Fans, especially Big E, were thrilled when Kaitlyn was announced for the second annual Mae Young Classic.
Speaking to KC Joyner of ESPN, Kaitlyn discussed her first run, which began on NXT.
"NXT was still a reality-based elimination show, and I debuted on live TV. I basically wrestled my first matches ever on TV. I was pulled up as a last-minute replacement on that season, and I had about three days to prep for my debut. I didn't even own wrestling boots," she said. "They gave me some money. I had just gotten signed by WWE, and they said, "Go buy diva stuff," and I, of course, didn't know what that meant, and they didn't let me wear any of the stuff that I bought [laughs]!" Kaitlyn continued, "So I debuted, and I kind of had this attitude of 'This is what I signed up for and I have this amazing opportunity -- what have I got to lose?' I was put in so many situations that were so terrifying that I felt that they were very defining. I won that season of NXT, and I earned a spot on the main roster. I fought really hard for a few years to earn the respect of my peers and [show] everyone in the WWE Universe that I was capable and that I belonged on the main roster."
The NXT Season 3 winner and former Divas Champion left the company in 2014 to focus on her personal life. She returned to the ring in 2018, wrestling Rachel Ellering in February at Coastal Championship Wrestling. She worked a few more Independent matches before it was announced she would be returning to WWE for the Mae Young Classic.
"When I left, I didn't have anything to do with wrestling for four years. Within the past year, I found that passion again, and I've gotten back in the ring, and it's definitely something that I was missing -- a void in my life for the past few years. It's incredible to come back and see where the women's division is now. When I left in January of 2014, I had a great run, and the women's evolution was kind of kicking off, but there's been so much amazing stuff, so many amazing moments that have happened and have been very defining for the women's division," she said. "I think even not calling us Divas anymore is huge. It's so nice to come back and see all these different types of women, different shapes, sizes, different cultures, with different arsenals of moves, and being celebrated. I'm so, so proud and very honored to be a part of the Mae Young Classic."
Kaitlyn was victorious in her first round bout against Kavita Devi. Unfortunately, she lost to Mia Yim in the second round of the tournament. Fightful provides live coverage of the Mae Young Classic every Wednesday night. Sign up to Fightful Select to listen to the post-show podcast with Warren Hayes.