On April 1st, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, flanked by the female champions from RAW (Bayley), Smackdown! (Alexa Bliss) and NXT (Asuka) announced there would be a WWE Women’s Tournament coming this Summer. There will be 32 women involved from 17 countries. With the new additions of independent standouts such as Heidi Lovelace and Kimber Lee, plus Andrea as well as other rumored international names, not to mention the women they have had under contract for awhile, this would be a great opportunity to showcase the potential of NXT’s current group of women.
However, since this is going to go along the lines of the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, then there is the potential to see outside names come in for either a one time only deal or possibly being offered a deal in the future. With this in mind, I wanted to offer a list of ten woman I would love to see on the WWE Network in this upcoming event. These names are not in any particular order as I would have a hard time naming a number one, and they are listed with the countries they would be representing. With that said, here we go!
* LuFisto (Canada). Anyone who knows me, knows my fandom for the Wounded Owl Ronin. A veteran of twenty years as of June 2017, she has done virtually everything – won several male titles, participated in some of the most brutal death matches, held two major women’s championships (Women Superstars Uncensored Championship and SHINE Wrestling Championship respectively) and traveled the globe. If LuFisto is on the card, you know you are in for a potential match of the night regardless of her opponent. Originally a Canadian resident, she now lives in the United States so having her closer would save NXT the cost of having to fly her from another country. The wealth of knowledge and experience she could bring to the tournament, not to mention her range of styles, would be a welcome sight to WWE television, and I daresay her uniqueness would make her a standout among a crop of talented and diverse individuals.
* Veda Scott (America). Veda has five years of experience under her belt, and given that she is a Ring of Honor trainee this, along with her time on ROH television, gives her an advantage – she knows how to wrestle for television and how to play to the cameras. Her facial expressions are always on point, she plays the devious heel to a T and would be a brilliant foil to whomever she would face off against. She’s also fearless in the ring, never afraid to take a chance. Several of her bouts in Absolute Intense Wrestling have proven this. Veda Scott was made to be on television. Her promo skills alone would put the crowd in the palm of her hand. Given the chance, she would have the Full Sail fans begging to see someone take her down.
* Su Yung (America). Over the years, as Su Yung has transformed herself into one of the most creepy, charismatic characters in North America, you could be forgiven for forgetting she used to be in FCW (the pre-cursor to NXT) as “Sonia”. That was back in 2010. By August 2011 she was released and she could have gone on to something else. But not Su. She began to travel extensively, learn as much as she could and get her name out there. However, it was in SHINE Wrestling about two years ago after a fateful encounter with Saraya Knight that the “Undead Bride” emerged. Her elaborate make up is reminiscent of what is used in Japanese “Kabuki” theater, her eerie demeanor is straight out of a Japanese horror film such as “Ringu” or “Ju-On”, her viciousness akin to a Bengal Tiger. I don’t believe that WWE has ever had any female take on a role like Su in her current incarnation. It would make for thrilling television to see her don the bridal veil and crawl into an NXT ring. It’s only if she crawls out of your television that there may be a problem…
* Samantha Heights (America). What she lacks in years of experience, Sam Heights makes up for in charisma and a mouth that will not quit. She throws off her opponents, and the crowd, with her non-stop trash talking. An Ohio native, she was trained at the Rockstar Pro school and started to make her way out of the state in 2014, debuting in Indiana and Illinois. 2015 saw her become a part of Vicious Outcast Wrestling in Pennsylvania and Girl Fight Wrestling in the Midwest; however, it was 2016 where Heights started to really branch out, becoming part of Women Superstars Uncensored as part of Chrissy Riveria’s stable, Absolute Intense Wrestling’s “Girls Night Out” brand, Queens of Combat down in North Carolina and SHIMMER Women Athletes where she was a standout in their Fall tapings. I remember seeing her in 2014 in Indiana and thinking she had potential but she needed to branch out more and upgrade her gear. After seeing her last year a few of the Girl Fight shows, she stood out and her match with Su Yung in Olney, Illinois under that banner was one of my favorite matches of 2016. Her progress has been good, and the sliding kick she has on the apron is sickeningly great. I have no doubt that if given the chance to talk Sam could get the NXT crowd to react, making them eager to either get behind her or see her get a beat down.
