We’re just a few days away from the premiere of the Mae Young Classic! Triple H recently promoted the landmark event in an interview with NBC Sports.
Highlights include the revelation that the tournament was going to be half as big as it is now, who he sees standing out from the pack, and more:
On the original idea for the tournament: “When we first started this process, and I was the one who drove it for years until it finally got the green light, we thought this would be a 16 woman tournament because I thought it would be tough to keep the quality high enough to give the opportunity to women from all around the globe this opportunity. But when we started to dig, we started to find all of these diamonds in the rough. It quickly became where we could do a 32-woman tournament and quite honestly I could have done it a little bit bigger than that. I’m excited about that. It made the quality [of the tournament] really good and it speaks well to the future because the opportunity is there now and it will just continue to grow.”
On standout performers: “Jazzy Gabert from Germany was a real standout performer. I’d seen tape of her and was obviously aware of her, but when I saw her go in person, it’s one of those things where sometimes when people see talent in other places they’d say ‘Oh yeah we knew she was great too,’ but when you bring them up for a big opportunity it’s like the prizefighter that’s really good, but when he gets in the pressure of a world title match, he’s just not what he should be. That level of pressure is different. Some of these girls did better, some didn’t do as well, but certain ones thrived and Jazzy Gabert was one that really thrived. Bianca Belair, who hasn’t been doing this for very long, has a level of poise that just blew me away. Shayna Baszler is somebody that I’ve seen begin to make the transition from MMA into what we do and sometimes that can be a rough transition. Xia Li is someone that a year ago didn’t even know what WWE was, but when I saw her perform I was blown away. When she came back [through the curtain] she was balling because I think she amazed herself. So there were a lot of those stories. People who came in that you knew had the ability, but when you saw them in person, they just came into their own. Some have been doing it for a long time. Mercedes Martinez is another one who I knew was good, but when I watched her go I was thoroughly impressed.”
Triple H also talked about the decision to launch the tournament as on demand programming instead of live, the differences between this tournament and the Cruiserweight Classic, and more.
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