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    Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    The Smark Henry Mae Young Classic 2018 Review (9/19/18): Good Friends, Better Enemies

    Another set of eight women battled each other for the coveted title of Mae Young Classic winner. After last week's letdown, we are treated with banger matches this week that featured two recurring rivalries in Toni Storm vs. Jinny, and Mia Yim vs. Allysin Kay.

    Let's stop the dilly-dallying and let's get to it!

    Kaitlyn def. Kavita Devi

    Miyann: It has an amazing backstory: Kaitlyn’s fighting for a second chance while Kavita’s fighting for her spot in WWE -- it was mentioned that Kavita’s matches got millions of views in India owing to her large fanbase there. I didn’t like the match itself because it was obvious that they were waiting for each other, but it was okay since they were both able to show that they are powerful!

    KP: It felt a little weird to put Kaitlyn against Kavita, who isn’t who you’d call a ring general, but perhaps putting these two together is a good thing since they meet in the middle in terms of pure wrestling. As you might have guessed, this wasn’t the most satisfying match ever -- then again, I don’t think it was never meant to be.

    A little part of me that can rise above my tendency for coldness can admit that Kaitlyn winning vindicated teen me’s admiration of her in the dying embers of the Divas era. It spoke to the part of me that felt horrible when Kaitlyn was thrown in that weird angle with AJ and Big E, that tiny voice that said, "She and AJ could feud without throwing this weird complication in the mix." I guess, much like the Serena Deeb angle from last year, this is where Ms. Bonin’s appeal came from.

    Ardelle: Like other women in the tournament, it’s my first time seeing Kaitlyn inside a WWE ring, but thanks to the video clips and GIFs I saw on Twitter, I was kind of introduced to her powerhouse style.

    Speaking of powerhouses, it was great that she was paired with a fellow powerhouse Kavita Devi. Unlike Kaitlyn, I’ve seen her in last year’s MYC. Still very green inside the ring, but it looks like she is working hard because she was still able to hang with someone experienced like Kaitlyn.

    I loved the intensity they brought in this match. Everything felt impactful! Kaitlyn’s patented spear looked beautiful indeed and was worthy of the hype from her fans. I cannot wait for her showing in round two.

    Toni Storm def. Jinny

    Miyann: Jinny’s character is like a breath of fresh air. If we will go back to the WWE Divas era or the Attitude era, her character would have had a weak moveset and she would have probably had squash matches. But her character and in-ring work are far from that and she broke the stereotype a few years ago anyway. She’s very sophisticated and she looks like a modern independent woman.

    I felt that this match was made to introduce Jinny to the fans now that she’s back and ready for action. Jinny signed with the WWE and was part of a fatal four-way match to determine the #1 contender to the NXT Women's Championship on day two of the United Kingdom Championship Tournament, but she got injured during the match. She made a lot of big moves and Toni did her part well in this match.

    Toni Storm winning this match is not a surprise for me especially now that Io Shirai is part of the tournament.

    It was an amazing match too, hope they put this on episode two instead to save that episode.

    KP: The hype from British Twitterverse and vets about Jinny was validated in her performance against Storm. Her sudden suplexes and slick submissions showed a cunning that contrasted greatly with Storm’s moxy. Jinny may not have advanced, but if she had, I would not have opposed it.

    While it felt a little cheapening for Storm to come back so easily after Jinny’s steady offense, it didn’t take anything from the match in the end.

    More than their history in PROGRESS, and knowing how each other worked, is the fact that they are both world-class talents who will only get more flawless with time.

    (side note: tangina ang tito at tita ng commentary table nung simula ng match nila, AH LAVHEET, LET’S GO TITA MEGAN)

    Ardelle: I liked this match a lot! I knew that Toni Storm and Jinny had some history, and yeah, they’re great in the ring together! I’m happy to see Toni back in the MYC because she’s one of my favorites and she’s always been good. But Jinny, man. The hype is real so please indulge me as I fill this space talking about her.

    I like the contrast of her fashionista gimmick and her ruthless style in the ring. One would think that she’d be a wuss, because all she’ll care about is her gear and how she most certainly won’t like her nails to get broken (nothing against that, broken nails are a pain in the arse), but it’s actually the opposite. She isn’t afraid to beat her opponents to a pulp, just like how she dominated Toni in the start of the match. And she made Toni look great too!

    While I liked this so much, maybe the only thing I didn’t like is they could have emphasized the fact that they had so much history together. Maybe this is just me being nitpicky. I’ve always liked Toni Storm, but in this match, Jinny has gained a new fan in myself.

