Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Craig's Pro Wrestling Musings #2
The AEW Women's Division - The Biggest Opportunity in Women's Wrestling?
10 Wrestlers That Could Capitalise on the AEW Women's Division
The AEW Women's Division is a much discussed issue often pointed to as a failure of wrestling's new mega-power. This is harsh, before injuries to Britt Baker and Kris Statlander the AEW Women's Division was going places and in Hikaru Shida they have a top class wrestler who can be the Ace of the division as it grows.
Less discussed is the size of the opportunity the AEW Women's Division provides for women looking to make a big splash in the wrestling industry. AEW is the second biggest wrestling promotion in the world in my opinion and the Women's Division is far from being stacked like the Men's Singles and Tag Divisions. You could even argue AEW have a stronger Trios Division!
AEW Women's Division is just waiting for the correct collection of stars to use it as a vehicle to fire them into the stratosphere. But who could take that opportunity? Here are my picks of five women that could make the jump to AEW and take advantage of the biggest open goal in Women's Wrestling:
Dishonourable Mention: Tessa Blanchard
As much as I may not want to talk about her due to the allocations levied at her over the last 6 months, you cannot deny her talent. She should be near the top of this list by talent alone but whether those at AEW would want to work with her or whether their fans would like to see her wrestle in that promotion is a completely different issue entirely.
10. Tenille Dashwood
Tenille Dashwood is an odd one, at the forefront of the actual WWE Women's Revolution in NXT, she was ultimately misused and under-appreciated. She showed flashes of real talent in the ring and an ability to reinvent however hasn't set the world alight since leaving. A recognisable face that has already dallied with AEW, this one is possible but not a guaranteed success if it comes to fruition.
9. Shazza McKenzie
Another that has already worked in AEW, briefly. Shazza McKenzie is a switched on and intelligent individual who understands how to get over online. The exact kind of quality that built the groundswell that led to the creation of the Elite as mega-stars. She's young, she's talented and she would fit in brilliantly. This one is a very realistic possibility, if McKenzie returns to the US.
8. Thunder Rosa
The NWA Women's Champion has risen to prominence in the past year and proved her in-ring credentials beyond doubt in a superb match against Allysin Kay. If she decides to move on from NWA she would fit in perfectly in AEW and would be the kind of performer that could face off against Nyla Rose easily. A big possibility in the next few years.
7. Kairi Sane
The rumours surrounding Kairi Sane just don't go away. However it sounds like she will be heading back to Japan to be with her husband and working in Stardom, apparently before retiring in a year's time. Does she want to stay connected to US wrestling in any way, if all this is true? If so a Riho-style deal may work for her. A short AEW stint could be a huge building block for the division and give her a happy ending to her US wrestling journey. Probably a long-shot.
6. Candice LeRae
There are no rumours to suggest Candice LeRae will be leaving WWE any time soon. This entry is more born out of her misuse in WWE and independent wrestling history that suggests she could be huge if given the right opportunity. Very unlikely but would be perfect for AEW.
5. AJ Lee
Again, there are no rumours to suggest this is in any way possible. But AJ Lee's role in pushing forward Women's Wrestling in the WWE in one of it's darkest periods is criminally erased from history by that company due to a vendetta against her husband. An AEW run where she is treated as the legend that she is would be rewarding to fans and underline her place in wrestling history. Almost no chance in this coming to fruition at all.
4. Maya Iwatani
Recognised as one of the absolute best wrestlers in the world, Maya Iwatani could be huge and give much needed credibility to the AEW Women's Division. No rumours suggest this would ever happen but whether the two companies were to work together or she were to wrestle in America after feeling fulfilled in Stardom is up for question. This one doesn't seem very likely at the moment but shouldn't be dismissed completely.
3. Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks should be a bigger mega-star then she currently is in the WWE. However they are showing signs of allowing her to make that a reality. On the AEW roster she would have the ability to influence her presentation and have more of an opportunity to utilise her charisma to full affect. It would be an opportunity to create an era defining star. Sasha Banks to AEW is possibly the best thing that could ever happen to Women's Wrestling. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's ever going to happen.
2. Kylie Rae
This entry is on the list tentatively. There was a lot of confusion in the wake of Kylie Rae's AEW departure until she opened up about not feeling ready for the gravity of the platform. However she left and impression and has an impressive back-catalogue of top-notch performances on the independent wrestling circuit. Still having a long stretch of possible career-years in front of her, if she decided to return to AEW she would fit in perfectly and would be able to have quality matches with the small but talented AEW Women's Division. How likely this is is anyone's guess, my guess is probably not unfortunately.
1. Toni Storm
24 year-old, Toni Storm has been involved with WWE since 2017 but hasn't graduated from the critically unacclaimed NXT UK brand. Suggesting that a 24 year-old has been under-utilised seems harsh but when you look at the progress of Rhea Ripley, Storm does have cause to be slightly concerned. With a history in Stardom and a critically acclaimed in-ring ability, Toni Storm could be of one the main stars of a big company's women's division for years to come. Whether or not she is disgruntled with her position in the company is unknown there certainly aren't any rumours to speak of. Whether or not she ends up in AEW depends on whether Storm is capitalised on by WWE or how ambitious she is. A move to AEW seems far more likely to result in her being a face of a division due to the politics and motivations held by WWE. Keep the hope.