Several favorites from last year’s Mae Young Classic will return this year alongside new up and coming talent from around the world.
This is what WWE had to say about each woman:
Kavita Devi: Kavita Devi broke down barriers in last year’s WWE Mae Young Classic by becoming the first woman from India to compete in a WWE ring. This year, the powerhouse protégé of former World Heavyweight Champion The Great Khali sets her sights on a different achievement: winning the entire tournament.
Devi’s groundbreaking performance in last year’s 32-woman tournament captivated the WWE Universe. Though she lost to NXT Superstar Dakota Kai in the opening round, Devi, a former medalist in weightlifting, displayed incredible power, at one point pressing Kai high overhead. Video of that match has generated 28 million views and counting on YouTube.
Devi has racked up numerous accomplishments since then. She reported for training at the WWE PC months later and, in January, was one of the 112 women to be honored as “First Ladies” (a distinction given to high-achieving female pioneers) by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind. She has already stepped onto The Grandest Stage of Them All, too, competing in the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal in New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome in April.
Mercedes Martinez: Mercedes Martinez whose return to the Classic was first reported by Newsweek.com, is a 18-year ring veteran from Waterbury, Conn. Using an aggressive combination of strong-style and submission wrestling, Martinez defeated China’s Xia Li, Mexico’s Princesa Sugehit and America’s Abbey Laith in last year’s tournament before falling to her protégé, current NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, in the Semifinals. With an astonishing number of titles to her resume, The Latina Sensation will undoubtedly be one of the most decorated competitors in the mix this year.
“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,” Martinez told Newsweek in an exclusive interview. “I have a lot to prove, and I’m still proving myself no matter how many years I’m in this business.”
Mia Yim: Also returning to action is Mia Yim, a dangerous striker from Fontana, Calif., who represented South Korea in 2017’s tournament. After pinning Sarah Logan in last year’s opening round, Yim was ousted by Baszler in her next match. Yim suffered a leg injury in late 2017 that shelved her for months, but upon returning to action earlier this year, she adjusted her style to emphasize strikes and submissions, both of which she’s well-versed in thanks to her extensive background in taekwondo. Yim brings nearly a decade of wrestling experience to this year’s field.
Killer Kelly: Killer Kelly made her WWE Network debut in June at NXT’s events at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Known throughout the European scene for her punishing kicks and spine-bending suplexes, the Portuguese-born 28-year-old brings a heavy MMA influence to her mat game. Kelly — whose vicious ring name was inspired by Portuguese fans’ chants of “Killer Kelly” early in her career — holds the distinction of being the first women’s champion in the history of the German-based Westside Xtreme Wrestling promotion.
Crystal: Twenty-four-year-old Crystal, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Philippine Wrestling,” has competed throughout Southeast Asia, including in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, since making her debut in February 2016. Sporting a wrestling ring tattoo on her arm, Crystal developed a love for sports-entertainment in her youth when she would watch WWE with her grandmother. A highflyer inside the squared circle, she was discovered by WWE officials during a scouting trip to the region in 2017.
These women join previously announced competitors:
- Deonna Purrazzo
- Tegan Knox
- Jessica Elaban
- Reina González
- Rhea Ripley
- Io Shirai
- Nicole Matthews
- Kacy Catanzaro
Mae Young Classic II tapings will take place on Wednesday, August 8th and Thursday, August 9th from Full Sail Live in Orlando, Florida.
WWE will be revealing more participants in the coming weeks.
What do you think of these four competitors? Who do you want to see them face off against? Are you excited? Sound off in the comments below.