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Mae Young Classic Thread: Week One

I’m aiming to make this a weekly thread on the Mae Young Classic 2018; hopefully future installments will be posted closer to the actual air date (Thursdays probably since I should hopefully be able to bash them out in the office at work).

Bit of a mixed bag for the opening episode, as far as I thought. Here are a few thoughts I had while watching it:

*Michael Cole has no business being here. I could forgive Jim Ross last year since he’s actually good at the job, but when you have a piss poor announcer there’s really no justification putting him on a show celebrating women–leave Young and Phoenix to handle it, or bring in someone who knows what they’re doing if you have to have a male voice. The boy just can’t tell a story and relies on dryly reciting factoids and head-office spin like it’s meaningful.

*Match One: Not too impressed with Nox here. I just find it hard to consider that generic indie-babyface style to be particularly noteworthy. Just feels like watching the Badstreet Boys in the year 2000 again. The flip side to that is that Zatara really impressed me. I just love that old school Mick McManus/Jim Breaks mindset of focussing on a body part and she did it very creatively; the additional story layer of it being an old injury worked well for me too. Shame to see her go out so early.

*Match Two: Man, I’m high on Rhea Ripley here. She’s improved a lot since last year, and her size and look–that biker/rocker attire coupled with the height and increased muscle mass–just screams monster heel to me, and in a way that WWE haven’t used in a long long time. She would fill what seems like an obvious hole in their current roster. I wasn’t loving Jenkins in this match though; she seemed far too green for a seven-year pro. So many spots felt very telegraphed as she wasn’t really selling in reaction to things happening, just very obviously placing herself into blows or bumps before they happened.

*Match Three: Oh man, I dug Kraven here. Good use of power in a non-obvious way, not the lumbering kind of “big” that you usually see from, say, Awesome Kong or Nia Jax. That suplex into tree of woe sequence really impressed me, very innovative in all the right ways. Unfortunately I could say the opposite about Lane, whose offence really seemed predicated on having Kraven stand around waiting for it or being led around too pliantly, which pulls you right out of the illusion. She needs to work on transitioning into moves better so they seem less contrived–then again, given that the likes of Dean Ambrose or Daniel Bryan continue to do exactly this at a top level in WWE means I doubt the top brass really see this as a flaw.

*Match Four: Oh shit man. This was so good. This was so so good. How fucking good is Killer Kelly? The best. Really put me in mind of Tommy End here. Just gimme six more weeks of matches like this and I’m happy. I also really dug Satomura here, she had some wonderful chain transitions that reminded me a lot of Waltman or Yoshi Tajiri. I would have preferred to see Kelly advancing, though, which is really the only way I can fault this match.

Overall a decent opening show, but unfortunately more of the wrestlers who impressed me were knocked out than advanced, which puts me on the back foot for later installments, but it’s a wide field and there’s still plenty more to see. What were everyone else’s thoughts on the opening week?