For all the good All Elite Wrestling is doing, their Achille’s heel seems to be the women’s division.
I don’t believe it’s been a complete abject failure, but I do think more could be done to shine a light on the amazing talent that has come on board to AEW. You can see Brandi Rhodes has selected an eclectic, vibrant, fresh group of women to represent their division, but they don’t get showcased in the way I would like as a women’s wrestling fan. Therefore, I wanted to write an article highlighting some of the great talents on board with WWE’s main competition and provide ideas on how they can be used in a way that is not just having their hair cut off by Brandi and Awesome Kong.
I’ll start off with a friend of TWM and all-round badass, Big Swole. All you need to do is listen to our interview with her to know that she has come up through the eyes of women’s wrestling fans with her personality and talent in the ring. She also has an incredible story which I’m surprised is not being utilised more on AEW Dynamite- her battle with Crohn’s disease and her near-death experience earlier on this year surely makes her the type of wrestler you want to get behind and succeed. Swole has been in an array of tag team matches on AEW Dark and recently had a banger of a match against Hikaru Shida (which resulted in her signing!), so why not bring her up to Dynamite and give the current women’s champion, Riho, a run for her money.
Next up is someone who most believe is a shock signing in Sadie Gibbs. Fairly fresh to the wrestling scene, Sadie has shown her chops through the London scene and had a stint in Japan before her grandfather passed away. I’m not going to tell you she is god’s gift to women’s wrestling and instantly ready for a big push on the women’s scene in AEW, but was Trish Stratus that when she was called up to WWE? Was Gail Kim the megaforce in women’s wrestling before her run in TNA?
No, and this is where I think AEW could take advantage. Sadie is basically a homegrown talent- someone new who has never had a rub in the American wrestling scene until her signing, so having her wrestle and improve on Dark could build momentum for a push when she is ready for it. Fans of AEW will be behind Gibbs because of her growth within AEW and surely a Women’s Championship reign in the next two years if possible. I slyly hope it’s against the next person in my article…
Controversy surrounds her, but you can’t help but admit Bea Priestley is the heel AEW’s women’s division needs. She is genuinely disliked by the fans on an Eva Marie/Vickie Guerrero level and is instantly booed the moment she comes out to the ring. Bea is also slated a LOT online. This is different from the confused mutterings Kong/Brandi get and the near silence for Nyla Rose and I think AEW needs to take advantage of this. Imagine the heat Bea Priestley would get if she defeated Riho for the Women’s Championship- MJF’s turn on Cody would sound tame in comparison! If AEW wants to create a heel character that is as despised as Jimmy Havoc’s 609 Days of Terror character in Progress, give Bea the title and make the fans go ballistic with euphoria when Bea is defeated.
There is an alternative though- someone who has proved to be a strong heel in AEW is Jamie Hayter. Two years ago, she was relatively low key in the women’s wrestling scene, but as a result of her stints in Japan, Hayter has become a very strong character who has fused the personalities of Jimmy Havoc, Paul Robinson and 2004 Trish Stratus. Like Sadie, this is a shock, but it’s a pleasant one as fans have taken to her in-ring abilities and ringside death stares. Chris Jericho recently said he would happily recruit Jamie into the Inner Circle, so let’s see that happen. Much like WWE, AEW has a problem with not integrating male and female talent- they act on two different, parallel planes. Having Hayter as the female face of the Inner Circle would make the group complete and would give great grounds for Jamie to become women’s champion.
I’m going to spend my last pick pining for someone who was part of All Elite Wrestling in the early days. Someone who brought so much joy to my heart at 2am when I watched Double or Nothing, Fight for the Fallen and Fyter Fest. Cody, if you are reading this, where in the world is Yuka Sakazaki?!
Honestly, she is more loveable than Riho and a genuine joy to watch. Since Smiley Kylie Rae departed, Sakazaki was my only hope for some bubbly joy in the women’s division, but she seems to have disappeared like a cloud on a summer’s day (god I miss the warm weather!). The Joshi 6 women’s tag is my favourite women’s match from this year, and Yuka was a big reason for that. Therefore, please bring her back. She would make for a great adversary and/or ally for Riho and their matches would be like two sparkly, happy unicorns and who doesn’t love a unicorn, right?
There are my five choices in women that I think All Elite Wrestling should take more advantage of. Yes, the whole locker room needs to be used more, but these 5 women have already shown great promise and are under-appreciated in what they’ve already done with the company.
I’m hoping there is more to the Brandi/Kong storyline than just cutting women’s hair off, because 3 mins out of 120 dedicated to the women’s division on Dynamite this is actually worse than WWE’s percentage (5% of WWE TV time is dedicated to the women, whereas 2.5% of Dynamite’s time was used for the Allie segment), and that is not a statistic to be proud of. You have the talent- use them.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @ShirleighShirlz. Thanks for reading!