Looking back at Kairi Sane winning the inaugural WWE Mae Young Classic
The inaugural WWE Mae Young Classic featured 32-women from across 13 different countries. All the women in the inaugural tournament were introduced during the Parade of Champions. 31 women had one goal in mind to become the inaugural Mae Young Classic Champion. But in the end, a Pirate Princess from Japan would prevail and hold the honour of becoming know as the inaugural Mae Young Classic champion.
Kairi Sane was the only women in the Mae Young Classic to represent the county of Japan. Sane who is my favourite wrestler is super cute and has a charming presence. But in the Mae Young Classic, the Pirate Princess showed the world why she’s not only adorable but is a fighter and has the heart of champion.
With all the attention and excitement around the 2nd Annual WWE Mae Young Classic, we should not forget about the inaugural champion. So I decided to look back and recap all of Kairi Sane’s wins from the inaugural tournament. Let’s see what kind of impact Sane left on the tournament and for the wrestlers in her country who will be taking part in this year’s Mae Young Classic.
Below is my review and my thoughts on all of Kairi Sane’s victories in the inaugural WWE Mae Young Classic.
Kairi Sane def. Tessa Blanchard
WWE Mae Young Classic Round One
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2/4
Kairi Sane came out to a huge reaction and felt like a mega superstar. The match started with some chain wrestling as both Blanchard and Sane were evenly matched. Blanchard applied a side headlock but Sane caught her coming off the ropes with an inside cradle for a near fall. Sane delivered a running blockbuster for a near fall. Blanchard delivered a running forearm and followed up with a neck breaker for a near fall. Blanchard placed Sane on the turnbuckle and delivered a lung blower for a near fall. Blanchard delivered strikes in the corner but Sane made a comeback with an Interceptor which got a big reaction. Sane delivered big chops and followed up with a sliding D to Blanchard into the turnbuckle. Sane delivered a flying Kabuki elbow but Blanchard kicked out for a close near fall. Sane applied an Octopus hold but Blanchard used her strength to pull herself to the ropes as Sane had to release the hold. Blanchard delivered a running dropkick and followed up with a chop to the back of Sane. Blanchard delivered a clothesline, maintained wrist control, delivered a second clothesline and followed up with a back suplex for a near fall. Blanchard and Sane battled on the top turnbuckle. Blanchard delivered a head butt and followed up with leaping senton for a close near fall. Blanchard and Sane went back-and-forth exchanging pinning combinations for close near falls. Sane went for a sliding elbow but Blanchard blocked it and rolled up Sane for a near fall. Blanchard went for a knee strike but Sane countered by delivering a big axe kick. Sane then delivered a reverse Alabama slam. The Pirate Princess then called for the her diving elbow drop as the fans cheered. For the first time on WWE TV, Kairi Sane delivered the most beautiful looking picture perfect Diving Elbow Drop to Blanchard for the win. Sane celebrated with tears in her eyes.
- Post match: Blanchard showed great sportsmanship and respect as she raised Sane’s hand and gave her a hug. Sane celebrated on turnbuckle as the fans cheered.
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a fantastic match and my second favourite match of the tournament. Blanchard was very good playing the heel in the match and her ring movement is solid. Sane was the highlight of the match as her ring moment is perfect and her ability to sell pain in a match is something to watch. Sane is the perfect babyface as she had the amazing ability to emotionally attach the fans into her match. Sane also delivered the best Diving Elbow Drop in professional wrestling.)
Kairi Sane def. Bianca BeLair
WWE Mae Young Classic Round Two
Kairi Sane received a superstar reaction when she came out. BeLair applied a side headlock but Sane delivered strikes to the midsection. BeLair delivered back-to-back shoulder tackles to Sane. BeLair blew Sane a kiss. Sane caught the kiss and then stomped it out on the mat as the crowd cheered. (This was awesome) Sane delivered a running dropkick for a near fall. Kairi then blew a kiss back to BeLair. (This was great) Sane delivered forearm strikes to BeLair. BeLair whiplashed Sane with her hair multiple times as the crowd booed loudly. BeLair delivered a clothesline for a near fall. Sane wouldn’t quit as she delivered forearm strikes. BeLair showed off her strength by delivering a delayed standing vertical suplex for a near fall. BeLair applied a camel clutch as the fans chanted “Kairi, Kairi” wanting the Pirate Princess to make a comeback. BeLair delivered a face buster for a near fall. BeLair went for a big splash but Sane got her knees up. Sane delivered rapid fire strikes in the corner as the crowd cheered. Sane delivered a flying Kabuki elbow for a near fall. BeLair delivered a power slam for a near fall. BeLair and Sane exchanges big forearm strikes. BeLair delivered a spine buster and followed up with a 450 splash for a close near fall. BeLair expression was awesome as she couldn’t believe Sane kicked out. But my favourite wrestler has the heart of a champion and will not quit. BeLair charged and ran shoulder first into the ring post. Sane delivered a big axe kick. Sane marched and connected with a sliding D into the turnbuckle. Sane then delivered a spinning backfist which sent BeLair to the mat. Sane called for the elbow as the fans went wild. Sane delivered a picture perfect Diving Elbow Drop to BeLair for the win.
