Io Shirai def. Rhea Ripley in a Semifinal Match

Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley - Semifinal Match: Mae Young Classic, Oct. 24, 2018

The stakes could hardly be higher as Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley battle to advance to the Mae Young Classic Final at WWE Evolution. Video courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

Against the highly touted Io Shirai in the Semifinals, Rhea Ripley executed her ruthless game plan to near perfection. The Aussie with a bad attitude exploited her obvious strength advantage and was merciless in her drubbing of Shirai, causing Shirai to cry out in agony. Ripley tried to rob Shirai of breath as she targeted her ribs and did everything in her power to prevent The Genius of the Sky from taking to the air.

Despite enduring tremendous punishment, Shirai found a path to victory and emerged with her hand raised, setting the stage for a Mae Young Classic Final showdown against Toni Storm.

Shirai’s performance will go down in history as one of the grittiest comebacks ever witnessed inside the squared circle. After enduring Ripley’s onslaught for minutes on end, Shirai found enough of an opening to string together a sensational series of moves, culminating with a 619 and a missile dropkick, but that garnered only a near-fall.

Ripley prevented Shirai from attempting her Asai Moonsault and sent Shirai flying head over heels with a sky-high superplex. She then went for Snake Eyes, but Shirai slid out of harm’s way and threw Ripley into the steel ring post. Shirai quickly followed up with a Meteora and then, finally, soared through the air with the Asai Moonsault for the win.

Exhausted yet elated, Shirai was immediately congratulated and hugged by her longtime friend Kairi Sane. The Genius of the Sky then vowed to reign victorious this Sunday at WWE Evolution, before coming face-to-face and shaking hands with Storm on the entrance stage just days before they battle over the 2018 Mae Young Classic trophy at WWE’s first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view.

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