When you run through 30 matches over the course of two days, a few different elements are in play. There are sure to be matches that will be received in unexpected ways, and a few missteps no matter how talented the collection of performers may be.
The primary focus of an event like the second annual Mae Young Classic, aside from putting on the most entertaining and engaging show possible, is to walk out of the second night with none of the 32 women carrying serious injuries. This was unfortunately not the case Thursday night, as a quarterfinal match of the tournament between Tegan Nox and Rhea Ripley was cut short after Nox suffered a serious leg injury on a dive outside the ring.
It would have been a terrible injury for any of the women performing in the Mae Young Classic, but it was made even more devastating because Nox had only just returned from injury. Shortly after signing her WWE contract, with a spot reserved in the inaugural Mae Young Classic in 2017, Nox suffered an ACL injury to her other leg that took a full year to recover from.
"Tegan, to me is this story of, you know, last year we really wanted her to be in the tournament and she had the ACL injury that prevented her from being in it," said Paul "Triple H" Levesque, one of the leading creative forces behind the tournament, in an interview with ESPN after Thursday's matches. "It took her all year [to recover] and she just got rolling and really feeling good and just gets cleared, I mean, 100 percent banging around on it and it's great.
"To come here tonight and be in a position to where, let me just say, it couldn't have been any more heartbreaking for her," Levesque continued, discussing the injury. "Emotionally, just couldn't have been any more heartbreaking. I don't know, at this point, what happened. She landed funky on a dive and hurt herself."
The severity and full nature of the injury have yet to be fully diagnosed, but Nox was taken to the hospital to diagnose the injury.
"The doctor looked at it, and it was so painful at the point that he couldn't manipulate the disk to see if it was an ACL," Levesque said, "So we have her headed over to the hospital now and check what it is."
Thank you�� pic.twitter.com/YjHF7aMu4n
- Tegan Nox �������������� (@TeganNoxWWE_) August 10, 2018
"This isn't how I planned to finish the Mae Young Classic in any shape or form but the last 2 days have been the best experience of my life, despite the obvious!," Nox later said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Though we can never be sure what the outcome in the match between Nox and Ripley was intended to be, the inclusion of a pair of non-tournament matches following the abruptly ended Nox-Ripley match may indicate that a change in creative plans was being worked on to adapt to the new circumstances.
"Freak accidents happen, it's part of the job but to hear that she had a killer match with one of the best wrestlers in the world, Io Shirai made my heart swell with happiness," Nox continued. "This is more mentally draining than it is physically but you can guarantee that this isn't going to keep me down."