Last week’s episode of AEW Dynamite featured a semi-final match on the American side of the Women’s World Title Eliminator Tournament between Britt Baker and Nyla Rose.
In most cases, Rose picking up a win over anyone would rate very low on the surprise scale. However, this felt different. Baker’s recent run of momentum seemed to have her primed to challenge and most likely win the AEW Women’s World Championship from Hikaru Shida at AEW Revolution.
In the past few months, Baker has debuted a successful talk show segment called “The Waiting Room”, picked up wins over Shanna, Thunder Rosa, and Madi Wrenkowski, and cemented herself as the top female heel in the company. Baker has also featured heavily on Dynamite in recent weeks while Rose’s appearances on the flagship show are few and far between.
Despite that, the trajectory towards the title that Britt Baker seemed so obviously on came to a screeching halt last week.
I went into the match between Baker and Rose fully expecting Baker to prevail. I watched with horror as Rose picked Baker up and slammed her to the canvas with a Beast Bomb. But to my surprise, Baker kicked out. While everyone’s favorite dentist has built up her character and has displayed a number of personality traits recently, toughness hasn’t exactly been one of them, until this match with Rose, anyway.
Seeing Baker kick out of Rose’s finisher did nothing but confirm what I had expected for months. Britt Baker was moving on and she would indeed be the next AEW Women’s World Champion.
Not long after that, unfortunately, there was a second Beast Bomb and my jaw hit the floor as the ref’s hand slapped the mat for the third time and Rose stood up with her hand raised in victory.
AEW made a massive booking mistake by having Nyla Rose defeat Britt Baker in the Women’s World Title Eliminator Tournament
While this was a very good match, the outcome left me confused as to what the future of the AEW women’s division will be at the top. I had already crowned Baker the new champ in my mind and to be honest, sitting here five days later, I am still a little bit shocked by the result.
AEW has quietly solidified its women’s division over the past few months. Signing Tay Conti and Serena Deeb gave the division two very good performers in the ring, as did bringing in Thunder Rosa, even though she is not currently under contract with AEW, though I would be willing to bet she will be very soon. The excellent booking of Abadon has added a personality with a lot of intrigue, and the fact that she is not on TV every single week keeps that mystique strong. And getting Riho back in the fold is a huge plus as she is, no pun intended, dynamite in the ring. If the rehab of Kris Statlander’s knee and the development of Jade Cargill and Red Velvet all go as planned, AEW has built themselves a really good women’s division.
Yet none of these women have the ability to build excitement for a match on the microphone the way that Baker currently does. This was most evident when she was out with a leg injury most of the first half of 2020. Even from a wheelchair, she increased her stock as a top act built hype around her feud with Big Swole. I do not believe that any other woman on the current roster would have been able to do this.
Baker’s improvement in the ring can not be understated, either. She has had two excellent matches with Thunder Rosa and Nyla Rose and has proven that she is more than capable in the ring, in both performing and storytelling, with the top of the division. To put it plainly, Baker is on top of every aspect of her game right now.
There is an old adage that says, “strike while the iron is hot”. In the AEW women’s division, there is currently no one hotter than Britt Baker, and they missed out on a golden opportunity to capitalize on that.