One of the most persistent complaints about AEW in its brief existence has been the lack of television time given to its women’s roster.
Some of that they brought upon themselves by promising if not equality then at least equity right out of the gate. Some of it was fans unfairly expecting them to match WWE at its Evolution peak with a roster of largely inexperienced female performers.
Whatever percentage of blame you to assign to Tony Khan and team, even they admit there’s still a ways to go. Occasionally having more than one women’s match per show, at least on Wednesdays, would be a good goal. Maybe eventually Tag belts. But they’ve made a lot of progress in the past few months, and much of it can be attributed to the TBS Championship Tournament, and how they scheduled it.
By not racing through the bracket, AEW’s allowed themselves time to build to matches within it. That’s especially been true of the quarter and semi-final rounds. You could forget that Ruby Soho vs. Nyla Rose and Thunder Rosa vs. Jade Cargill are tournament matches, and the stories would still be good — because they’ve been given room to breathe. In that space, we’ve learned about their characters and how they contrast. There are reasons for them to fight beyond the belt.
It’s also allowed for spin-off programs. Hikaru Shida and Serena Deeb had a promising rivalry started before the TBS Tournament. After taking each other out of it, we’re in “Fight Forever” territory. Their match at Winter is Coming next week feels big.
On top of all these we have the Women’s title program, which used to be the only feud that would get TV time. The deck is now stacked enough that the current champion Britt Baker vs. the first ever champ Riho can be saved for after Winter is Coming.
You’ll find hype and build for all those programs (including rekindling the old Tay Conti & Anna Jay vs. The Bunny & Penelope Ford rivalry in support of the Soho/Rose semi) in the below highlights from the Dec. 8 Dynamite.
As is AEW’s model these days, YouTube videos are being doled out slowly. But we’ve compiled what they’ve released as of this morning in this playlist, and tried to catch you up with the rest of the episode via Twitter clips below that.
- MJF Receives a Heroes Welcome in Long Island
- Look Who’s Back!
- Did Bryan Danielson Kick in Silver’s Head?
What just happened?! @lucha_angel1 eliminates @starkmanjones and Dante Martin and @The_MJF are the last two standing to advance to next week's final! Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE everywhere on @tntdrama NOW! pic.twitter.com/Xw1Tkc7yoL— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 9, 2021
No more fun and games...#FTR won't stop until they get another shot at #AEW World Tag Team Champions the #LuchaBros and they want it this Friday on #AEWRampage - Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE everywhere on @tntdrama NOW! pic.twitter.com/zghdMx4mS9— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 9, 2021
A 3-on-1 attack on @realrubysoho from @AllieWrestling, @thePenelopeFord and @NylaRoseBeast before @TayConti_ & @annajay___ chase them off - Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE everywhere on @tntdrama NOW! pic.twitter.com/NG4cMZSYam— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 9, 2021
TNT Champion @sammyguevara getting it from all angles and is not backing down from the challenge from #MenOfTheYear's @OfficialEGO & @ScorpioSky— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 9, 2021
Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE everywhere on @tntdrama NOW! pic.twitter.com/lXRpjHNfAU
Out of the darkness, @malakaiblxck appears and spews that poison mist into the face of @TheJuliaHart of the #VarsityBlonds!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 9, 2021
Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE everywhere on @tntdrama NOW! pic.twitter.com/w42JkhN3aF