Thunder Rosa is still dealing with a back injury and hasn’t been cleared to return to the ring, but she is back with AEW doing commentary. But both Rosa & the company seem to be setting things up for her eventually getting back into the wrestling mix.
Some set up is required for the same reason she’s been in the news — the backstage drama Rosa was a part of prior to and immediately following her injury is one of the major storylines on the All Access reality show that airs after Dynamite*. Some of that centered on the decision to leave Rosa as Women’s champion for a time after she got hurt, crowning an interim titleholder until eventually ending her reign and making removing the interim tag from then-champ Toni Storm’s. Some was because folks like Dr. Britt Baker thought Rosa should be around more to non-wrestling work despite her injury. And there may be other issues we’ll never know about.
Last week, Rosa shared that she’d apologized to the locker room and taken “accountability for things that some people had issues with”. Today (April 19), AEW owner & booker Tony Khan talked about her eventual return on Busted Open. The boss doesn’t seem to have any qualms about bringing her back despite the past issues, but he isn’t sure if he’ll book Rosa/Baker II:
“Thunder Rosa is not cleared to return to the ring, yet. When she is, certainly, we’ll welcome her back with open arms. It’s been an interesting situation. Some of that stuff I think should stay behind closed doors, but that’s where All Access does give fans a great chance to see what happens behind the scenes. We’ll have more All Access taking a look backstage when Thunder Rosa comes back.
“I know that the locker room, and Thunder Rosa, at times, have had some stuff. I also think that should be largely between everyone that was in the room. There is a point on All Access where I have to make a decision, ‘This is as much access as anyone backstage would reasonably get.’ You’ll see me making tough choices about what we do and don’t show.
“Thunder Rosa is a great wrestler and has been a great champion. I look forward to having her back. She’s done a lot of things we would ask on the path to return and try to make amends with some people, but there are some things you can’t amend. There are some people who are never going to get along or be friends. Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker are never going to be friends or get along. It’s probably going to be an intense rivalry for as long as they are both wrestling. They are not two people who are ever going to be buddies, but it’s something to follow for sure. Thunder Rosa, we look forward to having her back in the ring.”
It’s an interesting quote for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is because Rosa isn’t the only injured star who was at the center of some controversy last summer that figures to return soon. CM Punk definitely isn’t one of All Access’ focal points, though. And even if he wanted to, it’s not clear Khan could answer questions about the sidelined Chicagoan without running them by some lawyers.
We’ve done a lot of talking and speculating about if Punk will work with any of his detractors or Brawl Out opponents when he comes back. Will he (or did they) also have to do things AEW “would ask on the path to return and try to make amends with some people”?
A rumored meeting between TK, Punk, FTR, and Chris Jericho could be a stop on that path. Here’s hoping it goes as well as the things Rosa’s done seem to have.
* But not this week, since there’s a soccer game on TBS at 10pm ET.