All Elite Wrestling’s main problem is widely accepted to be their women’s division. There are various issues and obstacles which I examined in a recent article about the state of AEW’s women’s division.
A large amount of the roster is inexperienced in a television setting and many are early in their development journey full stop. Whilst there are some stars shining through, AEW are limited in what they can offer at present because of the lack of top talent they have.
Some have pointed to AEW’s weakness in booking their women’s division as a reason why names such as Deonna Purazzo or Mercedes Martinez chose to sign elsewhere. However, I’d argue that AEW is still the best place to be signing as a woman in North America.
AEW’s women’s division desperately needs new stars and there is opportunity, if you can prove yourself worthy, to go straight to the top. AEW is, for the most part, a meritocracy. Upon being given a chance Anna Jay has excelled despite her limited experience. Serena Deeb came in and showed what she can do in the ring. So, despite her weaknesses in terms of character Deeb is given big spot after big spot and continues to prove her worth.
Unlike WWE or Impact, AEW isn’t over-saturated with elite women’s talent. There is a real opportunity to grab the division and carry the flag. There are various other things that make AEW a very attractive proposition for any women’s wrestler. However, it is that opportunity to lead the division which is why I’d argue AEW is still the place to go.
With that said, here are ten women AEW should sign as soon as possible.
10. Thunder Rosa
This one explains itself. Thunder Rosa has been a revelation in the AEW Women’s Division since she first appeared before All Out in August 2020. Despite having had a few matches for AEW, she’s still officially signed to NWA through into 2021. As soon as she becomes available AEW must sign her up. Until then the relationship with NWA means we’ll see her around.
Rosa was linked with WWE after dropping the NWA Women’s Championship to AEW’s Serena Deeb. However, it has since been made clear that Rosa wants to keep her third-party projects and maintain her MMA career which all but confirms Rosa to AEW will happen.
9. Gia Scott
I could have named this spot ‘young upcoming talent’ but instead I’ve decided to highlight an example of a woman who fits that bill. AEW need not only to sign readymade stars like Thunder Rosa, but also identify potential. They’ve already done this with the likes of Anna Jay, Tay Conti and Red Velvet but the more the merrier.
Gia Scott is very young at just 21-years-old and has bags of potential. If you watch clips online you can see she is a good promo, carries herself brilliantly and for someone two years into her wrestling career, very competent in-ring. She is a three-time women’s champion in Maryland Championship Wrestling and it’s just a matter of time before she takes a step up. From her point of view, it may be smarter to move to a company like NWA or Impact first. But from AEW’s perspective she should be on their radar, at least.
8. Allysin Kay
We saw Allysin Kay appear at Full Gear on the Buy-In immediately after leaving NWA and it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw some more AEW matches and that ‘All Elite’ graphic soon. It would be strange to waste that spot on someone you don’t intend to sign.
However, AEW’s track record on letting good women’s talent slip through their fingers precedes them. Tony Khan should make sure Allysin Kay isn’t another example of that. She could offer a unique role in the division that desperately needs some structure and certainly has the potential of a future champion in the division.
7. Jordynne Grace
Jordynne Grace is someone I considered not putting on this list due to the fact she is currently signed to Impact. However, her talent is so much that, due to her contract reportedly expiring in 2021, I would recommend AEW sign Grace as soon as they can.
She offers a unique role as a powerhouse, can go like any woman in the world, has youth on her side and would be an instant star in the division. Competition for Grace’s signature would be strong with WWE undoubtedly being interested and Impact looking to retain her services. But it is abundantly clear that Grace would be worth every penny of whatever it takes to sign her.
6. Kelly Klein
Kelly Klein is a well-established wrestler having won titles in both ROH and Stardom. An experienced worker who could work around the top of the card in AEW with ease. Klein has been recovering from an injury since leaving ROH in the midst of a dispute over wrestler safety.
Klein’s relationship and public blow-up with ROH may have put AEW off. As might have Klein’s divorce from AEW producer BJ Whitmer. However, this is ultimately inside information. We don’t know the full story and out of not wanting to speculate I will keep her name on the list. As a talent there’s no doubt Klein would be a good signing. But those details we aren’t privy to remain a question as to whether this move will ever happen.
5. Rachael Ellering
Daughter of legendary manager Paul Ellering, Rachael has a history with AEW, albeit a short one. Ellering appeared alongside Dasha Gonzalez in the Deadly Draw and in an AEW Dark outing against Penelope Ford. Despite looking impressive in both she hasn’t been seen in AEW since.
There is some confusion online as to why this is because she seemed a safe pair of hands who could be crucial in the development of others whilst holding down a solid spot in the division herself.
Perhaps she was offered a deal and decided to try her luck elsewhere. This is pure speculation as it was odd that she just disappeared. Ellering probably wouldn’t be the game changer that certain others in this list would, but certainly could play a very important role in the division’s set-up.