(Amin’s Analysis: A great match as both BeLair and especially Sane worked really hard. BeLair works really well as the powerhouse in the match and is perfect when working with the best babyface. Kairi Sane was the highlight and was beloved by the crowd. Sane ring moment is superb and the ability to get fans emotionally attached to your match is special. Just the little stops from stomping on BeLair’s kiss and sending a kiss back was just so great. Sane diving elbow is just jaw dropping to watch.)
Kairi Sane def. Dakota Kai
WWE Mae Young Classic Quarter Finals
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/4
Kairi Sane received another big reaction and felt like a huge superstar. The match started with some good technical chain wrestling as Kai and Sane were evenly matched. Sane delivered a big chop and followed up with a running blockbuster as the crowd cheered. Kai and Sane exchanges big chops in the corner. Kai yanked Sane off the turnbuckle for a near fall. Kai delivered kicks and followed up with a running knee strike for a near fall. Kai came charging off the ropes but Sane caught her with an Interceptor for a big reaction. The crowd chanted “Kairi, Kairi,” as Sane delivered a running low dropkick to the back of Kai. Sane delivered a double foot stomp for a near fall. Sane went for the Sliding D but Kai countered by delivering a drop toe hold as the Pirate Princess went into the turnbuckle. Kai delivered a Yazuka Kick to Sane for a close near fall. Kai went for a knee lift but Sane blocked it and delivered a spinning backfist. Kai and Sane fought on the top turnbuckle. Kai blocked a superplex and placed the Pirate Princess in the tree of woe position. Kai went for the double foot stomp but Sane moved as Kai injured her knee. Sane delivered a flying Kabuki elbow from the top turnbuckle for a close near fall. Sane delivered a sliding elbow but Kai kicked out. Sane went for an Alabama Slam but Kai countered into a sunset flip for a near fall. Kai delivered a head kick to Sane. Dakota went for the Yakuza Kick but Sane moved as Kai got her foot caught on the top rope. Sane delivered a reverse Alabama Slam and called for the elbow as the crowd went wild. The Pirate Princess delivered a picture perfect Diving Elbow Drop to Kai for win.
(Amin’s Analysis: A great match as both Kai and Sane worked really hard. Kai’s ring movement is very good and her selling was well done. Sane was fantastic as always from her ring moment, to selling pain and showing great emotion the Pirate Princess can do it all.)
Kairi Sane def. Toni Storm
WWE Mae Young Classic Semi-Finals
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/4
Kairi Sane came out to big reaction as I was also cheering for the Pirate Princess to win. Sane and Storm started the match with some great chain wrestling. The crowd was spilt as they chanted for both Sane and Toni. Sane delivered a running dropkick. Storm delivered three straight European Uppercuts for a near fall. Sane charged but went through the ropes. Storm went after her but Sane yanked to the floor. Sane delivered a great looking crossbody to Storm on the floor which got a big reaction. Sane applied a Boston Crab and then transitioned into half crab. Storm fought and grabbed the ropes as Sane had to release the hold. Sane went for a sliding elbow but Storm counter by getting her boot up. Storm delivered a snap German suplex and followed up with a running hip attack to Sane into the turnbuckle. Storm went for a second hip attack but Sane caught her with an Interceptor for a big reaction. Both women were down as the crowd cheered for both Sane and Storm. Sane and Storm exchanged some big forearm strikes. Sane delivered a double sledge. Sane went to climb the turnbuckle but Storm stoped her. Storm delivered a delayed deadlift German suplex for a close near fall. Storm reaction to Sane kicking out was great as the Pirate Princess refused to quit. Storm blocked a spinning backfist and applied a shoulder bar on Sane. This spot was fantastic as Sane’s facial reaction was amazing as she refused to quit as the fans chanted for her. Storm kept twisting on Sane’s arm but the Pirate Princess refused to quit as she finally pulled away from Storm. Storm delivered a head butt and followed up with a big diving leg drop from the top turnbuckle to the back of Sane. Storm couldn’t make the cover as both these great wrestlers were selling the affect in the match. Sane showed why she has the heart of a champion as she didn’t give up and delivered a big spinning backfist. Sane went for The Anchor submission but couldn’t fully apply it because her back was in pain. Sane delivered an elbow to the back of Storm and then called for the Insane Elbow as the crowd cheered. Kairi Sane delivered a picture perfect Diving Elbow Drop to the back of Storm for the win and advanced to the finals of Mae Young Classic.
