With a solid first week of the tournament behind us, it’s time for the next set of first round matches
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Priscilla Kelly
I enjoyed this match a lot – I thought it was technically very good and I liked the characters involved. I haven’t seen much of Deonna Purrazzo bar her brief appearances on NXT TV, but I thought she looked good here. The commentary team did a really good job of making Purrazzo seem like a big deal (in my opinion, it’s the best commentary I’ve heard from Michael Cole since the original Smackdown brand split shows) and explaining her story of missing out on last year’s tournament. I’ve not seen Kelly before, but I thought she looked really good here too, playing an effective heel to Purrazzo.
Plus this match had another huge advantage on it’s way to a Thumbs Up – I’ve always loved the Fujiwara Armbar, ever since I first watched Maxx Payne in WCW back in 1993. It’s a great submission hold, one that looks cool and like something you could use in a real fight. Overall, a good start to the show.
Aerial Monroe vs. Zeuxis
I wasn’t too keen on this match. I liked Monroe and thought she played to the crowd well, but this match felt like a clash of styles to me. You had Monroe’s striking versus Zeuxis’ Luchador style and I can’t say the results impressed me. I was debating giving this Thumbs Down, but the finish, a beautiful Spanish Fly (flipping Rock Bottom) from the top rope was superb. So I’ll go Thumbs In The Middle…even though I think the fiery and charismatic Monroe should have won here.
Reina Gonzalez vs. Kacy Catanzaro
I need to apologize to this match…I was washing the dishes while watching this match, accidentally knocked my phone and ended up skipping to the end, spoiling the result for myself! My stupidity aside, I really enjoyed this match. This was a battle of size between the tiny Catanzaro and the huge Gonzalez, I’m not usually the biggest fan of these types of matches but I liked this one. I thought Catanzaro looked great here, her aerial attacks looked sharp. Credit to Gonzalez too, who looked good but I feel a bit bad for her as she lost in the first round of the Mae Young Classic last year too. Still, this was a good David vs Goliath match. Easy Thumbs Up here.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Ashley Rayne
When I saw this was the main event of the show, I was a little apprehensive. I like Martinez, but from what (admittedly little) I’ve seen of her, her best stuff is against people with a similar style (i.e. her match against Shayna Bazler from last year’s tournament) Meanwhile, I don’t mind Rayne, but she reminds me of TNA and their overuse of the Beautiful People faction, a faction that eventually got ridiculous with their splits and reformations.
However, this was a good match and a solid Thumbs Up. I think I enjoyed it because I assumed this match would be a Martinez squash and it ended up being a cool back and forth match. I even bought the Rayne Drop as the finish, which pleased me as I love a false finish. Martinez did win though (with a huge Fisherman’s Brainbuster) to move on to the next round – she will be facing Meiko Satomura who won in Week 1, which could potentially be a great match
Overall, a step up from Week 1, which wasn’t a bad episode at all. I’m looking forward to Week 3 now, not sure who is on next week but I’m looking forward to seeing Mia Yim and Toni Storm at some point, hopefully it’s next week!