It’s time for the semi-finals of the Mae Young Classic! Two of the four women remaining will go on to face one another live in Las Vegas on September 12th. The other two will go back home…or maybe get offered NXT contracts. I don’t know.
Either way after the opening Mauro package, theme song, and introductions from JR and Lita we get a video package about Mercedes Martinez and Shayna Baszler.
Mercedes Martinez apparently taught Baszler how to wrestle and they were in a stable together outside of WWE according to the footage from Shimmer that they show during this package. Baszler talks about respecting Martinez but promises to beat her in order to advance in the tournament.
Match 1: Mercedes Martinez vs. Shayna Baszler
For the first time in the tournament Baszler shakes hands with her opponent before the match begins. They are slow to start since they know each other pretty well and know well what the other is capable of.
Martinez is the first to throw caution to the wind and go all out, hitting Baszler with a series of strikes and chops. She then takes Baszler down and works her over with kicks. Martinez grounds her but Baszler manages to fight back to her feet.
She proceeds to unload on Martinez with a flurry of strikes that she follows up with a series of rolling gut wrench suplexes. She covers and earns a two count. Baszler is unrelenting and applies a heel hook that she transitions into a knee bar, but Martinez manages to escape.
Martinez gets Baszler in a Regal Stretch that keeps her grounded. Baszler fights back and then end up trading strikes with each other from their knees. Baszler gets angry and starts kicking Martinez in the legs and then goes for a suplex. Martinez manages to counter out of it and hit the fisherman’s buster, but she can’t cover right away. When she finally manages to make the cover Baszler is able to kick out at two.
Martinez hits a pair of Saito suplexes before mixing it up and nailing Baszler with a German suplex. She goes for another fisherman’s buster but Baszler fights it off and nails the Falcon Arrow before transitioning into the rear naked choke. Martinez tries to fight out of it, but ultimately taps out.
After the match Triple H, Sara Del Rey, and Stephanie McMahon show up to congratulate both women and raise Baszler’s hand. They present her with a bouquet of flowers she seems unimpressed with since she just wants to scream at the camera and make signs with her hands as heavy music plays.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
This was a really good match that told a good story and helped to build up Shayna Baszler as a character in WWE, showing that there are people she respects and thus making her selective handshaking even more disrespectful.
The in ring stuff was really good too. This was the best Martinez looked in the tournament as she and Baszler wrestled a really vicious and believable looking match. Baszler, for her part, showed off more versatility than she had in her earlier bouts, and I’m fine with her going through to the finals. [***½]
We see a video package about Toni Storm and Kairi Sane ahead of their semi-final match up. Both talk about winning everything. Kairi flat out declares, “I will win,” in English to end her interview.
Match 2: Toni Storm vs. Kairi Sane
They shake hands and the match begins with Sane trying to take Storm to the mat, but Storm using her size and power to stay in control. Meanwhile back in the locker room we see Baszler watching the match to scout out her opponent for the finals.
Storm works over the arm in the early going. Sane fires back with strikes and then heads up top. Storm avoids the top rope attack but gets nailed with a dropkick afterwards. She fights back and gets back in control, going back to work on the arm before laying in some uppercuts.
Sane fires back and goes for a charge but misses and ends up out on the floor. Storm goes out to the apron but Sane trips her up, causing her back to slam into the apron. Storm then tumbles out to the floor and Sane goes up to the top rope and hits a high cross during which she legit slammed her face into the metal entrance ramp. Bad times for Kairi Sane.
She pops back up and rolls Storm into the ring to make the cover but Storm kicks out at two. Sane then applies the Boston crab but Storm fights and makes her way to the ropes. Sane releases the hold at the count of one because of sportsmanship.
Sane goes for the sliding lariat but gets cut off by Storm and taken down with a German suplex. Storm follows up with an ass attack that connects but Sane pops back up and hits a desperation spear that leads to a double down.
They trade strikes in the center of the ring with neither woman getting the clear advantage. Eventually Sane fires up and nails Storm with a double axe handle. She heads up top but gets cut off by Storm who nails her with the Strong Zero. She covers, but Sane manages to kick out. Storm is utterly poleaxed that Sane was able to kick out.
Storm pulls Sane to her feet and blocks a backfist attempt from Sane before getting her in a crazy arm bar. Sane screams and struggles to fight out of it as Storm cranks on the arm and humps the air for added leverage. The crowd, apparently brought in via time travel from the Omni in 1983, is solidly behind Sane which fires her up, allowing her to escape the hold into a cradle.
Storm kicks out and then lays Sane out with a forearm smash. Storm heads up top and nails Storm in the lower back with a legdrop, but the legdrop took a lot out of Storm and she can’t capitalize.
Sane gets back to her feet, clutching her arm. She manages to drop Storm with a desperation backfist and then get her in a leg lock. She drops an elbow on Storm’s back and then heads up time. KAIRI SANE ELBOW DROP! She nails Storm in the back again, flips her over and covers. ONE! TWO! THREE! Kairi Sane will advance to the finals!
Again after the match Triple H, Sara Del Rey, and Stephanie McMahon come out to raise the winner’s hand and present her with a bouquet of flowers. Kairi seems more appreciative and gracious about this. She’s crying. Toni Storm is crying. They hug and talk to each other after the match. It sounded like Storm was speaking to her in Japanese. Sportsmanship happened. My Grinch heart grew three sizes.
Winner: Kairi Sane
Another fantastic match from Kairi. The spot with the arm submission was great because it gave Baszler a target to work over during their match and also proved that Kairi will not tap out in submission holds.
Storm also looked great here for someone so young. Her selling and in ring storytelling were fantastic and I would be glad to see her signed to the WWE. She’s great in the ring and has that “it factor” that is needed to be a huge star. [****]
After getting some replays from Kairi’s match and seeing an updated graphic of the bracket we go to the stage where Sane and Baszler face off with one another. Sane goes for a handshake, but Baszler’s all glowery and makes a fist, so Kairi also tries to be hard and menacing which is just utterly ridiculous.
She makes a tiny fist and puts it in Baszler’s face and them shows off her elbow which causes Baszler to smirk. These two will do battle on September 12th in Las Vegas, live on the WWE Network!
Though it was pretty obvious who was going on to the finals before this episode even took place I thought the matches here were solid, and in the case of the Storm vs. Sane match there were a couple spots where I believed that maybe Storm was going to pull off a massive upset (I managed to avoid spoilers so I didn’t know who was winning prior to watching this episode). So overall the show was a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out.