Who should be in the Mae Young Classic? Featuring Q&A with Bea Priestley

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Over WrestleMania weekend Triple H and the WWE, with the help of WWE Raw Women’s champion Bayley, Smackdown Live Women’s champion Alexa Bliss, and NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, announced a 32 women tournament. WWE found a lot of success with its Cruiserweight Classic and with women’s wrestling still on the rise, it’s likely they can match the success with this one. Obviously, the women’s tournament won’t be seeing as many dives and gravity-defying stunts as the CWC provided but in the last year and half the women have proved they can handle it. One of the things that happened with the CWC was after the tournament was over WWE signed several of the competitors and started its own cruiserweight division on Raw. Due to this division guys like TJ Perkins, Jack Gallagher, Brian Kendrick, Rich Swann, Austin Aries, Neville and many more have been given chances to make name for themselves and even rejuvenate their career. The problem is the WWE, obviously, already has a women’s division. This isn’t really a problem but chances are WWE will sign several names coming out of this tournament to join the current list of women killing it on the main roster. With the kind of names they have on the indies right now, it’s exciting to see the kind of match ups we could be having by this time next year. Here’s a list of several names I would personally like to see in the tournament. Several names have already been confirmed for the tournament so none of them will be listed and this is not a prediction article but more of a personal wish list of names I’d like to see in the tournament.

Nixon Newell

Nixon Newell has had some great matches in WCPW and has made a huge name there and on the indie scene and is a fantastic worker. She has only been wrestling since 2013 but has already made a huge name for herself all over the world in places like Attack! Pro Wrestling, Progress, Shimmer, and most recently in Stardom. She’s already won 7 championships respectively throughout her career and adding being the tournament winner to her list of accomplishments would do her wonders on the indies and also make her a stand out if WWE were to sign her after the tournament. Don’t be surprised if you see her name listed later this summer.

Leva Bates

Another woman making the rounds on the indie scene is Leva Bates and if that name doesn’t ring a bell than Big Cass shouting Blue Pants might. Leva Bates has been in WWE before in NXT a few years ago in 2014 being used as an enhancement talent for Carmella but quickly gained a fanbase as she was brought back a number of times after that. One of her biggest appearances for NXT was at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn where she came out to be in the corner of The Vaudevillians to even the odds against NXT Tag Team Champions at the time BAMF. Bates would help The Vaudevillians win while also getting an altercation with Alexa Bliss which led to a match that she lost. Bates made a final appearance later that December losing to Nia Jax marking her final appearance. Since the end of 2015 Leva Bates has been working hard on the indie scene all over. She notably likes to cosplay as video game, movie, and comic book characters and other famous wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kenny Omega, Broken Matt Hardy and Joey Ryan. Having Leva Bates in the tournament would be a great return for her and she could even continue her cosplay of dressing up as wrestlers on the current roster.

Jessicka Havok

One of the great things about women’s wrestling today is that every woman has their own unique look and Jessicka Havok definitely has one of the most unique looks going today. Havok is one of the most intimidating looking women’s wrestlers today and would be perfect for this tournament. The good thing about women’s wrestling today is that women aren’t expected to be barbie dolls anymore and can be themselves and not have to worry about what people think. You have girls in WWE now like Nia Jax who is breaking the stereotype of small and petite. Havok has been doing this since 2004 and has had a WWE tryout before but unfortunately due to some past tweets was not hired by WWE. Now that a few years have past WWE would be making a mistake in not getting Jessicka Havok as the big monster for this tournament. After the tournament, WWE should definitely sign her. Havok and Nia Jax is a ready made match and a ready made team to run through the women’s division. Havok could also play the role of the monster on Smackdown Live as well giving a fresh opponent to girls like Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and current Women’s Champion Naomi.

ODB

If you were a fan of TNA for any length of time you probably know who ODB is. She has been following the NXT team in Florida advertising her new BBQ sauce so one might assume and NXT are in talks currently. ODB would be a great addition to the Women’s Tournament having wrestled since 2001 and being a 4 time TNA Knockouts champion and even a TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion with another familiar face in NXT who goes by the name of Eric Young. She would definitely add a veteran feel to the tournament like Tajiri did with the Cruiserweight Classic and would definitely be an asset to the main roster or NXT much like Mickie James is. ODB is an ass kicker and seeing her vs the likes of Nia Jax or even current NXT Women’s Champion Asuka would be a sight to see.

Kelly Kelly

Sticking with the theme of familiar names another that people might recognize is Kelly Kelly. Known as the girl so nice they named her twice, Kelly Kelly would be a great addition to the Women’s Tournament in the same way Brian Kendrick was to the CWC. Since Kelly Kelly left in 2012 women’s wrestling has seen a huge change of pace from what Kelly Kelly was a part of. Kelly Kelly has never been renowned for her in ring work but given the current line-up of women, it wouldn’t be hard to see her walk into the ring and put on a great match.

Gail Kim

Speaking of familiar faces, another face we haven’t seen in awhile is Gail Kim. Gail Kim was a great wrestler who WWE squandered and wasted. Once Kim was gone from WWE she went to TNA and became a huge part of the Knockouts division and if Kim was available for the tournament then WWE would be making a huge mistake in not signed Kim back to a contract. Like Kelly Kelly, she is married now so maybe the full-time WWE schedule isn’t something that interests her but a spot in the tournament to put over rising stars would be perfect for her.

