Hiroyo Matsumoto def. Rachel Evers in a First-Round Match
I wasn't familiar with Matsumoto whatsoever coming into this tournament and didn't know what to expect, but she absolutely impressed me with her strong showing here, as well as Evers. She has been featured on NXT plenty of times in the past and was even in last year's Mae Young Classic, so I was glad to see her get another opportunity to shine (which she did). This was an excellent outing and a great way to kick off the night.
Taynara Conti def. Jessie Elaban in a First-Round Match
This is actually the first match I've seen Elaban involved in, even though she has been training at the Performance Center for about a year and a half by this point. She fared well for herself, and Conti is pretty passable as well, but this wasn't that good of a match at all. Conti was the right choice to advance between the two of them and hopefully she'll continue to improve in the future. At least she has a presence about her.
Kaitlyn def. KAvita Devi in a First-Round Match
In all honesty, this could have been way worse than it was. Devi had a really bad outing in the 2017 Mae Young Classic while Kaitlyn has largely been out of the ring for the past four and half years. However, Kaitlyn looked good here and Devi didn't embarrass herself, either. It was smart to keep this as short and as sweet as possible, in addition to allowing Kaitlyn to advance to the next round.
Toni Storm def. Jinny in a First-Round Match
Both women being cut from the same cloth in the NXT/UK women's division helped a lot along with how they've probably faced off on countless occasions in the past, so they had that history. Storm is an absolute star who deserves to go all the way this year, and I hope the rumors of her being signed to some sort of deal to WWE are true so that can become a reality. Storm had the crowd in the palm of her hand the entire time and Jimmy had a decent showing in defeat.
Deonna Purrazzo def. Priscilla Kelly in a First-Rounda Match
I've been following Purrazzo on the independent scene for years and am stoked she's finally getting a chance to shine on the big stage. She's a welcome addition to the Mae Young Classic and she proved she belongs among these elites with her showing here. It wasn't the most must-see match, but both women looked good in defeat and Purrazzo getting emotional afterward was a cool moment.
Zeuxis def. Aerial Monroe in a First-Round Match
This was easily the weakest match on the show, but that's not to say it was bad by any means. Nothing stood out as special about it and neither of them did anything to leave a lasting impression on me, but it was a passable bout. Plus, I did like Cedric Alexander (Monroe's husband) and their son watching on from the front row because that added an extra layer to it.
Tegan Nox def. Zatara in a First-Round Match
Michael Cole referred to Nox as his dark horse to win the whole thing and he might have been right on the money because she is a star on the rise. She got in all of her signature spots here and had the crowd behind her the entire time. It's a shame an injury kept her out of last year's Mae Young Classic, but she should have a hell of a showing in this year's tourney. It isn't hard to see why her and Dakota Kai have teamed up in the past because they are so similar.
Rhea Ripley def. MJ Jenkins in a First-Round Match
Ripley was one of the unknowns from last year's Mae Young Classic that impressed me the most, and since then, she has done a great job of reinventing herself and creating a character fans can invest in. Jenkins had a fine showing (I'm somewhat familiar with her from the few matches I saw her during her IMPACT tenure), but Ripley was the real standout. I wouldn't be surprised to see her go far this year.