No real preamble for this, but we should start to see the brackets for the second round start to shape up after this episode.
Deonna Purrazzo def. Priscilla Kelly
Zeuxis def. Aerial Monroe
Kacy Catanzaro def. Reina Gonzalez
Mercedes Martinez def. Ashley Rayne
Deonna Purrazzo vs Priscilla Kelly
Purrazzo was an alternate last year and didn’t get to compete. I should probably mention it as both Purrazzo and commentary reminded us several times. Priscilla Kelly mentioned that she likes to play mind games with her opponent.
The first of those mind games came when she slapped away Purrazzo’s offer of a handshake.
Good match to start things off. Kelly managed to keep up with Purrazzo’s technical ability, and both women put on an impressive showing. But Purrazzo was clearly the more polished performer and was not going to be denied now she’s made it into the tournament.
Deonna Purrazzo tapped Priscilla Kelly out with an armbar. It will be exceedingly interesting to see where Kelly is if she’s in next year’s tournament.
Aerial Monroe vs Zeuxis
Aerial Monroe is very charismatic, referred to as ‘big swole’. She’s ex-air force and the promo package said to look out for her ground game, and her flying. Her husband, Cedric Alexander, and their little one were shown watching her from the crowd.
Zeuxis is here to make a mark. She said the reality of strong style beings now. To be fair, she’s not the only one in the competition making similar claims.
Monroe got things going after the initial lockup, with a threat to punch her opponent in the mouth if she touched her hair again. Zeuxis immediately went for her hair again and off they went. Actually, Zeuxis went repeatedly back to Monroe’s hair throughout the match.
Zeuxis had a clear power advantage and Monroe struggled to deal with it for a lot of the match. Monroe had her opportunities as well, but her swag and chat might have worked against her with an opponent who just wanted to get the job done.
Zeuxis got the pin from a Spanish Fly.
Not sure they needed to show Monroe’s child crying after the match, but there you go.
Reina Gonzalez vs Kacy Catanzaro
This was the David and Goliath match of the night, there is a full foot height difference between the two. Catanzaro came from American Ninja Warrior and she’s a newbie to wrestling. Reina Gonzales has a couple of years’ experience and was in last year’s tournament.
At the start, it looked like it would be little more than a squash match for Gonzales. That didn’t last though. Catanzaro is super-quick and agile and bounced around all over the ring. She was clever enough to use her opponent’s momentum against her on several occasions and it was enough to tip the balance in her favour.
Kacy Catanzaro got the pin from a roll-up. Gonzales looked distraught. It took the ref a lot of convincing to get her to leave the ring, then she came back. She shook Catanzaro’s hand and pulled her towards her. It could have gone either way, but Gonzales hoisted Catanzaro up onto her shoulder for her to celebrate.
Ashley Rayne vs Mercedes Martinez
This was the battle of the experienced veterans. Ashley Rayne (Madison Rayne) has been wrestling for 13 years, Mercedes Martinez for 17. Martinez was eliminated from last year’s tournament by finalist, Shayna Baszler.
Martinez’s delayed vertical suplex on Rayne was seriously impressive (for both of them).
Ashley Rayne was outpowered here, and Martinez had the best of the offence early going. Rayne had a good chance from a crossbody off the top turnbuckle, but didn’t capitalise and went for a guillotine drop instead. The delay may well have cost her because Martinez kicked out.
Mercedes Martinez got the pin with a fisherman-buster.
They kept showing WWE superstars in the crowd but it was obvious that they were moving the superstars around to be on camera because Izzy and JJ Williams were behind most of them. It’s not important, it’s just weird.
It’s a struggle to find enough to say about most of the matches, they’re just very short. That’s fine if you’re already familiar with the competitors, but most of us are trying to get a feel for what at least of few of them are about. There’s only so much you can tell from a sub-five-minute match.
Two second round matches have now been decided. Kacy Catanzaro will face Rhea Ripley and Mercedes Martinez will take on Meiko Satomura.