WWE Mae Young Classic 2017 Fallout – Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE Mae Young Classic 2017 Fallout – Triple Threat POV

Posted by Jordan Chaffiotte Sunday, September 17, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Jordan Chaffiotte, Callum Wiggins, and Andy Shadadeo will be giving their opinions on the fallout of the Mae Young Classic. Whether you watched the MYC or not, the results are sure to stir up WWE for months to come. We saw some of the best competitors in the world, many guests appearances including Ronda Rousey, and crowned not just a winner of the tournament, but a number one contender for the NXT Women's Championship. What will come from this historic tournament? We take a look.

Question 1: Was it important to you to watch the Mae Young Classic?

CHAFFIOTTE: Absolutely. And you can bet "Missile" is on my Spotify playlist now. This was huge for women's wrestling, one day we're going to look back at this as a pivotal moment in WWE. It was really exciting to watch fans rally around it and not be held back by the awkward timing. Though I much preferred the format of the UK tournament, I would've gladly sat and watched all eight episodes in one day if they had really gone all in on the binging strategy. I cried each and every time Kairi Sane cried, which was a lot, and audibly gasped at basically everything Bianca Belair did.

In total fairness, there's been a bit of wilting to the bright lights in these hyped up history-making matches. We can't put that squarely on the shoulders of the ladies, as the expectations tend to be set incredibly high. It's never enough to have just a good to great match, it has to be a perfect match. How do you deliver on that? But this tournament might just finally quiet those voices, because across the board the wrestling was very good and the final few matches were excellent. There's no more denying that the women can hang.

If you didn't feel a need to watch eight hours of content for this, I would recommend Toni Storm vs. Kairi Sane (spoiler, she cries) and Shayna Blaszer vs. Candice LeRae, followed by the Finals. It'll give you a good sense of the story and magnitude in a much more condensed viewing.

WIGGINS: It felt like a landmark moment in wrestling history, so I was counting down the days to watch this on the WWE Network. While I remain a huge fan of both the Cruiserweight Classic and United Kingdom Tournament, the Mae Young Classic felt like a turning point in women's wrestling when it comes to WWE. The variety and impressiveness of the women involved ensured that this event, for the most part, lived up to the hype (in spite of a couple of terrible matches and lackluster commentary).

Expectations were high, but I think for the most part the Mae Young Classic lived up to the hype. I can honestly say that some of my favorite women's matches in recent years took place during the tournament, especially Kairi Sane vs. Bianca Belair and Toni Storm vs. Piper Niven. And even if it fell short of a total success, it got many people buzzing and built so much anticipation for new female superstars joining the company that it was a major moment in the future of WWE.

SAHADEO: I've only been able to watch fragments of the tournament but overall, it was an incredible moment of achievement not only for the women, but for professional wrestling as a whole. I mean, a tournament consisting of the best female wrestlers from around the world in WWE? The strides that WWE has made to realign the perspective of women's wrestling is absolutely astounding and it only grows day to day.

One of the most important parts of the tournament, in my opinion, were the inclusion of names like Mia Yim, Abbey Laith (the former Kimber Lee) and Candice LeRae. While people often rave about male wrestlers in the indies, these women are probably the most prominent in terms of relevance and the fact that they're finally shining in WWE almost brings a tear to my eye. It's just like when you heard Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens signing to WWE after years of watching El Generico and Kevin Steen compete in ROH—the beauty of a full circle moment is unparalleled.

Question 2: What are your thoughts on Ronda Rousey starting to drift into the WWE spotlight?

CHAFFIOTTE: It's questionable, I really do like Ronda Rousey, I was a big fan of hers during her dominant run in MMA. Generally speaking, I think she's a great athlete who should do better in the public figure aspect of her job. She's not trash, she's not a god among men, and maybe a run in WWE would help her establish a persona that feels a bit more genuine. It's been years since she was well and truly hot, and after a few too many missteps in the world of social media, she might not be the draw they were hoping she would be. I hate to say it, but right now I think Ronda needs WWE more than WWE needs Ronda, and that isn't a great place to be.

At the same time, she seemed truly excited to be there. She seriously needs to work on the acting and tone down the overly serious demeanor. Ronda was a wrestling fan as a kid, they should capitalize on that. She should look like she's having fun, like she's here because she wants to be not because she thinks it'll redeem her reputation. I am very much here for Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey, but it needs a lot of polish before we get there.

WIGGINS: I think I've spoken in the past how I feel about the massive influx of MMA talent into WWE. My problem is not with them showing up in the company - far from it, as names like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor would be amazing coups for crossover appeal. My issue lies with them being treated as 'legitimate' performers from the outset. Obviously, their experience in professional fighting means they should be able to match up to WWE's superstars, but it is still an entirely different proposition. Put it this way, if a wrestler showed up for their first match in MMA with minimal training and defeated a top star, it would somewhat devalue MMA's legitimacy.

