Independent wrestling star Mercedes Martinez has been confirmed as a returning name for this year’s Mae Young Classic tournament. Last year, Martinez Martinez advanced all the way until the semi-finals before tapping to Shayna Baszler.
In an interview with Newsweek, Martinez opens up about returning for the second Mae Young Classic, who she is looking forward to seeing compete in the tournament and how women’s wrestling continues to evolve. Highlights of the interview below.
On returning to the Mae Young Classic: “It’s now time to win it all. I came close last year, I lost to a good friend of mine. This is the year to take it home, there’s no stopping me. I have a lot to prove, and I’m still proving myself no matter how many years I’m in this business. There’s a lot of pressure, there’s always pressure. I think the pressure now is making sure I’m ready and whatever I did last year, I bring 100 percent more. Me going to the semifinals with Shayna, it pretty much solidified that Mercedes can go. There’s a lot of pressure for me to go to the finals and win it this year. So I’m not taking this very lightly. It doesn’t matter who is in front of me, I’m ready to go in there and step up my game 10 times more than last year. I proved last year I could go the distance, and this is the year I have to take it home, no matter what. I’m ready.”
The rise of women’s wrestling in the mainstream: “For the last 18 years, I’ve worked so hard to be known as a wrestler, and not for the T and A aspect of it, but for my actual wrestling ability, talent, and skill. The Mae Young being in its second year, it proves that women can go just as hard as the men. We are our own entity, we deserve the respect and we want the respect. The public is seeing that we are athletes and not just an attraction. [The WWE] talked about this revolution for the last couple of years, but the revolution started a long time ago, but now it’s mainstream and everyone gets to see women’s wrestling for what it is. I’m glad to be a part of that journey.”
Who she is looking forward to seeing at the MYC II: “I’m very excited for Jinny, who I’ve been watching for the last two years. Her hard-hitting style and her aggressiveness, we’ll match very well. For Kaitlyn, I know she’s been training in Miami so I’m excited to see her come back and see what she can do. Even Io Shirai, who I was hoping to have a chance to wrestle before she got picked up when Stardom came down to the U.S. It’s a very talented core of women, but there’s new faces, new talents. I have to work ten times harder than the young bucks.”
On the chance of WWE holding an all women’s show: “I hope there to be an all women’s show for WWE. Not just a tournament or special occasion, but maybe a weekly thing that’s just all women’s wrestling. That’s what we’re missing. We just don’t want to be an attraction, we don’t just want to main event a pay-per-view … we want to be THE show. We want men to be the attraction for once.”
Martinez also discusses being a mentor to the younger talent and representing her Puerto Rican background.
What did you think of the interview? Who are you most excited to see at the MYC II? Would you like to see an all women’s show? Let us know in the comments below!