As has become the routine, we start things off with a video package narrated by Mauro that highlights the road the eight quarter finalists have taken to get to this point before throwing it to JR and Lita at Full Sail. They run down the matches that will take place tonight and then we head to the ring for ring introductions as the action gets underway.
Match 1: Abbey Laith vs. Mercedes Martinez
They shake hands and the match begins with a test of strength. Martinez kicks away from the test of strength and uses her size to toy with Laith for a bit before getting her in a headlock. Laith manages to escape only to get the shit slapped out of her by Martinez.
The crowd is pretty solidly behind Abbey Laith and are chanting, “Princess Abbey!”
Martinez lays in some heavy forearm strikes and then unloads on Laith with kicks to keep her down. Laith manages to duck one and roll Martinez up for a near fall that she follows up with a jawbreaker.
Laith hits a bunch of armdrags and then unloads on Martinez with chops and forearms in the corner. Martinez fires back with chops of her own as she sells the damage done to her shoulder in her last match. Laith returns with more chops and then drops Martinez with a pump kick that scores a near fall.
She goes for more kicks in the corner and tries for a monkey flip but gets shut down by Martinez who proceeds to stomp the fuck out of her. Martinez then hits a running forearm, a kick, and finally a basement dropkick in the corner.
They fight to the apron where Martinez tries for a suplex only to get kicked to the floor by Laith. Laith then goes up top and connects with a crossbody from the top turnbuckle out to the floor.
Both women are down and the ref begins the ten count. Laith manages to recover first and rolls Martinez back in for a cover. Martinez manages to kick out again. Laith tries for the Alligator Clutch but gets sent to the floor by Martinez.
Martinez looks to bring Laith in the hard way, but Laith counters the suplex, floats over and hits a German suplex that earns her a near fall. She goes for the Alligator Clutch, but Martinez counters out of it and hits a big boot. She then hurks Laith up and nails her with the fisherman’s buster to pick up the win and move on to the semi-finals.
Winner: Mercedes Martinez
This was Mercedes Martinez’ best showing so far, but I still would have preferred having Abbey Laith go through to the semi-finals. That being said, Laith looked good in defeat, earning herself a pretty solid underdog gimmick over the course of the tournament by going toe to toe with bigger, stronger opponents. [**¾]
We are treated to a video package about Shayna Baszler and Candice LeRae. Shayna Baszler, for those of you not keeping track at home, is a badass MMA chick who wants to wreck people’s shit. Candice LeRae is a smiling, tiny blonde woman who is married to Johnny Gargano.
Match 2: Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae
Johnny Gargano’s in the crowd again to support his wife. True love y’all!
Baszler refuses the handshake in the beginning, turning her back on LeRae. Baszler attacks at the bell and lays LeRae out with a knee strike. She half-heartedly kicks at Candice as she tries to get back to her feet and then goes for a charging kick but misses. LeRae knocks her down to the floor and then hits a suicide dive that she transitions into a tornado DDT on the steel ramp. The crowd goes absolutely bananas.
She rolls Baszler back in and covers but Baszler kicks out at two. LeRae then locks on the Octopus Hold, but Baszler starts powering out of it so LeRae transitions into the Gargano Escape in the center of the ring. Baszler’s in trouble and fights toward the ring. Candice gets her foot on the bottom rope and pushes off, rolling back to the center of the ring. This doesn’t work out all that well for her since it allows Baszler to get back to her feet and wreck Candice LeRae’s shit with a side slam.
Candice fights back, stomping on Baszler before heading up top. Baszler is back to her feet and heads up after her looking for a superplex. They battle and amazingly Candice gets the better of the exchange. She goes for Ms. LeRae’s Wild Ride, but Baszler counters into the rear naked choke in mid-air and Candice taps the second they hit the mat.
The bell rings but Baszler refuses to break the hold. JR is going Attitude Era apeshit at the ref, “Pull her damn arms away ref!” Candice LeRae is apparently unconscious when Baszler finally releases the hold and celebrates in the center of the ring as trainers and Johnny Gargano check on Candice. Crazy old school heat on Baszler. Before she leaves the ring she kicks Candice in the leg one last time and Johnny Gargano looks like he’s about to punch her out. Awesome!
Winner: Shayna Baszler
Holy fuck was this great. The story they told in the ring was great with Baszler being overconfident and getting taken to school by the plucky babyface, Candice LeRae before ultimately hitting her with her finisher as a counter and then showing additional aggression after the match.
It was fantastic old school booking that worked so well because Candice LeRae is so likable and Shayna Baszler is legitimately a badass. I want to see someone triumph over her after this match, which I think is the reason this match was booked the way that it was. [****]
Meanwhile in the Mae Young Classic Command Center…
Charly Caruso gives us a rundown of the updated brackets and tells us that the Finals will be held live in Las Vegas on September 12th and air at 10pm on the WWE Network. What about 205 Live Charly?! What about 205 Live?!
She doesn’t tell us what will happen with 205 Live on that night, instead she does the intro for a video package about Piper Niven and Toni Storm.
Piper Niven and Toni Storm kicked some ass to get to these here quarter finals. This handy video package helpfully reminds us of that fact.