4. Killer Kelly
Someone who would completely change the game in the division is Killer Kelly and AEW will have to move quickly if they hope to sign her. Kelly is freshly released from WWE and back in the USA after having worked with the company who trained her, wXw, in Germany.
She’s working with Impact in the short term and mentioned in an interview with Sean Ross Sapp that she has been in talks with American companies. Apparently, a company is trying to sort a working visa for Kelly who is Portuguese. AEW fans should hope this company is AEW. If you’re Tony Khan, what are you doing if it’s not?
Killer Kelly has a killer aesthetic, pun intended. She looks like an absolute badass and if you’ve ever seen her work, her style backs it up. Throw her into Team Taz as the women’s element and you have money on a plate.
3. Priscilla Kelly
Like Rachael Ellering, Priscilla Kelly has worked a few dates, including a Dynamite match on Jericho’s cruise vs Britt Baker, and mysteriously not been signed up. She is divorcing from TNT Champion Darby Allin, but their relationship is extremely friendly so that doesn't seem to be an issue.
Priscilla is an exceptional talent who, like Killer Kelly, looks completely different from anything else they’ve got. But beyond her gothic aesthetic she would immediately become one of the best wrestlers in the division. She’s been a free agent since March 2019 and searching for a reason why AEW haven’t signed her yet seems impossible.
According to Kelly, Tony Khan sent her flowers and condolences when her grandfather passed away so there’s absolutely no suggestion of ill-feeling between the two parties. Perhaps it just hasn’t been the right time and it soon will be? Either way, AEW simply have to make this signing and it’s one that would be immensely popular with fans.
2. Trish Adora
Trish Adora is my personal favourite women’s wrestler on the indies. I have to get that out the way so we can move forward with an objective view. Despite being my personal favourite, what does she offer and how does she fit?
Trish has explosive power which is infectious when you watch her. She is a former rugby player and member of the US army so that power has had years of building. She’s spoken about changing her body to a “wrestler’s body” and the combination of her athletic past and present is simply brilliant.
She holds one of the most beautiful titles in wrestling, the Pan Afrikan Diaspora World Championship, and has one of the best finishers in the game, the Lariat Tubman. Okay it’s “just a lariat” but again, her explosive power makes this move awesome and the name is even better.
From a cynical business point of view, Trish Adora could be a real draw especially for black fans. God knows that is a section of wrestling fans, passionate and loyal as hell, who deserve a true ace. Trish can be that and AEW can be the home of it.
One hurdle is she is very happy being a “journeyman wrestler” as she phrases it. However, AEW allow flexibility for her to continue doing that whilst working whenever AEW needs her. She’s trained by the Dudley Boyz, spent a short stint in NXT and wrestled all over the world.
In an interview with Cultaholic’s Tom Campbell she spoke about her love of psychology in wrestling and this is part of what makes her so great. Thinking of all the dream matches she could have in AEW, rematches from the indies with Big Swole and power vs beast with Nyla Rose. Not even mentioning what she could do with the likes of Shida, Riho, Thunder Rosa, Serena Deeb or Tay Conti.
I personally really want this to happen so hopefully you can see why through my reasoning.
1. Zelina Vega / Thea Trinidad
Zelina Vega is in every wrestling fan’s heart due to her controversial release from WWE, but every AEW fan will be quietly thinking, “what if?” For good reason too. She has proven over years in WWE her worth as a manager with exceptional mic skills. But more recently she’s shown herself to be a really good wrestler also.
Her real draw comes from her character and mic work, however. A strong character who can cut a great promo is something that, Britt Baker aside, is very much lacking in AEW. Pair that with the fact everyone will be happy to see her and you have a potential top babyface. Her past work proves she’d make a top heel also so you could really go either way.
She also comes with a large audience who she has created a close connection with, and this shouldn’t be sniffed at by AEW. A lot of her audience won’t be AEW fans and are potentially new eyes on the product. If wrestling standom tells us anything it’s that people will blindly follow their favourites to new companies.
The big killer for Vega in WWE was of course the third-party earnings issue with Twitch and OnlyFans. We know this isn’t a problem in AEW so when her 90-day non-compete clause ends shortly before AEW Revolution in 2021 there will surely be nothing stopping Tony Khan from opening his chequebook to sign her up.
There are plenty of names who aren’t in this list. Either because they’re on longer-term contracts than is relevant for this article, are stationed overseas making a debut in a new company hard during the pandemic or purely for “other” reasons (Tessa Blanchard).
Some honourable mentions are Billie Starkz, Leyla Hirsch, Nicole Savoy, Kiera Hogan, Melina, Giulia and Mayu Iwatani. But who would you like to see AEW sign?