Mae Young Classic Update, Indie Star Gets “NXT Name”


Last Word on Pro Wrestling has been covering the impending WWE Women’s Tournament since it’s rumoured inception last fall, and this past week even more details emerged, adding to the previous announcements a few weeks back.


First off, on May 23, Triple H announced that the previously titled WWE Women’s Tournament was now going to be called the Mae Young Classic, in honour of the pioneering women’s wrestler who grappled from 1939 to 2010 (yes, a 71-year career). Mae spent her twilight years as one of the token dames in the WWE Universe, capped off with induction into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2004. Young passed away in 2014 at the age of 90.

No further announcements on confirmed participants, but PWInsider reported that the WWE wants a “strong female presence” on the show, beyond just the participants. Recently signed indie wrestler Kennadi Brink, a graduate of the Dudley Boyz‘ 3D Academy and performer with SHINE and other indies, is expected to be one of the referees in the tournament (she had a few ref tryouts at NXT Live Events several months ago). They are expected to add at least one more female referee to the tournament.

Mae Young, 1940’s

While the Mae Young Classic has found it’s lead announcer for the tournament, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, the same reports indicate that they will most likely surround him with two women in the broadcast booth. One would possibly be either Renee Young or Charly Caruso as one partner announcer, with a women’s Legend like either Lita (the rumoured favourite) or Beth Phoenix adding colour.

Initially, when it was announced two weeks ago that the tournament would be taped at Full Sail University, the same location as NXT tapings and last summer’s Cruiserweight Classic, it was thought that perhaps the Mae Young Classic would be replacing 205 Live for the summer. The finale was announced to be a live event (much like the CWC finale was) to be held on Tuesday August 29th, so it only stood to reason that the episodes of the early rounds would be on the same timeslot for continuity. But it seems that while the finale will air on a Tuesday night, the rest of the tournament will not. In fact, they will adopting a formula normally used by such streaming studios like Netflix, in that they will release multiple episodes at once on the WWE Network – most likely so that the entire tournament won’t be spoiled so quickly. The tournament (minus the live finale) will be taped in its entirety on July 13 and July 14 at Full Sail.


Mae Young, WWE Hall of Famer

Many fans have wondered out loud why the WWE named the tournament after Mae Young instead of her partner late in her life, The Fabulous Moolah – after all, Moolah held the Women’s World Championship for decades from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. With the ability of the internet to find out people’s real stories with more ease, the lure of Moolah’s lore is losing it’s shine quickly. Stories of Moolah’s influence behind the scenes throughout her career are becoming more and more grotesque, including allegations of pimping her students out to other male wrestlers and other acts of gross misconduct.

While Mae Young has a bit of a sketchy past herself – she was well known for hustling men in bars and then beating them up and robbing them – at least she didn’t prostitute the other girls in the dressing room. Mae Young was a performer from the early days – she started wrestling at 16 in 1939, and in 1941, travelled to Canada with Mildred Burke to work for Stu Hart in Western Canada. She worked for Burke’s World Women’s Wrestling Association (WWWA) in the 1950’s, as well as various regional territories for the NWA, and was one of the first wrestlers to tour Japan following World War II. She was a trainer herself, having a hand in training the Fabulous Moolah herself. Mae Young had a resurgence in the Attitude Era when she began to cause mischief periodically with Moolah – most notably taking a table bump from the Dudley Boyz and giving birth to a “hand” after a relationship with “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry. She retired from in-ring performing in 2010 and passed away four years later.


At tonight’s NXT tapings, former indie wrestling star Crazy Mary Dobson – who had been making enhancement appearances on NXT Live Events under her real name Sarah Bridges – made her televised return, under the name Sarah Logan. Her debut with her “NXT name” – along with recent appearances of Candice LeRae, Rachael Ellering (as Rachael Evers), Sonya Deville (aka Daria Berenato) and Lacey Evans (aka Macey Estrella) – have many believing that these new (or repackaged) faces could be potential entrants in the Mae Young Classic.


Main Photo: WWE


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