Episode 4 of the 2018 Mae Young Classic featured the final four matches of the first round. Two of the matches featured women who participated in last year’s tournament against some new faces, and the other two were made up of completely new competitors.
Rachel Evers vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto
Rachel Evers came into this match hoping for redemption after falling to Abbey Laith (Kimber Lee) in the 2nd round of last year’s tournament. She came into her match against Hiroyo Matsumoto fired up, looking to make her father, WWE Hall of Famer Paul Ellering, proud.
The crowd at Full Sail were excited to see the match, chanting “fight forever” before the bell even rang. The women in the ring did not disappoint.
This was a very good outing, with Hiroyo dominating for the first half before Rachel made a comeback and got a couple of good near falls. Hiroyo was able to regain control, picking up the win after hitting the rock drop for the pin.
Matsumoto will face Toni Storm in the second round.
Taynara Conti vs. Jessie Elaban
Taynara Conti looked very confident as she made her way to the ring for her match against Jessie Elaban, despite losing in the first round of last year’s tournament to Lacey Evans. Though she had more reason to be confident this time around, because Elaban is less experienced in the ring.
Taynara completely dominated, working Elaban’s arm and fingers throughout the match as well as using some judo throws. Jessie barely registered any offence until the last minute or so of the match.
Conti picked up the win with a side slam after Elaban’s brief comeback. The victor was very emotional in a post match interview as she described how it felt for her to fight for her family and for Brazil.
Taynara will face Lacey Lane in the next round.
Isla Dawn vs. Nicole Matthews
Nicole Matthews set out to prove herself worthy of the tournament as she was listed as an alternate for last year’s Mae Young Classic but did not get to participate.
The match started out pretty even but Matthews quickly took control and got some near falls, then Dawn responded with a couple near of her own.
It looked like Isla was going to advance until Matthews hit a clothesline and locked in the boston crab to make Dawn tap out for the win.
Matthews will take on Tegan Nox in the 2nd round.
Unfortunately, her participation in this year’s tournament will be her last for some time, as she has been banned from entering the United States for five years due to visa related issues.
Io Shirai vs. Xia Brookside
This match may have been the most anticipated match of the tournament so far as Io Shirai is often called the best female wrestler in the world. She came to the ring not only as the favourite to win the match but the whole tournament.
In the other corner, Xia Brookside was looking to prove that she was as good as anyone else in the tournament, despite being the youngest competitor at just 19 years old.
The match was very fast paced, as Brookside charged Shirai as soon as the bell rang to begin the match. Io quickly took control, hitting a vicious meteora on the bottom turnbuckle. Brookside kicked out but got next to no offence in for the rest of the match.
After hitting a meteora against the turnbuckle and then a moonsault off the top rope, Shirai pinned Brookside to move on to round two.
Io Shirai looks to be on her way to a deep run in the Mae Young Classic after such a dominant opening match. She will be squaring off against Zeuxis in round two.
2018 Mae Young Classic Bracket (so far)
This is how the bracket looks now that round 1 is complete.
You can watch the Mae Young Classic Wednesday nights after NXT on the WWE Network.
The final of the MYC will take place at the October’s Evolution pay-per-view.