The purpose of this article is to highlight a strategy to effectively book the AEW Women’s Division. On Tuesday our own Evangelina Cantu did a great job in discussing the issues plaguing them at the moment.
Needing a Women’s Champion who will consistently be on Dynamite.
Not making fans feel forced to watch AEW Dark or BTE in order to know the competitors.
Define the key wrestlers who can make it a staple, so AEW can live up to their promise and not under deliver as they have so often.
First, let’s identify the key wrestlers:
Nyla Rose (AEW Women’s Champion)
(and a special surprise which I’m going to get to later)
OK, so what we will do is establish a hierarchy, because not everyone should be competing for the title. Yes, AEW usually has a top 5 ranking but since we’ve had the pandemic to deal with it is a perfect opportunity to re-establish the pecking order:
- Hikaru Shida
- Britt Baker
- Penelope Ford
- Kris Statlander
They are fighting next week in a four way match so we’ll start there. We’re booking this with two goals in mind: Have a champion that will draw everyone, and create a crossover star that can appeal to the masses. The purpose is to have a new champion crowned by All Out, since it’s the unofficial genesis of AEW. Here we go:
Since they already had the four-way match, we’ll start there. At Double or Nothing they set up the match for Rose and Shida to finally meet, but with the No DQ stipulation it allows for Nyla Rose to resort to heel tactics like using the weapons at her disposal. However, two things must happen for this match to get the attention it deserves. One: AEW should NOT place this between the World Title Match and TNT Championship match. If you want to put Baker-Statlander there, fine, but this should open up the PPV or be at least the second match. Placement is important if you want fans to treat it as such. Also, allow Shida and Rose to go 10 to 15 minutes. Rose gets frustrated because she can’t put away Shida so after several Beast Bombs on the table, she finally wins. It makes Shida look strong and creates more intrigue as to who finally will beat Nyla. The money is in the chase. Also, we will have Baker go over Statlander via submission.
The week after, we see Britt Baker accompanied by her makeup artist Reba (known as Rebel in TNA) from the role model vignettes. Britt says that she has her there because she says that as the face of the company it is her responsibility to bring up the next level of stars, and Reba fits the bill. Yes, she intentionally misstates her name, but Reba doesn’t care, because she’s getting her big break. Baker is on the mic in a promo with Tony and stops to have Reba apply the makeup to keep up with appearances. Big Swole comes out to remind Baker of what she did to her the last time they met and throws a cup of Starbucks coffee in her face. That sets up the Baker-Swole feud that was brewing prior to the pandemic break.
As for the champ? Well she has an earlier score to settle. So we see her celebrating her win at DoN, when Shanna comes back seeking revenge for how Nyla jumped her in December. They fight and the referees break them up. It establishes another tables match at Fyter Fest, which Nyla wins decisively. So how do we get Shida back into the picture?
AEW begins to show videos of Shida’s moveset, including Taz discussing the effectiveness of her knee strikes. Dynamite begins putting Shida in victorious matches against Anna Jay and Skyler Moore on AEW Dynamite. Kris Statlander returns to ask Shida for a friendly best 2 out of 3 falls matches, which takes place over three consecutive weeks on Dynamite. They trade wins, but Shida wins the 3rd and decisive bout in an exciting match.
Meanwhile, Baker is starting to get more wins because of insisting Reba helps her to win each match, including the feud over Swole. However, she begins to berate her protege and at All Out Baker is pitted against a returning Riho in a number one contender’s match. During the match Baker is getting beat silly. She calls on Reba to help her, but she hesitates in the beginning, eventually helping her “mentor” to get the victory via heel shenanigans.
In the other match, which AEW should make as a co-main event, it’s Shida vs. Rose in an incredible match (with no DQ this time) that results in Hikaru Shida finally becoming the new AEW Women’s Champion. All of the faces from the women’s locker room come out to celebrate with Shida as Rose lies in defeat.
Not done yet, because Shida’s first challenger is going to be the new number one contender Britt Baker. During their first promo in September, Baker asks Reba to help attack Shida, which she does reluctantly. This leads to the first anniversary episode of Dynamite, where during the match Baker is flustered that she can’t put away Shida and with her mentee’s help, she finally wins the AEW Women’s title to a chorus of boos.
Going to stop here until next time, but we’ve already fixed two of AEW’s biggest problems:
- Keeping the champion firmly in the eyes of the fans consistently week in and week out.
- Creating feuds that allow the women to establish their individual characters.
By the time we’ve gotten to Full Gear in November, people have a better sense of who are the stars in the division.