* Kay Lee Ray (Scotland). If WWE wants to find a high flyer, they should look to the place that was the home of current NXT Superstar, Nikki Cross to find someone Nikki has frequently crossed paths with in the past. Kay Lee Ray, the Scottish Daredevil, seems to be more at home in the air and taking risks than on the ground. She never hesitates to do whatever she deems necessary to both thrill the crowd and put her opponent down. Caution is frequently thrown to the wind when she’s around. Plus, she is not an unfamiliar face as she was brought in as enhancement talent against Nia Jax in 2016. Bringing her in to compete against someone such as Ember Moon (who is also at home in the air) or long-time rival Nikki Cross would make for an instant classic in Full Sail.
* Hiroyo Matsumoto (Japan). With the success that both Asuka (formerly Kana) and Shinsuke Nakamura have been enjoying, and the recent debut of Akira Tozawa in the Cruiserweight Division, Japanese wrestlers seem to no longer be the victim of stereotypical depiction as had been the case in WWE’s past. With this in mind, the “Lady Destroyer” Hiroyo Matsumoto would be a stand out in any tournament WWE put on for the women. Back in August of 2014 she had a tryout with WWE but a knee injury shortly there-after nixed her chances. However, this means she was on their radar at some point and let’s face it – a woman who maintains her smile and happy-go-lucky demeanor while suplexing her opponents would be something different. ..You know, to separate her from the “off-kilter/mentally unstable” people in WWE that frequently enjoy causing their opponents pain. If there’s one word to describe Hiroyo, it’s “Happy.” She lives it, whether she’s eating, traveling or tossing people over her head. Her infectious smile would fit in nicely at Full Sail.
Kiera Hogan (America). The “Girl on Fire” has been making a name for herself in the past year, breaking out of her home state of Georgia to travel up the East Coast. In the past six months alone she has debuted for Women Superstars Uncensored, Queens of Combat, ECWA, SHIMMER Women’s Wrestling and SHINE Wrestling. Not bad for a woman who debuted in 2015, and has been a cornerstone of Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment’s burgeoning women’s division. Her gorgeous looks and sweet smile combine with her passion and determination to succeed; despite not being in the business for very long, her profile would soar with an appearance in an NXT Women’s Tournament where she could gain valuable experience and put herself even more firmly on the map.
* Marti Belle (Dominican Republic). With Belle’s departure from Impact Wrestling, this would be a perfect opportunity for WWE to recruit her for the tournament. Marti’s personality is as big as her hair, she has the gift of gab and the attitude to put everyone on notice. People tend to underestimate her due to her petiteness, but to quote Shakespeare, she is short yet fierce. Anyone who has seen her on SHIMMER Women Athletes can attest to her being more than a match against anyone she faces – she’s not above resorting to a blast of hairspray to the face to get the win either. Her ferocity makes her one to watch out for wherever she goes. Give her the mic and witness Marti put everyone on blast.
* Hudson Envy (America). A trainee of LuFisto, Envy proudly proclaims herself the “Daughter of the Wounded Owl Ronin”. Debuting in 2012, it wasn’t until mid-2014 that she broke out of Cali, making her way first to the Midwest to take part in IWA Mid South’s “Queen of the Deathmatches” in June; after that she returned to the Midwest in August, then debuted in Mexico for Lucha Libre Femenil in September. 2015 started off in a big way as Envy popped up in Japan for STARDOM, joining up with Oedo Tai alongside fellow gaijin Heidi Lovelace. There she stayed for the first four months of the year, going back to Japan for a stay that lasted from July to the start of October. However, after a STARDOM tour of California in mid-October 2015, Envy took a long break from wrestling, dealing with first an injury; then, in May 2016, beginning a fight against first stage cervical cancer. Fortunately, she was able to return to wrestling in August of 2016. In November, she debuted for SHIMMER Women Athletes and teamed up with a returning Christina Von Eerie to cause chaos in Berwyn. Her distinctive look makes an instant impression, and combined with her hard hitting offense and ferocity, she’s an heir to Luna Vachon if there ever was one. Hudson could take NXT by storm if given the opportunity.
