Hello, fellow wrestling enthusiasts, and welcome to Part 2 of our breakdown for WWE’s Mae Young Classic competitors! In the previous breakdown, written by my fellow amazing writer, Chris Caradine, we’ve broken down eight of the contenders in the MYC. In this section, I will be breaking down and analyzing four more competitors and discussing tidbits of their career and their chances in this year’s stacked tournament! With the hype for the tournament ever-growing, let’s not stall any longer and start analyzing, shall we? Here are four more contenders that will undoubtedly be a factor in your brackets!
Billed From: Glen Ridge, New Jersey
Weight: 95 lbs
Debut: April 2018
Championship Accolades: Southeast Regional Gymnast of the Year, Eastern College Athletic Conference Gymnast of the Year, 1st Woman to qualify for American Ninja Warrior Finals Course, 1st Woman to complete American Ninja Warrior City Finals course
Main Promotions: WWE
- Extensive Athletic Background
- Speed and Flexibility
- Lack of Wrestling Experience
- Size and Weight Disadvantage
- Lack of Power (Compared to Other Competitors)
As she is a newcomer to the world of professional wrestling, Kacy Catanzaro may perhaps be the biggest wild-card in the Mae Young Classic. Kacy has an extensive gymnast background, practicing gymnastics since the age of 5, and had attended college in Towson University on an athletic scholarship. Her experience in gymnastics had earned her numerous awards, including ‘Gymnast of the Year’ and ‘Top Competitor’ in the Eastern Athletic Conference. However, she’s best renowned for her career in American Ninja Warrior, a popular American sports competition (adapted from the Japanese SASUKE series) that features athletes throughout the country competing in a series of increasingly-difficult obstacle courses for a chance in the finals of Las Vegas, where a cash prize awaits the winner. In this competition, Kacy has built a legacy for being the first woman in the history of the competition to both complete a City Finals course and qualify for the competition’s Finals. Her indomitable spirit and will to compete inspired many other female competitors to join the competition, in what many within the event dub ‘The Kacy Effect’.
Kacy is no stranger to professional wrestling, as she is a childhood fan of the sport and had often wondered about stepping into the ring. After retiring from American Ninja Warrior, Kacy received a tryout with WWE at the WWE Performance Center, with her official signing announcement occurring on August 27, 2017 during the 1st Mae Young Classic. She reported to the WWE Performance Center on January 2018 and has trained ever since. She has competed on NXT’s house shows and has made apperances in house-shows and NXT programming. This, of course, means that we have seen little-to-none of Kacy’s skill or moveset within the ring, including any potential signatures or finishers.
Her WWE Network-debut will occur during this year’s Mae Young Classic and she’s ready to make an impact. Her performance in this tournament will undoubtedly provide inspiration to many of her fans or for women who feel that they can’t accomplish their goal because of their size or their doubt. Given her full debut will occur during this tournament, winning the entire event would launch Kacy’s in-ring career into the stratosphere and undoubtedly feature her among some of the best female talents in WWE/NXT today. Can Kacy achieve ‘Total Victory’ in the Mae Young Classic?
Billed From: Lisbon, Portugal
Weight: 128 lbs
Signatures: Knee Strikes, Straitjacket German Suplex
Debut: October 2016
Championship Accolades: Inaugural wXw Women’s Champion
Main Promotions: wXw, WWE
Lack of Wrestling Experience
Lack of Long Matches
Lower Win Percentage
Kelly may only have a little over a year’s worth of in-ring experience, but that ‘Killer’ moniker isn’t there just to give her a scary name. Killer Kelly started her career in Wrestling Portugal and has quickly established herself as one of the most hard-hitting competitors to step foot in the ring. Her career originally started in Portugal, under the Wrestling Portugal promotion, but she’s quickly exploded in popularity as she’s traveled throughout Europe and even made some stops in the United States as well. Kelly’s biggest wrestling accomplishment so far came during her tenure in Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling, where she became the inaugural wXw Women’s Champion, defeating the likes of “Session Moth” Martina, Melanie Gray and fellow competitor Jinny in a tournament that spanned two months. Killer Kelly defended the wXw Women’s Championship for 28 days before losing the championship to fellow competitor Toni Storm.
Killer Kelly’s style is heavily rooted with MMA aspects, displaying precise knee strikes and a punishing ground game that’s all but guaranteed to falter even the toughest of enemies (just ask former MYC competitors Kay Lee Ray and Dakota Kai)! Her punishing strikes and grapples is what earned Kelly her ‘Killer Kelly’ moniker from her homeland crowds of Portugal. However, given that her career has only recently started and the majority of her matches tend to be fairly short time-wise, we’ve yet to see how her performance is when she’s taken deeper into the waters. Also of note, Kelly’s win percentage is lower (likely due to her career still being young), with a recorded 68% loss percentage in 2017 (out of 22 matches, she’s lost 15 and won 7). However, don’t let the statistics necessarily sway your decision, as Killer Kelly may just very well slay her competition in this year’s Mae Young Classic.
