The lasses brought it.
Much like the Cruiserweight Classic the year prior, last year brought us the first annual Mae Young Classic, bringing the finest female talent together to compete to see who was the best, and they all won by looking at the matches.
(But only one person won really)
Therefore, when I was gathering the rankees for this list, I was shocked to discover that only thirteen from a possible thirty-two had stayed on with the company. Compare that to the twenty of the cruiserweights, and you’ll understand my shock. While some couldn’t commit due to injuries and others simply not wanting to, most have performed in the WWE since without a permanent contract, yet they will not be included on this list. That position is reserved solely for Sean Maluta and Sean Maluta alone.
But with thirteen of the finest still to be ranked, let’s see who’s had the best run in the year since.
Let’s rank the remnants of the 2017 WWE Mae Young Classic.
13/ KAVITA DEVI
This lass has an incredible in-ring career. House matches aside, she has had three matches, two Mae Young Classic first round matches sandwiching a Wrestlemania battle royale. That’s it. She hasn’t won any of them, but just being involved at this point of her career is staggering. Props to her, and her improvement from the first MYC to this is something she should be proud of as well.
12/ XIA LI
Pretty much the same story as Devi on this one sans the battle royale, two first round MYC appearances, and two she can be proud of. Two solid performances, no doubt, but like Devi, the improvement between the two has been exceptional. Her match at the classic this year was a Jackie Chan film come to life. The thing that puts her above Devi here is how she’s getting herself around, more house shows, more diverse matches; on top of her improvement, she could be massive. Not literally, she’s 5'4".
11/ VANESSA BORNE
She’s on the main roster. She’s up there with the NXT lot and she’s doing well. I won’t say she’s coming on leaps and bounds, but every time she steps in the ring, the match is a little better.
She’s been caught in the loop of finding a feud via interrupting a backstage interview and then losing said feud, so hopefully the year ahead has something better for her. Right now, the focus is on improvement in-ring, cos her promos, while not world class, are sound as a pound. Evan’s little sister has a lovely road ahead, hopefully not the high road.
10/ TAYNARA CONTI
Conti is in a similar position to Borne here. She ain’t had as many matches, and her inclusion is a bit more hither and thither, but she beat Borne to qualify for the 2018 MYC, so I thought she should qualify higher on the list as well.
While she may not have been included as much, her gimmick is more noticeable as well as her look; that yellow gear is brave, and it works.
Someone’s clearly high on her as well, as she is in the 2018 MYC having previously competed in the Wrestlemania women’s battle royale as well.
The Brazilian is good, and she is well on her way to earning her stripes.
9/ TONI STORM
SHOCK SHOCK HORROR HORROR
Toni Macaroni is a cracking wrestler and she has proved that all over the world. But in the WWE, she hasn’t done much…
Not counting the 2017 MYC, I can only recall her hitting the ring for the shows at the Royal Albert Hall. There have been other occasions, but few and far between. Storm has a huge future, and her position on this list is one that could change massively for the better given a year, but as for right now it’s a category nine storm.
8/ CANDICE LERAE
This is an odd case. She’s been on NXT for a year now. A ready-made, over babyface with all the skill in the world, and she’s had like, two matches on TV. Sure, she’s been involved in the feud between Gargano and Ciampa, and an important role at that, but she was still a supporting character, ultimately collateral in their blood feud.
And that’s it. There was a story about how she was struggling to focus throughout her husband’s rivalry, but that was one match and gone, so… Yeah. Here she is.
At least she’s been around.
7/ LACEY EVANS
If there was a list last year, this lass would be up there with the most improved. She started as a patriot with a bit of a tale behind her, but Lacey developed that, over a year, into her own, completely unique character in WWE. Props to her for that, but also for her ability; she looks like a natural in amongst naturals, and if it wasn’t for the loop of her getting into the same feud one after another, she’d be heading up this list. But it could be a good call for this point in her career, and she’s got plenty of time to get up this list.
6/ BIANCA BELAIR
Speaking of naturals? Yeah, Bianca Belair is a natural. The hair whip is the cherry on top of a talented in-ring individual. She looks fluid, she looks smooth, she looks good. An injury is the reason for her relatively low ranking on this list, plus the lack of an extended push, but it’s only a matter of time.
Seriously, of everyone on this list, this is the one that I see at the top of this list soon, and not dropping off.
And that 450 Splash. Streets ahead.
5/ RHEA RIPLEY
That thing I said about most improved, yeah, I think I found the champion.
Ripley was good last year, but she has been committed to the cause and has had match after match on house shows, and a year later, she’s A FUCKING CHAMPION. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, and I, along with a lot of other people were delightfully surprised to see her get her dues.
Because of that improvement and A FUCKING CHAMPIONSHIP, she should be on top of this list. But because of others having a stellar time of it and Rhea’s lack of TV-time, she isn’t.
This list is gonna be hard to call next year.
