5 years ago September 12, the Mae Young Classic tournament final match aired live from the Thomas & Mack Center in Paradise, Nevada on the WWE Network. The tournament began with 32 wrestlers from WWE’s NXT brand and independent circuit wrestlers that consisted of complete unknowns, indie darlings and even a former UFC fighter. The winner of the inaugural tournament was Kairi Sane.
The Mae Young Classic was packed with loads of talented women from around the world and has provided many people with great opportunities since its inception in 2017. The classic has helped build current stars or ones that are on the come up. Then there are some who were never able to use the classic to obtain success. Here’s a look at where all 32 participants are now 5 years later.
The Participants; Where are they now?
- Abbey Laith: free agent on the independent circuit
- Ayesha Raymond: SEAdLINNNG (Japan)
- Bianca Belair: WWE Raw Women’s Champion
- Candice LeRae: free agent
- Dakota Kai: WWE Raw. Part of Damage CTRL alongside Bayley and Iyo Sky
- Jazzy Gabert: SIRIUS Sports Entertainment
- Kairi Sane: World Wonder Ring Stardom
- Kavita Devi: free agent
- Kay Lee Ray: now known as Alba Fyre. WWE NXT
- Lacey Evans: WWE Smackdown
- Marti Belle: National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)
- Mercedes Martinez: AEW. ROH Women’s World Champion
- Mia Yim: Impact Wrestling
- Miranda Salinas: now known as Miranda Alize. Ultimate Woman of Wrestling (UWW). Hurricane Pro Cruiserweight Champion
- Nicole Savoy: Major League Wrestling
- Piper Niven: now known as Doudrop. WWE Raw
- Princesa Sugehit: Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL)
- Rachel Evers: free agent
- Reina González: now known as Raquel Rodriguez. WWE Smackdown. Women’s Tag Team Champion with Aliyah
- Renee Michelle: free agent
- Rhea Ripley: WWE Raw. Part of The Judgement Day with Finn Balor, Damien Priest and Dominik Mysterio
- Sage Beckett: free agent
- Santana Garrett: coach for WWE Performance Center
- Sarah Logan: free agent. CYN and WWE recent appearances
- Serena Deeb: AEW
- Shayna Baszler: WWE Smackdown
- Taynara Conti: now known as Tay Melo. AEW and part of the Jericho Appreciation Society
- Tessa Blanchard: Ultimate Woman of Wrestling (UWW)
- Toni Storm: interim AEW Women’s World Champion
- Vanessa Borne: free agent
- Xia Li: WWE Smackdown
- Zeda: now known as Zeda Zhang. Ultimate Woman of Wrestling (UWW)
- Aliyah: (lost to Bianca in Qualifying Match) WWE Smackdown. Women’s Tag Team Champion with Raquel Rodriguez
- Jayme Hachey: (lost to Vanessa Borne in Qualifying Match) now known as Jayme Jameson. free agent.
- Jessika Carr: was a referee in this tournament and since has gone on to referee full-time on Smackdown.
I can not guarantee the complete accuracy of this list, but I have done a good amount of research in finding current status of the lesser knowns. If you have any information that is different or more updated, I would be grateful if you would pass along in the comments.
Does any of these surprise you? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!