Ranking The Remnants: WWE Mae Young Classic 2017 — Two Years On

Aye, this is published in 2020, so I’m lazy, so fuck you.

Please read on.

Please.

You know who ain’t lazy? These lasses right here.

Not just the ones uncrossed out, all of them.

Last time out, only thirteen had made it, this time, TWENTY-TWO. Ten of them are living their lives outside of Vinnie Mac’s incomparable company, and I hope they’re happy and healthy.

As for these twenty-two, well I wish them the same.

And I wish them all success. And they can all have that. But some are always gonna be more successful than others, some climb that ladder as soon as they see it while others linger in the shadows, waiting for their opportunity; it may be weeks, it may be months, it may be years, but all these folks have the potential, or they wouldn’t be here. So twelve (fifteen) months on from our previous ranking, and twenty-five (twenty-eight) months on from the inaugural Mae Young Classic, with nine new names, let’s see who’s had the best few years.

Let’s rank the remnants of 2017 WWE Mae Young Classic.

Before we begin, here’s a run-down of how the list looked last time out.

13) Kavita Devi
12) Xia Li
11) Vanessa Borne
10) Taynara
9) Toni Storm
8) Candice LeRae
7) Lacey Evans
6) Bianca Belair
5) Rhea Ripley
4) Dakota Kai
3) Sarah Logan
2) Kairi Sane
1) Shayna Baszler

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

22/ SERENA DEEB
She’s under contract, so she counts, and she’s a coach. I’ve no doubt one hell of a coach as well. Not much to say on this one, but anyone responsible for training the current and upcoming batch of stars deserves a place on this list regardless of their time in the ring.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

21/ RENEE MICHELLE
As far as I’m aware, she ain’t signed to a contract, but has had a few matches and appeared in numerous segments, notably not allowing Drake Maverick to sex with her. For doing a stand-up job and for allowing their actual wedding to be plagued with 24/7 shenanigans, she’s earned a spot here.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

HERE WE GO.

20/ KAVITA DEVI
Where she at? Granted, this has been her most active year for wrestling evah, but… Where she be? Fifteen matches ain’t a tonne, and none of them on TV, I WANT MORE. She’s ready, she’s coming up, but right now, she ain’t got enough going on. Granted, there have been injuries along the way, but that don’t help anyone, NO SYMPATHY HERE.

DIFFERENCE: -7

19/ REINA GONZALEZ
It don’t seem long that I said this last, but Reina’s got a crackin’ look, she’s crackin’ in’t ring and she’s got a badass tag team with the NXT champ. Why ain’t she aboot more? I can’t put her higher cos I ain’t seen her, and that makes me sad. What’s sadder is that I can’t say much else.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

18/ SANTANA GARRETT
She ain’t had as many matches as Reina, but she’s been on TV, so… There it is.
I mean, she’s solid in-ring, but we ain’t seen enough of her to say owt else. She was on’t telly, so she sneaks above others here.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

17/ RACHEL EVERS
Wrestling’s in her blood, but it don’t mean she’s on telly. Sure, she’s cropped up once or twice and she’s wrestled a lot on that famous ol’ Florida circuit, but you don’t win friends with salad. She needs beef in her career, and that NXT main roster is a prime cut. She gets in ahead of others here due to her appearances on-screen and her numerous appearances on house shows.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

16/ VANESSA BORNE
She’s got a mate! Yaaay! A year ago she seemed lost in the shuffle, there, but with not much to do. With Aliyah, they’ve got a Mean Girls kinda gimmick, and they’ve also found roles to get themselves going. They click as a team, they excel when in one another’s corner, and it’s all gravy. HOWEVER… That don’t mean they slot in anywhere, and unfortunately their jigsaw piece is quite jagged compared to others. Their niche is there, and they’re very close to settling into it and riding that highway to gold.

DIFFERENCE: -5

15/ JAZZY GABERT
She’s mates with Jinny, but also maybe not. She’s found a larl niche for herself and it’s hard for her to not make an impression wherever she goes, but Jazzy is deffo being held back, and I think that’s the point. She’s gonna break free from Jinny and go on a tear through NXT UK, but as of right now, we’re still waiting for that.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

She don’t blend.

14/ SARAH LOGAN
This one hurts. I’m a fan of Logan, and all that I can say for her right now is that she’s on the main roster. She rips it up on Main Event, and in my opinion, kills it anytime she rocks up on TV (see Survivor Series or that recent RAW against Charlotte), but she ain’t being used enough. She’s a unique character with a unique moveset and here’s to hoping she can be one of the lasses who really stands out in the upcoming rumble.

