POLLOCK'S REVIEW: Mae Young Classic feat. Toni Storm vs. Meiko Satomura, Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/10/25/pollocks-review-mae-young-classic-feat-toni-storm-vs-meiko-satomura-io-shirai-vs-rhea-ripley/

Mae Young Classic
Wednesday, October 24th

RESULTS: Toni Storm over Meiko Satomura, Io Shirai over Rhea Ripley

-The show was heavy on wrestling with only two matches to set up Sunday’s final between Toni Storm and Io Shirai.

-The match of the show was Storm and Meiko Satomura, who probably had the best match of the tournament and had the longest match at just over 13 minutes. Satomura brought up in her interview they the two wrestled to a draw in Japan and wanted to beat Storm. It was an easy story of the respected legend facing the young rising star and I felt it played out well. Once they got into the near falls, the audience was going wild as Satomura kicked out of Storm Zero, Storm kicked out of a Death Valley Driver and later a Scorpion kick. Storm hit Storm Zeron on her second attempt and won the match. Both women were crying, they bowed to each other and hugged with Michael Cole calling it “an all-time classic”, which may have been a stretch, but it was a great match.

-One thing to note is that the four women on this show had to come out and do these matches shortly after the injury to Tegan Nox. It’s a credit they were able to get the crowd back into their matches after such a depressing moment for the audience. When Toni Storm hit a suicide dive onto Meiko Satomura, Cole brought up that was how Nox injured herself and was a great callback from Cole and made the move feel more dangerous and risky.

-What I enjoyed most was the presentation after the match. They had a ceremony with Kairi Sane presenting flowers to each finalist, Paul Levesque came out to congratulate them and made the finals feel very important.

-The second match saw Io Shirai defeat Rhea Ripley with the running knees into the corner and moonsault off the top, that for whatever reason Cole continually calls an “Asai moonsault”, which means in his world Keiji Muto and Terry Funk have been hitting Asai moonsaults all these years. I didn’t think this match hit the dramatic level of the last match, but Shirai did great as the babyface fighting from underneath against the larger Ripley. I’ve been so impressed with Ripley in this tournament. She didn’t stand out to me in last year’s Mae Young Classic, but I think she broke through in this year’s tournament and has advanced significantly since last year. It was a great visual having Kairi Sane and Io Shirai together in the ring afterward with Sane presenting her with flowers.

-They ended the show with Shirai and Storm on the stage with Paul Levesque, Sara Amato, and Kairi Sane to plug the final on Sunday at Evolution.

-It was a very good episode to wrap the series and anticipate the final on Sunday. The WWE does tournaments very well in the Full Sail environment and this year’s felt a step above last year’s when it came to the match quality and stars for the NXT and NXT UK shows coming out of it.

I won’t get to mad at Cole as I think the match with Meiko and Toni was one of the best women’s matches I’ve seen on WWE. Certainly the best women’s match I’ve seen this year. Will it be 5 stars? Eh, I dunno. I wouldn’t be mad if it wound up being rated that high. Certainly 4 and a half at the least. The match between Shirai and Rhea was solid but unremarkable. With Toni being on the UK show it seems Io’s victory on Sunday is a given. But I expect it will still be a fantastic match if Toni is healthy. I know it probably won’t happen but I really hope Meiko is part of the womens battle royale on Evolution.