They’re here! It’s finally time for the rest of the world to watch what those at Full Sail got to experience live: The Mae Young Classic. This tournament has been a long time coming so let’s jump right in, shall we?
Episode One: Beginnings
We begin the first episode with Kay Lee Ray versus Princesa Sugehit. This was the absolute perfect opening match, two veterans of the ring, you can’t ask for much more. Looking at their professional bios side by side, experience has to go to Princesa Sugehit, who has been in the business for two decades. Recognition wise? That goes to Kay Lee Ray. She’s 25 years old with a familiar face through PROGRESS and Shimmer.
Kay Lee Ray, as the hardcore dare-devil that she is, had to be the favorite going into this match. While Princesa, the only luchadora in the tournament, is a bit of a wildcard. Right out of the gate, Kay Lee Ray showed the WWE Universe what she’s about. KLR used her height advantage and tough chops to take an early upper hand. Princesa, though is quick and this played into her favor. KLR’s best shot at winning would have to be a submission, as Lita pointed out on commentary. Taking out Princesa’s quickness and grounding her to the mat would have been ideal. Unfortunately for Kay Lee even getting a submission on Princesa Sugehit, and an eventual Gory Bomb, could not put her away.
Princesa gave the WWE Universe a glimpse of what she could do. I was very unfamiliar with the veteran going into this tournament, but left this match wanting to see more. Sugehit capitalized on mistakes by the younger KLR, case in point the missed Swanton Bomb which Sugehit then turned into the armbar forcing Kay Lee to tap out.
Sitting at Full Sail, I was biased in who I wanted to win this match and can say with complete honesty how shocked I was at the outcome. Kay Lee Ray had Full Sail firmly behind her, so a round one exit was not expected. Although an early exit for her, I don’t think this is the last of the Queen of Hardcore the WWE Universe will see.
Match Two: Serena Deeb versus Vanessa Borne (Worth noting, and being very excited about, this is the first match we see Jessika Carr.)
The ultimate story of redemption has to be Serena Deeb. Deeb has had a chance with the WWE before and unfortunately, alcohol abuse ended that time. Seeing her back in the ring, healthy, really enjoying it was something to behold. Deeb looked like she had never been away from a wrestling ring, she was at peace and focused.
Vanessa Borne on the other hand is an extremely hungry newcomer, determined to make an impact. A former cheerleader, Borne wants to show why she is the best the WWE has to offer. If you had to describe Vanessa in one word, it would be confident.
This was a solid match. I wasn’t expecting too much from Vanessa, but she was impressive. This was in no way a cake walk for Serena, she had to work for this win, but I don’t think she would have had it any other way. Vanessa had some impressive offense that almost took Deeb by surprise. A combination of headbutts, hard kicks, and tough
forearms gave Vanessa an advantage. Vanessa came out aggressive, but her aggressiveness would be her downfall. Serena mounted a comeback based on Vanessa’s frustrations when Deeb kicked out of a swinging neck breaker and later a fall away slam.
Winner by a tremendous spear: Serena Deeb. Overall this match was a wonderful coming out for Vanessa Borne and the perfect way to welcome back a very determined Serena Deeb.
Match Three: Zeda versus Shayna Baszler
Combat sports friends, combat sports. This match up, guys and gals, was perfect. Zeda and Shayna both have so much experience in martial arts, that this had to be intriguing to fans. With Ronda Rousey ring side, of course there is an added feel to this one.
No handshake here, Shayna was out for blood as the Full Sail crowd was well aware of. Right from the opening bell, submissions were the goal of both women. Zeda wasn’t going to back down, which made me want to root for her based on her fearlessness. Unfortunately for Zeda this match didn’t last long, once Shayna got Zeda into the sleeper it was over.
I wish this one had gone a little longer. I know how good Shayna is because I have seen her wrestle on multiple occasions, plus watching her in UFC, but this was one I wanted more of. Thankfully, in round two there is plenty of time for fans unfamiliar with Shayna to see what she is all about. And don’t worry, Zeda is going to be around for a while and she will continue to impress, this is just her beginning.
Match Four: Abbey Laith versus Jazzy Gabert
This match. Oh god, how does one describe the atmosphere of Full Sail? Being there live, I still don’t quite know how to describe it, intense may be the best word. Goosebumps occurred, being scared for Abbey’s well being, and falling in love with Jazzy were all things that happened at Full Sail.
It was a classic David and Goliath match up, something that seems to happen in a lot of tournaments, but this just may be my favorite one. Abbey was not going to be intimidated; right away she came with forearms, chops,
kicks and really as a fan you couldn’t ask for her to do more. Jazzy, being who she is, was not phased in the least. Full Sail truly came unglued; the strength of Jazzy and the resiliency of Abbey made for a compelling story.
Abbey had very innovative offense, thanks to her ballet background, but Jazzy’s strength just overpowered anything Abbey tried to get going. At one point, Jazzy hit a forearm and it seemed Abbey didn’t know where she was. Ready to continue, Jazzy pinned Abbey very lazily, giving Abbey an opening to utilize her 4 count with an innovative submission using the ropes. Abbey hit a senton, Jazzy of course kicked out and hit a huge lariat. This is where you would think it would be the demise of Abbey, right? Wrong. After not going for the cover after the lariat, Abbey makes a counter into the Alligator Clutch for the pin fall.
While I am sure there are many fans confused and disappointed Jazzy Gabert did not move on, this match is the one I would recommend fans watch. Jazzy and Abbey didn’t just wrestle a match, they told a story, something often missing in this crazy world. Abbey made you believe she could slay the giant, but Jazzy made you want to see Abbey
destroyed. The underdog prevailed and in the most perfect way, with Mae Young’s move.
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