Gender inequality is discrimination on the basis of sex or gender causing one sex or gender to be routinely privileged or prioritized over another.
I am a pretty diehard AEW fan. I’ve put hundreds of hours and many monies into the AEW product since its inception. So I don’t want this to be taken as if I’m some sort of anti-AEW bot. Dynamite is still the best wrestling show on television, and to me, that’s not even a contest.
However, this is a legitimate criticism that has been ongoing for years. But with a jacked women’s roster now, and still little respect shown for it, I have to call it out.
Tony Khan is out of excuses.
The AEW women’s division is utterly lackluster, though not in talent, but in booking quality. Talent-wise, the division matches up with the competition. Give me the likes of Jamie Hayter, Kris Statlander, Thunder Rosa, Britt Baker, Hikaru Shida, Serena Deeb, and now Toni Storm, over WWE’s women any day.
But we don’t really see them much, do we?
While the women’s side of the Owen Hart tournament has provided a platform for some of these talents to appear on Dynamite and Rampage, it largely comes with little to no stories or build. Little to no attention is given to other feuds within the division as well. In fact, as of now, zero women’s matches have been announced for this week’s Dynamite. One women’s match per Dynamite is barely enough — but now we’re not even at one.
Should fans of women’s wrestling have to resort to a ‘wait and see’ mentality when it comes to the simple week-to-week storytelling that professional wrestling offers?
Hell no. Now it’s possible that one women’s match will randomly be tossed in at the last minute. But here’s an honest question for the AEW CEO:
Why is the women’s division still under-booked over three years after its outset?
We rarely, if ever, get build to women’s matches. As fans, we never see strong character development in the division. Most notably, we can’t even get more than one women’s match per Dynamite. I’m sorry, but I’d rather see more build within the women’s division than a dog whistle WWE insult with a Jericho Appreciation Society segment. It doesn’t seem like Khan really tries.
So this leads me to two conclusions:
Tony Khan doesn’t care about women’s wrestling. | Gender inequality exists within AEW.
And it shows. Let’s dig in…
Gender Inequality on AEW Dynamite
Years later, we are still getting the same half-ass booking within the division. Throw all the women’s segments/match into a 15-minute block, tick a box, and move on. Though often, there aren’t more than 1 or 2 feuds being focused on at any given time.
Meanwhile, men’s feuds are getting proper build, solid character development, longer matches, and more time. We’ve seen long-term progressions with Eddie Kingston, Adam Page, Wardlow, and a host of others.
As for the women…not so much. You can take the entirety of the women’s roster one year ago and almost literally nothing has changed in regards to character and story-building.
(Unless you count that Kris Statlander may no longer be an alien, and Julia Hart may turn heel — though it’s taking longer than it took Veer Mahaan to finally make it to Raw)
I’ll say it again: We don’t need to see some of the same talents on Dynamite have matches every week — no matter how good they are. As a hardcore AEW fan, I don’t mind if the likes of Adam Cole, Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, or even Adam Page take a week off to simply make room for an extra women’s match.
For example we have LuFisto, Emi Sakura and The Bunny versus Ruby Soho, Skye Blue and Anna Jay — which should be a banger, and worthy of Dynamite.
But it’s on Dark? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
There is a clear bias towards the men’s roster and they get a notably grandiose amount of attention compared to the women’s division. It’s also undeniable that the men receive an exuberate amount more TV time, and more opportunities to rake in viewers.
By definition, this is gender inequality.
–Thunder Rosa has barely been given time on television as the new women’s champion while Nyla Rose is out for blood for…reasons?
–Julia Hart missed the train for her heel turn months ago and is now finally about to board again. Perhaps she’ll finally turn on the Varsity Blondes sometime in 2023.
–Serena Deeb and Hikaru Shida are having the wrestling equivalent of an Atari Ping Pong match. It just goes back and forth and nothing really seems to happen, and nobody cares all that much who wins in the end. Though some fantastic wrestling will no doubt occur in the process.
–Serena Deeb’s 5-minute rookie challenge has seemingly fallen off the radar…
–Kris Statlander may no longer be an alien. Though it’s hard to tell, as she’s rarely featured on any shows.
–Britt Baker apparently has literally zilch to say publicly after her dominant title reign ended weeks ago.
–Jade Cargill and Maria Shafir for the TBS Championship. Great. Shafir has a lot of potential — too bad nobody has seen her in action unless they’ve been watching Dark.
–Abadon holds the best overall record in the women’s division percentage-wise. She has yet to appear on AEW television in 2022.
I get it. There’s a lot of talent to go around for only 120 minutes of TV time. But that’s not an excuse for what continues to be an underwhelming women’s division. It doesn’t help when you have multiple stories that start and stop worse than WWE talent pushes.
AEW is Not Promoting Their Women on Social Media
All it takes is some minor research on AEW’s social media pages, and you’ll find one clear trend: Women’s wrestlers are barely featured.
You’ll find a social media post that features a women’s talent, or hypes a women’s match probably 1 out of every 10 posts.
Go take a look for yourself. I’m not wrong.
Now while I understand that the men’s roster is bigger, hence more time will be given to it — 1 out of 10 is an incredibly pathetic number. There is simply no emphasis given to feature the women’s talent in any way.
And this has become the ongoing trend for much too long.
Does the AEW social media team realize this? Is this something done on purpose, or is the importance of women’s wrestling in 2022 simply far out of their peripheral?
You can’t have a women’s champion (Thunder Rosa) whose stated public goal is to empower and lift up other women — and then barely feature her on social media or television.
Again, here’s a shrug emoji. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I have to call it as I see it. Again, I am an AEW diehard. I even plan to buy live tickets for an upcoming Dynamite when they go on sale. I am invested.
Unfortunately, Tony Khan isn’t invested in his own women’s division.
WWE, by comparison, makes more time for their women’s wrestlers. Granted, I’d rather not torture myself and watch the product just to see some women’s wrestling, but if TK keeps under-booking his own talent, I might just have to.
It’s 2022. We’re simply in a time where there is no excuse for women’s inequality anymore — yet it remains visible in All Elite Wrestling. In a lot of ways, this is reminding me of ECW. ECW was a fantastic wrestling-driven brand with engaging stories (also, violence) — but objectified their women to a ludicrous level.
AEW isn’t doing that, but like ECW, the poor booking of their women has become the Achilles heel of the promotion. AEW’s clear gender inequality holds them back from being damn near perfect.
As a women’s wresting fan, I’m not realistically expecting 50/50 treatment. I understand the men/women ratio of the roster. But it’s clear that the division continues to be an afterthought. This is a terrible look, and it needs to be called out for what it is: gender inequality.
There is simply no excuse for this anymore. Be better, Tony.