How to Fix the AEW Women’s Division in Five Easy Steps


Last week on AEW’s Battle of the Belts, AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm took on Taya Valkyrie. Due to weather issues (fitting for a match with a competitor named ‘Storm’), the live feed cut out more than half way through, leaving a black screen.

What a perfect metaphor for the state of the AEW Women’s Division, eh?

It’s been over four years, and to this day, it’s the same formula for this division put on repeat: One match per show — maybe one storyline at a time — minimal investment. Pop Quiz: How many current women’s storylines exist right in now AEW?

If you responded with ‘0’, you would be correct. 

This was made worse by the random and directionless squash match on last night’s Blood & Guts episode of Dynamite, where Britt Baker picked up a win over Kayla Sparks in 66 seconds.

This was the only women’s segment on the entire show.

Look, guys, this is not hard. Booking women’s wrestling, even competently, is not difficult. It’s just as easy as booking the men. In fact, here are five easy steps to get there. (But what do I know, right? I’ve only been a women’s wrestling fan for over three decades…)


What History Says

There have been plenty of notable women’s wresting feuds in the sport’s history. From Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong to Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus, successfully booking women’s wrestling is not some steep mountain to climb.

In fact, here is a shortlist of just some of the greatest feuds and stories in women’s wresting history:

-Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong (TNA/Impact)
-Bayley’s Ascension in NXT (NXT)
-MsChif vs. Cheerleader Melissa (SHIMMER)
-Lita vs. Trish (WWE)
-Manami Toyota vs. Toshiyo Yamada (AJWPW)
-Alundra Blayze Vs. Bull Nakano (WWE)
-Giulia vs. Tam Nakano (Stardom)
-Becky Lynch becoming “The Man” (WWE)
-Maki Itoh vs. Miyu Yamashita (TJPW)
-Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair (WWE)
-Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa (AEW)

The list goes on and on; insert your own…

At this point, you might retort: “wOmEN’s wReStLinG iSnT a dRAw!”

Nothing is a draw anymore. Fans are loyal to their brand of choice. If the needle moves at all, it’s only very slightly. TV ratings aren’t nearly as important as they once were, and both USA and WBD are happy with the ratings their wrestling brand is getting them.

We have two top promotions that are both doing well. Comparing the business aspects of WWE and AEW is like trying to compare Starbucks (#1) with Dunkin’ (#2) in the coffee business world. Both are doing well.  (Though if you drink Dunkin’ you’re a monster, but I digress…)

McMahon and Khan can largely put whatever they want on their shows, and in the niche amount of an estimated 4-5 million U.S. fans, they will still mostly tune in. But even with that likelihood, it’s just beginning to become embarrassing to watch women in AEW because of how criminally underutilized they are. It’s not hard to book women’s wrestling in AEW, and it won’t even take up that much more time on shows. So without further adieu, here are five easy steps to get there…


Step 1: Bring the Doctor Back

Love her, hate her; it doesn’t matter. Baker always gets a reaction from the crowd, and remains the centerpiece of this division — yet we rarely see her (sans last night’s random squash).

Imagine if Charlotte Flair or Becky Lynch was healthy and able in WWE and weren’t being booked. It’d be a bit of a head-scratcher. Baker needs to come back on a regular basis as the main focus of the AEW women’s division, and furthermore, come back as a heel.

We can predict that Jamie Hayter will be healthy by All In for her title rematch with Toni Storm in London. I cannot for the life of me explain how important it is for Baker to turn on Hayter and cost her the title in this match.

In fact, Baker does so because she wants to be the first ever two-time AEW Women’s Champion. Yes, Storm was an Interim Champion, but Baker doesn’t “recognize” Storm’s first (interim) reign, creating tension between herself,  Hayter, and the Outcasts. Britt is back to being out for herself, and may even start her own faction.

AEW desperately needs that weekly women’s flagship, and the doctor could use some new patients.


Step 2: Rule of Nines

I’m not talking about burn victims or a really good song by Spiritbox. Every show must have at least 9 women (minimum) featured on it in some form. Stardom doesn’t even run weekly shows, and yet a large chunk of their roster is well-known by their fans. But we’ll get to Stardom later.

Familiarity is the key reason for this.

You can even keep the same 1 match-per-show quota of women’s’ wrestling per week. But fill in the rest with short to long segments with other talents. Just get them on TV. Kris Statlander was chilling with the Best Friends in last night’s backstage promo. That counts! Julia Hart with the House of Black — that counts!

If you have a singles match, plus a vignette with The Outcasts, and a backstage interview with maybe two feuding tag teams — there’s nine. Easy.  A six-woman match plus an Outcasts segment makes nine. Easy. It’s not hard…

Women make up roughly 20% of the entire roster, yet are featured well less than 10% of nearly every show from Dynamite to Collision. With 30-40 men featured on average every show, having 9 or more women helps get to that 20% number.

Familiarity breeds investment. The Outcasts have slowly gotten over, and with Soho recently in the finals of the Owen Hart Tournament and Storm as a strong current world champion, it’s been working, believe it or not.

And it’s because they’re on television nearly every week. We can throw anywhere from 9-15 women’s wrestlers on television every week in some fashion.

But that brings us to the third step:


Step 3: (K.I.S.T.) Keep it Simple, Tony

Anyone remember Extreme Warfare Revenge (or Total Extreme Wrestling)? It’s a wresting booking simulator, and it’s quite fun. In the game, there are hundreds of storyline templates you can choose from to help carve out your super-feud in your promotion of choice.

Look, everything has been done in wrestling sans a few exceptions. Most wresting stories have a template to them, and creating successful women’s feuds doesn’t need to be difficult. It’s all in the excecutiion and in-ring storytelling, not the encompassing premise itself.

There are literally hundreds of movies, shows, and video games about vampires — all with similar storylines. Yet, some stand above the rest as high quality — no doubt because of the characters within the story, and how it was executed and performed. The same applies to pro wrestling. Take any random template of a story, and insert the right talent to make it their own.

In fact, here’s a literal template of feuds from TEW.

I’m not advocating for Khan to start playing TEW, but even the most simple of storytelling can go a long way. Hikaru Shida’s feud with Serena Deeb in 2021-22 was wonderful, yet simple. This isn’t rocket science; just find 2-4 competitors, create motivations which leads to conflicts, and let it play out week to week over 2-3 months time.

Khan doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just create a simple story and let the women run with it in their own way.

There’s no reason why the AEW women can’t have 2-3 ongoing storylines at any given moment. Right now, that number is zero. Khan could take inspiration from historic older feuds and simply insert his women into them. This is okay — the characters are what make the feud — not the story on its own. Is MJF/Cole the only “unlikely tag partner” story in wrestling history? Of course not — but it’s MJF and Adam Cole, so they’re making it their own; and it’s been very entertaining.

More than anything, he has to at least try. But there’s an even easier way to make this happen…


Step 4: Use Stardom as Inspiration (Factions)

Why is Stardom such a hot product right now? Because they have a boatload of talented wrestlers who are having great matches in simple, yet well told stories and feuds. However, Stardom has a built-in method to easy storytelling — and that’s their faction format.

When you have members of opposing factions, creating singles and tag/trios feuds becomes very easy. Creating 4-5 factions in AEW for the women would make story-building that much easier. It not only gets more women on television (Rule of Nines), but creates an environment in which fans can root for specific wrestlers within a faction much like Stardom.

The men have stables: BCC, The Elite, Death Triangle, House of Black, Best Friends, etc. Why not the women? And hell, if you want to leave talents like Kris Statlander in Best Friends or align Jamie Hayter with the BCC, that’s fine. But let’s break most of the women off into their own factions.

A Britt heel turn could lead to Tay Melo and Anna Jay leaving the J.A.S. to join up with her as protégés, along with a veteran like Serena Deeb. The Outcasts could easily add Athena to their lineup and have it make perfect sense. Hikaru Shida, Willow Nightingale, Skye Blue, Yuka Sakazaki, and Riho could make for a babyface Stars inspired faction. Thunder Rosa, Kiera Hogan, Diamante, and Red Velvet is a cool Latin-inspired faction. And Julia Hart might as well start her own female version of the House of Black withy Abadon, The Bunny, and Penelope Ford.

Create your own. I don’t work for AEW.

The point is that it’s easy to do this, and you get built-in angles and easy conflicts from doing so. If Stardom can feature an array of factions that doesn’t even air weekly, Khan can make this happen on AEW programming between three different weekly shows.


Step 5: Tag Team Championships

We barely see the Trios Championship put on the line. The FTW championship was just defended after a long time without a defense. The hard truth is that you don’t need to defend championships all the time. It’s okay to have titles floating around that aren’t defended every week on television.

Remember what I said about built-in stories with the creation of factions? Adding a tag team championship to the mix only helps.

I wouldn’t even care if a championship like this is defended once a month, even on an AEW pre-show. It still legitimizes the division, and it puts these faces on our TV screens more.

Yes, there is enough talent to do this. We have around 30 women on the roster, which means 28 aren’t holding championships. I think making room for two more is not a problem.

It’s a great way to introduce some new factions and elevate the division as a whole.

Going Home

This is All Elite Wrestling — not Analytical Elite Wrestling.

Khan can take all the analytics he wants and shove em’. It’s not as if his TV ratings are improving hand-over-fist right now. The fan base has steadied, WBD is happy, and the 800K-1M mark is probably where the company will be at for some time. As long as AEW appears on cable every week, I’m a happy fan.

(unless you keep booking your women into the ground…)

Booking your women properly won’t do a damn thing to hurt ratings. Hell, they may even increase them and bring in some of the female demographic. But furthermore, what is truly accomplished here is this.

Respecting your women’s wrestlers. 

This is what it comes down to. Respect. The division isn’t booked with a shred of respect right now, and has been struggling to do so since AEW’s inception. Again, I repeat, booking professional wrestling is not hard. However, fitting the right pieces into place when it comes to characters and motivations is what makes the difference in any story and feud.

But it’s as if TK isn’t even trying. If I were Britt, Jamie, Toni, or Rosa — I would be disappointed at where the division currently is.

An afterthought.

It doesn’t have to be like this — because as mentioned, this can be easily done.