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Prime Time
01-07-2020, 11:37 AM
According to the AEW website, current rankings:

1. Kris Statlander
2. Britt Baker
3. Hikaru Shida
4. Nyla Rose
5. Emi Sakura


So the women's division has probably been the most divisive part of AEW so far, neither being universally panned nor praised (though some of the tag stuff could arguably run it close). I guess it'll be interesting to see how they address that in 2020. If - as some suspect - size is a factor a title change in the next year from Riho to a Baker or Statlander could see things settle down, potentially?

Powder
01-07-2020, 12:08 PM
The division is terrible with a terrible champion of Riho. She is just as unbelievable as Marko Stunt.

Prime Time
01-08-2020, 10:14 PM
Man, I've got no real clue what's going on but people are hammering the booking of the women on Twitter right now.

Powder
01-09-2020, 08:07 AM
The Women's Division is going nowhere, and as I have previously stated, the champion of Riho is terrible. Watching Statlander having to sell her [lack of] offense was brutal.

mizfan
01-10-2020, 02:38 PM
Obviously mileage may vary on Riho, but the crowd tends to get loud in support of her and from what I've heard she draws very well in the female demographic, so I'm not surprised they're giving a lot of focus to her. Personally I really enjoy her and think she's done very well for herself. I'm a fan of the most of the division to be honest, even if the crowd is sometimes cold when they start they usually warm up a lot as the match goes on and frequently the women are in contention for my favorite match of the night.

The two main issues I have with the division right now is I think they need more meaty stories, and while I don't mind the Nightmare Collective thing, I don't think it's going to get them over the hump. The second is I think they really need to consider the big push of Britt Baker, who to me is one of the weakest performers in the division and doesn't seem to have a lot of upside. Very pleased that they signed on Statlander, who I think has the potential to be the new star of the division in the near future.

Pete, if you're still curious I believe there were complaints about the interference/overbooking in the Riho/Statlander title match. I thought what Riho and Statlander did between themselves was quite good actually but I did feel like it was a misstep in the way the run in was handled, I don't mind a story progressing like that but the timing didn't feel right.

Prime Time
01-14-2020, 12:11 PM
I was still interested, thanks for the info.

This comment from Omega, about fans who criticise the women's division (and presumably his booking of it), has drawn a bit of fire recently.

"Lately, most “criticisms” I read are incredibly ignorant. Depressing the amount of fans that have absolutely no class."

Powder
01-14-2020, 12:18 PM
Omega is right in his no class statements, but that does not mean that the AEW Women's division is not great. Especially at the top. I have repeatedly said this: Riho is not believable as a champion. She is barely 98 pounds and her offense looks horrendous, and it is laughable when much larger and stronger women have to sell for her. Women like Statlander, Kong, Nyla Rose, and Mel.

Do not come at me with the "Well it is professional wrestling/sports entertainment, so you have to suspend disbelief." Yes I know all that, but wrestling has it's roots based in reality, and Riho is not believable.

Marko stunt is not believable, and all of his opponents do not really sell for him.

Orange Cassidy is the humorous side of wrestling where his kicks of doom, are intentionally lame, and they do no damage. But when he really does a wrestling move it is believable because he has some size to go with his dropkicks or planchas.

Degenerate
01-14-2020, 10:25 PM
I don't have a problem with Riho as champ - she seems to be popular with crowds, and she can play the underdog role well enough. But her reign has been pretty lackluster to me. I think she would benefit from a longer-term storyline instead of just throwing her against random women who won Number 1 Contender matches.

The booking of the division has been really inconsistent and spotty. They have some solid matches one week, and then they don't follow up on it the next 2-3 weeks. They also seem to throw together matches that make absolutely no sense, again with no follow-up. They have some interesting talent that I want to see more of (Hikaru Shida, Kris Statlander, Big Swole, etc.). Hopefully they get some time to develop the division, but as of now it's really not what I had expected.

PEN15v2
01-15-2020, 12:59 AM
I think AEW is showing exactly why booking a non-English speaking champion is a challenge for a mostly English speaking promotion and core audience. For all her positives and qualities, fans aren't connecting with her until she's in the ring. This isn't a knock on her or AEW, because there's obviously an effort, and this is mostly booking long term to show that Japanese talents can be the face of a division and the wealth of skill available in Japan for the Joshi division. But the entire division feels off because there's no core.

