Dynamite Had A Great 200th Episode, But AEW Continues to Let Its Women’s Division Down

This submit comprises spoilers for AEW. Header courtesy of TBS and AEW Dynamite.

All Elite Wrestling hit its two hundredth episode of AEW Dynamite this week. The cardboard featured wrestlers from all corners of the corporate displaying their stuff and highlighted most of the wrestling promotions biggest strengths. Frustratingly, it additionally showcased one among its biggest weaknesses.

MJF and Adam Cole acquired to proceed the ‘Adam Cole gets Mean Girls’ed’ story, which, for my cash, has in some way ended up as among the finest bits in professional wrestling proper now. In the meantime, Jungleb — sorry — Jack Perry acquired to construct the beginning of a brand new arc with ECW legend Rob Van Dam for the extremely-fake-extremely-pointless FTW belt, and the autumn of the Jericho Appreciation Society continued.

So why, with on a regular basis given to different tales, have been Hikaru Shida and Toni Storm robbed of an precise build-up to the Girls’s World Title altering palms? Why weren’t they given a narrative worthy of the match that unfolded?

Credit score the place it’s due: I’m thrilled to see the ladies getting the principle occasion of such a giant present. Nevertheless, the ladies solely getting one match per episode isn’t new, neither is AEW’s continued failure to introduce storylines for his or her girls’s division.

A notable latest exception belongs to Jade Cargill, Taya Valkyrie, and Kris Statlander. It was a well known secret that Kris Statlander was meant to feud with Jade Cargill and finally win the TBS Championship. However, as is frequent with wrestling tales, issues needed to change when Stat went out together with her second knee damage and Jade would go on to have the longest win-streak in AEW historical past. In the direction of the top of that run, Jade started feuding with Taya — a showcase of one of many firm’s different weaknesses: giving just-signed expertise fast championship runs. The 2 would finally meet for a remaining time at AEW’s annual Double or Nothing pay-per-view the place Taya would in the end lose and Jade would insist she’d face anybody at any time for the championship. Cue the triumphant return of Statlander, who would run in and handily beat Cargill, thus ending the streak and returning the wrestling timeline to the place it was deliberate to be previous to the now-champ’s damage.

It had a narrative! It had intrigue! It had me in flooring seats within the T-Cell Enviornment shrieking my head off as one among my favourite wrestlers returned for the most important shock of the evening! It isn’t a heavy carry to offer these girls the tales they deserve! And but AEW repeatedly fails to take action in any other case.

Hikaru Shida gave her blood, sweat, and tears preventing for this firm all all through quarantine. She had her first bout as Girls’s World Champion with no crowds. The entire vitality needed to come from her and her opponents, and an empty area meant Shida by no means acquired the cheers she deserved. AEW acknowledged this reality within the transient bundle they allowed as lead-in to her match with Toni Storm within the two hundredth episode, however the acknowledgement and unusual lead-in match simply isn’t sufficient — even when I’m all the time thrilled to see Nyla Rose get display time.

Hikaru Shida and Dustin Rhodes after Shida's win over Toni Storm — Photo courtesy of TBS and AEW Dynamite
Hikaru Shida and Dustin Rhodes after Shida’s win over Toni Storm — Picture courtesy of TBS and AEW Dynamite

The corporate had a narrative sitting proper there. The Outcasts (Toni Storm, Saraya, and Ruby Soho) began a feud some time in the past with what they name the “home grown talent” (wrestlers like Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter who didn’t come from WWE). A few months in the past, Shida did align herself with the house grown expertise (as she additionally falls underneath that class). The arc writes itself, and but Hikaru Shida and Toni Storm got scraps when the title modified palms whereas the lads’s tales got the remainder of the night to develop.

This therapy of the ladies’s division isn’t new, because the belt has unceremoniously modified palms with out correct lead-in or story in most situations all through its tenure. A undeniable fact that solely frustrates me as a result of I really like this firm so dang a lot and wish to see it give its girls’s division a good shake.

Shida’s first title loss again in 2021 ought to have been large. She had a year-long reign and the loss was to Britt Baker, whose nostril she had unintentionally damaged in a match prior. Earlier than the match, the champ gave an interview with Sports activities Illustrated the place she explicitly outlined that she hoped for extra promo time. How is it {that a} world champ is giving an interview with one of many greatest sports activities journals on the market and asking for extra time on TV? Make that make sense.

Baker’s run might have resulted in a powerful feud with Thunder Rosa earlier than the latter in the end took the championship, however Rosa must relinquish the title as a result of damage. This story didn’t have to finish with extra of a whimper than a bang. CM Punk needed to vacate his title equally and was given loads of time to hem and haw about it on display. In the meantime, Rosa acquired a small apart with Tony Schiavone. I wasn’t sitting there with a stopwatch or something, however there’s no argument which star acquired the fanfare and which one was tossed apart.

These examples are already underwhelming, but the handoffs between Riho and Nyla Rose, and Rose to Shida have been much more underwhelming. In the meantime, the Storm-Hayter-Storm championship hot-potato was mired by “interim this” and “interim that” and an underwhelming heel flip for the ages when Storm joined The Outcasts.

Why are the lads given these wealthy, dense title feuds time and time once more whereas it’s a banner night for the women in the event that they get a couple of match? (We’re speaking concerning the World Championships right here; don’t get me began on the TNT belt.) Each rivalry FTR leads to is known, Hangman Adam Web page has had two main blood feuds at this level, All the pieces with MJF is a gauntlet story, CM Punk beat the shit out of the EVPs of the corporate however will get welcomed again together with his personal faux belt.

AEW’s girls’s roster is stacked with expertise. But they signed Athena and instantly caught her in Ring of Honor purgatory. (I really like ROH however, until you’re Claudio Castagnoli, you’re not getting any significant tv time.) They’ll’t work out what they wish to do with Britt Baker, the pillar often disregarded of the dialog. AEW needs to maintain Nyla Rose as a monster villain although she’s one of many funniest individuals on the roster. Riho — the primary Girls’s Champ — barely will get acknowledged and when she is she may be very hardly ever launched as the primary girls’s champion.

And all of this frustration is earlier than we even get into points like the truth that their girls’s division nonetheless doesn’t have tag workforce belts.

Toni Storm acquired crumbs of a feud with Jamie Hayter earlier than in the end taking the belt, and subsequent to nothing when Hikaru Shida took it off her. Hikaru Shida helped prop up the corporate throughout the hardest time for professional wrestling as an entire (to not point out for a younger promotion that might have simply sank throughout that interval). It was simple to excuse the shortage of storylines throughout the pandemic, since you by no means knew who could be round from one week to a different.

However quarantine has lengthy since handed, and these girls have put within the work. It’s time AEW gave them their flowers.

Amelia is the leisure Streaming Editor right here at IGN. She’s additionally a movie and tv critic who spends an excessive amount of time speaking about dinosaurs, superheroes, and folks horror. You possibly can often discover her together with her canine, Rogers. There could also be cheeseburgers concerned. Comply with her throughout social @ThatWitchMia

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