This past Wednesday night, AEW revealed both sides to the AEW Women’s Championship Eliminator Bracket as they try and find a rightful contender to Hikaru Shida. With both a USA and Japan side of the bracket, there are incredible talents from top to bottom who could very well beat Shida if they were to earn the opportunity. Winning the bracket is one thing, defeating Shida is another. The champion has been dominant since winning the title in May of 2020, defeating the likes of Nyla Rose, Thunder Rosa, and Big Swole every time they stepped to the plate. By the time this tournament is over, she could be champion 300 days strong. It’s not going to be easy for anyone to take her down and take the title as well.
Let’s pick out the few true contenders of the bracket and who should dethrone Hikaru Shida when their time finally comes.
The time is finally coming. “The World’s First Genderless Pro Wrestler” will finally get her chance to shine on the United States stage as she enters the AEW Women’s Championship Eliminator Tournament. At the young age of 22 years old, VENY has already accomplished so much while becoming one of the most popular wrestlers in Japan. While she does work as a freelancer in Japan, a lot of her work has come in SEAdLINNNG, Pro Wrestling WAVE, and DDT. It was in DDT that she most recently held the Independent Junior Heavyweight Championship for 126 days. Before that, she held the World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana World Championship as well.
Everywhere she goes, it has been success after success. And now that she finally gets to make her way to the United States, more championship gold could be on the way as she has to be a favorite in this tournament. And better yet, she has a history with Shida when the champ used to be a part of Pro Wrestling WAVE. They teamed together but also faced off. Their last battle on Oct. 22, 2018, saw them go to a draw in a 20 minute Iron Woman match. Shida should be worried if VENY can fight her way through the tournament.
The former NWA Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa has already had her shot at Hikaru Shida. And in that shot, she came seconds within winning the AEW Women’s Championship. She ultimately came up short at All Out, but has remained in AEW and will look to get back into contention for that title through the bracket. Rosa is one of the very best in the United States and even in the world, as her mix of high-speed offense and devastating strikes leaves her as a contender at all times. She’s had some bad luck in recent months, losing the NWA Women’s Championship to Serena Deeb and most recently losing her massive match with Britt Baker at Beach Break. Of course, not great, but she is so good that she can turn it around almost instantly.
Rosa is a major threat on the United States side of the bracket and if she does earn herself another opportunity, she won’t miss this time against Shida.
The legend returns to AEW television! Emi Sakura hasn’t been seen in AEW since December of 2019, but she has remained interested and is ready to go again. The Gatoh Move owner has kept herself busy since her last appearance, being that she runs her own promotion and competes quite regularly. This is a real shot for her, however, to show the United States audience what she is all about once again. It was at Full Gear 2019 that she competed for the AEW Women’s Championship and many thought she could pull off the surprise win over champion Riho, but came up just short. The 27-year veteran was beyond pleased when she was announced for the tournament, so you know she’s going to give it everything she has got to make it back and “rock” the competition.
Her championship pedigree should treat her well on the Japan side of the bracket, as only Aja Kong can match her. Some may be counting out the 44-year-old rockstar, but that’s fine by her as she competes in the tournament and sings “another one bites the dust” time and time again on her way to Shida.
The inaugural AEW Women’s Champion returns to AEW for the first time since March and is an instant favorite on the US side of things. Riho has been plenty busy even without being in AEW for nearly a year, as she competed regularly in Stardom teaming with the likes of Mayu Iwatani and AZM. She was trusted to lead the AEW women’s division right off the bat and had an excellent title run before losing the title to Nyla Rose. Shida has to be worrisome of Riho making her way through the bracket considering her past bout in AEW against her — a loss at All Out in 2019. In that match, she was able to move onto the finals where she became the inaugural champion.
This is the match many have been waiting for when it comes to the reign of Hikaru Shida, as it could be the one to solidify her reign one way or the other.
Who’s the “Cutest in the World?” Itoh-chan!
Twitter exploded when Maki Itoh was revealed as the final competitor on the Japanese side of the bracket and rightfully so. Her undeniable Twitter game mixed with her lovable personality has made her a favorite for many, even those who haven’t seen her wrestle. Well, if you haven’t, you’re in for a real treat. She’s already been selected by Cody Rhodes has his choice to win the entire thing and she should be many others. Itoh has spent most of her career to this point as a member of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling (TJPW) as well as DDT. Her championship past isn’t necessarily to the standards of Sakura, but she has only improved and this seems to be the perfect opportunity for her to take off.
With the fans on her side and charisma that is out of this world, Itoh very well could be the next AEW Women’s Champion.
— 伊藤麻希 Maki Itoh (@maki_itoh) February 4, 2021
Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D.
The time is coming, ladies and gentlemen. For a long time, Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. has been seen as the face of AEW’s women’s division. You can’t deny that. She was the one who signed first and did all the promotional work as the brand prepared to begin, but she has yet to be champion. Well, this past Wednesday night saw her pick up a major win over Thunder Rosa that should be seen as the beginning of her ascension to the top. She was announced for the tournament and has to be seen as one of the favorites from the start. With Reba in her corner and a full understanding of who she is, Baker is ready to hold the gold made for her.
She will have a lot to prove if she were to face the champion, Hikaru Shida. She’s 0-2 against her, including a match that saw her break her nose in the encounter. But the confidence is high and for someone like the doctor, that’s all she may need to rise to the title. Cheating helps, too.
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