AEW’s women’s division has been the focus of criticism and debate since the company’s inception in 2019. Thunder Rosa’s reign as their World champ has been a microcosm of the division’s issues.
Rosa’s quest to dethrone Dr. Britt Baker should have been one AEW’s hottest programs. It came close to that a few times, but wasn’t peaking at the end. She’s struggled to get television time as champ, and when she gets it it’s usually been to cut a promo or do an interview, things even her biggest fans would admit aren’t her strength. When she gets to wrestle — the thing she does best, and that’s the basis for her strong connection to the audience — it’s not followed up on. After a great title defense against Serena Deeb at Double or Nothing, the Women’s World champ wasn’t even mentioned on last week’s Dynamite.
She made it onto TV last night (June 8)... for a title defense that was set-up on social media a couple hours before the show, against a challenger most fans last saw losing to TBS champ Jade Cargill. The interview did get aired on Dynamite at least...
After going to war with @SerenaDeeb, #AEW Women's World Champion @thunderrosa22 is ready for her next match & issued a challenge to any women in AEW to fight her tonight on #AEWDynamite, a challenge that has apparently been accepted by the Top 5 ranked @MarinaShafir! pic.twitter.com/BHRiILMy5n— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 8, 2022
... but that didn’t do much to get the audience excited for Marina Shafir vs. Thunder Rosa.
The match was okay. On paper, making a fighting champion like Rosa issuing an open challenge and dealing with a Shafir’s MMA-based style is a smart idea. In practice, with zero build up and Marina still learning on the job, it took the champ most of the match to get the crowd invested (and it’s a testament to her talents she was able to, considering there was no doubt about the outcome).
The real reason for the segment was to set-up La Mera Mera’s next challenger. Toni Storm ran in to save Rose from a post-match beatdown, then share a tense moment over the belt.
#TheProblem @MarinaShafir isn't happy with the outcome of the match and takes matters into her own hands, but #ToniStorm comes to the aid of the Champion @thunderrosa22! It’s #AEWDynamite LIVE on @TBSNetwork! pic.twitter.com/w7lO6iseYf— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 9, 2022
Storm vs. Rosa sounds great, and should be a kick-ass match when it happens. But at this point, I don’t have a lot of faith the story leading up to the match will be well told. AEW’s managed to give us lackluster builds to slam dunk Thunder Rosa programs like Baker and Deeb. Why should we have faith they’ll nail a trickier face vs. face one?
At this point, I’m just accepting that Rosa’s reign, and maybe the main AEW Women’s title scene overall, will be like this: questionable builds to good matches.
Let us know what you think, and check out the rest of the highlights from last night’s Dynamite. As usual, AEW doles out YouTube videos slowly. But we’ve compiled what they’ve released as of this morning in a playlist, and tried to catch you up with the rest of the episode via Twitter clips below that.
- Kyle O’Reilly Earns His Shot at Mox With a Casino Battle Royale Victory
- AEW Introduces the All-Atlantic Championship & Pac Moves On in the Tournament
- Will Ospreay Kicked Down the Forbidden Door & Brought the United Empire w Him
#BattleRoyale Winner @KorCombat will face #1 Contender @JonMoxley in the main event of #AEWDynamite TONIGHT to determine who goes on to #ForbiddenDoor LIVE on PPV! Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE on @TBSNetwork right now! pic.twitter.com/5Uw3vN9QbN— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 9, 2022
Tonight in the Battle Royale, @RealJakeHager cost @MadKing1981 a chance to be Interim #AEW World Champion and vows to get his hands on Hager at #AEWRampage this FRIDAY at 10/9c on TNT!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 9, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/TmANMGpgoA
#BattleRoyale Winner @KorCombat will face #1 Contender @JonMoxley in the main event of #AEWDynamite TONIGHT to determine who goes on to #ForbiddenDoor LIVE on PPV! Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE on @TBSNetwork right now! pic.twitter.com/Rb7VC4mdz9— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 9, 2022
.@RealWardlow has his sights set on the TNT Championship, but TNT Champion @ScorpioSky, @OfficialEGO and #DanLambert aren't about to let go of "Jeanie" any time soon! #AEWDynamite is LIVE on @TBSNetwork! pic.twitter.com/ZX3dkb09Xz— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 9, 2022
Newly freed @realWardlow looks to the future by tearing up the past but @MarkSterlingEsq just can't seem to let bygones be bygones...— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 9, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEW Dynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/7y5OGg6UGd
.@Christian4Peeps challenges @youngbucks & #TheHardys (@matthardybrand/@jeffhardbrand) for a chance to win the #AEW World Tag Team Titles against Champs @boy_myth_legend/@luchasaurus in a 3-way Ladder Match next week!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 9, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/3oxeV40Nsq
This FRIDAY on #AEWRampage back at our regularly scheduled time of 10/9c on TNT, #TheBaddies' @Thee_Red_Velvet takes on @callmekrisstat!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 9, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/HIjHve2nXO