I do my best not to compare to WWE, but I have to here. All 3 WWE brands have a core to the division. Becky is the overall star, and a lot of it is through her mic work and charisma. Charlotte has a stature that's unmatched, legit credibility due to her pedigree, and an amazing record. There's a weakness outside of these 2 on Raw, but that impressive core makes up for a lot of it, even if the match quality isn't equal to AEW. On SD, Bayley and Sasha are over and demonstrating a great heel gimmick that is working. In NXT, Ripley is such an amazing star of the future, with Shayna a #1 contender anywhere, and Io always ready to become the next challenger at a moment's notice.

Obviously, WWE's history is an advantage, but they have the star power. Not only that, but the stars deliver in ways all fans care about. None of them are Roman Reigns or Baron Corbin where the there's a solid portion of the fans refusing to buy into the talents.

AEW has the benefit of known male stars, so they can develop new stars from unknown talent very easily. But not in the women's division. Barring Brandi and Kong, no one in the division is known, and those 2 aren't exactly draws. So AEW is building the foundation without any concrete. It's going to be slow going for now. Plus, none of the stars have much of a character or mic skills yet to push stories forward. Kris Statlander seems to be an exception, but it's still so new that we can't say for sure. Plus that would still just make a single talent who AEW can call to go out and sell a full segment for the women's division.

So I suggest all AEW fans be patient. It won't happen overnight. Riho is fine as champ, and definitely gets the crowd into the match, so there's no reason yet to remove her from the title scene. But they need to find ways to elevate the rest of the division. Nyla Rose has obvious potential, but her initial loss to Riho likely takes her away from title contention for now. Britt Baker just doesn't have it, no matter how much AEW tries to sell it to us. Other Joshi talent won't be able to sell the angles on the mic either, so that's a risk . There's nothing wrong with "dream" matches or simply putting on a great match between Joshi stars for the sake of a strong match (that's how the tag division is mostly booked so far). But that won't elevate the division to the expectations we're discussing. It'll take a star, and AEW seems to only have a single prospect in this division so far.

Degenerate
01-15-2020, 02:56 AM
It's kind of a chicken and egg problem - they need time to establish their roster, but how can you establish their roster when there's little to build it with? Fans in general should be patient, but that doesn't mean that they should keep the same course. The division needs some work because at their current rate I don't know how people would stick with it before it becomes the "bathroom break" portion of the card.

I think one thing they can do in the short-term is really put their weight behind someone and make them an integral part of the show every single week without fail. They try to rotate the women every week which is okay for some things like introducing more names. But it does little to make that division feel important. A good example is a few months ago where Riho wasn't on TV for a month or more. As their champ for a fledgling division in a new company, that shouldn't be allowed. If she has other obligations, she shouldn't be the main part of the division while they build it up.

Oliver
01-15-2020, 06:50 AM
I quite like what I've seen as Riho, and don't see her as being 'too small' or anything of that sort - even though she is, objectively, very small. I think she's good at actually wrestling, and I guess the hope is that will get her over with the crowd without the need to cut a load of promos. Of course, something of an issue then comes with exposure, as Degen says - if Riho were to come out and cut promos, she can be present on TV a lot more. Without that, she has to wrestle - and it's possible that the division just isn't that developed to allow her to do so and deliver half decent matches.

Overall, I'm not sure I really love the women's division they've built - yet. There are some excellent talents there, including Sakura, Shanna, Swole, Kong, Bates, Allie...but I'm not sure AEW is doing enough to really promote a lot of them. I guess it's not easy with the time they have on a weekly basis to do that well, but they could at least give a spot on each show to develop some of them.

Prime Time
01-15-2020, 07:09 AM
For what it's worth, my feeling is that the current people watching will *mostly* be fine with Riho's size: the question is about expansion beyond that current crowd, where I'm not sure it'll play at all well. Then you're caught in an interesting conundrum, because on the one hand you can say that maybe the women's division isn't going to make much of a difference to lapsed fans you are trying to bring back in (an argument for keeping Riho in the main event mix), but if that's the case then the question becomes... why have so much focus on it, anyway? You'd have to then think about getting the spotlight on to more of the people who will get the crowds in. So it's a tricky one to navigate.

