We are t-minus one week away from the second Mae Young Classic (MYC) tournament and if you’re anything like me you’re jumping up and down in anticipation. Last year’s tournament was not only historic but graced the network with some of the finest women’s wrestling seen on WWE in years.
The bracket for this year’s tournament was revealed tonight and is as follows:
Author’s Note: I have done my best to remain spoiler free, so all my predictions and feelings are based solely on my knowledge of the performers and my personal biases. Editor’s note: If you do want to peep spoilers, those are here and here.
Right off the bat there are some interesting match-ups. Two that stand out most to me are notable feuds from non-WWE products being remounted for the MYC.
Allison Kay (AKA Sienna) and Mia Yim have been wrestling each other for years. In 2012 Mia broke AK’s nose in AIW leading to a series of grudge matches. They continued to wrestle on the indies eventually both ending up on TNA where they not only feuded, but wrestled for the KnockOuts Championship in 2016. Their feud even has a hashtag - #FrenemyWorldTour!
My gut reaction is to pick Mia Yim for round 2, but Allison Kay almost died last year and WWE can’t resist a comeback story. Personally, I would love to see AK go on to round 2. We’ve seen Mia before and AK beating her former nemesis after surviving blood clots in her lungs is too good of a tale to pass up. I don’t see AK advancing past round 2, seeings how she would be facing Kaitlyn, but a little Cinderella story moment would be satisfying. Plus, the idea of AK and Kaitlyn - two total anti-divas - in the ring together is exciting!
The other notable feud is Toni Storm and Jinny from Progress Wrestling. Now, to be frank, I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about Progress (I’m still in Chapter 5), but I do know that Jinny and Toni are two driving forces in their women’s division. Toni Storm is both the first and the longest reigning Progress Women’s Champion, but Jinny dethroned Toni to win her first Progress Women’s Championship.
Every thing I know about Toni outside of that comes from WWE programming and most of what I know about Jinny is from my friends talking about how good she is. I’ll be interested in how well their history comes across both in the pre-match videos and their in-ring work.
It’s pretty obvious that Toni is going forward into round two - she’s the poster child for NXT UK - but I am really excited to see this match.
The three performers that I am most hype to see, knowing full well that they are not going to win, are Nicole Matthews, Aerial Monroe, and Meiko Satomura.
Nicole Matthews is both hilarious and mega talented. She always has funny quips, smart-ass smack talk and isn’t above a little physical comedy. I once saw her wrestle in a sweater with green tea because she had a cold - and she won! But don’t let the comedy fool you, her in ring work is crisp and technical. She’ll make you drop your guard with joke and then put you in a head lock.
Unfortunately, I think she loses in the first round. Isla Dawn is an NXT UK performer and I can see them wanting to push their own talent. But if we’re being honest, ShimmerTaker deserves to take the whole thing (I may be a bit biased).
Aerial Monroe aka BIG SWOLE is a delight to watch. She may be a young wrestler, only debuting in 2015, but you’d never know it watching her in ring work. She’s tough, fast and has personality for days. Oh, and did I mention how SWOLE she is?
I think she advanced into round 2, but loses to Io Shirai.
Meiko freaking Satomura is in the Mae Young Classic on the WWE Network in 2018.
Man, I love wrestling.
If you are unfamiliar with Meiko Satomura this is all you need to know. She is the best wrestler in the world. Full stop. She beats up women, she beats up men and she does it all with the strongest kicks and stomps you’re ever going to see. Ever wonder why I complain about Finn’s double stomp so much? It’s because I’ve seen Meiko’s and Finn’s doesn’t even hold a candle to it.
In a just world Satomura would win this tournament with ease, but in reality she’s a big name meant to draw an audience. She’s not here to win. She’s not signed - and I don’t think she would - and she’s frankly older than the other women in the tournament. She’s not a performer to build a brand around because she is her own damn brand.
I think Satomura will advance to round 3 where she will face Toni Storm. Storm will win that match and advance to the final round at Evolution.
Who will win?
Tegan Nox had a really nice interview on Bracketology about being pulled from the first MYC and how hard she fought to come back. She would have been my pick to win the whole thing because as I’ve said before WWE can’t resist a comeback kid, but sadly, we know that somewhere in the tournament Nox gets injured badly and has to exit.
Hearing her talk about her comeback with Mauro and Beth was both inspiring and incredibly sad. There is always the MYC 3!
The final round has to come down to Io Shirai and Toni Storm.
Io Shirai is an amazing wrestler. (Anyone remember that time she jumped from the Lucha Underground ceiling TO THE FLOOR?) She’s incredibly versatile and has an deep arsenal of wrestling maneuvers at her disposable. She hits hard and hits fast.
Additionally, we know that Io and Toni have good in ring chemistry from their time together in Japan.
Both are signed, both are well loved by us indie nerds, both have big personalities that will win over new crowds and both are just A+ wrestlers. We couldn’t ask for a better final match up for the second Mae Young Classic!
Those are my predictions Cagesiders. Sound off below with predictions and favorites of your own and make sure to meet me back here next week where I’ll break down week one off the Mae Young Classic!