When AEW laid out the next week’s schedule of Owen Hart Foundation Tournament matches during Dynamite, Hikaru Shida’s match with Red Velvet was missing. The commentary team mentioned that Shida might be injured, but that was it. Rampage revealed she was being replaced by Kris Statlander — something the former champ seemed to learn when the company tweeted about it last night (May 13).
There had clearly been some miscommunication while Shida was working in Japan, and that led to a lot of speculation on the wrestle web about what went wrong, who was to blame, how angry Tony Khan might be with Shida or vice versa, etc, etc.
But with a few hours to get on the same page*, Shida tweeted out an updated explanation:
After my Philadelphia street fight a doctor check from AEW was required to participate in the Owen Hart Cup. And I couldn’t re-enter the country in time. I’m so sorry to disappoint everyone. These difficulties sometimes happen with international talents.
I feel healthy and never stop trying to improve.
Please cheer for Kris [Statlander] while I do my best in Japan!
Holy Shida will be back soon
Is the case closed with a better kayfabe explanation? Ehhh...
The internet’s attention will move on to other topics, for sure. But this situation will be brought up when we talk about AEW talent management — where there have been instances of poor communication in the past, and the company’s handling of their women’s division — which continues to draw attention for shortcomings of its booking & presentation rather than the talent & hard work of its wrestlers.
* Smart of Hikaru to realize that a social media kerfuffle was the best way to get TK’s attention.