Match 3: Piper Niven vs. Toni Storm
They show each other respect and shake hands as the match gets underway. Piper tries to force Storm into the corner, but before she can do the lighthearted punch to the jaw that she usually does in the early going, Storm does it to her. This is pretty great.
They head back to the center of the ring and Storm goes for a test of strength. It ends badly for her. Niven goes for some pin attempts but Storm keeps managing to kick out of them. She bridges out of one only for Niven to jump onto her. Storm manages to monkey flip her but Piper holds on. Both women have their shoulders down so the ref counts and they double bridge which leads to a handshake and great applause from the audience.
Storm picks up the pace and they work some more counters. Eventually Storm bridges out of a wristlock, but gets too cute about it and gets hit with a massive splash from Niven who scores a near fall. Niven follows up with an avalanche in the corner. She goes for another but Storm manages to leap over the second one. She goes for an O’Connor roll, but Piper avoids it and takes her out with a running crossbody that earns her another near fall.
Piper headbutts Storm and hits another diving crossbody for another near fall and then nails her with a senton for yet another two count.
Storm hits a desperation Code Breaker that leads to a double down. Storm gets fired up and goes for a flying ass attack in the corner when Niven sidesteps. Niven goes for a cannonball, but this time it’s Storm who moves out of the way. She quickly rushes back to the corner and finally connects with the flying ass attack.
Storm tries to follow up with a German suplex, but Niven escapes it and nails her with the Michinoku Driver. Somehow Storm manages to get her shoulder up at two and ninety-eight one hundredths. Niven nails her with a cannonball and then instead of covering goes up for the Vader Bomb.
Storm gets back to her feet and catches her with a German suplex out of the corner. She then heads up top and connects with a top rope leg drop to advance to the semi-finals.
After the match Storm and Niven hug and cry together. I swear to Christ I just have something in my eye right now.
Winner: Toni Storm
Another really solid match and a good cool down after the ruthless aggression of the previous match. They worked a fun back and forth match that was playful and lighthearted for long stretches without becoming an outright comedy match.
Toni Storm looked better here than she had in either of her previous matches while Piper Niven continued to be one of the standout competitors in this tournament. Of all the outside people competing I’d be happiest if she got signed to WWE. [***½]
Meanwhile in the Parking Lot at Some Point in Time…
Ronda Rousey, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke are being interviewed by a WWE camera man. They talk about how great Baszler is and how she’s always wanted to be in the WWE. Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte show up and smirk at them and Rousey drops her purse and kind of gets in their face and tells them to name a time and a place for a rumble. The WWE women just smirk some more and walk off.
Kairi Sane and Dakota Kai wrestled some people to get to the quarter-finals of the Mae Young Classic. We are shown a video package that highlights those battles.
Match 4: Kairi Sane vs. Dakota Kai
They start off with a methodical opening stretch with Sane trying to take Kai down with a headlock. Kai escapes and both women swing and miss and have a stand off. Sane unleashes on Kai with a choke and then connects a running blockbuster.
She connects with some chops but gets cut off by Kai with a kick as Sane heads up top. Kai fires back with kicks and a running knee strike that earns her a two count. Kai stays in control, working Sane over with kicks and earning another two count. Sane comes back with a desperation spear that takes Dakota Kai out of her boots.
Sane follows up with chops and a dropkick and then nails Kai with a double stomp. She goes for a cover, but Kai manages to kick out at two. Kai makes a comeback, trips Sane up and nails Sane with a yakuza kick for another two count.
Kairi Sane cuts Dakota Kai off and goes after the knee before knocking Kai loopy with a spinning backfist. Sane heads up top and pulls Kai up top from the apron, but Kai fights back and knocks Sane down into the Tree of Woe. Kai goes for the double stomp into Kairi’s tits, but Kairi avoids it and Kai seems to tweak her knee when she lands. Sane then comes off the top with a flying forearm and covers for two. She then follows up with a sliding forearm that scores another near fall.
Kai nails Sane with a kick to the dome that drops her. She heads across the ring and gets fired up. She charges in for a Helluva Kick, but misses and catches her leg on the top rope, further fucking over her already injured knee.
Sane nails her with an Alabama slam and then heads up top. It’s time for an elbow drop! Kairi leaps up high into the air and lands on Kai’ heart with her elbow drop, killing her to advance to the semi-finals.
After the match Kairi Sane has good sportsmanship and hugs Kai. She is so likable. I want her to get revenge on Shayna Baszler for what she did to Candice Wrestling!
Winner: Kairi Sane
Kairi Sane and Dakota Kai put on a really solid match that was probably hampered a bit by the fact that they are both babyfaces. Dakota Kai, I guess ended up kind of being the heel by virtue of not being Kairi Sane and wrestling aggressively as opposed to having the sort of match Toni Storm did with Piper Niven where they clearly don’t want to injure one another.
All in all it was a good match between two good workers who were given enough time to wrestle. [***½]
Some solid wrestling action here and a couple of great storyline things with the Four Horsewomen of MMA challenging the Four Horsewomen of WWE and Shayna Baszler wrecking house on Candice LeRae and earning the ire of Johnny Wrestling. The semi-finals should be pretty fantastic as should the finals next week.