4/ DAKOTA KAI
Everyone’s favourite kiwi and the captain of Team Kick has had a bloody excellent year most things considered. Obviously remove the injured arm and all the bitterness with Baszler, and she’s been nailing it. NXT Women’s Title picture for a large part of the year, major feuds, and a constant place on TV has her swimming. You’d be hard pressed to find a person that hates her as well, she’s got that Bayley likeability about her, so she’s staying over.
I think a lot of folk would like to see more of a mean streak from the Kickin’ Kiwi, and I’m sure they’ll get it soon, but for now, a respectable fourth is hers.
Jeez, this list is gonna be hard to call next year.
3/ SARAH LOGAN
I wish they could sort this lass’ back story out. I liked the whole ‘raised by wolves’ thing, and sure, they could have made it a bit more real, like making her a hermit who lived in the forest and hunted for food and stuff, but now they just don’t talk about it.
What they talk about instead is a bit more important, and that is the understated brilliance of The Riott Squad. It’s a simple dynamic, but one seldom seen in women’s wrestling, with Riott as the brains, Liv as the wild card (bitches), and Logan as the muscle. Wrap that up with a butt-load of wrestling ability and you got a cracking faction, or a cracktion. And while Logan can be diluted in this mix, her skill and style often stand out on the main roster, where she’s part of big feuds and big matches, and a big future.
As a fanboy, I do hope the Riott Squad goes far, but if they do need to break up, here’s to hoping Logan makes a good run of it.
2/ KAIRI SANE
She’s not a pirate, she’s just really into sailing.
Nah, feck that, she’s the Pirate Princess and no-one can tell me otherwise, and she has proven to be one of the most talented individuals on dog’s green earth since the 2017 MYC. A big thing I like about her is that it looks like she has fun in the ring. She’s smiles when she wins or when she’s winning, she’s not just being brutal. And she’s also the NXT Women’s Champion, praise be. It took her almost a full year to get their, but I’m glad the pirate found her booty.
Now, the bad stuff. She isn’t top because of her booking outside of the NXT Women’s Title picture. When she’s been on the main roster, she’s been treated as an afterthought (in the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania battle royale), leaving the casual viewer wondering what the hell that bright but all too brief flash was, and on NXT, if she’s not got a title match, she’s either in a decent feud or being used for fodder.
That doesn’t stop me from loving her, or her elbow drop, or her outfits, but it does allow one lass to step up and take the top spot.
1/ SHAYNA BASZLER
I’ll admit, it was between Shayna and Kairi for a while over who would top this list, and after a lot of thought, Shayna came out on top. Why? I’m not gonna slap my head, but here’s why:-
After the 2017 MYC, Baszler got immense vignettes hyping her debut, and she lived up to them, coming in like a bowling ball of butcher knives.
She soon stepped to Ember Moon and won the NXT Women’s Title.
She defended it against everybody who stepped to her, with a mad variety of opponents.
Even in defeat, she looked dominant and like she could still kill you.
Throughout it all, she never broke character. There was no chink in the armour, no 50–50 booking. She looked like a beast that couldn’t tolerate those she couldn’t control with fear. And it worked. She has become a fantastic heel that you love to boo but can stand back and watch feast with shock. She doesn’t try to be liked, she doesn’t try to be flashy, she doesn’t even try to get the crowd to boo her, she’s just booable.
Shayna Baszler has had a brilliant year and deserves her accolades, one being this top spot. Once again, she sits atop the remnants, long live the Queen of Spades.
Thirteen down, nineteen not involved. And that ain’t no thang. WWE isn’t the be-all and end-all. Some people don’t wanna go, some people aren’t ready, and others just wanna hang out. Regardless of what they wanted, for a month or two they came together and put on a streets ahead tournament that could easily have sold a lot of people on women’s wrestling.
A lot of these lasses haven’t even reached their first peak yet. Bar Sarah Logan, they’re all on NXT, and some aren’t even on TV, just house shows. And NXT have been breeding a division underground that so many folk aren’t paying attention to. Sure, the likes of LeRae, Sane, Baszler and Kai have constant spots on TV, but the likes of Ripley, Li and Storm are bursting through, with Borne, Belair and Evans tearing it up on the TV curtain jerker and the Takeover dark matches. They’re harbouring competition and the main roster are starting to do the same. They could throw in some tag titles and maybe an extra singles on (MAYBE, DON’T OVERDO IT), but it’s stepping in the right direction, and when this revolution truly explodes, we’re all gonna know about it, and a lot of people will say that the boom began with the 2017 Mae Young Classic.
Shout-out to the nineteen other competitors enjoying their lives around the world, the likes of; Jazzy Gabert, Abbey Laith, Rachel Evers, Marti Belle, Princesa Sugehit, Kay Lee Ray, Mercedes Martinez, Nicole Savoy, Reina Gonzalez, Renee Michelle, Mia Yim, Zeda, Tessa Blanchard, Sage Beckett, Miranda Salinas, Serena Deeb, Santana Garrett, Piper Niven and Ayesha Raymond… Or whatever you’re calling yourselves. Keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll see y’all further down the road.
Keep it streets ahead,