10/3 MAE YOUNG CLASSIC 2018 – EP. 5: Toni Storm vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto, Lacey Lane vs. Taynara Conti, Kacy Catanzaro vs. Rhea Ripley, Mercedes Martinez vs Meiko Satomura

By Nate Lindberg, PWTorch Contributor


Announcers: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Beth Phoenix.

-To kick off the quarter finals of this year’s Mae Young Classic, the show started with a video package recapping the highlights of the first round and ran down the card for the next round.  After the weekly MYC intro video, the camera cut to the Full Sail crowd with Michael Cole, Beth Phoenix and Renee Young welcoming the audience.

(1) Toni Storm vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto

-The hype video for the first match kicked off with Toni Storm saying she is a Rockstar with attitude and that she’ll win because this is her dream. Hiroyo Matsumoto reintroduces herself as Lady Godzilla, and said that she will destroy Toni Storm. Storm says they’ve faced each other in the past, and she will not lose to Matsumoto.

-Storm made her way to the ring first to a giant pop from the crowd. Highlights of her 1stround win played on split screen while the announcers talked about her accolades. Lady Godzilla walks down the ramp next as the same split screen showed her win.

Analysis: Both women got huge pops from the crowd. This may be one of the most anticipated matchups of the quarter finals.

-The two shook hands in the center of the ring as the ref called for the bell. The two circled each other before tying up. They fought for position before breaking and locking up again, trading wrist holds. Storm took Matsumoto to the mat with an arm drag into a wrist lock, but Matsumoto made her way back to her feet and took Storm down with a headlock.

– Storm got back to her feet, and the two traded headlocks until Storm nailed a headlock takedown which Matsumoto countered with a headscissors hold around Storms neck. Storm escaped, and the two shook hands again as a sign of respect before Matsumoto kicked Storm into the ropes and chopped her chest. Matsumoto got a hangman on Storm, and then went up top for a missile dropkick for the first pin attempt of the bout.

Analysis: The first few minutes were slowly paced, yet they kept the crowd engaged throughout. Thus far, it’s been equal offense with both women looking strong.

-Storm kicked out and looked for a suplex which was countered by Matsumoto with a suplex of her own for a two count. Matsumoto stomped on Storm and then picked her up by the hair. She delivered a backbreaker to Storm, and then whipped her into the corner. Storm fell, sitting in the corner, when Matsumoto used her foot to choke her. The ref broke it up before the count of 5. Matsumoto pandered to the crowd and charged at Storm who reversed with a brutal looking German Suplex followed by a fisherman’s suplex for two.

-The two trade forearms and then Storm got the upper hand with a discus forearm. She went for a clothesline but was reversed by Matsumoto with a clothesline of her own. Matsumoto rolled Storm up for a two count, into a single leg Boston crab. Storm made it to the bottom rope to break it up. Matsumoto climbed to the second rope and launched herself at Storm with a double knee for two. Storm fought back with a German suplex for a near fall. Storm picked her up again and tried for another German, but Matsumoto countered with a devastating backbreaker, but Storm got the rope break.

-Matsumoto went for another, but Storm rolled through for a two count. Matsumoto countered with a lariat for another near fall. She picked Storm up and delivered another two brutal lariats. The crowd chanted “one more time” as she went for a third, but Storm rolled through, bridging the pin for the pin fall.

WINNER: Toni Storm

Analysis: A hard-hitting and engaging performance by both women. They always seemed to be “one step ahead” of one another with their counters and absolutely had great chemistry together. Even though the offense was roughly equal, Matsumoto got her stuff in a bit more than Storm, making Storm look like a bit of an underdog which made the victory even sweeter.

(2) Kacy Catanzaro vs. Rhea Ripley

The 5’0, 100lb American Ninja Warrior, Kacy Catanzaro, was highlighted first in the next hype video. She said she is in this tournament to win, and that she’s used to being the underdog so nobody can stand in her way. Rhea Ripley said she goes into the squared circle treating it like a mosh pit – she’s there to hurt people.

-Kacy made her way to the ring first to a lukewarm pop from the crowd. In split screen view, highlights of her win over the giant Reina Gonzalez. Rhea came out next, with the highlights playing of her win over MJ Jenkins.

-The ref backed both women into their respective corners before moving to the center of the ring for the handshake. Kacy extended her hand, and Rhea extended hers before quickly snatching her hand back. The bell rang, and Kacy got a quick waist lock on Ripley, but Ripley rapidly escaped and threw Kacy like a rag doll. Kacy got up, and charged at Ripley who picked her up on to her shoulders like Kacy weighed nothing. Kacy escaped, and took out the knee of the larger Ripley.