PEN15v2
01-15-2020, 10:46 AM
If the issue is AEW growing their audience, then I wouldn't even worry about the women's division at this time. I'm potentially letting my personal bias interfere, but anyone I know who's caught AEW tells me it looks so much more fake than the wrassling they once watched. I'm not saying that's a consensus with all fans, that they are turned off by the choreography, but it seems like it's been enough of an issue with fans for AEW to need to address.

Prime Time
01-15-2020, 10:53 AM
Oh, the little bit of research I've put in tells me that's way more of an issue than any perceived booking problems. It appears, at least, as if the majority of the fans they said they wanted to bring back don't even get that far, but see things like the tag matches and go 'well, that's dumb' and switch off. I guess the question for the women's division is whether having a champion that looks like she would get her ass kicked by 99% of adult women is going to exacerbate that.

Powder
01-15-2020, 11:04 AM
And the fact that they are having a fatal four way tag match tonight to determine a new #1 contender for the tag titles which will include amazing athletic ability, but a lot of non tags, all 8 guys in the ring and spots galore. No real tag wrestling.

Fun to watch, but not what AEW said they wanted to do.

PEN15v2
01-15-2020, 11:04 AM
All this talk of choreography and tiny champion makes me think AEW is booking for the 10-15 year old market. My nephews reaching that age love watching parkour and X games stunts on youtube, and AEW is basically the wrestling version of that.

I'm sure you're right, Riho likely would exacerbate that problem for those types of fans. The problem is there isn't a better option right now. That division is dire. So, with Riho working well with the current audience it feels like it would be best to stay the course.


AEW has SOOOOO much going right for it. Then the bell rings and I roll my eyes and cringe at what wrestling seems to be (d)evolving into.

Powder
01-15-2020, 11:17 AM
Also they are having DDP involved in a tag match tonight. That’s what they need, a 63 year old guy who hasn’t wrestled in a decade wrestling. As a special guest enforcer, where he throws a punch, or hits a diamond cutter like last week, sure. But actually wrestling? No thank you.

Team Farrell
01-15-2020, 11:57 AM
I'm fairly certain that's what it's going to be. DDP likely isn't doing topes. He's probably there to get a hot tag, hit a Diamond Cutter and probably eat a pin.

I think it's a brilliant move. WWE carts out the legends all the time to help draw ratings. There are a limited number of them left that aren't under the WWE umbrella, so use the ones you can when it makes sense to do so. Especially Page who has limited his physicality in the ring for the last 15 years and created the DDP Yoga that's extended so many careers, he's probably in better condition today than he was at the end of his WWE run.

Powder
01-15-2020, 12:05 PM
He looked really bad last week. His cutter was oof. Especially when you have Private Party doing their top ripe hurricanrana into a cutter (RKO) off the top rope. DDPs looks bad by comparison. When Goldberg came back, he was still in peak physical shape and his power moves, still looked like they could kill you. His spear was good, and the jackhammer is always impressive.

I get the Legend thing, but he optically looked good. Wrestling wise, not so much.

Team Farrell
01-15-2020, 12:23 PM
But he's not going to be aiming to have an eight star Tokyo Dome main event. At least, he shouldn't be.

Not everything needs to be smooth and pretty and perfect all the time. There's a place for less physically great wrestling, especially if it's coming from someone who will hopefully boost numbers a bit and is completely expendable.

As I said about Destroyers, if DDP's cutter looks just as pretty and fluid as Private Party's at 63, that must be a pretty damn easy move and anyone can do it.

Last night on Power, Scott Steiner worked a six man. He wasn't the Scott Steiner of 20 years ago. He wasn't as quick or physically smooth as his opponents or partners. He was pretty lumbering. But he still has a presence that nobody else on that show can match, he still has an aura and a level of credibility that elevates Eli Drake, Tim Storm and Wildcard by sharing a ring with him. They're "as good" as this legend that might not be at his peak anymore, but at one point was one of the most badass guys in the industry.

mizfan
01-16-2020, 05:40 PM
If anyone thinks DDP was ever an athletic killer, you watched a different DDP than I did! He was always a rough around the edges scrapper who could catch you in the blink of an eye. Mileage will vary, obviously, but I thought he looked great all things considered in the six man tag. And while I would have been just as happy if he had eaten a pin, it was good to see him. I especially liked that even though he got his licks in against the heels, they were still the ones who walked away with the victory and the heat. The balance felt right.

