|WWE Network will air the Women's Tournament|
This announcement comes off the heels of last year's Cruiserweight Classic, which showcased wrestlers 205 pounds and lighter. Names such as Brian Kendrick, Rich Swann, and eventual winner and first WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins made the tournament a hot success, with all three of them going on to be part of WWE's new cruiserweight division on 205 Live.
Following that tournament, WWE created the United Kingdom Championship and held a tournament to crown the recipient of that belt. Just as with the cruiserweights and 205 Live, there will soon be a television show dedicated to the United Kingdom wrestlers and Britain's top stars.
|TJ Perkins win Cruiserweight Classic|
WWE has been pushing their female division more and more over the last year. They ended the Divas Era with the new women's division and two new Women's Championships for Raw and SmackDown. Some of WWE's great female competitors from the past have been brought back to help boost the division, most recently Mickie James. In addition, Sasha Banks and Bayley were the first two women to main event a NXT pay-per-view event and it could be labeled as "match of the year".
|Women headlined a NXT pay-per-view for the first time|
As soon as the tournament was announced, speculations started about who exactly we would see showcased on it. 17 countries are going to be represented, which could involve promotions such as STARDOM in Japan, Lucha Underground and SHIMMER in the United States, and Pro Wrestling: EVE in the United Kingdom. There are already long lists of women who should be elected to compete, but here is a shorter list of women we should likely be seeing on the tournament.
Hendrix just recently left Ring of Honor after a stint with TNA Wrestling, so she able to be signed on. She actually has a little known history with WWE as a rosebud in Adam Rose's posse party. With Eva Marie recently being released, Hendrix can be the new neighborhood redhead. She has never held a title in TNA or ROH, but she did well for herself at Ohio Valley Wrestling and Queens of Combat. In 2013, she was #34 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's top 50 female singles wrestlers. She has the in-ring abilities and her recent image is intriguing: a Poison Ivy-like persona.
Sara Del Rey
This one may be a bit far fetched, since she did retire in 2012 at the age of 32. Nonetheless, she had quite a career with SHIMMER and Ring of Honor. She is currently a trainer at the WWE Performance Center and works with NXT. WWE is not against bringing in veterans to help boost the roster and Del Rey can play that role well.
Like Del Rey, Sexy Star is retired, but still young enough to compete in the tournament for a veteran role. She left Lucha Underground and wrestling to become a boxer, but she is still in good enough shape to have a few classic matches on the WWE Network.
Her technical abilities are among the best and she has dominated the Canadian indie circuit. She has over a decade of experience under her belt, including a former SHIMMER and Shine Tag Champion. While she is still technically under contract with TNA, she may not be there much longer. The Best Superkick Ever could land on WWE.
LeRae is one of the top indie girls, being a 10-year veteran and also being the first female to compete in PWG's Battle of Los Angeles. She has great skills in the ring and on the mic. She is magically in the ring and can even compete with the men. As an added benefit for her, WWE likes to have real-life pairings and she is married to Johnny Gargano—former NXT Tag Team Champion as part of #DIY. She could end up being paired with her husband's team if she doesn't win the tournament but still gets a contract.
If you think Leva Bates looks familiar, you would be right. During her stint in NXT, Bates was known as "Blue Pants". Although she was a jobber with WWE and had issues backstage, maybe Vince McMahon could give her a second chance. She seems to connect well with the WWE Universe and her cosplay gives her character some life and charisma. If WWE gives her the second chance, she should be used to her potential and not as a jobber.
The former TNA Knockout and member of The Dollhouse, Bell has been floating around the independent circuit. She was trained by WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz. She has been quite a standout in the indie picture and could be quite a heel for WWE.
Hojo has been considered to be one of Japan's best female wrestlers, possibly even the best female wrestler in the world. After six years with STARDOM in Japan, she was rumored to have inked a three-year deal with WWE just weeks ago. The tournament could be a way to welcome one of WWE's next top superstar.
Before she was Jade in TNA, she was indie star Mia Yim. She caught fire with Shine and SHIMMER and even had a one match appearance with NXT against Charlotte. Like her former ally Marti Bell, once The Dollhouse was disbanded, she was released from TNA. She is quite athletic and could join Bell as partners in WWE.
As a seasoned vet on the indie circuit, Martinez has a lot to offer the younger generation. She wrestled for SHIMMER, ROH, and even in Germany with wXw. Her bad-ass attitude and experience can make her a nice addition for some solid matches in the tournament.
