Who won the inaugural Mae Young Classic women’s tournament?
We officially have the winner of the first-ever 32-woman Mae Young Classic tournament for 2017.
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Japan’s Kairi Sane defeated American former UFC fighter Shayna Baszler via her trademark flying elbow drop in a great match to win the Mae Young Classic tournament and trophy. The tournament final streamed live on the WWE Network and took place Tuesday night in front of a hot Las Vegas, NV crowd that had plenty of energy — despite sitting through preliminary matches and a very eventful SmackDown Live episode beforehand.
Sane, also known as Kairi Hojo of STARDOM fame, went into this tournament with much fanfare and will likely get a significant push on NXT television. Following the match, Triple H confirmed to ESPN.com that Sane will be challenging for the vacant WWE NXT Women’s Championship at NXT Takeover: Houston on Saturday, November 8 during Survivor Series weekend.
Asuka recently vacated the title after an incredibly dominant 523 day reign in order to make way for her upcoming main roster debut on RAW. Sane’s match type and opponent(s) for the gold at Takeover have yet to be announced as of press time.
As for Baszler, one would expect her to be signed because of her unique look and strong showing in the tournament. At 37 with just a couple of years in pro wrestling, Baszler is already a standout worker on the scene and is very well liked backstage by WWE talent. She is also best friends with Ronda Rousey, who was in attendance for the final and is likely getting involved with WWE in some capacity in the near future. Rousey, Baszler, and fellow former MMA fighters Marina Shafir (wife of NXT’s Roderick Strong) and Jessamyn Duke (former UFC fighter) filmed an angle during the Mae Young Classic tapings with the MMA’s Four Horsewomen facing off backstage with three of WWE’s Four Horsewomen Charlotte Flair, Bayley, and Becky Lynch.
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