Mae Young Classic: Sept. 12, 2018

The First Round of the Mae Young Classic continues with four explosive matchups, including a main event between two of the tournament’s most seasoned and decorated competitors, Ashley Rayne and Mercedes Martinez.

Independent wrestling icons Mercedes Martinez and Ashley Rayne meet in round one

Mercedes Martinez and Ashley Rayne, two of the Mae Young Classic’s most battle-tested warriors, are set for action in a highly intriguing First-Round Match.

The Latina Sensation and The Queen Bee are bonded by similarities: Both are seasoned veterans who’ve competed around the world, and both are incredibly decorated grapplers. Combined, they’ve captured practically every women’s title on the independent scene. Yet, Martinez and Rayne are surely looking at this year’s event from very different vantage points.

Martinez excelled in last year’s Mae Young Classic, advancing all the way to the Semifinals thanks to her supremely hard-hitting ring style that is loaded with back-bending suplexes, ferocious strikes and painful submission holds. This year, she searches for redemption.

Rayne, on the other hand, is looking for validation, having never competed in a WWE ring during her 13-year career. Though she’s attained tremendous success outside of WWE, the multiskilled Queen Bee has always viewed WWE as the final destination. Against Martinez, she’ll finally get her chance to show the WWE Universe what they’ve been missing.

Which fan favorite will prevail and move on to the Second Round? Find out this Wednesday on WWE Network.

Kacy Catanzaro makes much-anticipated WWE Network debut against Reina González

“American Ninja Warrior” trailblazer Kacy Catanzaro is no stranger to overcoming steep obstacles, but even she has never faced a task quite as tall as conquering Reina González, her opponent in the First Round of the Mae Young Classic.

A returning competitor from last year’s tournament, the 6-foot-tall González is one of the biggest and strongest women in the Mae Young Classic, and she’s made huge strides since her debut in the inaugural tournament, having been pegged by WWE Performance Center coaches as one of the roster’s most improved grapplers.

The 5-foot-tall Catanzaro won’t be able to match González’s sheer physicality, but given Catanzaro’s otherworldly athleticism and an innovative ring style that’s heavily influenced by her gymnastics background, expectations remain high for “Mighty Kacy” in her much-anticipated WWE Network debut.

The Virtuosa clashes with Priscilla Kelly

Priscilla Kelly is renowned for her mind games inside the ring, but her psychological warfare will be put to the test when she faces the supremely determined Deonna Purrazzo in the First Round.

After being an alternate in last year’s Mae Young Classic, Purrazzo promised herself that she wouldn’t return to a WWE ring unless it was as an official Classic competitor. The Virtuosa not only accomplished that goal, but she also generated such a buzz on the independent circuit that she earned herself an NXT contract. Now that she’s set for tournament action, Purrazzo looks to use her specialty hold, the Fujiwara Armbar, to break opponents’ arms en route to the Final.

Standing in her way will be the 21-year-old Kelly, who, much like Purrazzo, has turned plenty of heads on the indies. Can Kelly’s tricks and unorthodox in-ring tactics lead her to victory, or will Purrazzo’s armbar have Hell’s Favorite Harlot screaming “uncle”?

Big Swole battles Mexico’s Zeuxis

The WWE Universe will get its first look at “Lucha Strong Style” when Mexico’s Zeuxis meets “Big Swole” Aerial Monroe in a First-Round Match this Wednesday on WWE Network.

A stalwart of the Mexican women’s wrestling, Zeuxis comes to the Mae Young Classic with plenty of championships to her résumé. She also possesses one of the most jaw-dropping moves of any tournament competitor in the form of her top-rope Spanish Fly.

A hard-hitting veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Aerial Monroe is unlikely to be intimidated by Zeuxis’ impressive history. Trained by Southern wrestling legend George South and her husband, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander, Big Swole has the power and confidence to go the distance, provided she can get past Zeuxis’ aerial attack.

See which competitor soars to the Second Round when the Mae Young Classic streams Wednesday at 9/8 C on WWE Network.

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