WWE has confirmed four more entrants into this year’s Mae Young Classic II, joining previously announced Kaitlyn and Rhea Ripley. Japanese superstar Io Shirai, PROGRESS Women’s Champion Jinny, former American Ninja star Kacy Catanzaro and Canadian indie star Nicole Matthews were all announced today by the WWE.
The former World of Stardom Champion was a lock to be a part of the tournament when it was first broken by Japanese news that she was leaving Stardom for the WWE earlier this year. She recently finished up with Stardom and appeared at a WWE Live Event in Tokyo, before WWE officially announced her signing. Per WWE’s Press Release, Io Shirai is “one of the most decorated wrestlers in the modern history of Japan, “The Genius of the Sky” has captured countless titles in her home country and was named the top women’s wrestler for the past three years by Tokyo Sports, a national newspaper. Shirai is renowned for her incredible suplexes and high-flying attacks.”
The UK sensation recently defeated Toni Storm for the PROGRESS Women’s Championship and was scheduled for a fatal four way at the WWE UK Championship special. While she competed, she was injured early in the match, resulting in a stoppage and rebook as a triple threat. Per the WWE, “less than three years into her career, Jinny journeyed into a WWE ring for the first time at the 2017 WrestleMania Axxess. Known for her hard-hitting style inside the ring, Jinny is the reigning women’s champion of the U.K.-based PROGRESS Wrestling and holds the distinction of being the first female graduate of PROGRESS’s wrestling school.
Canadian star Nicole Matthews was an alternate last year for the MYC, but this year she finds herself an official entrant. The BC native is a former SHIMMER Champion, 3x ECCW Champion, and 4x ECCW Women’s Champion, but is best remembered by US fans for her 2x SHIMMER Tag Team Champion duo The Canadian Ninjaz with Portia Perez. The WWE adds that she “has established her name around the globe, having competed in Canada, the United States, England, Japan and Australia. Matthews has faced the likes of Becky Lynch, Asuka and WWE Performance Center trainer Sara Amato. She boasts an aggressive, bullying style of wrestling and likes to finish opponents with a devastating rolling cutter she calls the “Vancouver Maneuver.””
American Ninja star Kacy Catanzaro joined the WWE last year and has seemingly taken to the sport quickly, joining NXT Live Events quite early to rave reviews. While she’s yet to appear on NXT television, it looks like WWE is planning on using the MYC as her launching point, much like they did for Dakota Kai and Bianca BelAir last year. “Though she may not have a wealth of wrestling experience, Catanzaro has been earmarked as a prospect to watch, given her otherworldly athletic abilities,” WWE wrote. “A former Division I gymnast, she was the first woman to scale “American Ninja Warrior’s” “warped wall” and has twice been listed on Sports Illustrated’s “Fittest 50” list of the world’s best female athletes.”