AEW: Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida – A Year In The Making

It looks like a Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida showdown is happening soon.

After valiantly working her way up the rankings, Baker finally gets her shot at AEW Women’s World Champion, Shida. Most likely, that match is going to take place later this month at Double or Nothing.

The stakes could not be higher for both women. Shida looks to continue her reign as champion and further build upon her legacy. On the other hand, Baker can capture the title that has eluded her for far too long. A win can cement her status as the true face of the AEW women’s division.

But this match between Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida is the culmination of over a year’s worth of buildup. To see where it all started, let’s go back to April 8, 2020.

The pandemic era of wrestling had begun. Unable to hold shows in Florida, AEW began taping Dynamite at the Nightmare Factory in Norcross, Georgia. During this particular episode, Baker and Shida competed in one-on-one action.

At this point in time, both women were at different points in their respective AEW careers. Shida was picking up considerable momentum, racking up win after win and establishing herself as a legitimate contender. It looked like sooner rather than later, she was going to challenge then-AEW Women’s World Champion, Nyla Rose.

Then there was Baker, who was just starting to find her footing as the Role Model. With her babyface persona wearing thin with fans, she decided to focus on herself and no one else. It became clear early on that she was going to thrive as a heel, and it all began on this night.

Even though Shida walked away with the win, Baker had the wrestling world’s attention. During the match, she caught an errant enziguri to the face, resulting in a broken nose and a lot of blood. This moment took Baker to a whole other level and kicked off quite an impressive year for her.

However, Shida’s win ensured her spot as next in line for a title shot. The joshi sensation got her opportunity the following month at Double or Nothing. In a wild no-DQ and no count out match, she dethroned Rose to capture the AEW Women’s World Championship.

While Shida celebrated her win, Baker looked to climb back into title contention. Unfortunately for the Good Doctor, she was hit with a little bit of bad luck. During a tag match against Shida and Kris Statlander, she suffered a leg injury that caused her to miss several months.

For most wrestlers, this would have stopped their momentum dead in its tracks. But for Baker, she took a negative and turned it into a positive. She continued to appear on Dynamite while recovering. Just look at her feud with Big Swole during the summer; it was one of the most entertaining storylines and the two never even wrestled until September. I mean who could forget Swole kidnapping her and throwing her in a dumpster?

Needless to say, Baker (along with Reba Rebel) put on a master class in staying relevant through adversity. Instead of sitting at home and waiting to heal, she put the work in, and it paid off big time.

She went on to have a very memorable feud with Thunder Rosa that started in November. After being at each other’s throats for months, the two could not settle their differences in a normal match. So, on March 17, 2021, they competed in an unsanctioned lights out match. They made history that night as well, becoming the first two women to main event an episode of Dynamite.

Rosa walked away with the win, but once again it was Baker who people were talking about. Much like her match with Shida, everyone’s favorite dentist found herself busted open this time around as well. She took some serious bumps, including a ladder to the face and getting slammed onto thumb tacks. At the end of the day, she proved that she deserved to be at the main event level.

As Baker was taking AEW by storm, Shida was in the midst of her AEW Women’s World Championship reign. She took on all comers, including Penelope Ford, Rosa, Abadon, Ryo Mizunami, and, most recently, Tay Conti. She also helped produce the Japanese side of the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament, which fans and critics alike praised.

Now, Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida’s paths cross yet again. But both women are completely different than when they met over a year ago. Shida has had an incredible reign as champion, both in and out of the ring. Baker has evolved into one of AEW’s biggest stars, ready to take her place atop the women’s division.

Whenever these two collide, it will certainly not disappoint. Will Hikaru Shida reign supreme once again, or will Britt Baker finally have her moment?

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