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AEW didn’t learn anything from WWE’s pie-in-the-face debacle

Last night’s (Apr. 13) episode of AEW Dynamite was mostly a great show. CM Punk vs. Penta Oscura was a hot opener, Samoa Joe and Minoru Suzuki struck each over over 100 times in their memorable main event collision, Jurassic Express had a very good tag team championship match against reDRagon, and Wardlow continued messing around with MJF.

Yet the main thing online bots wrestling fans are talking about today is the bad ending with Satnam Singh’s debut. In some sense, the elevated level of criticism is actually a compliment to AEW; they typically put on such a high quality product that a flat segment like Singh’s debut, which would be just another blah segment on WWE television, becomes the center of attention for how uncharacteristic it is of AEW to book something like that.

Singh’s debut was a disappointment, but it wasn’t actually the worst thing on the show. No, that honor belongs to Thunder Rosa’s backstage segment with Nyla Rose and Vickie Guerrero that involved a cake getting shoved in someone’s face:

Right away, this segment brought me back to Charlotte Flair and Toni Storm throwing pies in each other’s faces while feuding over the SmackDown women’s championship last November and December. It was a widely panned angle, and rightfully so. Storm walked out of WWE shortly after that mess of a storyline wrapped up, and she is now in AEW.

Thunder Rosa is the AEW women’s world champion. Nyla Rose is challenging her for the title this Saturday (Apr. 16) at Battle of the Belts, but their feud is now about a cake getting shoved in Nyla’s face. Nyla’s line about loving cake and violence was at least worth a laugh, but in general, Nyla kicking Rosa’s ass while her face was covered in cake made both women look like they shouldn’t be feuding over a world title.

How did it come to this? It seems to me that the qualifying matches for the upcoming women’s Owen Hart tournament have contributed to AEW getting really lazy or complacent with their women’s championship stories. Dynamite and Rampage each feature exactly one women’s match on most episodes, with an occasional second women’s (squash) match on Dynamite. These women’s matches have mostly been devoted to qualifying for The Owen in recent weeks, which means AEW has put less television focus on creating interest in other women’s stories such as Serena Deeb vs. Hikaru Shida, Jade Cargill vs. Marina Shafir, and Rosa vs. Rose.

Look at Shafir’s match last night on Dynamite. The live audience was insanely loud the whole night until Shafir wrestled, when they suddenly became dead silent. This happened because AEW Dark and Dark: Elevation don’t mean much to most of AEW’s audience. If The Owen tournament qualifying matches weren’t going on right now, perhaps Shafir would have had more time on Dynamite and Rampage in recent weeks to wrestle and get over for her upcoming match for Cargill’s TBS championship. Instead, she isn’t remotely over with the audience, her match didn’t make a good impression on fans seeing her for the first time, and her upcoming match with Cargill is now ice cold.

Getting back to Rosa and Rose, their championship feud has largely played out in quick segments outside the ring, and the final angle to promote it actually involved a cake to the face. Some folks might call it a stupid idea from bad creative. The end result is that Rosa is in a tough spot to start her championship reign, and it’s not her fault.

I’m not saying AEW shouldn’t be doing these Owen Hart tournament qualifying matches. We’ve gotten some pretty fun bouts thus far from some women who don’t get much television time. But because AEW sticks to one women’s match per television show, the cost of doing these tournament qualifying matches has come at the expense of their women’s championships feuds.

One of the reasons why Wardlow is getting over in his story with MJF is because he is on TV most weeks in interesting angles or matches. If AEW wants any of their non Britt Baker women to get over at Baker’s level, then those specific women need to be showcased on television most weeks too (the YouTube shows don’t qualify as television). Shida vs. Deeb could be super hot right now, but it’s not because their feud doesn’t receive regular attention on television. Rose vs. Rosa shouldn’t have to build their story around a backstage segment with a cake to the face. Fans should have a better idea of what Marina Shafir can do in the ring by now given AEW is trying to present her challenge to Cargill for the TBS title as a huge deal.

Cargill is at least on TV most weeks, even if it’s just quick talking segments, and she’s getting over. The same can’t be said about too many other women on the AEW roster, and that’s because AEW isn’t giving consistent focus to any of them. It’s all being spread too thin for the television time AEW is willing to allocate for their women’s division.

How did you feel about Rosa’s backstage cake segment with Rose last night, as well as Shafir’s debut match on Dynamite? Let us know in the comments below, Cagesiders.