– by Daryll Benjamin –
As you guys and gals know, I’ve been consumed with the Mae Young Classic that the WWE has been airing on their network since SummerSlam. A women’s single elimination tournament with 32 entrants in the vein of the Cruiserweight Classic that aired last year. Last night, we witnessed the semifinal matches in which we determined our finalists Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane. But what of the other 30 competitors? Well, leave it to a blerd like me to classify them on their showings. Why? Because I can! LOL and I’m going to do it to Janet Jackson songs too!
First up, I have the “Because of Love” crew: These youngsters to the business are green but show hints of something that’ll grow into something if they stick with this. Vanessa Borne, Xia Li, Renee Michelle, Nicole Savoy, Kavita Devi and Miranda Salinas all showed flashes of talent and with them, I hope to see them 5 years down the line with more seasoning and witness what flourishes. I like Savoy’s gumption and Li is athletic, but remember Borne folks. She got almost the complete package in the Jacqueline mode.
Next I have “The Pleasure Principle” gals: These wrestlers I didn’t know well but seeing them go in the ring, gives me great hope for the future. Zeda, Sarah Logan, Jazzy Gabert, Ayesha Raymond, Reina González and Taynara Conti. WHOA! A variety of styles and all could go in the ring. Made for interesting watching, I must admit. Gabert is an absolute German monster, Zeda & Raymond are strikers and you can see Logan is a future All-American babyface, but Conti . . . wow! She could be the Brazilian “evil” Trish Stratus.
My “Control“ Women: Sage Beckett, Marti Belle, Kay Lee Ray, Serena Deeb, Princesa Sugehit and Dakota Kai. I watch a lot of wrestling so to see these stars of Shimmer, WSU, Women of Honor, Wrestlicious, TNA, YouTube & Streaming sites FINALLY in a WWE ring, had me marking out like nobody’s business. The amount of punishment and selling that Ray and Kai can do is almost Rob Van Dam like. And to see Sage Beckett and Serena back in the ring again after their journeys is just as awe-inspiring as some of the folks in my next bracket.
“Rhythm Nation” are the ones that BUILT this energy. The gals to which all the buzz started and continues to actually create this tournament. Tessa Blanchard, Candice LeRae, Santana Garrett, Abbey Laith, Mia Yim & Mercedes Martinez. Whether it is by these names or by others, these gals have rocked Women’s Wrestling for the past decade. I now WWE are hustling to sign some of these gals (that they haven’t already) but let me take this time to honor the GOAT Mercedes Martinez. She’s Ric Flair of the Women’s scene. She’s the one that I thought was going to be Sting and not see her go in a WWE ring during her prime. I am glad I was wrong and I hope the next group I list paid attention to her work ethic along with her professionalism because I have high hopes.
My “Go Deep“ wrestlers could also be “If“ depending on how you look at it. We can call these gals up now and bolster/re-freshen/deepen the WWE Women’s scene on all three shows. Toni Storm, Rachel Evers, Piper Niven, Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair and Lacey Evans. There was no one, I repeat, NO ONE who had bigger cheers than Ripley during this tournament. She was the Cedric Alexander of this tournament. The one because of the crowd’s reaction may be hotshotted up to the big shows. Piper got folks behind her as tournament went along. Evers got the genes, but those who follow me on twitter already know that the one I see as a star now is Belair. Natural heel. Ruthless aggression streak. S-T-A-R. And I don’t know Storm’s contractual status with Japan BUT she’s Alexa Bliss, if Bliss was trained through Strong Style. US casual fans aren’t ready…
So now we’re down to 2: Kairi Sane, Japanese/international superstar who is a natural babyface and the WWE has wanted for years. Risktaking, high-flying striker. Probably no sweeter gal in the ring as far as disposition goes. Shayna Baszler, MMA striker/grappler. Been a part of two stables for her training: Ronda Rousey’s Four Horsemen and Mercedes Martinez’s Trifecta. She’s literally choked out all in her way. Good Luck Ladies for on September 12th, there can be only one winner of the Mae Young Classic!
Thanks for reading. Thanks for the songs, Janet Jackson! Until next time, Keep Fantasizing!