After Kenny Omega's appearance on Impact did nothing to calm the waters of speculation regarding an Impact and AEW crossover story, it seems like it is time to start looking at the implications of a potential partnership between two of the largest promotions in the United States.
The first thing that I want to get out of the way is that I think a partnership between Impact and AEW is a good idea. It could lead to some awesome stories and elevate some fantastic wrestlers into a spotlight that they might not have gotten otherwise. As long as the creative is handled correctly and the wrestlers are gung-ho about the partnership, this has the potential to be huge for wrestling as an industry.
Wrestling fans worldwide have spent the last week booking dream matches and plotting out storylines pitting their favorite Impact and AEW stars against each other. While matches between The Good Brothers and The Young Bucks or Jon Moxley and Eddie Edwards are mentioned frequently, many fans are looking toward Impact's very impressive knockouts division and how it could elevate the often criticized AEW women's division. So naturally, I am here to ask and hopefully answer the question, "can Impact's knockouts save the AEW women's division?"
First things first, I think it is important to provide context for this question. AEW does not lack any kind of talent on their women's side of their roster. Current AEW Women's Champion, Hikaru Shida, is fantastic in the ring and, when given the opportunity, has been passable on the mic. Other talents like Britt Baker, Big Swole, and Brandi Rhodes have all had huge moments in and out of the ring in this year alone. AEW is not hurting for talent when it comes to their women's roster. On the other side, Impact, with their knockouts division, has arguably one of the best if not the best women's division in the world right now. Stars like Taya Valkyrie, Jordynne Grace, and Susie/Su Yung were holding down the division this year and got a huge boost with the addition of Deonna Purrazzo off of her release from NXT. Both divisions provide this partnership with a huge pool of talent to work with.
The biggest factor when discussing this team-up is how AEW has decided to book their women's division before the partnership. The booking of the AEW women's division has been a subject of criticism even among those with bias in favor of AEW. Some of this is not AEW's fault, a red hot Britt Baker was sidelined for nearly three months due to injury, as well as Kris Statlander, who has been off tv for even longer due to injury, but other instances like the lack of screen time for Shida and Nyla Rose are on AEW. That doesn't mean that AEW has forsaken its women's division entirely, recently we have seen some week to week storytelling setting up Abadon's shot at the championship, and I'll be honest, it's not a huge step forward, but it is promising.
So with the context out of the way. I think it is best to look at the arguments for and against the knockouts being able to save the women of AEW.
Yes, They Can!
The first argument for this is that Impact clear cares about the knockouts division and will want to continue to allow them to shine during the partnership. Their deep female roster is one of their major selling points, and not giving them time on a huge platform like TNT would be a big misstep on the part of Impact.
The second is Impact's proven track record when it comes to women's wrestling. If AEW will step back and allow Impact to take the lead on this part of their partnership, we are almost guaranteed to see some high-quality matches, promos, and stories being told. The biggest factor is AEW getting out of the way, following the lead of Impact here.
The third and most important is that AEW and Impact both have records of trying their best to please fans. Both promotions understand that making dream matches is a good way to keep fans coming back week after week. The number of potential matches in this crossover could give the fans is ridiculous. People want to watch Britt Baker and Tenille Dashwood or Su Yung take on Abadon. AEW and Impact understand that wrestling is supposed to be fun, and not featuring these match-ups would not be as fun as making them happen.
No, They Can't!
The biggest thing in the way of this partnership "saving" the AEW women's division is AEW's track record with their female wrestler. Despite having enormous talent on their roster, despite having fans call for more screen time for the women, despite having a champion who can put on fantastic matches, AEW does not seem to want to change how they allocate time on their show. Bonafide stars like Britt Baker, Anna Jay, and Nyla Rose go weeks without stepping into the ring. It almost seems like if you're a woman who wants to get a good amount of screen time on Dynamite, your name needs to be Brandi Rhodes, or you need to be signed to the NWA women's roster.
The second biggest obstacle is AEW being willing to get out of the way and let Impact take the lead on the women's side of the story. AEW is the larger company, and I could see Tony Khan and co wanting to keep control of the entire story rather than let someone else run the show. There isn't a track record here to prove this point or to prove it otherwise, but AEW is the bigger company, and typically, the bigger company will take the lead in a partnership like this.
Can the Impact knockouts save the AEW women's division? Yes, they have the talent and the fanbase to turn around a division that is primed to become the next big thing in women's wrestling. The question of will the Impact Knockouts save the AEW women's division is a different story, and only time will tell. The obstacles ahead for this partnership are not small ones, but this has a ton of potential. I think all wrestling fans should be hopefully optimistic for what the future holds.
What do you think? What matches between AEW and Impact wrestlers do you want to see? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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