This Wednesday, AEW broadcasted a special St. Patrick’s Day episode of AEW Dynamite, which was the main event by an “Unsanctioned, lights out, anything goes” match between Britt Baker DMD and Thunder Rosa.
This was the first time in AEW’s short history that the main event spot was held by AEW’s women division, and the expectations were through the roof. The rivalry between Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker DMD had been going on for months, with constant escalation every week. The feud had featured almost every top star in AEW’s women’s division, from the champion Hikaru Shida to AEW’s newest stars, Maki Itoh and Ryo Mizunami. The feud was intense, must watch, and had definitely earned the main event spot before the bell even rang.
The expectations were insanely high, and Baker and Rosa absolutely delivered!
There were table spots, chair shots, some nasty ladder strikes, and two different thumbtack spots that physically hurt to watch, let alone take. Those ladies put everything they had, and then some, in the ring and have, deservedly, stolen all of the fan attention and press coverage from that night. The gruesome, but absolutely stunning image of Britt Baker’s face, crimson from head to chin, is all over Twitter and wrestling fan sites, bringing more attention to AEW’s women’s division than it has ever had.
On a night that saw the Elite break up, Christian Cage cutting a chilling promo, Brian Cage potentially turning his back on Team Taz, the official introduction of “The Pinnacle”, and matches with Cody Rhodes, Penta El Zero Muertes, Rey Fenix, Jon Moxley, Jurrasic Express, and the Good Brothers, the only thing anyone is talking about is Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa.
It is no secret that AEW’s women’s division has been underwhelming, getting far less attention and consideration than initially promised. During the buildup to AEW’s launch, fans were promised that the women of the roster would be right up there with the guys, holding just as much importance and main event potential. However, that has long since become a memory, with the women’s division falling to the wayside and becoming a fraction of what was promised. There is rarely more than one women’s storyline going at a time, their matches were notably shorter than anything else on the show, and besides Britt Baker DMD, AEW’s women were not getting any spotlight at all.
However, recently, that finally started to change.
It began with the women’s world championship eliminator tournament early this year. AEW took 16 women, 8 from their own roster and eight from Japan, and put them in a tournament to find Hikaru Shida’s next challenger. They promoted this tournament for weeks and made it abundantly clear that this was going to be a big deal! Some of the matches would be on Dynamite, some of the matches would be on Youtube, and others still would be streamed through Bleacher Report.
People were actively seeking out these matches and were rewarded with performances from Britt Baker DMD and Thunder Rosa, as well as Tay Conti, Serena Deeb, Riho, Anna Jay, Yuka Sakazaki, Emi Sakura, Maki Itoh, Ryo Mizunami, and Rin Kadokura.
Fans who watched the tournament loved what they saw, and let Tony Khan (AEW’s president and Co-owner) know that they wanted to see more. AEW has immediately shifted its booking of the women’s division, getting the fan favorites from the tournament into prime spots as soon as possible. Maki Itoh and Ryo Mizunami were immediately put on full display, with Maki Itoh even being given the main event spot of AEW’s first-ever episode of AEW Dark Revalation against Riho. Fans are all in on the women’s roster for the first time, and that is huge.
Then, with the main event “St. Patrick’s Day Slam”, AEW and the fanbase finally finished their repairing of the women’s division. The women are finally right there with the men, given the main event spot with the most dangerous and intense stipulation possible for a cable show. Even the casual fans got invested and were rewarded, thus making them believers of the division, which is what the women of the roster deserve. For the first time in AEW’s history, fans are more interested in where the women’s division will head next than they are in the men.
Who’s to thank? Well, it goes without saying that Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker were huge in making this happen. They put on a ton of great matches the last few months, cut heated and interesting promos, and capped off their feud with a brutal, but captivating, hardcore match. Maki Itoh deserves a ton of credit too, for being unapologetically her, bringing her weird but fantastic gimmick across the Pacific, and respecting American audiences enough to let them get it. Ryo Mizunami and Hikaru Shida highlighted, using their elite level wrestling to win over fans with great matches.
Also Tony Khan, for believing in the women’s roster to keep trying again and again and then selling out and going all-in on any opportunity he saw for promoting the women. AEW is in great hands, and the women’s division over the last few months proves that.