During the Raw After WrestleMania, WWE announced that there would be another Mae Young Classic in 2018. The first one was a 32-woman tournament featuring wrestlers from the indies and around the world. Like a lot of people, my first reaction to that news was “Cool, but who’s going to be in it?” Being as fond of unwarranted speculation as any wrestling fan, I’ve come up with some ideas about who might show up, and who I’d really like to see.
I didn’t include anyone who was in the tournament last year, but I certainly wouldn’t object to return appearances by Tessa Blanchard, Nicole Savoy, Mercedes Martinez, Mia Yim, Piper Niven, or Toni Storm. I also left out anyone who has a current contract with Impact, as I’m sure WWE will have to, which is a shame because Su Yung, Taya, or Rosemary would be amazing gets for the tournament if it was possible.
With those caveats out of the way, here are 15 wrestlers who could be great additions to the Second Annual Mae Young Classic.
Yes, this Australian rookie is a masked wrestler named after Facebook. It’s an even more impressive gimmick when you recognize the shapes over her eyes.
Understandably, WWE might not want to lean into that gimmick (which is a shame, because pretty much nothing is more heelish than Facebook these days), but even if she went by a different name, a masked wrestler with her intimidating physique offers a lot to a tournament like this. Even if she goes out in the first round, she’ll make a memorable opponent for any smaller babyface that you want to build as a scrappy underdog.
Chelsea Green (also known as Laurel Van Ness) is a former Impact champion who recently left the company. She was also a contestant on Season 6 of Tough Enough (the same place we first saw Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, and Velveteen Dream), so WWE definitely knows who she is.
She’s currently working with RISE Wrestling, International Wrestling Cartel, and Shimmer Women Athletes. Whether she appears as her relatively straightforward indie persona or a riff on the off-her-rocker character she played on Impact, Chelsea would be a strong addition to the tournament.
Impressive Indi Hartwell
Australian Indi Hartwell is the kind of heel who gave herself the “Impressive” nickname, and even likes to yell the word before she suplexes opponents. That’s the kind of old-school heeling that reads perfectly in a tournament where many of the viewers won’t necessarily know her. She’s recently spent time in the U.S. working for Shimmer and RISE, where she’s been tag teaming with Tessa Blanchard, who we know is on the WWE’s radar for more reasons than one.
Another Australian star, Shazza is much more of a natural babyface, and has done a little work with NXT already — in fact, she had a match with Kairi Sane in the most recent round of TV tapings. An in-ring veteran of nearly a decade, she could be a great utility player for the tournament, although her Betty Cooper looks will surely gain the attention of fans.
Ashley Vox recently held the Chaotic Wrestling Women’s Championship for almost a year — not quite as long as Sasha Banks held it before coming to NXT, but long enough to be impressive for a title with that kind of legacy. She also wrestles in Chikara as the evil sea queen, Oceania. Whether it’s plucky babyface Ashley or her terrifying sea witch counterpart who shows up for the MYC, she’s an exciting young wrestler who’s well-positioned to benefit from the attention the tournament would bring.
Nicole Matthews is a veteran star of the Canadian indie scene, she goes way back with Becky Lynch, and is a two time Shimmer Tag Team Champion as half of the Canadian Ninjas with Portia Perez. She’s not just a great wrestler, she’s a fantastic talker and excellent at comedy, which can add spice to a big tournament like this one. She was an alternate for the first Mae Young Classic, but this time around she should be featured in the tournament proper.
Solo Darling cuts a unique figure in indie wrestling, mostly because she’s usually dressed as some kind of animal. She buzz-buzzes around Chikara Pro as half of the Rumble-Bees tag team, but she’s also been known to wear ears and a tail to be a fox, a squirrel, or a cat. Riding the line between a Disney cartoon protagonist and an actual furry, Solo never has much trouble getting over with a crowd. That alone would make her a worthwhile addition to the tournament, but her in-ring ability’s not too shabby, either.
Shotzi is a true punk rock badass. She can work as a heel or a face, but either way her unique charisma shines through. She’s only been wrestling for a couple of years, but she’s done a lot in that time, and her potential for the future feels almost limitless. She’s a lot of fun in and out of the ring, and what she lacks in experience she makes up for by being totally unique and very exciting to watch.
Aerial Monroe is best known on the Southern indie scene, although she’s made memorable appearances at RISE and Shimmer in the Midwest. She’s a babyface at heart, but with her intimidating physique and a hairstyle that might read as aggressive to some, she could play a heel if that’s what the match calls for.
She’s also the fiancée of WWE Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander, which I mention only because WWE seems to like bringing in people who are related to people who already work for them. (Side note: If bringing her in somehow led — in some future MMC scenario down the road — to a match with her and Cedric against Candice and Johnny, I would definitely be into seeing that too.)
The Sendai Girls
I’m including all three of these women in one entry, even though they’d be entering the tournament separately (not unlike the Trifecta in the first go-round).
Dash Chisako (on the right) is such a perfect rock-n-roll underdog babyface that she’ll have you chanting her name in the first three minutes of the first match you see her in. Cassandra Miyagi (on the left) is a chaotic heel who I once described as “kind of like Paige, if she was a demonic rhinoceros.” And of course Meiko Satomura is a 23-year veteran and possibly the best wrestler in the world. Together the Sendai Girls won Chikara’s King of Trios tournament in 2016 and came in second in 2017. Separately, they could make a hell of an impact on the Mae Young Classic.
I don’t need to tell you that With Spandex is way into Kris Wolf. Ever since her promo about fighting and eating a child went viral in 2016, Wolf’s American fan base has grown steadily. Although she wrestles primarily in Japan as part of the Stardom promotion, she’s American herself, and has been making more appearances recently in promotions like RISE, Shimmer, and Bar Wrestling.
Her upbeat attitude toward lycanthropy and cannibalism alongside her impressive ring skills enable her to be a great heel despite her tiny size, and given half a chance she could absolutely hold her own in a WWE ring.
If you don’t know Delilah Doom from the indies, you may recall her from a memorable 2016 WWE squash match where Nia Jax pushed her off the top rope onto the floor, and Delilah sold it like she was as dead as any dead person has ever been. Delilah Doom is one of the most exciting up-and-comers on the indie scene. Her ’80s mallrat gimmick is so perfect it’s amazing nobody’s done before, but it’s hard to imagine anyone doing it better than she does.
Her unique (but let’s face it, undeniably adorable) look, diminutive but muscular physique, and excellent move set make her a great choice not just to participate in the tournament, but potentially to go far in it if the company’s smart enough to get behind her.
Saraya is a legendary veteran wrestler in her own right, but let’s be real, I mostly put her on this list because of the backstage storytelling potential. With Paige playing an onscreen role in WWE (and potentially even having some involvement in the MYC this year), having her mother show up for the tournament could be a great storyline, particularly because Paige is a babyface GM, and Saraya is a brutal, nasty heel.
I’m imagining a scene of Paige backstage yelling “Mum, what are you doing? You could have killed that poor girl! I have to work here full time, you can’t just show up and break the rules like that!” Saraya, of course, would have no patience for being talked to like that by her own daughter, who doesn’t even wrestle anymore anyway. That kind of over-the-top family drama is an important part of what makes wrestling wrestling. Well, that and the wrestling, but Saraya’s great at that, too.