Kairi Sane defeated Shayna Baszler in the finals of the WWE’s inaugural Mae Young Classic on Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Sane, 28, a rising Japanese star and a top free-agent recruit who signed with WWE earlier this year, hit her signature flying elbow drop on Baszler to secure a pinfall victory after a physically intense match. The win capped off a tournament run that saw her survive a field of 32 women on the way to the Mae Young Classic trophy.
As the inaugural Mae Young Classic winner, Sane has also gained the right to challenge for the currently vacant NXT women’s championship.
“[I’m] very excited that she’s the first champion, and now the question is ‘What’s next for her?’ I can tell you what’s next for her,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque said in an interview with ESPN.com. “On Nov. 18 at the Toyota Center at the next NXT TakeOver, Kairi will be fighting to determine a new NXT women’s champion.”
Sane’s win was considered a major upset last night, given that there have been a number of hints that a Four Horsewomen vs. Four Horsewomen match could be happening in the future.
According to Sportskeeda, WWE officials originally planned for Baszler to win the Mae Young Classic. However, the winner was changed at the last minute by Vince McMahon because Sane is under contract to WWE, while Baszler is not.
McMahon wasn’t present for the original tease of a match between Rousey and WWE’s former NXT trio of Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Bayley, which took place in July at the Mae Young Classic tapings. With McMahon overseeing things Tuesday night, he scrapped any more hints of a match that there weren’t any concrete plans for. It was also noted that WWE isn’t in negotiations with Rousey.
These decisions are consistent with McMahon’s philosophy of not promoting something he can’t deliver.