As for Riho, I can't stress enough that the quarter hour ratings show that Riho segments gain viewers more consistently than anyone but the very top stars in AEW. Like, she might be second after Jericho if you break it all down. I really do think the women's division needs better booking, but Riho is the opposite of the problem looking at the numbers.

Prime Time
01-16-2020, 05:56 PM
I suppose the question is, how many would you be getting if you were paying heed to those people's concerns, and would it out do any gains you are getting currently?

I see too many people complaining about her and 1-2 others to write any of them off as being without problems. Though I must confess the question I've posed above is ultimately hypothetical.

One thing is for sure - they aren't going to pivot unless they are forced by overwhelming pressure and so long as those quarter hours give them any excuse, they will stick to their vision. Booking and talent, I expect.


And DDP was the people's champ! Who cares if he's rough around the edges. Rehabilitation of Page post-WWE is one of the best things AEW can do in my book.

Degenerate
01-16-2020, 10:53 PM
Getting back to the topic of the women's division...

The women's match on this week's Dynamite between Statlander / Shida and Brandi / Mel shows that this shouldn't be the thing they should be focusing on. The crowd was pretty dead after a relatively hot start of the show, and I don't blame them. The women worked hard and got a bit into it towards the end but it just fell flat. Also, I find myself wanting Brandi to focus solely as a manager / mouthpiece and not as an in-ring performer.

Also, once again you have Riho nowhere to be found or even mentioned when she'll be around again or against who. If she's not going to be there, at least do some pre-recorded stuff or announce when she'll be there to keep her in the mind of the fans.

It would have been nice to have one women's match squeezed into the show, even if for five minutes.

PEN15v2
01-17-2020, 12:42 AM
Other than the tag, you mean?

mizfan
01-17-2020, 05:28 PM
Yeah, that tag was pretty dead with the crowd, and I think you have to put that squarely on the Nightmare Collective since both Statlander and Shida have usually gotten good live reactions to this point. I don't mind Brandi in the ring and I think she's shown she can be a good character, but it definitely feels like whatever she's doing now isn't working out. Riho being absent did seem strange, since she was working with Statlander last week against the NC.

Degenerate
01-17-2020, 09:01 PM
Other than the tag, you mean?

Yep, I meant one more women's match.

I just read the AEW Dark matches that happened this week (which will be put on YouTube next Tuesday) and they actually had two women's matches - Big Swole vs. Diamante, and Shanna vs. Nyla Rose in a tables match. They could have slotted in that Big Swole / Diamante match in the main show since I'm sure it's a short one.


I don't mind Brandi in the ring and I think she's shown she can be a good character, but it definitely feels like whatever she's doing now isn't working out.

Brandi was great when she did commentary a few weeks ago. In the ring, she's not horrible but compared to the other women in this week's match she was the weak link for sure.


Riho being absent did seem strange, since she was working with Statlander last week against the NC.

Most of the shows Riho has been missing seem to be due to her working in Japan at Stardom. She was in a Stardom show here in Osaka a few days ago, although it was on the weekend so she had plenty of time to fly back unless she had other commitments in the country. I just don't think she should be missing as many events as she has in her position.

Prime Time
01-18-2020, 01:13 PM
Updated rankings:

1. Hikaru Shida
2. Nyla Rose
3. Kris Statlander
4. Awesome Kong
5. Britt Baker

mizfan
01-18-2020, 06:05 PM
Man, it does feel like the Shanna/Nyla stuff should make TV. Their brawl leading up to the match was fire, that's the kind of thing that should be featured front and center. I'll enjoy it just the same on youtube, but even so...

I've definitely heard some say it should be Shida in Riho's spot. She seems more available, she gets good crowd reactions, and she's very talented. But so far she hasn't drawn the same viewership spike that Riho has, at least as far as I know, so I can see why they want to try to stick with what's working. Can't underestimate the value of someone that has people actively tuning in.

