Cleat Geeks

First Look: The Mae Young Classic (Part IV)

The Mae Young Classic is close; only 3 weeks away from the epic 32-woman tournament being uploaded on the WWE Network! Here are some more of the women who we’ll see in this monumental event. Also, to preview the other 3 articles previewing other contestants here are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd articles.

Vanessa Borne:  Like Bianca BelAir, Vanessa Borne won her way to the Mae Young Classic, as she defeated Jayme Hachey on the July 12 edition of NXT to qualify for the tournament. Some info on Vanessa:  her real name is Danielle Kamela, and she was born in LA, but has spent a lot of time in Arizona. She is a former dancer for the Phoenix Suns, as well as a former cheerleader for the Arizona Cardinals. Danielle’s foray into wrestling began when she auditioned for Tough Enough in 2015. She made it to the final 40, but did not make the final cut (the remaining 13 contestants who were shown weekly on TV). Despite this, Danielle was signed by WWE last April, and she has made a number of appearances at NXT live events, mainly as a villainous character. What I love and can’t help but notice about Danielle is that she bears a slight resemblance to Layla, mostly the look that Layla had when she began her WWE career. I’m anxious to see what she’ll bring to the tournament.

Zeda: I remember seeing Zeda as one of the women who basically started this year’s trend of new signees by WWE, back when she was credited under her real name, Julia Ho. Zeda was profiled along with fellow new signees Heidl Lovelace (Ruby Riot), Kimberley Frankele (Kimber Lee/Abbey Laith), and Sage Beckett. Not much is detailed about Zeda, only that she’s from Virginia and she is a former model. Zeda is also a mixed martial artist, and I just love how WWE is signing and looking for more women who have done MMA. Despite her American birthright, Zeda will represent China in the Mae Young Classic, and I can’t wait to see her in action. It’s hard to determine what side she’ll be on based on her look. Some competitors are natural babyfaces, others are natural heels. Zeda looks like she would shine either way.

Ayesha Raymond: Here is a competitor who I am slightly familiar with. I nearly marked out when I saw Ayesha among the combatants revealed for the Classic, because I have some of her work on DVD. Among other promotions, Ayesha competed for the World Association of Women’s Wrestling (WAWW), which is now known as Bellatrix Female Warriors–a promotion founded in Norwich, England by Saraya Knight, the mother of former two-time WWE Divas Champion Paige. She competed under the name, Amazon, which is fitting considering she stands at six feet even. Despite her imposing physique, Amazon was a babyface in her native England’s promotion, though knowing WWE, they’ll make her one of the monster heels along with Sage Beckett. Ayesha is 27 years of age, which is just young enough for WWE to consider signing her full time.

Rhea Ripley: Rhea Ripley is another young and up-and-coming superstar who had fans excited after news broke in March that she signed with WWE. Her real name is Demi Bennett, and she was born on October 11, 1996 in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. She previously competed in the Australian promotion, Riot City Wrestling, where she held their Women’s Championship twice, and she was signed after WWE held tryouts in Australia in December 2016. Demi was given the name Rhea Ripley a couple of months ago, which seems to fit her. I have never seen this girl in action; women like her (the ones who I have yet to see) are the reason why I am so excited for this tournament.

Shayna Baszler: Another notable name in MMA, Shayna Baszler fought several MMA fights since 2006, before heading to world of wrestling in 2015. Part of Shayna’s wrestling debut included joining SHIMMER Women Athletes last June, where she formed a villainous alliance with current fellow Mae Young Classic combatants Mercedes Martinez and Nicole Savoy. She has even been seen on Total Divas, as she was shown training Nikki Bella during her comeback in one episode of the show. Shayna was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and she’ll turn 37 this upcoming Tuesday. She’s another one who I’m anxious to see in action, I just know she’ll be absolutely phenomenal.

There’s more to come in the weeks leading to the Mae Young Classic! Keep your eyes peeled on more insight on the participants!

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