DIFFERENCE: -11 (ouch)

13/ TAYNARA
She lost her second name, and she dropped three places on this list. While I don’t think she’ll lose sleep over it, the two might still be connected. What’s up with folks having two names, WWE?
Anyways, back to TC. Sorry, just T. Along with another name on this list, they are competing over most improved, because character-wise, she’s killing it, and in-ring, watching her advance has been spectacular. She keeps going up, and importantly, she tries new things, she takes chances. She might be down a bit this time round, but she’ll be up with the competition next time, surely.

DIFFERENCE: -3

12/ XIA LI
Along with another name on this list, they are competing over most-improved’. Just ‘cos she’s higher on this list doesn’t mean she wins that race, but she’s got off to a hell of a start. This lass is beginning to kill it all over the place, and her unique style has drawn the attention of a lot of folk, not just Mark Henry…

DIFFERENCE: NO CHANGE

11/ DAKOTA KAI
Injury is a bitch, but if you can come back and make a statement, the biggest statement of your entire career, and ride that wave in the two or three months you have of a year, and it sticks, then you’ve earned a high spot despite only being active for a quarter of the year.
Dakota Kai did just that. And she nailed it. And she nailed it after that. And after that. And after that. The build-up was subtle, but it was there, and the injury played into it, and she has nowhere to go but up from here on out. Some might say she was stuttering, but now that it’s all played into this… It’s alright.

DIFFERENCE: -7

Down for now, but down no longer.

10/ PIPER NIVEN
Pipes had a little break before coming to NXT UK, but when she did arrive, SHE FECKIN ARRIVED. Havin’ deffo made an impact, we’re all just waiting for her to really break out. This lass has headlined Korakuen Hall and is a dab hand in the squared circle, but now it’s just a bit like she’s circling the same boats as everyone else. SHE SHOULDN’T BE, YA WEE BAMPOTS. Get her something amazing to do, because she can do it.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

9/ TONI STORM
I don’t know about Toni Storm. Personally and professionally.
Yes, she won, and is (as of right now) the longest reigning NXT Women’s Champion ever, but… I dunno. I feel like they were trying to book her as a bit of a special attraction, having one crackin’ match a month, a treat for the fans. But the matches weren’t that hype, and then she lost the title. And then she was just everywhere. Survivor Series, NXT, NXT UK… That’s it, so not everywhere, but you know what I mean. Again, I know she did have some time off for her own reasons, but that aside, this impressive Aussie Amazer is more than a lacklustre title reign and confusing year-long run, we just haven’t seen it yet.

DIFFERENCE: NO CHANGE

8/ CANDICE LERAE
She may be lower than some folk reckon she should be, but that speaks to the quality time that those above her have been having. Couple that with Candice having only just found a spot on NXT and Candice winds up here.
She was floundering, it’s no lie, and it wasn’t all her doing. Her character is oft-confusing, with her sometimes just the wife of Johnny, but she’s all bubbly with her entrance video and demeanour, but then in the ring she’s really mad all the time and thinks she’s being overlooked, it was confusing. And then she’d be up on the main roster, but they wouldn’t do anything with her, she was unceremoniously eliminated from battle royales with little to no fanfare.
But now, she’s got a spot and she’s excelling. She seems more of an underdog, but she has that fire that she’s sitting on, and that can come out at her opponent’s peril. She’s lying in wait, but not for much longer. Consistency is the key for Candice’s character currently.

DIFFERENCE: NO CHANGE

7/ MIA YIM
She just missed out on the list last time out, but the Blasian Baddie quickly carved a spot for herself in NXT, taking no prisoners while she did. She dominated and quickly got folk onside who may not have been if she didn’t come in with such vigour. She’s had some bumpy moments, but for taking her spot on a list like this, she’s earned her place.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

6/ BIANCA BELAIR
She continues to excel and no-one can stop her.
Bianca Belair is becoming a spectacle, and just when everyone thought she’d be this one-trick pony with her hair tricks, she proves ’em wrong by barely ever using it and she is still nailing it. Every time we see her, she’s got somet fresh to show and it’s only a matter of time before she’s on top of the mountain. Which mountain you ask? This mountain, that mountain, your mountain, my mountain, ALL THE MOUNTAINS.
She ranks below the others due to milestones, and though she’s got the Performance Centre Combine and a Worlds Collide Battle Royale, she needs some goooooold to get goooooold.