* Karen Q (China). Although Karen has only been wrestling since 2014, the fact that Mia Yim vouched for her as being a “hidden gem” speaks volumes. Based out of New York, she has begun breaking out of the state to compete in other New England and East Coast states, establishing herself most prominently in East Coast Wrestling Association where she has feuded with their women’s champion, Deonna Purrazzo. She has come up short in her challenges for the title there, but in 2016 she made it to the finals of the ECWA Super 8 Chickfight Tournament, only to fall to Deonna once more. Still, an impressive showing for the rookie. In July 2016 she took part in Beyond Wrestling’s first all-female show “Revolutionary” and has continued to pop up in Beyond, facing off against Veda Scott as part of a tag team match then a singles bout. In March of 2017 she made her Absolute Intense Wrestling debut as part of their “Girls Night Out 19” show, taking on another woman looking to make an impact, Kiera Hogan. By all accounts, everyone who witnessed the match was impressed with both women. Karen’s background as a Chinese American woman makes her a unique competitor and she seems to be on quite a few radars. Her lack of experience would make her a long shot to make it far in any women’s tournament in NXT, but the knowledge she would gain by such an opportunity would be invaluable.
When I finished this list, it seemed that one woman who had been with Impact Wrestling was no longer with them. Even though I said this would be my ten picks for the upcoming tournament, I have to include an honorable mention for Mia Yim. This woman is someone I have followed since her second year in wrestling. I’ve seen her graduate from SPARKLE to SHIMMER, make several tours of Japan (each time coming back more skilled and confident), put AIW’s Girls Night Out brand on the map with a blood feud against Allysin Kay, have a historical championship win by beating Ivelisse for the SHINE Championship when WWN made a groundbreaking tour of China during November 2014 as well as being one half of the first SHINE Wrestling Tag Team Champions, teaming with Leva Bates to win the tournament earlier that same year. She joined Impact Wrestling, taking the name of Jade and debuting as a member of the Dollhouse alongside one of her closest friends, Marti Belle, to join Taryn. As a stable they ran roughshod over the Knockouts Division until their break up. Jade would later win the Knockouts Championship in April of 2016 in a threeway between Champion Gail Kim and fellow challenger Madison Rayne. She later lost the title to Sienna but became embroiled in a feud with Rosemary over the belt, leading to a series of brutal, amazing matches. This feud was one of Impact Wrestling’s hottest but with Mia’s seeming departure from the company it remains to be seen if it will be picked up by one of the promotions on the independents where they both work.
Mia Yim also made personal history by speaking out in 2016 about her struggle with domestic violence she went through with a previous boyfriend. This story was picked up by The Huffington Post and Yahoo!, and Mia became a spokesperson for the Safe Horizon organization whose purpose is to help those who are dealing with domestic violence. She began painting her ring fingernail purpose as part of Safe Horizon’s “#PutTheNailInIt” campaign to raise awareness about this vital issue. To their credit, the powers that be at the time in Impact Wrestling also banded together support her, as did her fellow Knockouts. Mia often takes donations at the places she wrestles for Safe Horizon. In this, she has encouraged others to speak out and get help about their own struggles with domestic violence as well as the issues that stem from it such as depression and panic attacks. She has shown bravery and determination to speak out about an issue that has been swept under the rug in professional wrestling. Hopefully this will encourage other women in (and out) of wrestling to seek help as well as discourage promotions from booking the men who are abusers.
Mia Yim would be a fantastic addition to WWE for the tournament and their division overall. She is one of the best wrestlers in the world today, versatile in all areas, and would be an invaluable ambassador in the charity work that WWE loves to tout. She could represent Korea in the tournament. Personally, I hope she is one of the first women WWE contacts.
Those are my top ten (now eleven) women I would love to see given a spot in a future WWE NXT Women’s Tournament. Agree? Disagree? Let me know who you would like to see!