Kacy Catanzaro has been on the front of wrestling news pages quite a lot this week.
The 29-year-old’s career was in doubt as recently as a few days ago when it was rumoured that she had sustained a career threatening injury and had asked for, and had been granted her release. But thankfully for the New Jersey-native, that seems to have been blown out of all proportion and she is, in fact, staying with the WWE for the foreseeable future. And I for one am thrilled with this news, for the simple reason that I truly believe that the first woman to ever complete the final course on American Ninja Warrior is the future of, not just NXT’s women’s division, but WWE’s entire women’s division.
I’ll admit that when Kacy, a former junior Olympic gymnast, first joined NXT I didn’t pay too much attention to her. I figured she was just another athletic figure signed for the publicity, like so many before her. I really didn’t think she would be there very long – again, like so many before her.
But I was wrong.
Kacy made her official television debut just nine months after first stepping into a ring, against Reina Gonzalez in the second episode of the second Mae Young Classic, and beat the much bigger female wrestler in impressive, yet dogged style. She did, however, lose to Rhea Ripley in the next round, but she, once again, showed impressive in-ring ability and started to turn heads. Her athletic ability wasn’t just used to show that she can perform a moonsault or suicide dive over the top rope. Her skills were used in a different, eye-catching way.
Firstly, the monkey climb up the ring post, as evident in her entrance and Royal Rumble-saving moment, is epic. It’s different, it’s new and it’s something we’ve not seen before. And secondly, she also appears to be learning some fantastic submission moves that also use her abilities in a creative way – a little bit like Tajiri.
Her much publicised relationship with Ricochet has not been used as a storyline, or to shove it in everyone’s faces (Seth Rollins/Becky Lynch anyone?). It’s been used in low-key, but interesting ways, such as on WWE’s Performance Centre YouTube page. For those who haven’t seen them, I urge you to check out the videos of Kacy watching Ricochet shine during his PPV matches. They are emotional and engrossing, and you can tell that the pair truly do love each other and the wrestling business.
Now, why does this make her the future of the women’s division, I hear you ask?
Well, she’s different. She’s not a re-hash of female wrestlers from 10-15 years ago. She’s not a second or third-generation talent relying on their name to get over. And she isn’t one of the same four or five women we’re forced to see on rotation every week. Kacy Catanzaro is unique.
She can make the not-so-strong talent look like they could destroy you, and has the ability to make you believe in her: that she can, and will, overcome any challenge. Put her in the ring with Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch and I really do believe that she can pull off epic battles of the kind we haven’t seen before.
Some call her the female Rey Mysterio, and I can see the comparisons, but I don’t think it would be fair to compare her to anyone – male or female. She’s different and a real one-of-a-kind talent. If used correctly, and if she adds a little bit more aggression to her game, it’s possible that she could be the one to beat Shayna Baszler for the NXT women’s championship.
No, I haven’t gone mad – or been drinking #ALittleBitOfTheBubbly – I really do believe that Kacy Catanzaro is the future of WWE and NXT’s women’s division. So let’s get behind NXT’s human spider monkey, and hope that the rumours of her exit from the company are greatly exaggerated because she could be WWE’s next great hope for the women’s revolution.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @ACailler. Thanks for reading!