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    Sunday, August 27, 2017

    The Smark Henry Mae Young Classic Preview: Part 2

    By Ardelle Costuna, Miyann Bruan, and KP

    Yesterday, we began our official Smark Henry Mae Young Classic preview by introducing the first nine competitors (in alphabetical order). We continue our look into the fiery women of the tournament today.

    Lacey Evans

    With her pin-up looks, most will mistake the “Lady of NXT” as just a pretty face but her intimidating posture immediately clues one in that Lacey Evans is a superwoman behind the smile.
    Evans struggled with a rough childhood where she shared everything with her seven siblings. She was eventually compelled to join the United States Marine Corps and, at 22 with the rank of Corporal, launch a construction company with her husband.

    She was able to buy a house for three of her siblings who had problems with drug addiction, and employ them, all while raising her daughter with her husband. Her time with the Marines ended when she discovered that a sibling attempted suicide and Evans decided to focus on her family

    Photo taken from WWE.

    Evans point-blank told the WWE that she joined “to be famous” to gain the platform to make a difference on a large scale by motivating those who “doubt themselves and want to give up.”

    “My dad always wanted to be a wrestler, but he never imagined he could, so he just did what he knew, which was construction and drugs. He settled for the life he lived and eventually overdosed two years ago before I could even tell him the news that I signed with WWE,” she shared.

    “I want to show the world that it doesn’t matter where you come from; you can become anything you set your mind to, even when the cards are stacked against you.”

    Chances of Winning: 2/10

    Marti Belle

    Ten-year veteran and former TNA Knockout Marti Belle has wrestled both on TV and on the independent scene. For her, being part of the Mae Young Classic is more than just a venue to show off her wrestling chops. It’s also an opportunity for her to represent her roots.
    Belle made her debut in 2008 as a valet at the New York-based World of Unpredictable Wrestling, established by WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz. She finally had her chance to put on her wrestling boots in November 2009 at the same promotion.

    She made her World Superstars Uncensored debut in 2010, where she won the tag team titles with Tina San Antonio, and the WSU Spirit Championship, which she held for more than 600 days--the longest title reign in the WSU Spirit Championship history.

    While at WSU, Belle also worked at various promotions, appearing at Evolve, SHINE, Shimmer, Pro Wrestling Syndicate, and Ring of Honor.

    Photo taken from Cattie's Womens Wrestling.

    She is well-known for her work at IMPACT Wrestling, where she made her first appearance as a Knockout in 2014 at the Knockouts Knockdown 2 PPV with a win over ODB.

    The following year, she teamed up with Mia Yim (then known as Jade) and Taryn Terell, to form The Dollhouse, portraying childlike characters. They were disbanded a year after, after Belle cost Jade her Knockouts title to Sienna.

    With her inclusion in the MYC, Belle becomes the first Dominican-descent female to step in a WWE ring, and hopes that she becomes an inspiration to her fellow Latinas to represent their heritage.

    Chances of winning: 4/10

    Mercedes Martinez

    Mercedes Martinez has been in the game for 17 years, and now that she’s got a platform to show her greatness, the veteran has no time to play around.

    Martinez began as a standout basketball player who transitioned to professional wrestling after sustaining an injury in college. She began training with Jason Knight in October of 2000 and immediately showed potential when she won her first match a month into her training.

    This potential became success when she began touring the US and faced legendary contemporaries including current NXT assistant head coach Sara Amato, with whom she battled to a 20-minute draw at Shimmer on November 6, 2005 in a match that received a standing ovation.

    Photo taken from Clickwrestle.

    Martinez’s extensive portfolio includes a host of stipulation matches, including a steel cage match, bullrope match, 60-minute Iron Woman match that went a total of 70 minutes, and a ladder match in WSU alone.

    WSU became her home promotion for a while as she won the WSU Championship on March 7, 2009 and wouldn’t let go for three years as she defended the title against the likes of Awesome Kong, Mickie James, Jazz, and Nikki Roxx.

