With last week’s episode filled with excitement and enticing rivalries, I was expecting this final round of the Mae Young Classic to be nothing less. However, I was otherwise disappointed, especially with the last match.

It’s safe to say that the Japanese high flyer Io Shirai has quite the pedigree and one of the wrestling world’s best female talents. With that said, I was confused as to why she was put face-to-face with the bright and energetic Xia Brookside. Although the young Brit has a lot of potential and is on her way to good things, it was clear that she was not ready for an opponent like Shirai. That was evident, as the match was over in less that ten minutes.

Brookside brought out that firecracker attitude from the start, but was soon knocked around the squared circle but Shirai. It was evident that all of the power and drive came from the audacious Japanese. Her slaps were the hardest and her kicks to the chest sounded even more painful. Brookside seems like a hard-working athlete an the willingness to be the best, but her strength and skill are not yet on par with Shirai’s. With a little more training and a few more years of experience, I truly believe that the 19-year-old will be a force to be reckoned with.

The other contests were not as strong as I thought they would have been. Jessie Elaban and Taynara Conti were another pairing that was also quite uneven. I believe that these women gave it their all and wanted to win so badly, but at the end of the day, if two opponents are nowhere near the same level of competence, it’s tough to watch. Even the crowd wasn’t as rowdy as they normally are, and they were quiet during most of the episode.

Now that the first round is over, it will be interesting to watch the following match ups and see how the competition gets even more intense. Aside from their in-ring abilities, you can see how much heart and motivation these grapplers have and how badly they want to make it to the final round at Evolution later this month.

All I can say is, ladies, you’ve made it this far and this is the time to step it up a notch and give it everything you got!

Mae Young Classic: Episode 2: Highlights

Rachel Evers (USA) vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto (Japan)

It was the protege versus the second generation superstar. Hiroyo Matsumoto demonstrated the prowess that one would expect from a powerhouse wrestler, which was interesting to watch. Her kicks and slaps to the chest led her to dominate the better part of the fifteen minutes. Rachel put up a good fight and really found her energy as the brawl went on. The two women did not want to give up and had the stamina to prove that. It was the Lady Godzilla in the end however, who pinned Evers for the win.

Winner: Hiroyo Matsumoto.
Match Rating: 8/ 10

Jessie Elaban (USA) vs. Taynara Conti (Brazil)

These wrestlers have two very different backgrounds and very different wrestling styles, which made it an odd meeting from the start. Taynara Conti’s judo talents and vicious attitude allowed her dominate most of the time. Jessie Elaban eventually found her way, but it was clear that she was out of her league in terms of skill. Elaban still needs to refine her craft a little more before she can take on the likes of Conti. The Brazilian black belt won the match, unsurprisingly.

Winner: Taynara Conti.
Match Rating: 7/ 10

Isla Dawn (Scotland) vs. Nicole Matthews (Canada)

With the bitter mindset of Nicole Matthews, Isla Dawn definitely had a good challenge ahead of her. After a slow start, each grapplers got their kicks and neck-breakers in. The power of Matthews was incredible to watch, and it was almost like she was trying to break this “modern day witch” in half. Eventually, Dawn had had enough and fought back. After many hard-hits, it was Matthews who put Dawn in Jericho’s infamous Boston Crab for a submission win.

Winner: Nicole Matthews.
Match Rating: 8.5/ 10

Io Shirai (Japan) vs. Xia Brookside (England)

Io Shirai is one competitor in this year’s tournament that came highly anticipated, and for a reason. Her athletic ability and strong style gave her that reputation. With every move Xia Brookside attempted, Shirai answered with a high-flying slam. Likewise, the “genius of the sky” got herself to the top rope and did a far-away back spring off the of the top rope to pin the 19-year-old for the win.

Winner: Io Shirai. 
Match Rating:8.5 /10