DIFFERENCE: NO CHANGE

5/ KAY LEE RAY
I think the NXT UK Women’s Title is a bit cursed. It seems that if you have it, then you will barely be on TV. KLR is on about twice as much as Toni was, but it still ain’t much, and when she is on, not much is really done with her. However, she did win the title, she’s settled some mini-feuds, and she has a grasp of who she is as a character, so she works. She has at least been consistent, and that is a godsend that every athlete desires, scripted or otherwise.

DIFFERENCE: NEW ENTRY

4/ KAIRI SANE
This Kabuki Warrior is another who has found a place for herself where she excels, and has done so recently, pretty much since she and Asuka won those lovely tag team titles. Since then, Kairi has had some crackin’ matches and has shown a lot of people for the first time what they hype about her was. We also have to recognise that in the time between this article and the last, she was NXT Women’s Champion, a title she deserved for her role in NXT.
What we’ve got here is a woman who is ready to show that she has more to give, but where she does that is up to her…

DIFFERENCE: -2

I mean, we miss the pirate, but this is… Cool… I guess…

3/ LACEY EVANS
Lacey Evans has had a crystal clear idea of who she is since she walked into the company, and since that day, she has turned it up to eleven whether she be heel, face or anywhere in between. This has led to her being utilised as this character in high-profile angles, main-eventing the women’s title picture on RAW at a time when most people were unsure who else could. And you know what? For someone who started off 2019 wandering aimlessly around WWE sets, she has since hit the bullseye with everything else she’s done.

DIFFERENCE: +4

2/ RHEA RIPLEY
I swear I’ve been saying that Rhea Ripley has been the breakout star of the year for the past fourteen years, but this is the year where everyone saw what she had. The first-ever NXT UK Women’s Champion fulfilled my guarantee and won the NXT Women’s Title, and from here, she’s gonna win everything else. Women’s titles, men’s titles, tag titles (by herself), and everything else. Now that everyone can see this lass at the top of her game, she can’t fail, and I don’t think a lot of people had this in the cards when she debuted at the Mae Young Classic just over two years ago just happy to be there.
She’s still the future as well.

DIFFERENCE: +3

*metal scream*

1/ SHAYNA BASZLER
She won the NXT Women’s Title just after I wrote the previous article, and she lost it just before I wrote this one. That’s a lot of minutes, more than Rent know how to sing about.
But Baszler didn’t just hold a title, she cemented herself as a force, a new kind of wrestler that made the ugly stuff an entertaining part of the product. It wasn’t something to be shunned, it was something to be used as a story-telling device, and though she might have been the fire-breathing dragon of the NXT fairytale, she was damn effective in stopping the knights from taking her treasure.
Being such a compact heel, someone dangerous, but cheating when they need to, is an effective tool at the top of any card, and with the uniquiticity (that’s right) of Baszler, it should have been clear that she was gonna be there for a long time.
And where to next…?

DIFFERENCE: NO CHANGE

— —

Boom.

Twenty-two down, Ten not involved. And once again, that ain’t no thang. As long as these lasses are doing what they love and what makes them happy, then everyone else should be happy, be it inside or outside of the international wrestling conglomerate that is Vinnie Mac’s House of Graps.

BIGGEST MOVE UP: +4 — Lacey Evans
BIGGEST MOVE DOWN: -11 — Sarah Logan

The fact that there are nine fresh names on this list is testament to all those names that have held on to the same ranking, but must also frustrate them (not actually frustrate as nobody reads this and it is massively inconsequential), because as fresh faces come on board, they might climb above the old guard that feel as if their chance hasn’t come yet.
But here’s the thing: all these lasses have so much time. Wrestlers are in the best shape of their lives and can do unbelievable things all while striving to be different from one another. Bianca Belair has been on our screens quite a bit and will always bring new stuff, and then Kavita Devi is almost invisible, but we know when we see her, she’ll have something to bring. I write these because I wanna see that. I wanna see Taynara and Xia continue to grow and become amazing, I wanna see where Rhea, Shayna, Lacey and Kairi go next, what’s in store for Mia Yim, if Vanessa Borne can break up the card, if Sarah Logan gets more TV-time, if Reina gets on TV! And I really wanna see what Dakota Kai does next.

I’m a wrestling fan and I’m a fan of wrestlers. Women’s wrestling is in a boom right now cos they got SO MUCH STYLE, and that style was shown on a grand scale with the 2017 Mae Young Classic.

Shout-out to the ten other competitors out there in the world doing their thing, those being; Abbey Laith, Marti Belle, Princess Sugehit, Mercedes Martinez (who may be on the list next year), Nicole Savoy, Zeda, Tessa Blanchard, Sage Beckett, Miranda Salinas, and Ayesha Raymond. Keep on keepin’ on.

And y’all keep it streets ahead,

CLR

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