Round 2 of the 2018 Mae Young Classic has wrapped up, with the eight matches in this set further narrowing down the list to crown the second winner of the tournament.
As I did with the first round, I made sure to catalog my thoughts while watching the different matches, so I present to you my following breakdown of what transpired during the second round:
Toni Storm defeated Hiroyo Matsumoto – The more I see of Toni Storm, the more I think it’s a waste to have her in NXT UK as she could be so much bigger than that. Granted, her inclusion there will be an asset for that brand, but since everything has been taped months in advance, by the time they eventually do air these episodes (which should have happened by now as we’re going to know who the UK women’s champion is at Evolution before they crown her) it’ll be a dud for the first X amount of weeks. Storm is great. Matsumoto has some interesting elements to her, but I still think she’s a one-off and won’t be back in WWE in any capacity following this tournament.
Rhea Ripley defeated Kacy Catanzaro – I’d like to see Catanzaro against someone who isn’t dramatically bigger than she is, because at some point, the size differential story grows old. She’s athletic, though. I’ll give her that. Crazy DDT! I remember her saying she didn’t think she could be a heel and so far, I’m getting that vibe, too. Kacy could be in Rey Mysterio territory eventually. Ripley, meanwhile, reminds me of Crush in a way, based off her size and look and how I get the feeling she’ll be a big person who isn’t ever THE big person. She definitely needed to win this match here, though. Good lord do I hate her theme music shrieking like that.
Lacey Lane defeated Taynara Conti – I just can’t help but think of Lacey Lane as the Elseworlds Earth 2 version of Ember Moon. Her vibe and her look and everything just feels the same to me in too many ways to make her feel original yet. She does still come off as a pet project they’ll be invested in, despite that. I’ve never once seen much in Taynara Conti and I continue to assess her as someone who looks better on paper than her true value is, when push comes to shove.
Meiko Satomura defeated Mercedes Martinez – I’ll beat the dream of Mercedes Martinez as much as I need to. She is far too good to be overlooked and I really wish she would have won this, if not the whole tournament, and she needs to be signed. Satomura’s theme strikes me like it should be the background music on a level of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game or something. I can’t help but feel like Satomura’s spot should have been given to a younger talent who is actually on the roster to help put them over more, rather than focusing on the whole veteran thing. Very good match here.
Io Shirai defeated Zeuxis – Still not at all a fan of Zeuxis. Pass. This was a match that also was so obvious what would go down, as Shirai was too big of a deal and there was no way someone like Zeuxis would beat her. Some matches had an element of unknown to them, but this wasn’t one of them. I mentioned before that Shirai didn’t do pretty much anything in her previous match, so I had no real means of evaluating her. Here, she showed me more. I’m still not on board with everyone going gaga over her, but I was able to see some good things here, at least. She’s crisp enough in the ring that I think she’ll be having some really good matches in the future, particularly against Toni Storm and company.
Deonna Purrazzo defeated Xia Li – This match was more of a showcase of Purrazzo, of course, as she was the winner, but Xia Li still surprised me. I mentioned in her first match that I feel like she’s the most improved from last year’s tournament and after watching this match, too, I think she’s looking quite ready to go on to the main NXT roster. That’s awesome. As far as Purrazzo, she definitely looks like she is ready to go to NXT and won’t have to wait months on the live event circuit to learn how to fit in. Both deserve praise. This match itself wasn’t something that I’ll remember next year or something, but I enjoyed it.
Tegan Nox defeated Nicole Matthews – Is Matthews supposed to be something special? If so, I don’t see it at all. I’m writing her off entirely. Nox, though, has so much promise and potential. Those injuries are the only things holding her back. Of course, the next round is where that comes into play, and I’m curious to see how they handle showing that and telling that story, as it should give us an indicator of how WWE views her future. As far as this particular match, forgettable enough that I don’t remember anything at all from it and it just happened. Not the best example of wowing people, but not every match can be five stars. This was fine enough.
Mia Yim defeated Kaitlyn – So glad that Mia Yim has signed, as she’s one of the most impressive of the bunch here and last year. Kaitlyn was a letdown. I was hoping she would have improved over her time away, but here, I feel like she maxed out her limit and it isn’t going to get any better than this. I attribute most of that to Yim, though, not Kaitlyn. I’m glad she was able to return and if she wants to take part in WWE in the future, she’s more than welcome, but I wish her “former star returns” spot would have gone to Victoria instead. Yay Yim!
But those are just my opinions. I want to know what YOU have to think. What were your thoughts on round 2 of the Mae Young Classic 2018 tournament? Drop them in the comments below!