Hiroyo Matsumoto, Aerial Monroe and Vanessa Kraven confirmed for Mae Young Classic
You don’t need to look any further than the nicknames of the Mae Young Classic’s three newest competitors to get a sense of just how rough-and-tumble this year’s 32-woman tournament is shaping up to be.
“Lady Destroyer” Hiroyo Matsumoto, “Big Swole” Aerial Monroe and “The Mountain” Vanessa Kraven are the latest athletes to be confirmed for the second-annual Classic, which streams on WWE Network later this summer. The tournament final will take place at the first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view, WWE Evolution, on Sunday, Oct. 28.
Popular Japanese wrestler Hiroyo Matsumoto (pictured above) — who is alternatively known as “Lady Destroyer” and “Lady Godzilla” — made her professional debut in July 2006. Ranked the 25th best women’s wrestler in the world in 2017 by “Pro Wrestling Illustrated,” Matsumoto, who is revered for her power and technical proficiency, once held four championships simultaneously. Her signature moves include a dangerous high-angle back suplex that she calls the Rock Drop, as well as variations of powerbombs, gutbusters and missile dropkicks.
Aerial Monroe of Clearwater, Fla., enters the tournament with three years of experience. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Monroe trained for the ring under Cedric Alexander and southern wrestling legend George South and has competed throughout the U.S. independent scene. A charismatic striker, “Big Swole” uses a full arsenal of high-power kicks and her specialty move, Dirty Dancing (a ripcord forearm smash), to pummel opponents.
Rounding out the new set of competitors is Montreal’s Vanessa Kraven. Standing 6-foot-2, “The Mountain” is likely to be one of the Classic’s most intimidating and mysterious grapplers. The pigtailed pugilist has dominated competition for more than 14 years, including in Canada’s International Wrestling Syndicate (the same organization where Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn cut their teeth) and the U.S.-based SHIMMER Women Athletes and Shine Wrestling, among others. Kraven boasts a wide repertoire of hard-hitting moves, highlighted by her Cliffhanger Chokebomb, which is a two-handed sit-out chokeslam.
Today’s announcement brings the total number of competitors revealed for the Mae Young Classic to 26. Stick with WWE.com for more updates in the coming days and weeks.