The Mae Young Classic comes to an end with the final we all expected. The MMA badass vs the Pirate Princess, in another world this match would be ridiculous. However, for all WWE’s faults, they’ve done a good job of presenting this tournament as a serious proposition, with every wrestler in it to win it. It’s the easiest of things to do, but it makes it all feel so much more important. One final thing before we get to the stars, I’ve (rightly) been harsh on JR and Lita all tournament – and while JR was still awful – Lita wasn’t too bad during this match, so that’s something at least. Let’s dish out those stars.
Kairi Sane defeated Shayna Bazler
This was not the match I expected from these two. Bazler’s best performances have been when her opponent has done the moving for her. Both Yim and LeRae threw themselves around and made her look fantastic. I assumed this would be the same. Instead, Bazler dominated for long stretches and turned this into her style of match.
Which was fine, but it did mean that we started slow and plodding. Bazler works like an MMA fighter with lots of ground work and strikes. I’m cool with that, in fact, it’s a style of wrestling I like, but she lacks the flair to make it truly riveting. Strangely, she almost seems to be holding back. There’s not enough oomph to her actions. On the flip side, Sane throws everything into her moves and considering her size she has some mean looking strikes.
It’s that which allowed Sane to focus on the ribs of Bazler and make it convincing. She adapted her offence to attack the weakness and it not only makes her look smart, but it gives Bazler an out. Without the rib injury, she might have been able to make Sane tap when she got the choke on and the outcome of the match would have been very different.
That wasn’t the case, however, and that beautiful elbow came crashing down. The final moments on the top rope were the best of the match as it still felt like it could go either way. In the end, though, the right wrestler won. Shayna Bazler has the potential to be a star, but Kari Sane already is.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
As there was only one match, there’s not much to say here. I will however once again complain about Triple H and his flowers. I sincerely hope that one day a woman smacks him around the head with them. I also wasn’t such a fan of the focus on the red carpet. I don’t remember them doing anything like that with the Cruiserweight Classic and it took away from the serious tournament vibe. Show people in the crowd if you must (although maybe try to let JR know they are), but don’t turn this into a glitz and glamour event. It’s a fight.
Despite all that, the final – and the tournament as a whole – was a success. It never reached the in-ring quality of the Cruiserweight Classic, but I don’t think that was possible. There were too many Performance Centre rookie and short matches. What it did do was introduce a group of talented wrestlers to the world and whether they all continue in WWE or elsewhere, that can never be a bad thing.