Only four women remain, each focused on landing a spot at the live final of the Mae Young Classic in Las Vegas…
(Winner via submission: Shayna Baszler)
(Winner via pinfall: Kairi Sane)
The semi-finals, and the last episode available on WWE Network at the time of writing, really took things to another level as all four women saw the finish line in sight.
Mercedes Martinez finally gave us a great performance, as she took on her indie wrestling team mate, Shayna Baszler. The story here was bloody well told, and Martinez finally came off as a tough wrestler who will do what she has to do to win. Baszler looked in more danger than she ever had in this tournament, barring perhaps the submission hold Candice LeRae had her locked in during the Quarter Finals, and this was just a wonderful little brawl that probably ended with the right winner (although whether either woman should’ve been in this spot anyway, is up for debate).
I wasn’t so keen on Triple H and co. coming out to give Baszler flowers, as she hasn’t achieved anything yet. Save the flowers for the final, no? The referee and Triple H’s attempts to get Martinez to leave the ring for the final shots of Baszler were amusing though, and perhaps suggested that a little more explanation of events backstage prior to the match might’ve helped! I’m surprised they left the footage in, to be honest.
I’ve been critical of Martinez throughout this whole tournament, and quite rightly, but she really brought it here, and it would be unfair of me to let that go unnoticed. I just wish she’d done this in some of her earlier matches.
Toni Storm and Kairi Sane put on a wonderful match, with Storm finally showing just how good she is, and Sane giving us yet another main event showstealer. Before this tournament began, this was the match I saw being the Final, so I was incredibly disappointed when I saw they’d been put on the same side of the brackets, but knowing that both ladies still got a chance to go one on one on WWE Network really does put a smile on my face.
Once again, no mention from Jim Ross of the history these two ladies have with each other, but that was probably a WWE decision. They have such good chemistry in the ring, and I wish they’d had an extra 5-10 minutes to really put on a match that would be spoken about for a good few years. There were some ugly moments, such as Sane’s dive to the outside that saw her hit her head hard on the ramp, but those just added to the contest and this ended up being one of the best women’s matches in WWE in 2017. I don’t think it hits the level that Asuka and Ember Moon did at TakerOver: Brooklyn III, but my god it got close.
With only one match left, and the ever-looming feeling of dread that WWE will use Baszler’s presence to push a Wrestlemania match involving Ronda Rousey, and as such give her the win, there’s a lot of interest headed into the Final in Las Vegas. Personally, I can’t pick a winner, but I do know that only one person is currently under contract to WWE and thus far they’ve been giving tournament wins to such people, which in this case would be the absolute right decision too. That said, Shayna Baszler should be signed to an NXT contract, and turned into a beast in that division.
Ultimately, whoever wins the tournament, women’s wrestling still wins. This has been a very good tournament thus far, and has helped in the mission to take women’s wrestling more mainstream. And more than anything, after seeing her final tournament appearance here in this episode, I hope this isn’t the last we see of Toni Storm in WWE. She’s a ready made star for them.
Match of the Night
Kairi Sane vs. Toni Storm