    Xia Li def. Karen Q

    Miyann: I’ve seen this match thrice. It was a short match and it didn’t have much in the way of big moves, but it is historical. Seeing two Chinese women in the ring makes me feel glad. I’m so overwhelmed that I’m about to cry, again. Karen Q and Xia Lim brought China’s culture in the match and just like what Renee Young said, they were breaking the stereotype for Chinese women.

    The match began with a show of respect from both of the competitors followed up with kung fu gestures that made the crowd pop. To be honest, it made me feel like I’m about to see a fight in a Chinese movie. I liked the part of the match where, after a quick exchange of strikes, they seemed to bow to each other again, only for Karen Q to break it up with a slap.

    Xia’s hard-hitting kicks are gold and Karen Q’s frog splash looked really good. I really hope to see more of Karen Q.

    Last note: THIGH PARTY.

    KP: Holy SHIEETT. So THIS is Karen Q!

    What made this match a treat was the fact that Li and Q just knew what to do with each other and had a lot of damn good fun with it. It’s a nice, light snack before the main course, and it wouldn’t be amiss if they decide to serve more servings of this in the future.

    Ardelle: How good was this match too?? Xia Li had a great showing last year despite getting squashed by Mercedes Martinez, so I’m glad that she’s finally getting into the second round! Both share the same Chinese background, so the mutual show of respect between them before they started kicking each other’s butts was a feel-good moment that will surely resonate with young Asian girls. I get that WWE is trying their best to represent all ethnicity, but there’s still so much to do. This match was a big step towards that.

    This was a well-paced match and I truly didn’t know who was going to the next round! Xia’s kicks looked and sounded PAINFUL, while Karen Q (who I also watched for the first time) was just flawless in the ring. I cannot wait to see more of these two women, especially Xia. I hope to see her (or maybe both of them?) on NXT TV soon!

    Mia Yim def. Allysin Kay

    Miyann: Mia Yim’s change in attitude is very evident in this match. I like how she changed from the sweet Mia we’ve seen last year to the a smarter Mia oozing with personality this year. Note that while she changed to be a better version of herself last year, but her principles are still the same. Among all of the MYC 2018 participants who joined last year, Yim and Ripley's new personalities show their desire to win this year’s competition.

    WHAT AN AWESOME MATCH. It has been said that Yim and Kay have history, and that came into play during their match. The match started the way it should. You can feel their hatred for each other from the first time they’ve touched until the referee held Yim’s hand. The match will not require the viewers to know their history, because it made them feel their history (if this makes sense).

    Mia Yim elevated her finisher, Sole Food to end the match. I like that she did it that way because it showed how much she knows Kay and her capability.

    My favorite match last year is Jazzy Gabert vs. Abbey Laith, this year it’s Mia Yim vs. Allysin Kay.

    KP: Oh my god finally Blasian Mia is here. HI MUMSHIE!

    This is another case of people’s wrestling histories only serving as a side dish to their main course of pure, raw experience. I feel like Yim got the beat of wrestling in this particular stage and adjusted her presentation accordingly, making full use of her knowledge of Kay to create a great dish for the first course.

    (as of this article’s writing, the potato has forgotten to eat lunch and dinner because they are very dumb)

    But it takes two to tango, and Kay is a formidable dance partner. Both have tremendous striking power. My only complaint about this match was that Shelton Benjamin wasn’t anywhere around for Mia to bully SMH Shelty.

    Ardelle: If there is one word to describe this, I guess it would be “damn” because I kept on saying “damn” all throughout the match! Just like Jinny and Toni Storm, they both made each other look good and I now understand why they have their #FrienemiesWorldTour.

    Mia and AK’s animosity felt real too, because each move was just meaner than the last. These women were out for blood and they want to end their world tour right there and then. I also liked how Mia’s injured hand played in the match. It was established early on that submissions were part of her strategy, but with her hand badly hurt, she has to think of some other way to beat AK. And that “way” was the Sole Food on the top turnbuckle.

    Great stuff from both women. Here’s hoping this isn’t the last #FrienemiesWorldTour because I definitely want to see more from them!

    Final thoughts

    Miyann: Definitely the best episode in round one! I cannot wait for round two to begin!


    … Oh, and this was easily the best episode of MYC so far. Solid undercard, great main event, all matches served their purpose and lived up to the premise set-up by their pre-match vignettes. Good Shit.

    Ardelle: This episode definitely made up for last week’s disappointment. Top to bottom this episode had consistently good wrestling from all women. I’m excited for the next week’s episode again!

    Round one is coming to a close, but more importantly, as KP mentioned, WE ARE GOING TO SEE THE WWE NETWORK DEBUT OF IO SHIRAI!

    So what match/es did you like from this episode? Still rooting for your MYC favorite? Sound us off in the comments section below!

    Photo from WWE.com
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Mae Young Classic 2018 Review (9/19/18): Good Friends, Better Enemies Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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