WWE Mae Young Classic
Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler
Sane and Baszler faced off in the finals of the Mae Young Classic for a (in the beginning) lukewarm crowd following SmackDown in Las Vegas. Sane and Baszler have put on incredible matches with the likes of Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm to arrive to these finals, and they delivered.
A running theme throughout the Mae Young Classic has been the importance of finishers, and that was evident in this match as Baszler attempted to work down Sane using submission grappling and Sane attempted to create distance between the two so she could hit aerial moves, all of this leading to the application of Baszler's deadly submission finisher or Sane's flying elbow drop. Sane managed to outlast Baszler, and, after a long struggle, finally hit her Insane Elbow for the victory.
Sane had the perfect story going into this tournament. She's small, standing at only 5'1, but has an incredible arsenal of hard-hitting offense and wrestles with a clear passion for what she does. Her enthusiasm for her craft is infectious, bleeding into every move she executes. Baszler sold her offense like it was death, and looked and acted every bit the star. Sane now gets the chance to challenge for the NXT Women's Championship at the next TakeOver. She'll likely be an underdog again, but I have a feeling pirate princesses always find a way to claim some glory.
Winner: Kairi Sane
WWE Monday Night Raw
Sasha Banks vs. Emma
Banks and Emma put on a fairly short match that turned out to be surprisingly competitive, given Emma's recent booking and lack of, well, any actual push. Emma didn't even get a televised entrance. However, the two put on a fun, mat-based bout with Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss bantering on commentary. Emma laid offense on Sasha relentlessly, but a single reversal by Banks allowed her to lock in the Banks Statement for the victory.
Asuka was announced as an upcoming addition to the Raw roster by means of a cryptic video tease. This is a fun, not often used way of building up hype for NXT's still-undefeated Empress and ensures that the audience knows what they're in for when she arrives.
Winner: Sasha Banks
Natalya vs. Naomi (SmackDown Women's Championship match)
Well, this wasn't a long match at all, in fact, it was even split by a commercial break. Natalya and Naomi did their best to fir what they could into their bout, but in the end, Natalya managed to pick up a clean and concise victory over Naomi to retain her championship.
This was disappointing, to say the least. I hope that next week, we get an idea of what they plan on doing with the SmackDown women leading up to Hell in a Cell, and quickly. Stories should be built, not thrown together at the last minute.
Also, a reminder that Carmella is still Ms. Money in the Bank...
Ruby Riot & Nikki Cross vs. The Iconic Duo
There's something inexplicably delightful about Nikki Cross' odd antics, like coming from the crowd in the middle of a match to wreak tag-happy havoc. She's so unpredictable, in contrast to Ruby Riot, who is the most by-the-books anarchist I've ever seen. The two have a fun, reluctant alliance against Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, who are so wonderfully annoying that I can't help but enjoy them immensely.
This match was more story-centric than noteworthy in-ring, but it was fun to watch. Nikki Cross and SAnitY remain one of the most fun factions on all of WWE television right now. Ruby Riot, similarly, gets better the more we get to know her. And of course, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are on their way to establishing some real legitimacy that could get one or both of them main event-worthy within the next year or so.
Winner: Nikki Cross & Ruby Riot
GFW Impact Wrestling
Taya Valkyrie vs. Amber Nova
Poor Amber Nova. She's eaten defeat often and decidedly, and her match against the debuting Queen of Lucha Taya Valkyrie didn't deviate from recent patterns. Valkyrie was in control of the match from its start to its rapid finish, and made a decisive statement in her first match for GFW.
What a rockstar.
Winners: Taya Valkyrie
This section includes recaps of matches from around the world in various lesser-known independent promotions throughout the week.
Tokyi Joshi Pro
Match: Yuu vs. Nonoko (DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Title match)
Match: Mayu Iwatani vs. Xia Brookside
Winner: Mayu Iwatani
Match: Io Shirai vs. Tom Nakano
Winner: Io Shirai
Match: Kay Lee Ray vs. Mandy Leon
Winner: Kay Lee Ray
Match: Miranda Salinas vs. Nicole Savoy vs. Hyaneyoung
Winner: Miranda Salinas
Match: Mercedes Martinez vs. Skarlett
Winner: Mercedes Martinez
MATCH OF THE WEEK:
Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler
Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler
In a hard-hitting match that brought a tired Vegas crowd to its feet for two women most of them weren't familiar with, Kairi Sane managed to tell a great story and execute some wild moves. Baszler looked like an absolute beast, and Sane showcased her high-flying style and stiff strikes. Together, these two performed wonderfully in the culmination of a series of fabulous matches that have showcased the best of women's wrestling.
WOMAN OF THE WEEK:
Kairi Sane, Hojo, whatever you want to call her, has cemented herself as one of the most exciting women in wrestling, period. Since her days as one of the cornerstones of STARDOM in japan, Kairi has performed with top-tier athleticism and heart. Her passion for wrestling shows in everything she does. And now, she's in line for a shot at the NXT Women's Championship.
Smooth sailing, Pirate Princess. We're lucky to have you!
So there you have it, the breakdown for the week in women's wrestling. What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments from these women? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Also, come back next week for a full breakdown of the Mae Young Classic's first round of episodes and matches.