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    Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    The Smark Henry Mae Young Classic 2018 Review (9/12/18): *Airhorn Noises*

    Your girls and our ladies are back for episode 2 of the 2018 Mae Young Classic! And uh... let's just say we didn't mince our words for this.

    Let's get right to it!

    Deonna Purrazzo def. Priscilla Kelly

    KP: Kelly was given enough time to show off her admirably strong strikes and burgeoning mat wrestling skills, all the while emphasizing her tough-as-nails personality. Her dragon sleeper might have been no match for Purrazzo’s fujiwara or transitions, but what she managed to show should be enough for some to seek out her matches.

    Purrazzo lived up to expectations, with her strong ground game and handle on sequences. I’d like to see her endurance tested in her next match, see if she can push her considerable reserves to the limit in a hard sprint with whoever she’ll face in Round 2.

    Ardelle: To be honest, I haven’t seen Deonna’s matches outside of NXT yet, but I have heard enough good things from fans so I was definitely looking forward to seeing her. She showed us her prolific mat wrestling skills, like her back hand spring to dropkick and the Russian leg sweep to a Fujiwara armbar (which looked really painful!). Kelly was nasty on Deonna with her hard hitting clotheslines and a brutal-looking dragon sleeper.

    Priscilla oozed a lot more character than Deonna though, with really great facials and charisma. I can definitely see why people kept on comparing her to Paige because they have a lot of similarities. Commentary kept on mentioning that she’s only 21 years old, and it helped drive down the point that she’s a hungry young competitor looking to prove herself. Deonna, on the other hand, missed last year’s tournament by a fingernail by being an alternate, so this was hers to take home, to begin with. A good match, but it lacked something notable, I feel.

    Miyann: The best match of episode two! I like that they gave Deonna the “alternate” story. Her hunger and desire to win the competition shone throughout the match! Priscilla’s character work was also on point. Someone from the commentary mentioned that she looks like Paige, well yes, physically, but Priscilla’s character is way different and more solid than hers. I love how Deonna sells. I can’t wait to see more from these two!

    Zeuxis def. Aerial Monroe

    KP: Quick, fun, and dirty, these ladies had attitudes and moves to match. Zeuxis and Monroe made up for their lack of polish with a steady pace and statement moves to keep the audience’s energy up. I like the fact that Zeuxis and Monroe were both cocky, and that Zeuxis just stepped up a bit more and manifested that confidence by throwing Monroe around by her hair.

    As per Young, Monroe channeled the manic energy she had by making good on her promise to pop Zeuxis some for the latter’s sin against her hair. Barring that weird fall that made Cole go “welp” on-air, Monroe fought back against Zeuxis enough to make me think that she would make the comeback.

    And that, I think, is what I’m looking for in Round 1 matches. Will I see enough of either competitor to be interested in their progress? Have either made me want to root for them strongly? Have they, so to speak, shooketh me to the core that I don’t know who will win?

    Zeuxis and Monroe gets a strong no for question number 1 and 2, but gets a strong “eeyup” for number 3. (Actually, I am very pupset that Monroe’s daughter cried ok I’M--)

    Ardelle: This felt… weird to watch. It wasn’t very bad, but some things just felt off. For starters, Zeuxis and Aerial actually shook hands before the bell rang, so I was expecting a friendly competition vibe from their match. I was wrong, apparently. Aerial threatened Zeuxis that she’s going to “pop [her] in the mouth” if she tries to touch her hair again. Ah, so maybe Aerial’s the cocky heel here, I thought, but nope. Zeuxis tormented Aerial with more hair-based offense, just like a typical heel.

    The first few minutes were hard to watch because they didn’t seem to mesh well. Zeuxis’ strikes didn’t connect and neither did some of Aerial’s. They tried to pick up from a rocky start, though, but it wasn’t enough.

    This didn’t meet my expectations, quite frankly. But if there were good takeaways from this match, those would be Zeuxis’ beautiful top rope Spanish fly, and learning about Aerial Monroe. I want more of the Big Swole, please.

    Miyann: This is a watch between a veteran and a rookie. Monroe’s cockiness vs Zeuxis’ smarty-wrestling-pants. I cannot say more because that's just it.

    Kacy Catanzaro def. Reina Gonzalez

    KP: Miyann’s going to talk about the size issues, Ardelle’s gonna talk about how Gonzalez improved, so I’m gonna talk about how nice my pillow was when it cradled me to sleep throughout the match.

    (This is the real reason why I wasn’t able to submit my part earlier, you two, I’m sorry, I love you)

    … Anyway, sorry about that. But I don’t exactly know what to say? Gonzalez’s performance this time around showed that the NXT house show route can actually work wonders for greenhorns. Catanzaro is… athletic, alright, and uh… she won! That’s gotta be worth something, right?