-Kacy went for a headscissors takedown, but as Cole said, she didn’t quite get all of it. Kacy went for an Irish whip, but Ripley countered by whipping Kacy into the corner. Kacy jumped over the rope and delivered a dropkick through the ropes staggering Ripley. She then did a stalling handstand on the top rope, and dropped down for another headscissors takedown. This time, she got all of it.

-Ripley threw Kacy into the ropes face first, and Kacy bounced off to the mat. Ripley made a cover for two. Ripley continued her assault on Kacy, stomping her in the corner. She went for a suplex, but Kacy quickly rolled her up with a Paul Smackage, brother brother, for two.

Analysis: Kacy was quite the underdog with Rhea Ripley towering over her. However, the athleticism of Kacy Catanzaro is incredibly impressive. She might be green now, but given more training and time between the ropes and she’ll definitely make a name for herself outside of American Ninja Warrior. Also, I miss the Edge and Christian podcast while they’re on hiatus and had to get a Paul Smackage reference in the moment I saw that small package.

-Ripley quickly recovered with a devastating dropkick for a two count. She threw Kacy around the ring for the next minute or so, and dropkicked her in the side of the face for another near fall. She picked Kacy up, and clubbed her in the back. Kacy kept trying to fight back, but Ripley got her up for a stalling vertical suplex for 2 and a half.

– Ripley then got Kacy in a unique standing Texas Cloverleaf, while Kacy writhed in pain reaching for the ropes. She rolled through Ripley’s legs, but Ripley kicked her in the face for another two count. Ripley trash talked Kacy and whipped her off the ropes, but Kacy countered with an incredible lucha sequence/float-over DDT taking both women out. The ref started her ten count. At the seven count, Ripley rolled out of the ring as Kacy made her way to her feet. Kacy launched herself over the top rope corkscrewing on to Ripley outside. She threw Ripley into the ring, and knocked her into the corner.

-She charged at Ripley and delivered a jumping clothesline before slithering through the ropes onto the apron. She went for a springboard move, but caught her foot on the rope sending her to the mat. Ripley picked her up and clobbered her in the back repeatedly. Kacy recovered, went back to the apron and did the spot over with a springboard dropkick for two.

-With the crowd solidly behind Kacy, she went for a hurricanrana but Ripley countered with a “Rip Tide” powerbomb for the win.

WINNER: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: What. A. Match. Sure, Kacy may have botched a couple moves throughout the match, but she absolutely has “it”. Her athleticism and charisma were on full display tonight and she shows all the signs of being a star. This new, edgier Rhea Ripley is awesome. She’s big, she’s tough, and she hits like Bradshaw.

(3) Lacey Lane vs. Taynara Conti

-The hype video for the next match began with highlights from Lacey Lane’s win over Vanessa Kraven. Lane said not to judge a book by its cover because nobody knows a thing about her. Conti said she is born to fight, born to be here. The video continued with both women talking about how they will overcome the other.

-Conti made her way to the ring first followed by Lacey Lane, split screen highlights of each woman’s first round win accompanying each of their entrances. Lane extended her hand for the handshake, but was snubbed by a bow from Conti.

-The ref called for the bell, and the two circled each other before tying up. Conti took Lane down first, but Lane popped right back up and they tied up again. Conti picked Lane up by the waist and slammed her to the mat face first. Lane popped up again and then ran at Conti. Conti whipped Lane into the ropes, face first, but Lane did a 619 landing behind Conti and then rolled her up for a two count. They traded blows again, and Conti wound up in the corner.

-Lane charged at her and jumped but Conti moved out of the way, getting Lane caught up on the 2nd ropes bronco-buster style. Conti grabbed her by the hair and slammed her to the mat. She gut kicked Lane, who retreated to the corner. Conti tried dragging her by the feet out of the corner and Lane held on to the bottom ropes. Conti kicked her hands, and dragged her out anyway. She picked her up and monkey flipped Lane for two. Conti got her in a half nelson hold, but Lane fought out of it and slammed Conti to the mat again. She landed a “Sister Abigail” a la Bray Wyatt on Conti and hooked the leg for two.

-Conti countered a suplex from Lane and picked Lane up in a fireman’s carry position. Lane countered with a quick crucifix bomb for the 1, 2, 3.

WINNER: Lacey Lane

Analysis: Short and sweet, but very fast paced. Conti got a bit more offense in, and looked extremely aggressive. Her facials were on point, and she had this deranged “I’m going to murder you” look on her face the entire match. Lacey Lane had the full support of Full Sail throughout the match, and absolutely held her own against the Brazil native.

