Kairi Sane battles Shayna Baszler in the Mae Young Classic Finale
The winner of the inaugural Mae Young Classic will be determined tonight when Japan’s Kairi Sane battles the United States’ Shayna Baszler in the tournament Final, streaming live exclusively on WWE Network at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Four rounds of hard-hitting action narrowed down a field of 32, and The Pirate Princess and The Queen of Spades are the last two competitors standing.
Sane topped Tessa Blanchard in the First Round, Bianca Belair in the Second Round, New Zealand’s Dakota Kai in the Quarterfinals and Australia’s Toni Storm in the Semifinals. In each match, the 5-foot-1 Pirate Princess endured serious headwinds before besting her competition, and she polished off all her opponents the same way, via her must-see, one-of-a-kind Diving Elbow Drop.
While Sane’s inspirational journey through the bracket captured the hearts and minds of the WWE Universe, Baszler’s path to the Finale struck a much different tone.
The former UFC fighter used brute force to claim her victories, arrogantly demolishing China’s Zeda in the First Round, thrashing veteran Mia Yim of South Korea in the Second Round and punishing independent sensation Candice LeRae in the Quarterfinals before overcoming one of her wrestling mentors, Mercedes Martinez, in the Semifinals. Like Sane, The Queen of Spades employed the same move to clinch victory in each battle: her seemingly unbreakable rear naked choke.
Along the way, Baszler has enjoyed the support of her Four Horsewomen training partners Ronda Rousey, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, though the WWE Universe hasn’t been quite approving of Baszler’s unsportsmanlike behavior (such as her refusal to break her rear naked choke on LeRae after the bell).
Though they approach competition with different outlooks, Sane and Baszler now find themselves in the same spot, as finalists in WWE’s groundbreaking women’s tournament. Can Kairi Sane, who is newly signed to NXT, kick-start her WWE career in the biggest way imaginable, with a milestone victory on the Mae Young Classic Finale? Or will Shayna Baszler stomp out that dream and make Sane tap, adding to the bragging rights of MMA’s Four Horsewomen?
Don’t miss the compelling Mae Young Classic Finale when it streams live from Las Vegas tonight at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, only on the award-winning WWE Network.