Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D...Since the beginning of time...or at least the start of AEW, has been the de facto face of the women’s division. She was the first public signee, the one whom the excited new AEW fans knew the most, and a blue-chip prospect in wrestling if you ever saw one.
It almost seemed too obvious that Britt was going to be groomed as their first women’s champion. I, like many others, was surprised to see her not even in the original title match as Riho fought Nyla Rose to crown the first AEW Women’s Champion. That’s fine, we’ve got to build more stars around Britt to build out the division!
Britt got her first title shot right away on October 16th in Philadelphia at AEW Dynamite episode #3. It was way too soon to put the belt on her then, it was a great opportunity to build Riho as their champion. Bell to bell we had an uninspiring 8:20 match. But it is what it is, right?
Britt then got her second and only other title shot in a fatal-4-way with Riho defending against Baker, Kris Statlander, and Hikaru Shida. Another sub, 10 minute match on Dynamite, clocking in at 9:49 bell to bell. Again by this time we didn’t know where AEW was planning on going so I can’t fault them here.
Since January 1st, 2020 Britt Baker has been built, injured, and then brought back as the undisputable face of the AEW women’s division but that has led us on a winding, confusing, and of late, frustrating path to where we are now.
During the time Britt was out injured we saw the best character in the division spread her wings. The Roll Model and Tony Schiavone’s BFF led to the best character work the AEW women’s division has offered us. She managed almost an entire feud from a wheelchair! It made perfect sense to use that momentum to put over Big Swole in the Tooth and Nail match. Baker couldn’t be hurt in a cinematic match without a true loss, especially after getting literally gassed. But let’s be real...where has THAT gone since? That’s a whole other story.
Since the Tooth and Nail match on September 5th of last year, Britt Baker has developed into the star of the division. She has an excellent and underutilized “The Waiting Room” segment which has allowed her and Reba not Rebel to show off their comedic chops and Britt has gone undefeated in singles matches going 7-0 with the only loss of any kind coming to Anna Jay and Tay Conti during the Brodie Lee tribute show. Britt has put in some tremendous work in the ring, and from the looks of things in the gym throughout the last six months as well.
Britt’s biggest win and my motivation for writing about her today came from her defeating Thunder Rosa at Beach Break. It really felt like at that point she had built the necessary momentum, that the stars were aligning, and that we would see her win the Women’s Eliminator Tournament and challenge Hikaru Shida at Revolution to take her rightful place as Champion and face of the division.
That pipedream came crashing down last night.
I really thought that AEW would do the (in my opinion) obvious and right thing with this tournament. They did it last fall with the men after all…
The Men’s World Championship eliminator tournament was the coming out party for Kenny Omega. We ALL knew it would be Hangman vs Omega in the finals too, we didn’t care though! That tournament gave us Sonny Kiss being SQUISHED (not a typo) by a One Winged Angel in twenty-five seconds, gave us an excellent Wardlow vs Jungle Boy match that elevated both wrestlers, a tremendous Lucha Bros match, and a great Wardlow vs Hangman Page match.
The wrestlers got over big time, the stakes felt high, the tournament felt like it was for something huge. Even though the end point was obvious we watched and enjoyed everything.
But not this time, not for the women. I don’t want to go too far into this tournament because I plan on a full editorial review of the Women’s Eliminator Tournament after Revolution. That said, this should have been Baker’s moment. Her and Nyla Rose put on a very good match. Nyla, the obvious powerhouse, dominated much of the match. It really felt at times like Britt was about to make her comeback and walk out victorious. But no.
The booking seemed ready-made for the next PPV too. Britt wins the tournament and beats Shida at Revolution for the championship. Thunder Rosa goes on a warpath fighting her way back up to the top of the rankings and challenges Baker at Double or Nothing. Print some money.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Nyla. I HATED her at first but she has really grown on me lately with tons of excellent work...but I don’t want a potential Shida vs Rose 3, not now at least. I want the division to finally have their Role Model.
So now we have Britt Baker on a start-stop push, not in any way as bad as a rival company’s 50/50 booking, but she has still, at least in my eyes, cooled off completely with her loss to Nyla in the semifinals of the tournament. This is a shame...some may even call it a conspiracy?
She’s easily the best and most relatable character in AEW’s Women’s Division, She’s got the best character-driven signature move and finisher in all of wrestling (argue with me, come on I DARE you), and she’s EASILY the most marketable women in the company. But again, she’ll take a back seat and hope to build from here. Will she be fine? Most likely. She’s way too good and young to “ruin.” That’s not where I’m going with this, I’m just frustrated they have not elevated her to the apex of their division yet.
So, where DO we go from here? I see this as a long road back again. I honestly don’t know if we see Britt getting a title match in 2021 now. I know there’s still ten months of the year left, but the Japanese competitors are coming back. AEW clearly has a lot of stock in Riho, Yuka Sakazaki, and potentially in Emi Sakura, and Ryo Mizunami. I see them taking up a majority of the title picture...at the very least through Double or Nothing.
What will be her road back to the top? This really felt like her time…
The cynic in me sees a lackluster path. Britt will get several more wins on AEW Dark, maybe even on the fancy new AEW Dark: Elevation. But I bet in her next featured Dynamite match we see tension with her and Reba. I bet that’s her next feud. I hope that sees Britt become even more of a heel, maybe take on a more serious and dangerous character in the process. She will come out on top and hopefully use that momentum back to the title picture. But that’s going to take months to accomplish.
I think Britt has earned a much better role by now, I feel like division NEEDS her as champion, but for now we will have to wait. Thankfully she's got a room for that...