Mae Young Classic results, Sept. 26, 2018: Io Shirai shines in Mae Young Classic debut
The Second-Round field of 16 is now complete following four explosive matches, including Io Shirai’s long-awaited debut in a WWE ring and an intense throwdown between Hiroyo Matsumoto and Rachel Evers.
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Hiroyo Matsumoto def. Rachel Evers in a First-Round Match
ORLANDO, Fla. — “Lady Godzilla” Hiroyo Matsumoto got off to a monstrous start in the Mae Young Classic, downing returning tournament competitor Rachel Evers in an intensely physical First-Round Match.
Evers put up a valiant fight, withstanding Matsumoto’s high-octane offense and a persistent attack on Evers’ ribs. The Queen of Strong Style strung together her own powerful series of moves, including a senton splash that no doubt put a smile on the face of Evers’ boyfriend, Kassius Ohno, watching at ringside.
The battle soon turned into a slugfest. After a nasty exchange of strikes, Matsumoto dumped Evers with a German suplex. Evers was ever-defiant, however, immediately standing up after the impact and getting right in Matsumoto’s face, which caused the WWE Universe to erupt in excitement.
Matsumoto seemed to admire her opponent’s spunk, but that didn’t stop her from destroying Evers with a powerbomb and her patented Rock Drop suplex. After that, the pinfall was academic. Matsumoto now moves on to the Second Round to face Toni Storm, who might want to channel her inner King Kong if she hopes to topple Lady Godzilla.
Taynara Conti def. Jessie Elaban in a First-Round Match
After being eliminated in the First Round of last year’s Mae Young Classic, Brazilian Superstar Taynara Conti refused to let the same fate befall her this year in her showdown with fellow NXT standout Jessie Elaban.
The future is no doubt very bright for Elaban who, in her WWE Network debut, used her size advantage and raw athleticism to keep Conti guessing. What she couldn’t match was Conti’s mean streak. The self-proclaimed “Real Black Belt of NXT” used extreme tactics to inflict pain on Elaban, and at one point even ran the webbing of Jessie’s fingers across the top rope. Elaban rebounded and connected with an axe kick to Conti’s back, but Conti, a decorated judo player, blocked a subsequent suplex attempt. She then spun Jessie into the "Tayogoshi" (a judo throw/side slam) to claim the win and earn passage to a Second-Round Match against Lacey Lane.
Nicole Matthews def. Isla Dawn in a First-Round Match
It took Nicole Matthews a long time to be a featured competitor in a WWE ring. Therefore, it’s not surprising that once she got the opportunity against Scotland’s Isla Dawn in the First Round of the 2018 Mae Young Classic, she demonstrated tremendous patience in ensuring it ended in victory.
The Canadian ring veteran controlled the pace with her methodical power game, though Dawn’s suplexes and brutally hard kicks gave Matthews plenty to worry about along the way. When it looked like Dawn could be on the cusp of victory Matthews stopped her dead in her tracks with a clothesline.
Realizing that Dawn was critically damaged by the blow, Matthews sprang into action and bent Dawn into a modified Boston crab. Pinning her knee into the back of Dawn’s cranium for added pressure, Matthews made sure the Scottish sorceress had no place to go. Indeed, the tapout was not far behind.
Io Shirai def. Xia Brookside in a First-Round Match
That’s not to suggest that Brookside didn’t put up a fight. The plucky Brit — who was not only facing one of the tournament favorites, but also competing in front of her father, U.K. legend Robbie Brookside, for the first time in her career — raced out of the gate with an attack on Shirai. Shirai was momentarily stunned, but she soon gained her composure. Kipping out of a flying headscissors attempt seconds later, Shirai drove her knees into Brookside and spun the tournament’s youngest wrestler into a crossface submission hold, eliciting a huge response from the WWE Universe.
Shirai’s clinical onslaught continued from there, as she battered Brookside with kicks and smothered her with a Meteora in the corner, before finishing her off with a top-rope moonsault that, in one glorious arc, revealed why Shirai is called The Genius of the Sky. Now that her WWE Network debut ended in triumph, can Shirai keep up the momentum in round two, where she faces Zeuxis?