Monday, June 26, 2017

More Mae Young Classic News Than You Can Shake a Stick At

Lita will co-helm the broadcast booth for the Mae Young classic
Photo Credit: 
As of Thursday afternoon, the Mae Young Classic had nine official competitors announced, one spoiler'd competitor, and taping dates. Since then, a lot more information has been released, including streaming availability, the live finale, the broadcast team, and some more competitors qualifying for the tournament during NXT tapings. The first couple of notes were announced on Dot Com today. The tournament, which tapes the first several rounds on July 13 and 14 at Full Sail University, will air in two on demand packets. The first will be available Monday, August 28 in four episodes, and the second four episodes will drop Monday, September 4. The live final will air in place of 205 Live on WWE Network on September 12 at 10 PM ET from Las Vegas, NV. Calling the action will be Jim Ross and Lita. Ross signed a deal with WWE to do sporadic appearances; he called the WrestleMania main event and the first of the WWE United Kingdom specials since his return. Lita has been a fixture on camera during pay-per-view pre-shows until she was bumped for Sam Roberts and Peter Rosenberg.

As for the new competitors, Bianca BelAir and Vanessa Borne qualified for the tournament via preliminary matches to air on NXT television over the next few weeks. Both women are raw signees to the Performance Center with little to no independent wrestling experience. BelAir competed in track and field in college and has powerlifting experience. Borne trained with Rikishi and Gangrel and actually has a few non-WWE matches under her belt. Still, both women are incredibly inexperienced and will probably be fodder in the first round. They join Princesa Sugehit, Toni Storm, Lacey Evans, Sarah Logan, Jazzy Gabert, Abbey Laith, Tessa Blanchard, Taynara Conti, and Kavita Devi as confirmed entrants. Shayna Baszler is more than likely going to be confirmed sooner rather than later after her name was leaked in a Becky Lynch interview with the Hindustan Times.

As for the initial news, it's a bit disheartening that the tournament is being released as binge content rather than serially live like the Cruiserweight Classic was. Additionally, Ross and Lita wasn't my first pairing. I would've gone with an all-women's team of Renee Young and Veda Scott. Both of them have broadcast experience, and at least Scott would be familiar with most if not all of the field. Competitor knowledge is but one concern for this team. Lita's performance on pre-show panels wasn't the best, and Ross, despite having a strong showing during the WrestleMania main event, has had a shaky history himself lately. Either way, as long as the field is filled up with premiere talent, the trappings shouldn't hold them back too much, hopefully.