Billed From: Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
Weight: 140 lbs
Finisher: Vancouver Maneuver
Signatures: Fisherman Suplex, Elevated Boston Crab, Lariat
Debut: February 2006
Championship Accolades: SHIMMER Champion, 2x SHIMMER Tag Team Champion, 3x ECCW Champion, 2x ECCW Tag Team Champion, 4x ECCW Women’s Champion
Main Promotions: SHIMMER, ECCW
Significant Wrestling Experience
Lack of Name Recognition
Lack of Mainstream Exposure
If you’re looking for a female wrestler that is able to balance between being serious and being comedic, as well as handle both a brawling and technical style in matches, look no further than Nicole Matthews. Matthews is a true student of the game, having been trained by Aaron Idol, Michelle Starr and current WWE Superstar Becky Lynch. Speaking of WWE Superstars, Nicole has also faced her fair share of them throughout her career, such as Natalya Neidhart, Asuka, Sara Del Ray (WWE trainer Sara Amato) and even Becky Lynch herself. Nicole is extremely proficient in her craft, earning her a lot of respect in the Canadian Independent scene and many championships along the way. She’s primarily based in Canada, but she has competed on a global stage, including England, Japan, Australia and the United States. Nicole also has the distinction of winning ECCW’s major singles title, the ECCW Championship, which is a championship contested primarily among the men, and she’s had lengthy reigns with that particular championship as well. She’s accumulated titles in the SHIMMER promotion as well, holding that championship just shy of a full year with eight title defenses.
Her wrestling style, as mentioned, is a hybrid mix of technical prowess and aggressive brawling. She’s able to mix it up effectively among Joshi (Japanese Strong-Style Female) wrestlers, various types of female wrestlers and even against the male wrestlers as well. Her finisher, the Vancouver Maneuver, has put away some of wrestling’s top talent today. However, due to being largely present more in the Canadian wrestling scene, Nicole does not have much name recognition, as compared to most of the other competitors on the list. This has resulted in her name not being touted among many of the top female wrestlers, despite a 10+ year career in the sport. With her arrival in the Mae Young Classic, her performances will be sure to wow the crowd and all eyes will be on her for her entire stay. Can Nicole Matthews break through the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ here and get the recognition she deserves?
Billed From: Welsh Valleys, South Wales, United Kingdom
Weight: 141 lbs
Finisher: Shiniest Wizard, Vulture Culture/Welsh Destroyer
Signatures: Nos Da, Chokehold STO, Headbutt
Debut: May 2013
Championship Accolades: WCPW Women’s Champion, ATTACK! Pro 24/7 Championship, Queen of Southside Championship
Main Promotions: ATTACK! Pro Wrestling, PROGRESS, WhatCulture Pro Wrestling
Extensive Wrestling Knowledge
Prior Significant Injuries
It’s impossible to discuss any part of the UK Female Wrestling scene without discussing Tegan Nox (the former Nixon Newell) in the mix. Known popularly as “The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard,” Nox is one of the most versatile wrestlers in the female Independent Wrestling scene today and she’s capable of mixing it up with both female and male competitors to produce some entertaining contests. Nox may have started her wrestling career back in 2013, but her athletic career started even further back as a child, when she played football (soccer) for a number of Welsh teams (including national teams), along with rugby and netball. However, a knee injury at the age of 13 cost her a spot on the Under-16 football team and, by age 16, she had given up on the sport because of that injury and a lack of passion for the sport.
Tegan was introduced to professional wrestling at the age of five and grew up with the sport alongside football. She was a huge fan of Molly Holly (citing her as a favorite wrestler and even a dream opponent) and, after encouragement from her late grandfather, pursued wrestling as a career. She trained under the likes of Dave Stewart and the “Wild Boar” himself, Mike Hitchman. Nox showed great potential in the sport and it was proven in Attack! Pro Wrestling when she picked up the Attack! 24/7 Championship fairly quickly into her debut for the promotion and contending with the likes of Martin Kirby, El Ligero, Tyler Bate, Mark Andrews and fellow competitors Jinny and Mercedes Martinez. Nox’s journey in professional wrestling has seen her travel to PROGRESS, SHIMMER, STARDOM and even WhatCulture Pro Wrestling (now Defiant Wrestling), where she became the inaugural WCPW Women’s Championship. Nox held on to that title for an impressive 173 days with five successful title defenses before losing the championship to Bea Priestley. Shortly after, Nox signed with the WWE in April 2017, where she has remained since.
Nox’s wrestling style is incredibly versatile, being able to contend with female wrestlers and male wrestlers alike with little-to-no trouble. Her potential knows no bounds and she has been able to deliver ‘Match of the Night’-like performances in various promotions on a global scale. Something that may work against her, however, is her past injuries, which have proven to be significant. Nox has had a history of leg injuries (most notably a torn ACL just prior to her debut on last year’s Mae Young Classic).Her youth, both in the professional wrestling world and in real life, may seem to work against her but she may have a very long career in wrestling at this pace. If she can overcome all of these factors, however, ‘The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard” may have the shiniest future in this year’s Mae Young Classic.
That’ll do it for this breakdown but stay tuned because we’re not done yet! We will be presenting Part 3 of our analysis on all of the competitors in WWE’s Mae Young Classic ’18, where we discuss another four competitors! Be sure to come back to our website for more coverage on the tournament! Let us know in the comments what you think so far, as well as who your favorite entrant to win the entire tournament! Thank you and have a great night!
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Image Credit: WWE, Twitter (Killer Kelly, Mia Yim), DeviantArt