Here begins round two of the 2018 Mae Young Classic. And what a second round it’s going to be.
Toni Storm def. Hiroyo Matsumoto
Rhea Ripley def. Kacy Catanzaro
Lacey Lane def. Taynara Conti
Meiko Satomura def. Mercedes Martinez
Toni Storm vs Hiroyo Matsumoto
Matches like this make me wish it wasn’t an elimination situation. It was possibly unlucky for Matsumoto that she ended up with Storm as her round two opponent. There can’t be too many of the competitors who have faced her before and know her as well as Storm does.
Prior knowledge usually makes for better matches though, so we all win there, and this was a good one. It was a very back and forth kind of match, with neither establishing an ongoing dominance. It was no less entertaining for it though.
Toni Storm was locked in a submission for quite some time before she got to the bottom rope, but even after that, a double-knees from the corner wouldn’t keep her down for longer than two. She came back with a headbutt and suplex and earned a two count on Matsumoto.
Hiroyo Matsumoto hit her Rock Drop finisher, and Storm got a foot on the ropes. After Storm got a two from a roll up, Matsumoto hit her with a couple of clotheslines. As she went for a third, Storm ducked, rolled her up, flipped into a jackknife cover, and got the pin.
Toni Storm looked completely shocked that it worked and Matsumoto was incensed.
Kacy Catanzaro vs Rhea Ripley
So, Kacy Catanzaro is fated to just fight the tallest women in the competition, I guess. In round one she had a David versus Goliath type match, and she gives up several inches in height to Ripley as well. As with her round one opponent, Ripley refused the pre-match handshake.
Small, fast, athletic rookie versus larger, more powerful, more experienced wrestler, is a trope we all know well. And the story of the match was largely Catanzaro trying to find increasingly creative ways to not get caught by anything Ripley was throwing. It’s not a bad strategy, but it was only partially successful.
Catanzaro nearly got lucky with a roll-up, like she did in the first round, but that was never going to work twice. Ripley made her pay for it with a huge dropkick.
Ripley’s massively extended delayed suplex was impressive, but not enough to keep Catanzaro down, and Catanzaro managed to get out of her submission attempt as well.
Catanzaro’s best chance was with an around the world DDT, but she wasn’t able to capitalise and Ripley rolled out of the ring. Kacy Catanzaro responded by launching herself over the top rope at her. She had a good period after that, except for a slip off the top rope.
Sometimes bigger and more powerful wins out in the end. Rhea Ripley kicked Catanzaro in the stomach then slammed her into the mat and got the pin.
Kacy Catanzaro won something though, she got a very grudging handshake from Ripley after the match.
Lacey Lane vs Taynara Conti
This is the second match in a row for Conti where, despite being less than two years into her wrestling career, she still has more experience than her opponent.
A short match compared to the others. It was fine there just isn’t much to say about it. There was a lot of potential on display, but the experience difference was evident in places, which is almost certainly why the match was kept so short. Such is the nature of a tournament like this one.
Lacey Lane hit her crucifix bomb and got the pin on Taynara Conti. Conti looked devastated.
Meiko Satomura vs Mercedes Martinez
They did a good job of making this match look like it hurt, a lot, all the way through. Actually, they did a damned good job of all of it, this was a great match by anyone’s standards. If you only pick one to watch, make it this one.
Mercedes Martinez’ long legs saved her from an armbar. She just about got a foot on the ropes after a lot of twisting and turning. Satomura showed her displeasure with a barrage of brutal looking kicks and a frogsplash. Somehow, it only got two.
Martinez had gone for the fisherman buster a few times in the match. When she hit it and Satomura kicked out, they got a standing ovation and Martinez looked incredulous.
Meiko Satomura powered out of a submission attempt and hit a spinning kick but couldn’t capitalise. She gathered herself and hit her Scorpion Rising finisher, and Mercedes Martinez stayed down.
After the match there was a tremendous show of respect between the two women, hugs and applause and congratulations, all of it well deserved.
Our first Quarter Finalists are Toni Storm, Rhea Ripley, Lacey Lane, and Meiko Satomura. Our first quarter final match is set as well – Lacey Lane versus Meiko Satomura – and I have a feeling the rookie’s luck is about to run out.