- Post match: Sane and Storm shared an emotional hug after the match which was very sweet. Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque, Stephanie McMahon and Sarah Amoto entered the ring. Triple H had a smile on his face as he handed a bouquet of flowers to Sane who was in tears. The show ended with a great intense stare down between Sane and Shayna Baszler. Sane went to extend her hand but Baszler was in fighting stance. Sane showed no fear and was determined to win was in fighting stance as well.
(Amin’s Analysis: This match was just fantastic and my favourite match of the Mae Young Classic tournament. This was just great as not only did Sane and Storm work really hard (which they did) but told a great story as well. Kairi couldn’t fully apply The Anchor because of jumping leg drop Storm delivered to the back of Sane. The other great part where Storm applied a shoulder bar as she worked over the elbow of Sane. Storm knows that Kairi uses the beautiful Diving Elbow Drop as her finisher. Storm worked really hard and is going to be a huge star as she’s a great wrestling. Kairi Sane was just amazing in this match. Her ring moment, to her selling of her injuries and her facial reactions were just fantastic. I will say it again Sane has the amazing ability to attach her fans into the match and make you want to root for her.)
Kairi Sane def. Shayna Baszler
WWE Mae Young Classic Finals
The match started with some chain wrestling as the crowd chanted for both Baszler and Sane. Baszler went for her Kirifuda Clutch but Sane rolled through for a near fall. Baszler kicked the back but Sane responded by delivering a head scissors for a big reaction. Baszler delivered a big kick and followed up with a knee strike from the apron for a near fall. Baszler stomped on the elbow of Sane. Baszler stopped the Interceptor and delivered back-to-back gut wrench suplex for a near fall. Baszler continued to work over the arm/elbow of Sane. Sane delivered big chops but Baszler responded with a running knee strike. Sane refused to quit as she delivered an Interceptor for a near fall. Sane worked over the midsection of Baszler as she delivered a sliding elbow, a running a low dropkick and a double stomp for a near fall. Sane delivered a shoulder tackle into the turnbuckle. Sane went for the Sliding D but Baszler moved. Sane delivered a big axe kick. Sane climbed the turnbuckle, went for the Diving Elbow but Baszler moved and applied a Kirifuda Clutch. (Baszler won all her matches in the tournament with the Kirifuda Clutch.) Throughout the tournament, Sane showed that she has a heart of a champion and in the finals would be no exception. Sane delivered strikes to the midsection of Baszler and broke free of the hold. Sane delivered a spinning backfist. Sane climbed the turnbuckle but Baszler stoped her with a big boot. Baszler and Sane exchanges big strikes on the turnbuckle. Baszler applied a double wrist lock on the top turnbuckle but Sane escaped as she placed Shayna in the tree of woe position. Sane delivered the Marine Spike (double foot stomp) into the ribs of Baszler. Sane marched and delivered a sliding D to Baszler for a near fall. Sane called for the Diving Elbow as the crowd cheered. Kairi Sane climbed the turnbuckle, delivered a picture perfect Diving Elbow Drop. The crowd counted along to the referee’s count as Kairi Sane defeated Shayna Baszler to become the inaugural Mae Young Classic Champion.
- Post match: Sane helped Baszler up as they embraced and shared a hug. This was very sweet. Sarah Amato, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H joined Baszler and Sane the ring for a presentation ceremoney with the Mae Young Classic trophy Triple H gave Sane a bouquet of flowers before raising her hand in victory. Sane had tears in her eyes.
(Amin’s Analysis: A very good match as both Baszler and Sane worked really hard. Baszler works great as the powerhouse and selling of her midsection was great. Kairi Sane was the highlight of this match as she’s just so fun to watch and her wrestling ability is just fantastic. Sane is so cute, charming and is so beloved as the adorable babyface. Happy to see Sane win as she was the best wrestler in the tournament.)
The inaugural Mae Young Classic was a huge success has it gave 32 women from across the world a platform to showcase their ability and skills in-front of a worldwide viewing audience. Kairi Sane was the right choice to win the tournament as she charming, super sweet and the best wrestler in the tournament.
Less than one year later, the second annual Mae Young Classic is about to being. Just like Sane won last year, 32 women will look to achieve their dream and become the second annual Mae Young Classic champion. Last year, Sane was the only wrestler to represent the country of Japan.
But this year, things are different as Japanese sensation and the newest NXT superstar Io Shirai, Hiroyo Matsumoto and Meiko Satumora will look to follow Sane’s footsteps and become the second superstar from Japan to win the Mae Young Classic.
As. Io Shirai, Matsumoto and Satumora have their eyes on the Mae Young Classic, the Pirate Princess has her eyes set on a new treasure as Kairi Sane will look to defeat Shayna Baszler once again and become the new NXT Women’s Champion at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4.
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