    Martinez also holds the record of the longest women's wrestling match in history. In August 2011, he put her title on the line against Lexxus in a match that lasted for 73 minutes, breaking her previous record of 70 minutes.

    Chances of winning: 8/10

    Mia Yim

    A true journeywoman, Mia Yim has competed everywhere and grappled with half the MYC competitors and even some of the women in the WWE in her eight years of wrestling.
    Her work with Ring of Honor, SHINE, IMPACT, and others owes a lot to her ability to practically do everything in the ring; a gift honed in the ROH dojo, CZW Academy, Universal Woman's Pro Wrestling Reina, and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre.

    Photo taken from Zalaphoto.

    This solid work, and her brutal package piledriver, lead her to winning the SHINE Tag Team Championship with Leva Bates, known in NXT as Blue Pants; the women’s singles titles for SHINE, IMPACT, BTW, Southside Wrestling Entertainment; and kept the NWA Florida Underground Wrestling in her possession for over a whopping 1,619 days—and counting.

    Rosemary and former tag partners Bates and Marti Belle count among Yim’s greatest foes, though she’s also taken part in intergender TLC matches and eight-ways.

    Apart from her physical strength, Yim is also known for her inner fortitude as she supports #PutTheNailinIt by victims services agency Safe Horizon against domestic violence.

    In an interview with Huffington Post in 2016, Yim said her ex, a wrestler himself, choked her whenever she said something he didn’t like. She eventually overcame her fear, and rebukes from his trainer and some of their mutual friends, to press charges against her ex and speak for #PutTheNailInIt.

    And though intergender matches may seem counter-intuitive to her message, Yim said, “We choose to get in the ring. We’re trained to keep ourselves and our opponents safe. But when someone brings it back home, that’s not wrestling anymore. That is not entertainment. That is just straight abuse.”

    Chances of Winning: 7/10

    Miranda Salinas

    From being one of Adam Rose’s Rosebuds, newcomer Miranda Salinas is ready to bloom in the Mae Young Classic.
    Making her debut just three years ago, Salinas trained and competed at the Houston, Texas-based Reality of Wrestling, established by WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. She started training at 18 years old, following the footsteps of her idol Trish Stratus.

    Salinas might not be part of the original 32 competitors for the Mae Young Classic, she replaced Nixon Newell who is out due to an ACL injury, but when the “petite powder keg” explodes inside the squared circle, her opponents surely need to catch their breath.

    Chances of winning: 2/10

    Nicole Savoy

    If the WWE Raw Superstars have Brock Lesnar to take them to Suplex City, the competitors of the Mae Young Classic have to prepare for “The Suplex Queen” Nicole Savoy.

    Savoy, making her debut in only 2011, has won titles in promotions she has worked in. She made her first Shimmer appearance in 2014, where she faced fellow Mae Young Classic competitors Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Mia Yim, Kay Lee Ray, and Sarah Logan.

    Photo taken from Clickwrestle.

    In the same promotion, she is one-third of the “Trifecta,” a stable that also includes Shayna Baszler and Mercedes Martinez.

    In 2016, Savoy became the inaugural Heart of Shimmer Champion after defeating LuFisto and Abbey Laith in a tournament to advance to the finals, where she won over LeRae and Ruby Riot. She held the title for more than 400 days, losing it to Shazza McKenzie last July.

    She currently holds the Alternative Wrestling Show and Pro Wrestling Revolution Women’s titles.

    Chances of winning: 6/10

    Piper Niven

    The embodiment of body confidence, Viper or Piper Niven’s career is on the uptick after years of being an underrated powerhouse in the European scene.
    Niven made her in-ring debut on 2009 with Scottish Wrestling Alliance getting trained by Mikey Whiplash and Killian Dane of SANitY at the Source Wrestling School in Glasgow.