On the rankings, because I'm a nerd, I've been playing out with my own rankings in each division ever since AEW started. Rather than relying on flat win/loss records, which can be misleading, I came up with a formula that tries to measure more accurately what each wrestler is accomplishing. I won't write it all out but basically if someone takes a direct loss (is pinned or submits), they go back to zero and have to build up momentum again. Anyway, this is what I have for the women right now:


5. Shanna

Activity since last direct loss:
-Defeated Big Swole in a singles matches

4. Big Swole

Activity since last direct loss:
-Defeated Emi Sakura (former #1 contender) in a singles match

3. Shoko Nakajima

Activity since last direct loss:
-Pinned Riho (current champion) in a tag team match

2. Nyla Rose

Activity since last direct loss:
-Pinned both Shazza McKenzie and Shalandra Royal in a tag match
-Defeated Leva Bates in a singles match (x2)
-Defeated a local jobber in a singles match
-Non-pinfall loss in a four way match

1. Awesome Kong

Activity since last direct loss:
-Defeated Leva Bates in a singles match
-Defeated a local jobber in seconds
-Defeated a local jobber in a singles match
-Multiple elimination in Casino Battle Royal


So it's a mix of those who have a notable win under their belt and those who have a lot of smaller wins built up. Nakajima is a weird one since she hasn't been around since before TV started, but she DID pin the champion so it feels like she deserves at least an acknowledgment...

I do like my rankings more, because you avoid situations like Shida being #1 despite losing clean to Statlander a few weeks ago and playing only a supporting role in the tag match this past week.

Ok, nerding over (for now!).

Degenerate
01-23-2020, 10:47 PM
I like these unofficial rankings a lot. I completely forgot about Shoko Nakajima.

Again, they have a lot of no-shows and spotty appearances and it's tough to build anyone that way. This week's show was not kind to the women's division. Just one match, and it was not good to begin with. Britt Baker's heel promo at the end was horrendous, honestly it felt like one of the worst I've seen in a major TV show for a long time.

mizfan
01-24-2020, 03:58 PM
The unstoppable push of Britt Baker is the bane of the division. Not thrilled with the idea of Priscilla Kelly being signed either (not sure if she is or not), what I've seen hasn't really stood out to me much. I feel like more often than not the women's division over-delivers, but the past two weeks have highlighted the stuff that's in the way, namely doubling down on Britt and the Nightmare Collective when neither are working out that well.

Degenerate
01-29-2020, 04:01 AM
I just learned that there's often a bit of a viewership bump on TNT whenever there's a women's segment on Dynamite, including the women's match from this past week.

Hopefully the company can find a way to take advantage of that. If I was a new viewer and saw that Britt Baker promo at the end of last week's match, I would not want to watch their women's matches ever again.

mizfan
01-29-2020, 01:45 PM
That's cool! I had only seen the data proving Riho was a draw but very cool if the whole division is drawing some eyes. I think it shows the division is doing better than they get credit for, even if I still think there is room for improvement (Baker's promo being a good example!).

Prime Time
01-29-2020, 03:39 PM
Interesting stuff. Actually, it kinda puts AEW on the horns of a rather tricky dilemma.

Powder
01-30-2020, 08:29 AM
Big Swoll's offence looks terrible. Nyla Rose is a physically large woman who can take a punch or kick, and Swoll was throwing punches and kicks that would not hurt a 3 year old. She threw the worst 'fake punches and kicks' ever. She really looked like she was pretending.

mizfan
01-30-2020, 11:27 AM
Powder, I think you and I must be somehow watching two different wrestling programs that somehow feature the same names but entirely different matches. I really dug Swole vs. Nyla and thought Swole looked good in the match, and though the crowd started a bit cold they were very into the match by the end (which tends to be a pattern with AEW women's matches, which I think speaks to pre-match bias vs. the actual reality of the match).

Glad they are talking about Nyla as the #1 contender again, after her latest stream of wins she's got to get another shot. I wonder though, I'm not sure they want to switch from Riho yet but it'd be tough to hand Nyla another title match loss. Interested to see how they'll handle it.

