AEW’s women’s world championship eliminator tournament begins tonight on Dynamite. The competitors had been announced previously, but the matchups and schedule were still unknown. That was until Tony Schiavone hosted a full bracket breakdown.
Schiavone gave us the first-round matches. The tournament will consist of two sides, one taking place in the USA and the other taking place in Japan.
Leyla Hirsch vs Thunder Rosa
Serena Deeb vs Riho
Tay Conti vs Nyla Rose
Dr. Britt Baker DMD vs Anna Jay
Hirsch versus Thunder Rosa is scheduled for tonight on Dynamite. The date is unclear for the other three contests.
Yuka Sakazaki vs Mei Suruga
Veny vs Emi Sakura
Maki Itoh vs Ryo Mizunami
Aja Kong vs Rin Kadokura
The first round of the Japan side will play out Monday, February 15 at 7 pm ET on AEW’s YouTube channel.
This a very strong tournament. For the Japan side, Kong and Sakura seem like heavy favorites to win in round one. I thought Sakazaki would be a lock, but then Schiavone picked Suruga to win that side of the bracket. I don’t think he would do that only for her to get bounced immediately. Itoh versus Mizunami is a toss-up for me. Itoh has strong crossover appeal, however, Mizunami has the experience edge. It is a tough call to predict a winner, but I’m rolling with Kong on the Japan side.
For the USA side of the bracket, three of the four opening matches seem clear. Thunder Rosa, Nyla, and Baker should advance. Deeb versus Riho is a toss-up. I tend to favor Deeb as NWA Champion. Riho doesn’t have the momentum to come in and knock off Deeb right away. Whoever wins would be an exciting opponent for Thunder Rosa. Deeb would be a rematch of the NWA title fight, and Riho would be a unique matchup. I’m picking Thunder Rosa to emerge on top and Nyla to put down Schiavone’s choice of Baker. That leaves the Native Beast to regain her status as a scary monster by beating Thunder Rosa.
In the finals, I’m taking Kong over Nyla in a hoss fight to provide a different challenger for Shida.
Break down the bracket and give us your picks in the comments below. Which first round matches are you looking forward to most? Which future tournament matches do you hope to see come to fruition?