On August 28, 2017, WWE aired the first ever Mae Young Classic episode on the WWE Network.
The Mae Young Classic was a tournament held by WWE constituting on female wrestlers from all around the globe. 32 wrestlers from the Independent scene, NXT, and various other global promotions took part in the tournament.
The tournament had some notable names such as the likes of Kairi Sane, Toni Storm, Tessa Blanchard, Kay Lee Ray, Dakota Kai, Santana Garrett, Candice LeRae and more.
The Mae Young Classic also featured WWE’s first ever full-time female referee Jessika Carr.
The tournament had representatives from 14 different countries and also saw the first ever Indian female wrestler inside a WWE ring when CWE product Kavita Devi wrestled New Zealand’s Dakota Kai in the first round. Marti Belle became the first ever female wrestler from the Dominican Republic to feature in the WWE.
The likes of Mia Yim, Rachel Evers, Lacey Evans, Shayna Baszler, Mercedes Martinez and others all qualified to the second round.
Some of the best and recommended matches from the first four episodes are Kairi Sane vs Tessa Blanchard, Kay Lee Ray vs Princesa Sugehit, Abbey Laith vs Jazzy Gabert, Piper Niven vs Santana Garrett and Mia Yim vs Sarah Logan.
The quarter finals were contested between Mercedes Martinez, Abbey Laith, Candice LeRae, Shayna Baszler, Kairi Sane, Dakota Kai, Piper Niven and Toni Storm.
Toni vs Piper and Kairi vs Dakota were by far the two best matches of this round and also an underdog performance from Candice LeRae was great to see, even though she fell short of qualifying after tapping out to Baszler.
The last four saw Mercedes going up against Shayna and Kairi facing her former Stardom compatriot Toni Storm. Both the matches were brilliant, Shayna made Mercedes tap out and went to the finals and Kairi defeated Toni to advance.
The final took place on September 12 in Las Vegas; the crowd was filled with big names such as Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Asuka, other Mae Young Classic performers such as Toni Storm, Piper Niven, Candice LeRae were also present. The ¾th of the Four Horsewomen of MMA, which of course included former UFC Bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey was also present in the crowd to cheer for their partner Shayna.
After a grueling 12 minute match, it was Kairi Sane who emerged as the winner and won the first ever Mae Young Classic. Triple H also announced that Kairi will receive a NXT Women’s Title shot (which was vacated by Asuka due to injury) at the next NXT PPV that is Takeover: Houston.