The Mae Young Classic tournament has almost come and gone, 32 women from around the world travelled to Full Sail University in Florida to fight for the chance to raise the trophy high and only two ring Queens remain, Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane. This opinion piece will discuss the possibilities for both of these talented competitors and what we can perhaps expect when they hit the shores of the WWE main roster or NXT.
Kairi Sane has been a major talking point of the Mae Young Classic, and rightfully so. As Kairi Hojo, she earned every accolade her home promotion STARDOM in Japan had to offer and was set to become their next ace before she signed with the WWE. So far in the Mae Young tournament she has put in fantastic showing after fantastic showing against amazingly talented opponents and come out on top time and again.
Many wondered if she would be this tournament’s Kota Ibushi, that WWE would use her already established popularity to put someone else over on the way to the finals however that has not been the case. Now the question remains, if Kairi pulls out all the stops and walks away the winner on September 12th, what lies ahead for the Pirate Princess of the WWE?
One of the more common theories is that Sane was picked up to replace Asuka as the franchise player of NXT’s women’s division. This might not be far from the truth, with a newly vacated NXT Women’s Championship up for grabs as Asuka makes moves towards RAW and Smackdown, winning the Mae Young Classic could very well open the doors Sane would need to swoop in and claim the crown of the division.
Another possible outcome if Sane picks up the win on Tuesday is a fast track to the main roster, being one of the hottest prospects in the tournament, Bayley and Asuka both currently out with injury and apparent heat on Sasha Banks, the WWE very well might pull the trigger on Sane.
Coming hot out of the tournament to the main stage and proving why she has such a buzz might be the smartest move the WWE could make right now in establishing not only Sane herself but if they plan on doing the tournament again down the road, also establishing it as a stepping stone to greatness. Hotshotting a title onto her might not be the smartest of ideas as we’ve seen the damage something like that has done to up and coming women in the past but a strong debut and letting her walk the road to a meaningful title match down the line could very well make Kairi Sane in the WWE.
Shayna Baszler, Mixed Martial Artist, Submission Magician and current heel of the Mae Young Classic seems to be a heavy favorite moving into the finals. With 15 wins under her belt in the octagon and many impressive victories across the Independent Wrestling circuit including claiming the AIW Women’s Championship, Baszler, backed up by her partners in the Four Horsewomen of MMA (Rousey, Shafir and Duke) seems dead set on claiming the trophy as her own.
As the finals draw nearer by the day wrestling fans across the world are wondering if Baszler can do what she has done consistently through the competition so far and make her opponent and woman standing between her and the throne, Kairi Sane, tap out like all the rest. If that is the case, what can we expect from The Queen of Spades moving forward in the WWE?
There is a lot of backlash on Baszler right now, many fans seem frustrated with the bleeding of the wrestling and MMA worlds and with Baszler’s push being equated to who she’s friends with rather than who she is. There does seem to be a ready made feud built into a Shayna win, with WWE currently teasing a showdown between the Four Horsewomen of the WWE and the Four Horsewomen of MMA, a victory for Baszler would be a great catalyst for such a battle but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We saw what Shayna did to Candice LeRae, choking her out long after the bell, perhaps she continues her heelish ways in the final and forces Lynch, Flair and Bayley to step in the ring to stop her, leading to the two groups finally going head to head?
Another possibility and one that also plays to Baszler’s strengths is coming to NXT to engage in a feud with another up and comer with an MMA background, Sonya DeVille. DeVille and Baszler duking it out on NXT television, both vying to get their hands on the Women’s Championship not only could create some great matches, it would also help take the heat off of Baszler who people assume is only here to help sweeten the deal to get Ronda Rousey on board.
A series of clashes up and down the card, constantly building momentum before Baszler herself came face to face with her friend Rousey may be the better story to tell, letting Shayna stand on her own two feet and establish herself as a real star on her own seems like the best thing to do and she’s certainly capable however the allure of pulling the trigger on Horsewomen vs. Horsewomen may be too much for the WWE and regardless, a dominant win in the Mae Young Classic for The Queen of Spades is sure to kick off her career in the WWE in the right way.
Make sure to tune in to the Mae Young Classic Finale after Smackdown Live this coming Tuesday, 12th of September on the WWE Network to see who lifts the prestigious trophy, follow me on Twitter @WWEedFan and let me know where you see these talented women going after the MYC, thank you for reading.