For me, that's a double-edged sword. Am I excited to see Ronda Rousey in WWE? Absolutely. Do I want her to defeat someone like Charlotte or Becky Lynch in her first official match? No, unless she plans to join full-time, which feels unlikely at this point. For all intensive purposes, while she is a professional fighter, Rousey would be coming into WWE as a celebrity for her virtually unparalleled reputation. And, like when most celebrities step in the ring with WWE's superstars, a victory for them slowly erodes the credibility of the performer.

SAHADEO: Ronda Rousey is finally out of her UFC prime, which is totally fine. In her time, she dominated and did what she had to do. It's unfortunate that her career suffered the way it did, but c'est la vie, right? Even though she lost her last two fights, Rousey is still nevertheless a bonafide athlete and a badass in her own right. To have WWE finally scoop her up would be great, as it gives her a new lease on her career and a new chapter to write.

The only problem I really have is the perception that society will have when Rousey makes the jump. What will the majority of people think? "Oh, Ronda Rousey is a washed-up MMA fighter so now she's gonna go to WWE and pretend to fight other women?" Obviously, I don't feel that way, but I can see that other people will say so. It's kind of like when a released WWE star goes to TNA/GFW and people are like, "this is where your career goes to die." Obviously, I don't think Rousey's career will die, but her reputation and/or WWE’s reputation will be put on the line if they choose to run with Rousey.

Also, where do Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir stand in the whole Four Horsewomen of MMA vs. Four Horsewomen of WWE feud? It's obvious that WWE wants to go down this road, but only time will tell how this feud will play out.

Question 3: Will Kairi Sane walk out of NXT TakeOver: Houston as the NXT Women's Champion?

CHAFFIOTTE: I'm going to say no, because I don't think it's the right move storytelling wise. She won the inaugural Mae Young Classic and is probably the most over babyface in NXT right now. A title seems unnecessary and it might benefit her to struggle. Right now, I'd put it on Peyton Royce and run a Lay-Cool angle with Billie Kay. What could possibly be more infuriating to fans than the two of them actually succeeding in out-maneuvering Kairi? Peyton is a step above in terms of technicality, so I'd give her the win and let Billie tag along in more of a clear right hand man role. There can be an underlying sense of jealousy as Billie insists on saying "we're the NXT Women's Champion" even though we all know she's not.

We've only gotten to see Kairi in success, and since the majority of the WWE audience probably doesn't watch Stardom, we don't really know who she is in defeat yet. That's an important part of anyone's character, and something I feel is missing from Asuka's story. I'm not really interested in seeing them do that again. When Kairi finally gets the best of the Iconic Duo, and you know she will, it'll be a big-fight moment. That title will mean more when she has to truly scratch and claw for it.

WIGGINS: I don't think so. Of course, it wouldn't be out of the question, especially if her popularity continues to build in NXT. But, there are performers in NXT that have been waiting a long time for this opportunity to hold the Women's Championship - with the roadblock of Asuka out of the way, it is a great chance to establish a more competitive division. Personally, I like the idea of Peyton Royce holding the title - she's improved greatly in the ring over the last few months, has a strong character and plays the dastardly heel perfectly with Billie Kay by her side.

After Asuka's unshakeable popularity as a dominant fighting machine, the dichotomy of Royce and Kay seems like the ideal next step to build up a plucky babyface to take down the Iconic Duo. Whether that's Kairi Sane, Ember Moon, Ruby Riot or another, this is the direction I would take the NXT Women's Championship right now.

SAHADEO: Just like Jordan and Callum said, I don't think she’s walking out with the title. With a multi-women match announced for the NXT Women's Title, that provides more than enough leeway for Kairi Sane to take the loss without looking weak. Also, although Kairi Sane is very well established outside of WWE, I feel like she still has to work her way up to the top. Hotshotting the title on her from the get-go is always a bad idea. What's the purpose of building a character up if you're just going to send them to their peak right away?

TJ Perkins winning the Cruiserweight Championship at the end of the Cruiserweight Classic last year was a totally different story compared to Kairi Sane's. In TJP's case, he was the first winner of a newly-sanctioned title, which gave him no precedent to follow––only a precedent to set. Whereas in Kairi's case, while I definitely think she can fill Asuka's shoes eventually, right now it would be best to give the title to someone more established and familiar with NXT than Kairi right now, like Ember Moon. Go for the slow burn push and ultimately establish Kairi as the leader of the women’s division down the line.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY JORDAN CHAFFIOTTE

Jordan Chaffiotte is a writer and blogger on a variety of channels and is an alum of Her Campus. Her long-term love of writing has been matched recently by a new love for professional wrestling. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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