    In her first few years, she fought Nikki Storm, Kay Lee Ray, and Kirsty Love in a number of promotions before winning her first belt in Scottish Wrestling Entertainment by beating Jason Costello for the Future Division Title.

    Niven distinguished herself by becoming the inaugural Alpha Omega Women and Insane Championship Wrestling Women’s Champions later on, and prove her strength by holding on to the former for a year and the Scottish Women’s Championship from 2015 until now.

    Photo taken from Stardom.

    Her most recent achievement to date is winning Artist of Stardom with Io Shirai and HZK as Queen’s Quest on August 13, defeating Hiroyo Matsumoto, Jungle Kyona, and Kaori Yoneyama of Team Jungle.

    Though Niven is no softy in the ring, some fans believe the speedy bruiser needs more aggression in her moves. And with stakes running high, dishing out powerslams and Vader Bombs in the MYC may finally bring the venom out of Miss Piper.

    Chances of Winning: 6/10

    Princesa Sugehit

    21-year veteran Princesa Sugehit’s (that's /su-hei/ to you) butterfly mask and hood are more than just aesthetics. As the lone luchadora in the tournament, the dangerous high-flyer will make like Ali, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.
    Before setting foot on the U.S. wrestling scene, the woman known as Princesa Sugehit was a feared ruda (heel), and held the Lucha Libre Femenil Extreme, Juvenil, and the tag team titles. She also worked with Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, one of Mexico’s biggest wrestling promotions.

    While in LLF in 2004, she developed a rivalry with Dark Angel, that led to a 45-minute Luchas de Apuestas match, literally a match where both wrestlers stake something personal. The bout ended in Sugehit winning and Dark Angel’s unmasking.

    She started working in 2005 with CMLL, the oldest professional wrestling promotion in the world, where she also developed a rivalry against the tecnica Goddess, that led to another Luchas de Apuestas match that she also won. In 2010, she won against Lady Apache to become the PWR World Women’s Champion, holding the title for more than 400 days.

    In 2015, Sugehit won the CMLL-Reina International Championship, and in February 2017, she defeated longtime rival Zeuxis to win the Mexican National Women’s Championship, which she holds until this day.

    Chances of winning: 6/10

    Rachel Evers

    Rachel Evers (nee Ellering; yes, she's the child of a certain Authors of Pain manager) may be a newcomer, but you can never underestimate a competitor who relies on her athleticism.
    Rachel Evers, a three-sport athlete graduated from Storm Wrestling Academy in December 2015. She debut at Praire Wrestling Alliance on November 21, 2015, in a match with Lance Storm vs Brett Morgan and Gisele Shaw.

    Evers is currently signed with SHINE. Her first match for the promotion was against her fellow MYC participant, Tessa Blanchard at SHINE 34.

    The strength and power that she has in her style and maneuvers are influenced by her powerlifting background, where she won a bronze medal from the World Powerlifting Federation.

    Photo taken from WWE.

    Evers made her NXT debut during an April 28, 2016 taping where she fought former RAW Women’s champion Alexa Bliss. She then faced Sonya Deville on the June 21, 2017 episode. Evers also made appearances in IMPACT Wrestling this year.

    Chances of winning: 4/10

    Reina González

    The daughter of independent wrestler Ricky “Desperado” González, second-generation superstar Reina González has to prove that her year in the Performance Center bore some fruit.
    González officially entered the Performance Center in October 2016 after a tryout held sometime after an unsuccessful audition for WWE’s reality show Tough Enough.

    Her in-ring debut in January 2017 was in a battle royal in a live event and another battle royal, this time for the number one contendership spot for Asuka’s NXT Women’s Championship, served as her television debut in May.

    The six-foot-tall wrestler completed a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship before starting her career in pro wrestling.

    Chances of Winning: 2/10


    Stay tuned tomorrow when we post the last part of our Mae Young Classic preview, with the remaining competitors! 
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Mae Young Classic Preview: Part 2 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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