Candice LeRae

I feel like out of all the women listed this one is most likely to happen. Candice LeRae has been a household name on the indie scene for years now and having been in some of the top indie promotions over the years such as PWG, CZW, DDT, Shimmer, and so on WWE seems like the end game. LeRae has already made an appearance for WWE in NXT where she was a member of the NXT Women’s battle royal to determine Asuka’s new number 1 contender which she failed to lose but a takeaway while watching was that LaRae is known by the crowd receiving one of the biggest pops when she came out and even getting boos when she got eliminated. LaRae is definitely one of the biggest names still left on the indie scene not to be signed by WWE and I think it’s time WWE snags her up and puts her in the Mae Young Classic.

Bea Priestley

Over the last two years, the world of professional wrestling has seen a huge boom in the U.K. wrestling scene. One of the reasons that the U.K. scene has experienced such a rise in popularity is WCPW and one of WCPW’s biggest standouts is Bea Priestley. Bea Priestley is a former WCPW Women’s Champion holding it for five months before losing it at Built to Destroy last June. Imagine the type of matches she would have if she stepped into a WWE ring with some of the current roster members like Alexa Bliss, Bayley, and even Charlotte. From a personal standpoint, I’d love to see Bea Priestley in a WWE ring and, fingers crossed, win the whole thing but let’s see what Bea Priestley thinks. Bea graciously let me do a small interview with her about her career and what she thinks about the tournament and if she’d like to be in it. When the interview was conducted she was still WCPW Women’s Champion so that’s why I refer to her as the current champion.

Q: You were born in York, England but moved to New Zealand when you were 9. Why was that and how long after you moved did you start to wrestle?

A: My parents decided to emigrate as they went on holiday over there and absolutely loved it! So, being at a young age I couldn’t really object. I started my wrestling training a few weeks after I turned 16 at a school closest to me, and my wrestling journey started from there!

Q: Did you grow up watching Wrestling or did you become a fan later in life?

A: My whole family was never really into wrestling, and I have two older sisters, so I was heavily influenced by them. But when I was 14 I was channel surfing and the battery died, and it happened to be on WWE RAW. Kinda like fate really. Since then I’ve been hooked!

Q: You’re currently WCPW Women’s champion. How has it been wrestling Nixon Newell who is also in this article and also how is it being able to wrestle in the same place with Travis Banks who helped trained you?

A: Nixon Newell is such a unique talent. She’s one of the girls who has had a huge part in getting the British woman’s scene as big as it is now! I genuinely feel like she is the main reason I’ve improved and grown as a wrestler, both confidence and technically. I wish her all the best in her future. It’s pretty cool seeing Travis Banks on a regular basis. Seeing how far we’ve both come in the short time we’ve been here is remarkable. From wrestling in front of small crowds in New Zealand to 2000+ on a regular basis… really shows that hard work pays off. Travis Banks is 100% one of the hardest working people I know, and seeing him killing it all over Britain and Ireland is really nice to see.

Q: Speaking of WCPW a few years prior to this when you were 18 you had surgery to remove a brain tumor that you have had since you were 14. How was the road to recovery and how was it being able to recover from such a horrible thing and find success in one of the U.K.’s top promotions?

A: I actually had a really fast recovery. I was only in the hospital for four days, they expected me to be there for at least a week but I was recovering so quickly they let me go early! The worst part was the healing process. Not being able to run, having no energy, essentially taking baby steps until I regained my balance… it was quite a tough time. Such simple things turned into quite challenging tasks. I also got quite depressed. At one point I didn’t know if I’d be able to wrestle again. So it was quite a horrible time in my life, but I’ve risen from it and had absolutely no problems since.

I’m just taking wrestling as it comes! I’m always trying to learn and get better. Plus, (I don’t think enough people do this) but I ask for feedback and advice! I think no matter how many years of experience you have, someone backstage will have an even better way of doing something or idea that you hadn’t even thought of. I’ve been fortunate to wrestle some of the top promotions in the UK and Ireland and I’m truly grateful to all the trainers and opponents that have helped me along the way

Q: This Summer WWE is planning on doing a 32 women tournament similar to the Cruiserweight Classic. 32 new women is a lot to cover and with you being one of the U.K.’s top performers I don’t think people would be surprised to see your name pop up as one of the competitors in the tournament. If WWE contacts you asking you to be in the tournament would you say yes and if WWE were to want to sign you after the tournament would you be willing to sign with WWE or would you do what some people do and decline until you make an even bigger name for yourself and come to WWE later down the line.

A: It’s a tough call! At the end of the day, I don’t think I could make a decision unless the offer was there. No one is guaranteed anything in the business, so I think I’d probably go for it. You can make your own future and destiny. Just put the work in.

I’d just like to say a massive thank you to William Ospreay. Even outside of our relationship he’s put so much time and effort into making me the wrestler that I am today. It really shows how passionate he is about this business and how willing he is to help upcoming talent. I will be forever grateful.

Once again a massive shout out to Bea Priestley for letting me interview her. You can find her on Twitter @BeaPriestley and on Instagram @BeaPriestleyPW. You can also like her Facebook page at Facebook.com/BeaPriestleyPW. You can also purchase your T-Shirts and signed 8x10s at WillOspreay.bigcartel.com

Do you agree with my list? (See what I did there?) Who would you like to see in the WWE Women’s Tournament? Who do you want to see win it all? Who would you like to see WWE sign after the tournament? Tweet me on Twitter @UberTieGuy and tell me what you think and what predictions you have for the upcoming Mae Young Classic.

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