WWE officially announces worldwide Women’s Tournament

We’ve waited with anticipation ever since Triple H first revealed plans for a Women’s Tournament to FOX Sports more than three months ago — and on Saturday, WWE made the news official.

Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Raw Women’s Champion Bayley, SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and NXT Women’s Champion Asuka were on hand to make the announcement.

Via WWE.com:

For the first time in WWE history, 32 of the top female competitors from around the world will participate in a tournament this summer on WWE Network.

The long-rumored tournament was confirmed today as part of “WWE Reimagined,” a presentation held at a business partner summit in Orlando, Fla., during WrestleMania Week.

Competitors from 17 countries are expected to participate in the tournament, underscoring the breadth and international diversity of women’s wrestling.

The Women’s Tournament follows in the wake of WWE’s successful Cruiserweight Classic, which spawned the reborn Cruiserweight Division and 205 Live, the United Kingdom Championship Tournament, and the annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

When Triple H sat down with the FOX Sports Wrestling Compadres back in January, he explained that the Women’s Tournament has been a passion of his for quite a while:

TRIPLE H: So, that’s another one of my big, big kind of passions, is to go do that, a women’s tournament. And we’re down the road a bit of — the harder thing now, in a changing landscape, I feel like sometimes in WWE, like, you know, Tuesday, I’m like, “Okay, so this is where we’re going, right? No changing it? Yes!” On Wednesday morning, you have to call, it’s like, “We’re not doing that anymore.”

So you look at the landscape and how much it’s changed in the last year. NXT Takeovers now are attached to our “Big Four” pay-per-views. Raw and SmackDown have split brands and have pay-per-views of their own, but there’s more pay-per-views. When you look at the big calendar of where do you stick an event, that’s changed. And you have to look for the space where you go like, “Do it here! … no, that’s not good, you have a holiday.” Right?

So it’s really just been a process with the women of us finding the right time and space. This one worked out great with the little gap before Rumble here, to fit this tournament in and doing it in a shorter time frame, doing it live.

The women, we’re probably going to do this summer, is what I’m hoping, and a lot of women performers just [reacted] when I said that, but that’s the plan anyway. And you know, again, much like cruisers, it’s to go scour the globe and maybe find the girls that are out there doing this that no one’s heard of, that no one has seen, that are like these diamonds waiting, and bring them up.

And let’s see what they can do, and entertain people with the tournament, and let them be exposed to this new talent. And at the same time, just massively increase the opportunity and the talent pool for us, and for everyone, really.

WWE is in Orlando this weekend for WrestleMania 33, which starts with the Kickoff Show live on the WWE Network at 5:00 p.m ET/2:00 p.m PT on Sunday.

Before you settle in for Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg, The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns and the rest of the ‘Mania card, though, check out NXT TakeOver, as Asuka puts her undefeated streak (and title) on the line and Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode vie for the NXT Championship.