    (God, IDK what the heck they’re gonna do to the NXT house show kids. If Gonzalez can’t win against someone half her skill and half her height, what the heck is she gonna do next?)

    (The more I rewatch this, the more I get pissed off, brb cooling down)

    Ardelle: This match was basically the Reina Gonzalez Show. She’s improved leaps and bounds since her last MYC outing. Her loss this year kind of confused and worried me because man, I wonder what their plans will be for her? I was indifferent to Reina at first, but now I’m looking forward to seeing her on NXT TV after her outing.

    While she showed a lot of promise in this match, people (including me) tuned in to see if “that girl from American Ninja Warrior” was any good. Turns out, Kacy was good! As someone who has zero experience in *air quotes* sports entertainment, she played her role well as the underdog in this match. I love how she’s a blank slate at this point because I’m now looking forward to how she’s going to be utilized in NXT.

    Despite my feelings earlier about the result, I think the right person won in Kacy, because basing from the brackets, she’ll be facing Rhea Ripley next. And they seem to have big plans for Rhea. With Kacy’s underdog persona, she’ll be the perfect foil for the Aussie powerhouse.

    As for the match, ah well… let’s just say this could have been a lot better.

    Miyann: This is the second episode in a row that Goliath lost to David. What’s the point? This match frustrates the hell out of me. Reina Gonzalez deserves better treatment. It was indeed her show, but what’s next for her? Is she going to be the big girl next to the smaller one? The next Nia Jax to an Alexa Bliss? Kacy Catanzaro’s style is interesting, especially because of her background. I would love to see her in a match where she can showcase what she had learned. I just can't, this episode.

    Mercedes Martinez def. Ashley Rayne


    Jesus did you see that modified brainbuster, Rayne be fuckin’ dead.

    Except Rayne did not expire, because she is legitimately someone who pulled herself up through OVW, Impact, and currently, a marriage with Josh “Why HIM, You Could Do So Much Better” Matthews, to hone her ring smarts enough to keep up with a much slower Martinez.

    And yes, Martinez is slower this time around, but I do believe that the two full-time jobs commentary mentioned she had has something to do with that. I can barely get up from bed with a job where I don’t get my ass kicked, what more with two regular jobs and a job where I have to drop people on their heads?

    Besides, this is just the first round. Rayne was never a technical master, for all the belts she’s won, so Martinez taking her time with her made sense. This was, in the end, a perfunctory match that delivered Martinez her ticket to the next round.


    Ardelle: Man, I wanted to like this match, really, but after last week’s main event with Meiko Satomura and Killer Kelly, this paled in comparison, frankly speaking. Their pairing was an interesting one, though. Both are veterans in the game with combined 31 years (!!) in the business. They also have different motivations going in. Ashley is living her dream of wrestling in a WWE ring, while Mercedes has been here; now she needs to win.

    It showed in their wrestling, too. Mercedes outpowered Ashley majority in the match, but Ashley matched it with an explosion of neckbreakers, chops, enzuigiris, and a beautiful flying crossbody! It was a good match, but this just didn’t click to me.

    But on to more important things: THE WAIT FOR MERCEDES VS. MEIKO BEGINS NOW.


    Miyann: Where is Tita Mercy from last year’s MYC? *cries*. I don’t like the change of attitude! She was hungrier last year!

    Not gonna lie, this is disappointing. I didn’t like that she used some sort of modified brainbuster in the early part of their match. Rayne’s character is a bit similar to Santana Garrett last year, but less bubbly. It was an okay match.

    Final thoughts

    KP: Definitely the black sheep of the pack here, ‘cause I didn’t find this round as unbearable as my fellow reviewers did. Perhaps that’s because I’ve learned how to manage my expectations, adjusted them to the Round 1 level. Outside the meta-reasoning of “dude, they’re filming these with like, less than 24 hours between tapings,” I shouldn’t really expect blowouts right out of the gate.

    If anyone’s as furious as Miyann or Ardelle, I can understand that too. There was a clear skill gap in almost all of the matches and a lot of room for improvement, but things never got so dire that there was blatant apathy on the crowd’s part, so...

    I’m trying my best to avoid spoilers, as I did last year, so I don’t know what the next matches are, but I hope the next Round 1 episode pans out better than this did.

    Ardelle: Let’s just get to it: I was very excited after last week's episode because it was promising, but this one was a dud. I guess it's also a fault on my part because I can't help but compare this year's MYC to last year, so that's on me. Hopefully, the remaining shows for round 1 will more than make up for this.

    Miyann: What a disappointing episode we have here. I wish we can see a better card with interesting stories and matches next week. I also wish that WWE will be more creative next year. I hate feeling that I’m seeing last year’s characters this year.

    How was this week's episode for you? What were this episode's bright points for you? Sound off in the comments below!

    Photo from WWE
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Mae Young Classic 2018 Review (9/12/18): *Airhorn Noises* Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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