After more than four years away, former WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn will make her in-ring return this summer when she competes in the 2018 and second edition of the Mae Young Classic tournament. Kaitlyn is the first official participant to be revealed for this year’s 32-woman tournament.
Celeste Bonin, 31, started her rise to fame after winning the third season of NXT in 2010. Her feuds with AJ Lee were epic. On the 20th anniversary episode of RAWon January 14, 2013, Kaitlyn defeated Eve in her hometown of Houston, Texas, to win the Divas Championship. A year later, Bonin and WWE decided to terminate her contract and Bonin came back to the fitness industry.
Ever since she has launched a clothing line and a YouTube channel. But earlier this year she made a surprise comeback at Coastal Championship Wrestling, an indie promotion. She was, in fact, starting to prepare her return as she was training and getting in shape to come back where she belongs.
Kaitlyn told ESPN: “The thing that got me through [as a rookie in WWE] and the thing that allowed me to achieve my level of success was my attitude, and looking back now, I am coming back with experience. I am certainly nervous because the level of competition is so much higher and there are so many different women from around the world and they bring skill levels. But it’s just so exciting. And because I don’t have this rookie vibe about me, now I can really concentrate on surprising the WWE universe with all the things I have learned.“
During her time away from WWE, women’s wrestling has changed and Kaitlyn is decided to celebrate those changes her own way. As a former bodybuilder and powerlifter, she was a strong and explosive opponent. Kaitlyn held the title for 153 days before losing it to one of her greatest rivals, AJ Lee.
More names will be announced in the coming days and weeks. The Mae Young Classic 2018 Tournament tapings are taking place on August 8 and 9 at Full Sail Live in Orlando, Florida. The shows were sold out a few hours after the announcement of the tapings.