(4) Mercedes Martinez vs Meiko Satomura

-Martinez and Satomura were shown backstage stretching before their hype video began to play. In the video, Satomura said she wants to show the world what true strength means. Highlights of her first-round win played as she said she wants the world to understand the history of Japanese wrestling and its strength. Martinez said she fell short last year, but she knows what to expect this year. She won’t make the same mistakes and won’t go home a loser.

-Martinez made her way to the ring first to a loud pop from the crowd, followed by Satomura and another loud reaction from the Full Sail audience. Split screen highlights of each of their first-round matches accompanied each entrance.

-The two shake hands and bow to one another before retreating to their respective corners before the bell rang. The two circle one another before tying up. Satomura worked the arm of Martinez turning it into an armbar. Martinez countered with a headlock, into an armbar of her own. The two trade armbars before Satomura took Martinez down keeping the bar locked in.

-Satomura kicked Martinez three times in the chest before sweeping her legs out taking her to the mat again. A knee drop into a cover on Martinez for two. Martinez recovers, but is quickly put into a front face lock by Satomura. She modified it into a full nelson hold, before Martinez delivered an overhead belly to belly suplex. She synched in a headlock on Satomura and took her down. Satomura countered with a figure-four headlock. A lighthearted moment, as Renee Young asked Beth Phoenix “How do you get out of that?” to which Beth replied, “I-I don’t know!”

-Eventually, Martinez escaped the hold and slapped Satomura in the face with force. She picked Satomura up and kept slapping her in the face. Satomura tried a slap of her own, but was taken down by Martinez. Martinez then grabbed Satomura by the throat and delivered a two-handed chokeslam for a two count.

Analysis: A very technical match, with Satomura taking a bit more offense over Martinez at this point. The slaps Martinez delivered to Satomura were forceful and sounded like they HURT.

Martinez drove her elbow into Satomura’s face before locking in a front face lock. She broke the face lock, and just started pummeling Satomura. She got Satomura to her feet, only to knock her down with an uppercut. She got Satomura into the corner, went for a big boot but was countered by a kick to the face by Satomura. Satomura climbed to the top, but Martinez hit the ropes to throw her off balance. Martinez then delivered a spinning neck breaker on Satomura who was sitting on the top for a two count.

-Martinez went for a suplex, to be countered by an armbar by Satomura. She tried to get the rope break, but Satomura kept rolling her out of the way. Finally, Martinez got her foot on the ropes to break it up. Satomura then kept delivering those strong style kicks to a prone Martinez. She went up top again, and landed an impressive frog splash on Martinez for two. Satomura tried to get Martinez to her feet, but Martinez got the upper hand with a side slam taking both women down. Martinez rolls over, and gets one arm draped across Satomura for a two count.

-Martinez “hulked up”, and went for a fisherman buster but Satomura countered with a face buster. Satomura then nailed a DDT followed by a springboard splash for two. Satomura took her turn to “hulk up”, and went for a Death Valley driver but Martinez fought her way off Satomura’s shoulders. Satomura went for a Pele kick and was blocked by Martinez, who finally nailed the fisherman buster. Martinez made the cover, but Satomura just barely kicked out sending Full Sail into a frenzy chanting for Satomura.

-Martinez continued her assault on Satomura, locking in a Mexican surfboard. Satomura fought her way out and delivered a spinning heel kick taking Martinez down. As Martinez tried getting to her feet, Satomura charged at Martinez with a scorpion kick to the face and then covered Martinez, securing her victory in the quarter finals.

WINNER: Meiko Satomura

Analysis: These two veterans put on quite the clinic. This was a very technical bout, with plenty of submission attempts from both competitors. Mercedes Martinez looked very strong even in her defeat, and really gave “The Final Boss of Japan” a run for her money. Hard-hitting, fast paced action nearly throughout, which can’t always be said about a match featuring as many submission holds as this one did.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Each week, the Classic keeps getting better and better. Every match told a remarkable story and kept the finicky Full Sail crowd engaged. I was very impressed with Kacy Catanzaro, especially considering how few matches she’s had. She might be green as grass, but she showed incredible potential. Toni Storm looked like the superstar we know she is. I also can’t help but be impressed with Satomura. She moves very smoothly in the ring, and makes everything look like it hurts. Ultimately, each woman on the card tonight showed what women’s wrestling is all about.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 9/26 MAE YOUNG CLASSIC 2018 – EP. 4: Io Shirai vs. Xia Brookside, Rachel Evers vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto, Taynara Conti vs. Jessie Elaban, Isla Dawn vs Nicole Matthews

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