It’s official: the 2018 Mae Young Classic will take place Wednesday, August 8th and Thursday, August 9th at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. WWE issued a press release announcing the dates on Thursday.
Are you ready? @WWE @MaeYoungClassic 2018 will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 8 & Thursday, Aug. 9 at @FullSail, and YOU can secure your tickets beginning tomorrow at 10 AM ET! #MaeYoungClassic https://t.co/9AqV0IGNSO
— WWE (@WWE) June 21, 2018
“We are thrilled to once again present the Mae Young Classic and provide a global showcase for 32 of the top female talent from around the world,” Triple H said in the release. “Last year’s event was a significant milestone in WWE’s Women’s Evolution, and I am confident this year’s event will break even more barriers.”
However, notably absent from the press release were the names of any participants. Indeed, WWE has yet to announce any names for the 2018 tournament at all – but Thursday’s NXT tapings might have revealed the first four competitors.
From PW Insider:
Tickets for the Mae Young Classic were put on sale for the crowd at Full Sail Live tonight [June 21]. WWE played a promo video that prominently featured Toni Storm, Rhea Ripley, Mia Yim, and Mercedes Martinez. While their names weren’t officially announced, it would seem they are set for the second annual tournament.
Notably, Storm, Ripley, Yim, and Martinez all participated in the inaugural Mae Young Classic; Ripley and Yim were both eliminated in the round of 16, while Martinez and Storm both made it to the semifinals. And while they are just 4 of 32 participants, it certainly raises the question of how many repeat competitors we’ll see in the 2018 tournament.
Here are a few other competitors I think we’ll see in the tournament – none of whom previously competed.
Nixon Newell is a Welsh professional wrestler who’s been signed to NXT since April 2017. She was scheduled to participate in the inaugural Mae Young Classic – but a fateful ACL injury took her out of action for an entire year. Now that she’s healthy and back in the ring, I fully expect Newell to appear in the 2018 tournament.
Deonna Purrazzo has appeared as “enhancement talent” in both NXT and WWE, and was listed as an alternate for the 2017 Mae Young Classic. She reportedly signed with WWE last month, so I won’t be surprised if she graduates from “alternate” to “participant” for 2018.
Did you know that Aliyah’s been with WWE since April 2015? Probably not, because in those three years and change she’s appeared on NXT TV a grand total of 17 times. In other words, if there’s anyone who needs to be in the 2018 Mae Young Classic, it’s her. She participated in a qualifying dark match for the 2017 tournament, but was defeated by Bianca Belair. Here’s hoping she has a better go of it in 2018.
Isla Dawn is a Scottish pro wrestler who’s been making her way up the UK indie scene since 2013. She’s also been making moves in WWE: she teamed with NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler against Nikki Cross and Nixon Newell at the NXT Download Festival live event earlier this month, and is scheduled for a triple threat match at the upcoming United Kingdom Championship Tournament. Incidentally, she’s also dating NXT Champion Aleister Black.
Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke
Now that Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke have joined Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey in WWE, they could very well turn up in the 2018 Mae Young Classic. They might not have a very good go of it, given their inexperience, but there’d be no better way to introduce them to the WWE Universe – or set up potential feuds and storylines.
We will know soon enough who fills out the rest of the roster.