perfectly acceptable wrestling match. Candice LeRae looked good and was the right choice to have advance. Renee Michelle has a decent look and had some decent moves, but at times seemed a little unsure of what to do. [**⅓]
We get videos for Lacey Evans and Taynara Conti. Lacey Evans was a former United States Marine. While in the Marines she apparently part of the Marine equivalent to the SWAT team so she’s a legit badass. I’ve seen her a few times in NXT already so this was stuff that I knew.
Taynara Conti’s from Brazil and is a legit black-belt in judo. She apparently was in contention to join the Brazilian judo team for the Olympics. She kind of looks like Renee Young, but scary.
Match 2: Lacey Evans vs. Taynara Conti
Conti heels it up from the get go, talking shit to Evans. Evans tries to use her size to ground Conti but as the saying goes, “In judo, when the big man comes at the little man with all his force, it’s the wise little man who gets out of his way.” Conti does not do this, but she does judo the fuck out of Evans and chuck her around for awhile before scoring a near fall.
Conti gets the heat, as she nails Evans with knee strikes and judo throws her about at will. Eventually Evans cuts her off with a neckbreaker and puts her away with some insane reverse piledriver deal that looks dangerous as fuck.
Winner: Lacey Evans
Considering both women are more or less Performance Center rookies (Evans has had a couple short matches on TV) this was a lot better than I was expecting. There was a decent flow to the match and both women looked good in the ring. Conti’s a pretty good heel and Evans is a great babyface with an amazing look, though I’m kind of a sucker for weird throwback gimmicks in wrestling. [**¾]
We get videos about the two women competing next. Nicole Savoy has wrestled in Shimmer and probably elsewhere but the footage we get is from Shimmer. She’s apparently Taz: The Human Suplex Machine But a Woman. She likes to chuck ladies around.
Reina Gonzalez’ dad was a wrestler named “Desperado” Ricky Gonzalez. I do not know of him, but there’s footage of him wrestling in her video package so I guess he showed up somewhere that WWE owns the video library for (WCCW I’m guessing since he was apparently a Texas based guy). She talks about how her dad stopped wrestling in order to raise her so she’s doing this for her dad.
Match 3: Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez
Reina Gonzalez has an incredible getup. She’s wearing assless chaps and a Phantom of the Opera half-mask. I thought that was just stuff she was wearing during her entrance but I guess she’s wrestling in it.
Gonzalez uses her power early on to control Savoy and send her to the mat. Savoy fires up and pulls of a rana and then follows up with kicks, but Gonzalez cuts her off by grabbing Savoy’s hair and then nailing a clothesline.
Savoy goes for a knee bar, but Gonzalez manages to escape and then beats on her. Gonzalez hits a sidewalk slam and covers for two. Gonzalez gets Savoy in a Boston crab. Savoy rolls out of it but Gonzalez keeps control.
Savoy goes after Gonzalez arm and then applies the arm bar. Gonzalez taps out and Savoy advances.
Winner: Nicole Savoy
This was a weird match. I don’t know why they elected to hype up Savoy as Taz: The Human Suplex Machine but a Woman and then not have her use a single suplex in the match. She’s supposed to be one of the big name gets in this tournament but didn’t really impress me all that much in this match since she was on defense for the entire match before pulling out a desperation win.
Gonzalez is a big hoss of a woman, but seemed pretty inexperienced and at times seemed kind of at a loss as to what to do next. [*⅝]
Meanwhile in the Audience…
Nakamura’s here to watch his countryman, Kairi Sane compete and also to randomly go hard with the dude standing next to him in the crowd who seems to be just some random wrestling fan.
We get video of Kairi Sane and Tessa Blanchard. Tessa Blanchard is a third generation wrestler but wants to prove herself. She doesn’t want to get by on her surname alone. This would have been a better storyline for Rachel Evers since she’s not using her famous last name while Tessa Blanchard is. I don’t know.
Kairi Sane is adorable and also a pirate for some reason. She mostly spoke in Japanese during her promo thing which is fine since it was subtitled.
Match 4: Tessa Blanchard vs. Kairi Sane
Kairi is super over as she comes out to the ring. JR refers to her as a “dandy pirate,” and explains that she dresses that way because “she’s a yachtsperson…a yachtsman…she likes boats.”
They shake hands before the bell and once the match gets underway work at a slow pace, feeling each other out. The crowd, however, is hot as fuck from the get go. They have a couple tests of strength that prove they are pretty evenly matched before Tessa takes control and starts grappling. She hits some cheap shots, but Kairi Sane cuts her off with a running blockbuster that earns her a near fall.
Kairi goes for another running move, but Tessa follows after her and clubbers her in the back to stop her in her tracks and then hits Sane with a running neckbreaker for a two count of her own.
Tessa whips Kairi into the corner and charges in but Kairi gets her foot and Blanchard eats a big boot. Sane goes up to the middle ropes, but Blanchard nails her with a Codebreaker and covers, but Kairi kicks out at two.
Tessa is in control but Kairi nails her with a spear FROM OUTTA NOWHERE, but instead of going for the cover Kairi shouts, “LET’S GO!” and marches across the ring and then hits Blanchard with a sliding forearm in the corner.
Sane goes up top and teases her elbow drop, but Tessa isn’t in position so Sane leaps off and nails her with a flying forearm that would put AJ Styles to shame. She covers but Blanchard kicks out at two and Kairi goes for a Black Widow.
Blanchard gets her to the ropes and then chokes Sane out in the ropes. She hits a series of short-armed clotheslines and then follows up with a belly to back suplex that scores her a near fall.
Blanchard goes up top but gets cut off by Sane who heads up after her. Blanchard headbutts her to send her back to the mat and then nails her with a senton for a near fall. Blanchard is shocked that she didn’t get the three count. She goes for a hammerlock DDT and they then trade pin attempts.
Sane fires back with kicks and then hurks Blanchard up and wrecks her shit with an Alabama Slam. She heads up top and the crowd goes fucking apeshit. They want the elbow drop. They get the elbow drop!
Kairi Sane covers and picks up the win. After the match Kairi gets her hand raised and she starts to cry. Tessa Blanchard is also crying but she and Kairi hug and she raises Kairi’s hand in victory. I swear to Christ I’m not crying about this…
Winner: Kairi Sane
This was easily the best match of the first round. Both women looked great in the ring and worked a very good match with one another. Kairi is already a goddamn star and her elbow drop probably got the biggest pop of the entire first round. That being said, Tessa Blanchard is no slouch either and I would be happy if she signed with the WWE full time. [****]
Post-Match Wrap Up
We get a wrap up of the episode, plus the first round to hype up the upcoming second round. Princesa Sugehit, Serena Deeb, Shayna Baszler, Abbey Laith, Mercedes Martinez, Rachel Evers, Rhea Ripley, Mia Yim, Toni Storm, Dakota Kai, Bianca Belair, Piper Niven, Candice LeRae, Lacey Evans, and Kairi Sane will be going on to the second round which is due to be released this coming Monday.
This was probably the best episode of the first round. The Kairi Sane vs. Tessa Blanchard match was easily the best match of the first round and the Candice LeRae vs. Renee Michelle and Lacey Evens vs. Taynara Conti matches were both pretty solid. The commentary, while still not great, seems a bit better this episode.