Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D and Thunder Rosa had not only a historic groundbreaking matchup but also possibly one of the greatest matches in televised women’s professional wrestling history. It might be too early to tell right now where this will rank as the years go by, but rest assured that this match will go down in history for many reasons. Baker and Rosa put on one hell of a main event that exceeded already high expectations. Their journey together started from a very simple place. Baker was antagonizing Rosa for the better part of three months and the rivalry would develop over time as one of the most intense and intriguing feuds AEW had to offer. These two women would have the best matches of their careers against one another, trading shot after shot, never letting up.
People initially thought that their spectacular bout back at Beach Break would be the end of it all. Fortunately, it was just the beginning. Rosa and Baker would be attached at the hip in some way, shape or form and their paths would ultimately lead back to one another somehow. The rivalry would ultimately reach its boiling point at Revolution as well as the following Dynamite. Baker and Rosa’s animosity against one another was clearly still at its fever pitch in their multiple tag team affairs. This led to their Unsanctioned Lights Out Match on the special “St. Patrick’s Day Slam” edition of the Wednesday night program.
It was a masterstroke of brutality and beauty all at once. These two superstars would mangle each other on the way to putting the brightest spotlight on the budding AEW women’s division. Blood, sweat, and tears were spilled all over the canvas as the two artists would put on a show for not only the fans in attendance but also the people watching at home and their peers in the locker room. This contest felt like the real turning point in the often-overlooked women’s division of AEW and here’s why.
In the Beginning
All Elite Wrestling would sign very talented women to shore up their newly minted women’s division. Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D, will forever hold the honor of being the first woman ever to be signed to an AEW contract. Others followed not long after including Kylie Rae, Awesome Kong, Nyla Rose, and so many more talented women. Right off the bat, AEW had an ace up its sleeve which left the fans wanting the product so much more in the beginning. They would incorporate the amazing Joshi wrestlers straight out of Japan to bolster an already impressive cast of competitors.
At Double Or Nothing 2019, a multi-women tag team match would take place among these Japanese competitors. The mainstream audience had the pleasure of seeing Hikaru Shida, Riho, and Ryo Mizunami vs. the legendary Aja Kong, Emi Sakura, and “The Magical Girl” Yuka Sakazaki. The American public did not know what to expect from these combatants as most of the mainstream fans were seeing them for the first time ever. After the match was done, the crowd went nuts and it seemed like AEW had one of the strongest women’s divisions on paper.
Riho would be crowned the first-ever AEW Women’s World Champion by defeating Nyla Rose; a hot start to the very exciting infancy of a division. The honeymoon period didn’t last long as the division would lose talent left and right due to people not officially being signed to the promotion or their original employers wanting the talent back for their own respective companies. This left Riho and the eventual second-ever women’s champion Nyla Rose with limited options for challengers. When the ball was about to roll, it would hit a proverbial bump in the road; this time, the injury bug would be that hurdle. Injuries to Kris Statlander, Big Swole, and Britt Baker would halt any momentum the division had. Thankfully, there was a silver lining through it all and it was Hikaru Shida.
In the empty arena era of AEW, Shida would hold down the fort and put on terrific matches. She was the rock in an otherwise unsteady boat because of travel issues and the already mentioned injury problems. She was amazing, ultimately making history as the longest-reigning AEW Women’s World Champion in its short history. Despite Shida’s efforts, the division was flatlining as there wasn’t enough talent to carry more than one women’s match per Dynamite episode.
Lights (Out) at the End of the Tunnel
AEW management swore that, in 2021, their women’s division would deliver on its promise once and for all. This kickstarted with the fantastic AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament. Two brackets, a USA Bracket and a Japan bracket, would determine the challenger for Shida’s Women’s Title at this year’s Revolution. This tournament would serve as a vehicle to showcase the underrated and often overlooked women’s division. It was the massive first step in this overhaul. Ryo Mizunami would win the whole thing and challenge Shida in a hard-hitting, show-stealing match seeing the champion retain.
AEW never had a problem with their women’s roster. Factors beyond their control halted the progress of the division. The stop-start approach was never going to work and it expectedly didn’t. 2019 was a rocky start and 2020 did not help the cause either. Thankfully, we are here now. It took a little bit of time, but it looks like the rise of the women’s division is in full effect.
Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa showed everyone the full potential and the things this division could achieve in one match. It was an exclamation point at the end of a statement. It was carefully crafted to every detail. All the action was snug and brutal but didn’t have to go overboard to prove a point. The match was laid out perfectly. It was down and dirty and the only way these women could settle the score was in this stipulation. They bled buckets, went through thumbtacks, tables, throwing everything in but the kitchen sink. They went through hell and back and it worked wonders for them. This setting would provide them the necessary tools, literally and figuratively, to capture the world’s attention and put an excellent end to this riveting tale.
With blood in her eyes, @RealBrittBaker continues to push through in this LIGHTS OUT MATCH!
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) March 18, 2021
Take the commentary for instance. Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone would stress only one thing: this was the first-ever Lights Out Match in Dynamite history. They didn’t push the narrative that this was the first-ever “Women’s Lights Out Match”. No, they treated these women as equals. Any other promotion would stress that fact. AEW firmly believed this was the main event-caliber match to end “St. Patrick’s Day Slam.” It was and so much more than anybody expected. Management trusted Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa enough to end the show and send the fans home happy.
They let these two women showcase their abilities and let their match do the talking for them. This was the perfect main event to officially spur the revival of this women’s division. It might not have single-handedly saved their women’s division, but it’s definitely the turning point in what’s sure to be an exciting time for All Elite Wrestling’s women’s division.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT, don’t forget to check out AEW Dark: Elevation on Monday nights at 7 PM ET and AEW Dark Tuesday nights at 7 PM ET on YouTube.
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