Japan's Kairi Sane wins WWE Mae Young Classic 2017, defeats Shayna Baszler
Kairi Sane (L) and Shayna BaszlerWWE
Kairi Sane etched her name in sports-entertainment's history books as she overcame Shayna Baszler in Las Vegas to win the first-ever WWE Mae Young Classic tournament.
"The Pirate Princess" faced an enormous size disadvantage against the much larger and more powerful Baszler. But that didn't stop Sane from coming up big in the face of Baszler's brutality, dropping an Insane Elbow to the heart of "The Queen of Spades" to claim the Classic's stunning (and symbolic) glass trophy.
From the opening bell, the WWE Universe in Vegas was buzzing in anticipation of this historic Sin City showdown.
Both competitors were cautious in their approach early on, but Baszler delivered the first blow with a kick to Sane's head that sent her tumbling from the ring. The MMA standout proceeded to pick apart her opponent with a calculating and ruthless offensive attack.
Baszler's size and strength advantage was apparent from the beginning as Sane couldn't gain any momentum against the former UFC fighter. But the Japanese wrestler's immense heart eventually started to show in the form of vicious chops to her larger foe.
Sane nailed her first big blow via the Interceptor, a running spear off the ropes that took her foe down to the mat. Sane started to show signs of momentum as she valiantly fought her way back. The high-flyer went for a potential difference maker from the top rope, but Baszler intercepted the maneuver into a rear naked choke. Sane fought her way back again, striking her way out of the vicious submission hold.
The turning point in the contest came with both competitors perched atop the top rope. Sane gained the advantage, knocking Baszler down and hitting a double foot stomp on her opponent's seemingly injured ribs. Sane then charged at her foe, delivering an emphatic running elbow in the corner to Baszler's midsection.
Sane then climbed the top rope one final time, flying through the air with grace and purpose, dropping her Insane Elbow onto the chest of Baszler. The Japanese star pinned her opponent's shoulders to the mat as the referee counted to three, crowning Sane the winner of WWE's historic 32-woman tournament.
After the fierce bout, Baszler and Sane shared an emotional embrace in a tremendous show of respect. The 5' 1" Sane triumphantly stood tall in the middle of the ring in what will go down as a historic night for women's pro wrestling.