Shut Up, Kenny, the AEW Women Are Ready Submitted by Damn Fine Wrestling on 01/20/2021 at 11:40 AM
By J.B. Mandrake (Damn Fine Wrestling!)
Welcome to the only wrestling column that lives inside a dream match. Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/JBMandrake. Wrestling memes and snarkiness galore!
During a recent interview with T.V. Insider AEW Champion Kenny Omega stated that the women's division "is taking baby steps"
"I think we are taking baby steps. We have hungry performers who are passionate about getting a chance to do their best. Passion speaks to me more than the performance of a maneuver, and right now, our women are really chomping at the bit to get these TV spots."
Now if you watch the most recent edition of Japanese women's wrestling promotion Stardom (Omega's favorite) via YouTube you'll see some quality matches featuring the likes of AZM, Tam Nakano, Mina Shirakawa and Maika. However, there's a chance that some who are reading this have absolutely no idea who these fine athletes are. Translating the intensity and workrate of Joshi wrestling into American women's wrestling is something I would assume Kenny Omega would want out of his women's roster. But just because that specific level of Joshi-like intensity may not feasible at the moment, it doesn't mean we must continue to take "baby steps" after over a year of the AEW product.
So if I "book" the AEW women right now, will it sound better than the slow drag the division currently has been? Let's put this to the test...
It's a booking move that has stood the test of time, and is much needed right now in AEW: An 16-woman tournament to determine a #1 contender to Hikaru Shida's championship with new and interwoven storylines that will produce the person that will eventually dethrone Shida. This tournament should be marketed with the same importance as a G1 Climax.
There is simply no excuse anymore, as the talent IS there, especially if you watched Tay Conti vs. Serena Deeb last week. You split the first round between Dynamite and Dark and then focus on the remaining 8 athletes that can make the women's division look polished. Then you no longer need baby steps and can just let this division shine. You can realistically make a captivating tournament out of this, all while weaving the ongoing Rosa/Baker and Cargill/Velvet narratives.
WARNING: Armchair Fantasty Booking Ahead...
So How I would do this is to give exposure to a largely unknown division, even in the first round. I would keep Serena Deeb out of the tournament for a featured match with Shida as they are already both champions and you can market champion vs. champion pretty easily.
Since we're exchanging talent from Impact Wrestling, let's get Jordynne Grace on Dynamite for a few episodes. Everyone on the right above loses their match -- most notably Thunder Rosa due to shenanigans via Britt Baker.
Second Round Matchups:
-Jordynne Grace vs. Nyla Rose
-Big Swole vs. Britt Baker
-Shanna vs. Abadon
-Tay Conti vs. Anna Jay
Grace and Rose is a dream match, with Grace going over. Swole and Baker continue their rivalry, with Swole going over -- possibly due to interference from Thunder Rosa. Shanna upsets Abadon to make her look strong, and Anna Jay goes over Tay in an emotional quarterfinal match.
-Jordynne Grace vs. Shanna
-Big Swole vs. Anna Jay
Shanna continues to look good and go over with an upset with over a dominating Jordynne Grace. Swole defeats Anna Jay in a close contest.
Shanna defeats Big Swole to become #1 contender.
-Alternative Route: Move Britt Baker into this spot instead and save the Rosa/Baker feud for when Baker defeats Shida for the AEW Womens Championship. -Second Alt-Route: Deonna Purazzo makes a surprise entry into the Deeb/Shida match, making it a 3-way dance for the AEW Championship. Purazzo defeats Shida.
Post-Tournament Baker takes on Purazzo for both AEW Women's Championships and Impact Knockouts Championships. Baker goes over as a double-champion and levels up into super uber-heel status.
So why does any of the above matter? I'm just some dude fantasy booking the AEW Women's Division -- but the POINT is that if what you just read is more exciting than the current division, then it's proof that the AEW women's division is nowhere near its full potential.
There are world-class athletes in this division that just need the spotlight. This isn't even counting Kris Statlander, who will hopefully be back by the spring due to injury.
The bottom line is that Kenny Omega needs to take a step back and really let these women shine. There is simply no excuse for "baby steps" anymore. Let's get more women on Dynamite and for more than just one 10-minute segment per week.