The quarterfinals are now set.
The remaining second round matches of the Mae Young Classic took place last night and we now know the final four women moving on to the elite eight. A lot went down, so let’s get into it!
Second Round: Io Shirai vs. Zeuxis
The opening contest of the night featured the Genius of the Sky, Io Shirai, and the masked luchadora, Zeuxis.
Both women took different paths to get here; while Zeuxis upset Aerial Monroe in the first round, Shirai made quick work of 19-year old Xia Brookside.
Zeuxis tried to control the momentum for most of the match, but she couldn’t keep Shirai down for very long. After battling back several times, Shirai finally put her opponent away with her patented moonsault. With the win, she will go on to face the winner of Deonna Purrazzo and Xia Li.
I don’t think there was any doubt who the winner was going to be, but luckily they didn’t have Zeuxis go down as easily as Brookside. There was more back and forth action, with Shirai taking the role as the underdog.
Shirai was able to show off more of her offense than in her first round match, but there were a few sloppy moments. If she wouldn’t have gotten her hands up in time during her suicide dive to the outside, she would have landed face first onto the ramp. Then she either overshot her moonsault or Zeuxis moved too close; either way, it did not look like she hit it flush.
This was a battle of two women who are considered two of the top competitors from their respective countries. While it wasn’t the best match, it was still a decent way to kick off the night.
Second Round: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Xia Li
Up next was Deonna Purrazzo taking on Xia Li.
Purrazzo advanced to the second round after beating Priscilla Kelly, while Li defeated Karen Q.
In a back and forth match that saw technical wrestling clash with deadly strikes, it was Purrazzo who emerged victorious after submitting Li with a vicious double arm bar. The Virtuosa now has a meeting with Shirai in the quarterfinals.
For someone whose first match was in last year’s tournament, Li has greatly improved since then. She gave Purrazzo a run for her money and didn’t go down without a fight. Her martial arts background has helped her develop her move set into one of the more dangerous ones in the company. If she does make it to NXT TV at some point, it will be interesting to see how they use her.
Once again, Purrazzo showed why she has a reputation for being one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. It’s fascinating to watch how methodical she is inside the ring, targeting the arm and softening it up so she can break it later on. The way she modified her finisher into a double arm bar made it look even more painful and added that extra touch that was needed to put Li away.
It was one of the better matches of the night and showcased each women’s styles very well. Now we’ll have to wait and see if Purrazzo can keep her momentum going and ground Shirai.
Second Round: Tegan Nox vs. Nicole Matthews
After that it was the fan-favorite, Tegan Nox, facing off against Nicole Matthews.
Nox advanced by taking down Zatara in the first round, while Matthews tapped out Isla Dawn.
Even though Matthews once again used her experience and heelish tactics to gain the upper hand, Nox caught her with the Shining Wizard to pick up the win. She now has a quarterfinal showdown with Rhea Ripley.
This one seemed like the shortest contest of the night, and at times was a little disjointed. Regardless, I felt like Matthews had a better showing than in her first round match. I was still rooting for her to lose—not that I was still salty about her eliminating Dawn.
One point that intrigued me was when Michael Cole noted that Matthews was tired of hearing about Nox’s injured knee. I honestly agreed with her, but not in the same way. By now we’ve heard plenty of Nox and her recovery from her ACL tear last year. I kind of want them to move away from that going forward and just let Nox’s talent speak for itself. No one ever wants to be defined by past setbacks.
The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard continues to shine (pun intended!) in this tournament. It’s easy to see why she is known as one of the best wrestlers in the world. But I won’t lie, I’m not looking forward to her next match for obvious reasons.
Second Round: Mia Yim vs. Kaitlyn
Finishing the night off was a clash of the comeback stories as Mia Yim battled Kaitlyn.
To get here, Yim eliminated frenemy Allysin Kay and Kaitlyn beat Kavita Devi.
In an intense and grueling match that pushed each woman to their limits, Yim picked up the win after submitting her opponent with a knee bar. She now moves on to face Toni Storm in the quarterfinals.
This was another classic that ended the night on a high note. The storytelling in this one was fantastic, with both targeting a specific weak point throughout the match. Kaitlyn took advantage of Yim’s hand that was injured during her match with Kay, while Yim focused on Kaitlyn’s knee.
Neither one of them held anything back, trading blow for blow and splitting the crowd right down the middle. As noted by Cole, it looks like Yim has learned a thing or two from her roommates, Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke. Her style this year is more focused on holds and strikes as opposed to high-flying.
Sadly, Kaitlyn’s comeback story has come to an end, but she showed that she still has what it takes to step between those ropes. Maybe we’ll see her at a certain pay-per-view in a few weeks? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, we get to see Yim take on Storm in the quarterfinals. Get ready for a match that could possibly steal the show.