Joining the returning Rhea Ripley, and former Divas Champion Kaitlyn In the 2018 tournament are three more names just announced. |
The first was the first woman to qualify for American Ninja Warrior’s finals, the five foot, 28-year-old Kacy Cantanzaro. She has been signed to NXT since August 2017 making her live event debut on19th April 2018 losing to Reina González.
Japanese star Io Shirai who was revealed to have signed during a WWE Tokyo live event has also been added to the tournament. Her signing increased the Japanese contingent in WWE to the highest number in recent memory and she joins a roster containing former adversaries Kairi Sane and Asuka. One advantage Shirai has over the other two is she arrives with an English language background, as her mother is an English teacher. This will make it easier for her to connect with fans on her arrival.
Canadian Nicole Matthews, has wrestled all over the world in a twelve year plus Indy career and British audiences might remember her from appearances at Pro Wrestling: EVE last year. This makes the 31-year-old the most experienced woman of the few announced for the tournament thus far.
Though, unusually, often this may not play into the possible outcomes, and in some cases might even be detrimental to a competitor’s chances of a longer-term contract, as it does suggest the WWE has had years to have made a move if they were interested. The Vancouver native was previously given a run out on NXT in 2016 and will be wanting to make an impact in the tournament, some two years later.
The last name announced is London born, Brit, Jinny, the first female graduate of the Projo, The Progress Wrestling School. She first appeared in Progress under the name Jinny Couture in November 2014 before debuting in January 2015. was one of the first female wrestlers to appear on a Progress “Chapter” show in May 2015 and has got on to appear all over the UK and in Europe before appearing at WWE Wrestlemania Axxess 31st March 2017 where she lost to Toni Storm, who impressed in the 2017 Mae Yong Classic, on days 2 & 3 of Axxess.
In June 2018 WWE announced they had signed Jinny to a contract, making an impressive rapid descent having wrestled for such a short space of time. It will be interesting to see if WWE allows her to keep her Fashionista character which Jinny’s commit to had really helped her to stand out in her rise to prominence in British Wrestling, or whether they will want to repackage her and possibly even focus more on her heritage.