After months of waiting, we finally have a list. No, not the List of Jericho, but a list of women from all over the world. These women will be competing in the Mae Young Classic this summer. Some may sound familiar, while others you are hearing about for the first time. They all have something in common though: the drive to win.
A few days ago, WWE revealed the first four participants for the tournament, and yesterday, ESPN revealed more names. Here is some information regarding the competitors:
According to WWE:
A true favorite to win the tournament, Toni Storm is looking to make an impact in WWE. The 21-year old is the first-ever PROGRESS Women’s Champion. Another PROGRESS champion in WWE? Pete Dunne. Storm has been wrestling since she was 13 and is considered one of the best out there not officially signed to WWE.
Just like in the Cruiserweight Classic, talent from NXT will be in the tournament. Lacy Evans has impressed in her short time in NXT. She served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years. Evans is currently considered “The Lady of NXT” due to her classy mannerisms, but she can definitely pack a mean punch. Crazy Mary Dobson will also be in the tournament. If fans don’t recognize her, it will be because she has changed her ring name to Sarah Logan. She is best known for her time in the independent scene and training in Japan. It will be interesting to see how these two styles mix if they were to face off against one another during the tournament.
Based off of her attire alone, I might be a fan of Mexico’s Princesa Sugehit. The current Mexican Nation Women’s Champion has worked for CMLL and AAA for more than 20 years. Her toughness has been tested many times, especially when it comes to her mask. She has been in four Luchas de Apuestas, winning all of them.
ESPN revealed five new participants:
Jazzy Gabert, aka Alpha Female, may be the most intimidating woman in this tournament. The 35-year old has competed in MMA before (1-1) and has honed her craft in Japan’s Stardom organization. She may play the role of a powerhouse in this tournament, only to be beaten by a scrappy young star.
Fans should be excited that Kimber Lee will be the latest lady to compete in the tournament. She may be one of the most recognizable women on the independent scene. Given the new name Abbey Laith, the 26-year old has competed for promotions like Shimmer, Shine and CZW. She was breaking down barriers before the Women’s Revolution in WWE, winning the CHIKARA Grand Championship. With that win, she became the first woman to hold a top male title in any promotion. Does that make her a favorite? Yes, yes it does.
Not much is known about Taynara Conti, except that she is a black belt in judo and blue belt in jiu-jitsu. It will be interesting to see how she interacts with the crowd down at Full Sail University. Kavita Devi attended a recent WWE tryout in India. Trained by The Great Khali, Devi is a weightlifter, while also a known MMA fighter. Both backgrounds should benefit Devi if she was to make it in the later rounds.
One name I was very happy to see was the daughter of the great Tully Blanchard, Tessa Blanchard. The 21-year old has competed a few times in WWE, but that is not what she is known for. Called “The Queen of the Carolinas”, Tessa has competed for various companies, from the U.S. all the way to Japan. She is currently a Shimmer Tag Team Champion while making a name for herself in Stardom. Tessa should go very deep in the tournament and will be a clear fan favorite. After all, this is in her blood.
An interesting name has been floating around the dirt sheets. Pro Wrestling Sheet is reporting that former WWE star Serena Debb is considering coming out of retirement for the tournament. Serena was a member of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society, a group that dominated WWE programming in 2010. She only had one match for the company and was released for reportedly failing to “live the gimmick” of a straight edge star at bars. I know, sounds off, but that is wrestling for you.
If she was to return, it would be the same role THE Brian Kendrick had in the tournament; veteran with a redemption storyline. While I haven’t seen much of her in-ring work, many praised the skills she had. It will be interesting to see if WWE pulls the trigger on this.
A few stars have been confirmed, but we still a lot more names to go. Get excited folks! The Mae Young Classic will begin taping on July 13th and 14th at Full Sail University.