Let's face it, AEW has faced criticism over their women's division for quite some time now. There seems to be endless debate over how AEW can breathe new life into their women's roster and feature female wrestling the same way that their competitors do. Regardless of how you feel about the state of AEW's women's division, I think we can all agree that it is time for someone to step up and challenge current Women's World Champion Hikaru Shida for her title. AEW doesn't need to sign a big free agent or build up a new star to make a big splash in the division. In fact here are my top 5 women who are already in the AEW universe who could likely challenge for the Women's Championship ranked in order of most to least likely to challenge.
Number 1: Nyla Rose
This one is a pretty straight forward pick. Shida took the belt off of Nyla at the 2020 edition of Double or Nothing, after taking some time off Rose reappeared now aligning herself with manager Vickie Guerrero. Guerrero could be the key to adding a new dimension to Nyla Rose as a performer, as well as giving her a kayfabe manager who could most certainly convince Tony Khan to give Nyla the rematch she deserves.
Nyla lives up to her "Native Beast" nickname and as we have already seen she and Shida can put on a quality match. I think it is only a matter of time before Rose is in pursuit of Shida's championship again.
Number 2: Penelope Ford
Night one of July's Fyter Fest featured Shida successfully defending her title against the "Super Bad Girl" in one of the better matches of the night. Penelope Ford could likely start building up wins on both Dark and Dynamite and continue to grow her profile and character.
A Penelope Ford push also has the added benefit of giving Kip Sabian something to do as well. Kip seemed to be primed for a run in the tag division with partner Jimmy Havoc prior to his removal from the company. With Kip at ringside, these title matches would have a wildcard element allowing for a variety of unpredictable shenanigans during the build to a pay per view blow off.
Number 3: Dr. Britt Baker D.MD.
If you had told me that Britt Baker was pegged for a title shot prior to the knee injury that left her sitting on the sidelines for the last two months. I would've believed you one hundred percent. Britt is a breakout star this year and has been one of the best workers in the women's division during the pandemic era, remaining a near-constant presence on Dynamite even after her injury.
The only reason in my eyes that she might not be the next to challenge is her ongoing feud with Big Swole. Once Britt is able to return to the ring, I am willing to bet her first target will not be Shida, but rather Swole. However, it won't be too long before AEW's role model turns her eyes to the gold.
Number 4: Abadon
AEW's living dead girl has made a huge impression following her match against Anna Jay earlier this summer. Abadon is scary and is eating her way through opponents on Dark. If AEW wants to build Shida as the ultimate babyface champion, having her square off against an undead evil like Abadon would be a super fun way to do it.
Abadon is a lot of fun to watch in the ring and is already rising up the AEW women's rankings. The biggest question with Abadon is can the gimmick really get over with AEW's fanbase. I don't see a title run in Abadon's near future, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.
Number 5: Tay Conti
Tay Conti recently jumped ship from NXT to AEW and made quite the splash teaming with Anna Jay as a part of the AEW Women's Tag Team Cup Tournament. In AEW Conti could have a potentially massive run with the fans behind her all the way. Tay could take AEW by storm and be the breath of fresh air that the division needs to really get going.
The biggest potential roadblock for Tay is her status within AEW. While Conti has appeared in the tag tournament, she does not appear to be signed to a long term contract with the promotion and does not appear on their website's roster page. I suspect that AEW will be inking out an official agreement following the reception to her debut.
Do you agree with my list? Who do you want to see take on Shida for her title? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer