The second edition of the Mae Young Classic took some steps in the right direction. Although the main competition was filmed over the course of a weekend, episodes are going live every Wednesday at 9pm, following NXT. That means a residual audience and a sense of suspense, even if we’ve all spoiled ourselves already. The finals will take place in front of a hot Evolution crowd, which the marketing suggests will be positioned as a big deal. Things are looking good for the 32 women competing this year. The first round opened with four match ups that seriously impressed. Let’s get to it.

Rhea Ripley vs. MJ Jenkins
Image courtesy of WWE


-Teagan Nox def. Zatara

-Rhea Ripley def. MJ Jenkins

-Lacey Lane def. Vanessa Kraven

– Meiko Satomura def. Killer Kelly

Best in Show:

By far the best match of the night was Meiko Satomura vs. Killer Kelly, in which the legend and WCW Alumna proved why she’s the best. She will likely go down in history as the last WCW wrestler to debut on WWE. To say her technique is masterful is practically an understatement. There’s no shame for Killer Kelly, however, who didn’t go down without a fight. Kelly’s character work is top notch, she’s almost got shades of Pete Dunne in her unsettling presence. Kelly’s striking look paired with striking…strikes will prove to be a huge asset for her in the future. Plus, who isn’t a sucker for a post-match hug?

Rhea Ripley impressed with a new heel attitude and a drop kick to end all drop kicks. As a returning competitor, Ripley had the opportunity to come in with a story already partially written. She stated that last year she made a fool of herself, implicitly by losing to Dakota Kai. Facing the less established and much smaller MJ Jenkins, she dominated from start to finish and had a scowl worthy of a top heel. We’ll be seeing more of her in the future.

Looking Forward:

Tegan Nox was clearly positioned as a star in this year’s Mae Young Classic. After missing last year’s competition due to a torn ACL, it seemed possible that this was meant to be her year. Major spoiler alert, but we know that Nox suffered a broken leg and was forced to withdraw. It’s a bummer, especially seeing her first round match.

While Lacey Lane probably won’t be a huge name coming out of the tournament, she might prove to be like last year’s Lacey, that is Lacey Evans. Evans was eliminated in the second round but went on to have a very successful career in NXT thus far. It’s not just their name they have in common, they’re both incredibly charismatic and technically strong. So while Lane might not see the semi-finals, don’t take your eye off her.