Ivelisse used to be under contract with WWE before becoming a star with Lucha Underground. She was released when she reported Bill DeMott for abusing trainees. She has shown quite the improvement over the years with Lucha Underground and Shine. She could return to WWE with now having a character and success to work off of.
This is a very intriguing possibility. Yes, she is Paige's real life mother, but she is also a well-established wrestler. She is still young enough to have a decent run in WWE and she can also help her daughter, if she is still with the company by the time of the tournament. Either way, having Saraya in the tournament will give it an attractive name.
Velvet Sky is one of the least possible contestants, as she is 35 years old and would've been more suitable in the Divas-Era or even the Attitude Era. She made quite a name for herself with TNA, being a two-time Knockouts Champion. She can still be a great addition as star power, but she would need to tone down her characters sexuality.
International female wrestlers are becoming popular with the help of WWE. Asuka is on quite a run as champion in NXT and we can see up to half a dozen Japanese wrestlers in the tournament. She has a very adorable persona to her, but she is hardcore in the ring and could possibly rival Asuka to be the top international star in WWE.
Garrett already has a very good relationship with NXT, being used as a jobber sometimes. Don't let that fool you though. She is one of the hottest females in wrestling right now, performing all over the globe and holds several different championships at the same time currently. She may be one of the best free agents out there right now and can bring her prestige to WWE.
Although she is only 25, she has had quite a career already. She started off as Rosita in TNA, teaming with the Mexican American stable. She left for the indie scene and even teamed with fiance and current WWE superstar Austin Aries. Being from Puerto Rico and having a great background at such a young age, I will be surprised to not see her in tournament.
Newell could easily represent Wales in the tournament and she has gained some buzz recently after she has claimed the WCPW Women's Championship and had some great matches with the promotion.
LuFisto is a Montreal indie legend. With nearly two decades in the ring, she is not afraid to grapple with the men. She even beat Kevin Owens once for the CZW Iron Man Championship in 2006. She could take a shot at NXT and train up some of the younger wrestlers. As a sidenote, LuFisto is my favorite for the tournament. She is simple to Natalya and Beth Phoenix and she is a full figured wrestler who has the experience to go for a deep run in the tournament.
Balszer used to be part of the Four Horsewomen, but of UFC. The former cage fighter was on the same level as Ronda Rousey, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke. Shayna recently had a WWE tryout and could use her to attract more UFC fighters to WWE.
Since Paige may not be with WWE much longer, Bea Priestly could reign as the top female Brit. She's quite young at 22, but she is one of the best up and comers. She has put on some recent classics with fellow tournament hopeful Nixon Newell.
Havok is a legend on the indie scene, having nearly 12 years of experience. She is well known in the same hardcore Ohio circuit that produced Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler. She has competed in some of the top promotions across the globe and could end her career on a high note with a run with WWE.
Deonna Purrazzo has climbed the ladder quickly over the last year. She went from ROH to TNA to NXT all within the same month. She used to job for Asuka, but like other former jobbers on this list, she was improved greatly and can improve even more.
Madison Eagles has made herself into one of the top females in wrestling, being a two-time SHIMMER champion. The Aussie has had some work with some of the best in the company, including Sara Del Rey. Australian talents are becoming more popular in WWE with the likes of Emma, Billie Kay, and Murphy.
WWE loves to bring back stars of the past, currently with Mickie James and Brian Kendrick. Molly Holly can continue this trend. She is a beloved and skilled lady who can train others in the company. She can come back for a match or two and then go on to train some of the top competitors in the tournament.
Io Shirai recently left her promotion in Japan and is also rumored to have contract already with WWE. She has also wrestled in Mexico for AAA and has a past with NXT champion Asuka. She is even one of the few early favorites to win the tournament.
Blanchard is a third generation wrestler and an indie superstar. Her father is Four Horseman Tully Blanchard and she is also part of one of the indies' biggest power couples. She has had enhancement stints in NXT and is another early favorite.
Like Blanchard, Ellering has a legendary father: Legion of Doom/Road Warriors/Authors of Pain mentor Paul Ellering. She too has had small stints with NXT and is a sure fire entry.
Any of the women above can end up being an entry in the tournament, but with 17 countries being represented, we will see many new faces. After the Cruiserweight Classic came WWE 205 and the United Kingdom Tournament will showcase their contestants on a WWE show over in the UK. There have been minor reports, but it is possible for WWE to have their own show dedicated just for their women. This could give more attention to the women as a whole and also the crowded male rosters.
If there is anyone else you may think be an entry or anyone who you wishes makes an appearance in the tournament, comment below and also stay tuned for updates on the tournament as we get closer to it.