The 2018 Mae Young Classic starts tonight on the WWE Network. Judging from the talent pool and last year’s inaugural tournament, it should be a lot of fun. The MYC features thirty-two wrestlers from a variety of different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, experience levels, and wrestling styles, some signed to WWE and some not. Mauro Ranallo and Beth Phoenix gave us the official WWE breakdown on the Bracketology Special (here on YouTube and on the Network), and I’m here to give you the With Spandex breakdown.
The promotional video about this year’s nine returning MYC competitors showcases what’s cool about this tournament, and what makes it special as a thing for WWE, women’s wresting, and especially WWE women’s wrestling. I think this video and the other MYC promotional materials so far show not just the best of how WWE can make women’s wrestling feel more important when they really want to, but how competing in the biggest promotion in the world should probably always feel for all their wrestlers.
We see the returning wrestlers talk about how they were driven to improve themselves after their performances last year, and it definitely elevates the tournament. It presents the Mae Young Classic as a not just a look-how-we-don’t-dehumanize-women-anymore-wow-Revolution PR gimmick, but as an athletic competition that draws out the most driven female wresters in the world, and then pushes them to do even better.
Especially as someone who grew up in an era in which WWE mostly did not treat women’s wrestling as worthwhile in the slightest, the progressiveness of the MYC is something makes me feel very good as a wrestling fan, and especially as wrestling fan who is also a woman. It presents a future of wrestling in which everyone can belong, as long as they can kick ass.
That being said, there’s a wide variety of experience levels in this talent pool, and that could make or break especially these first round matches!