PEN15v2
01-30-2020, 11:28 AM
She really looked like she was pretending.

So, she wrestled like 90% of the AEW roster, and about 50% of the NXT, lucha and independent wrestlers

mizfan
01-30-2020, 11:30 AM
Yeah, why didn't she wrestle with ultra-realism like Hulk Hogan?? ;)

Prime Time
01-30-2020, 11:30 AM
Glad they are talking about Nyla as the #1 contender again, after her latest stream of wins she's got to get another shot. I wonder though, I'm not sure they want to switch from Riho yet but it'd be tough to hand Nyla another title match loss. Interested to see how they'll handle it.

I've seen so many WCW comparisons it'd be really apt if they Luger'd Nyla.

EDIT: I did lol at the Hogan thing, but it's telling that Hulk's style for a lot of his career would be the most realist thing on most rosters nowadays....

Powder
01-30-2020, 11:35 AM
So, she wrestled like 90% of the AEW roster, and about 50% of the NXT, lucha and independent wrestlers


Yeah, why didn't she wrestle with ultra-realism like Hulk Hogan?? ;)

What I meant was at the beginning of the match, when she was "punching" Nyla in the gut, she was barely hitting her. Then when they spilled outside the ring, again the same.

PEN15v2
01-30-2020, 11:56 AM
Yeah, why didn't she wrestle with ultra-realism like Hulk Hogan?? ;)

Hogan looked like he made contact. Histrionics aside when he "hulks up", Hulk used offense that looked like it would hurt, and that he was aiming to hurt. So much of wrestling today is about making things look pretty more then effective, and it no longer looks like combat. Hulk was a master of doing the simplest of things (scratching the back) and making it work.

Team Farrell
01-30-2020, 12:01 PM
It's because nobody learns how to throw a punch these days. That's also the reason that people throw weak looking forearms in a fucking streetfight where punches are legal and you'd think you'd want to hurt your opponent more than a forearm.

Literally, when I'm training people they usually learn forearms first because they're easier to teach and do, and it makes it so they can work training matches a little quicker. When it comes time to learn punches, I'd say about 75% never learn to throw a decent looking one, and even more opt to stick with forearms out of fear or "hurting" someone. A lot of people have never been hit or had to throw a punch before.

Big Swole...she's neither big, nor is she "swole". I don't get it at all. Average Height Somewhat Lean would be a more accurate name. It's bothered me from the first time I saw her.

Maria Manic, she's big and swole. Jordynne Grace is big and swole (though not tall).

Oliver
01-30-2020, 12:11 PM
I like Big Swole. Haven't seen lots and lots of her, but what I have seen suggests she's got a really big future.

Prime Time
01-30-2020, 12:11 PM
Makes me nostalgic for the days when guys would rather throw a damn stiff shot than risk it looking like crap, to be honest. Never hurt the Road Warriors when they were still green!

Or on the other end of the spectrum, reminds me of the story Foley told in one of his many books about being in there with Terry Funk. Had never been able to see what he was doing that made his punches look so good, and he thought now I'm finally going to be in there I can see first hand and up close what it is that was so special. So he's stood there, waiting for it trying to see what Funker does to pull it off, and WHAM! His idol had pretty much just smacked him in the head as hard as he could.

PEN15v2
01-30-2020, 12:13 PM
I LOVE Maria and Jordynne. Great imposing look, great asset to their divisions. Not quite sure about ability because I've likely seen a handful of matches of each of them. But they are stars who will be signed to bigger contracts someday.

mizfan
01-30-2020, 01:22 PM
I've honestly come to appreciate Hogan's wrestling a lot so I'm not really out to slam him. Some of his stuff does look cartoonish but he always (well, usually) maximized it and got it over with the crowd, and since the match got over with the crowd I don't think Swole has a ton to worry about, doubly so since if I remember the strikes you're talking about they seemed fine to me. But mileage may vary, as always!

EDIT: Big fan of Jordynne Grace in particular. AEW picking her up down the line would be a major asset to them. Maria's good stuff too, from what I've seen.

Degenerate
01-31-2020, 02:49 AM
I also enjoyed the Nyla Rose vs. Big Swole match. These are two women I want to see develop more on screen. They have something there, but having sporadic

I did not enjoy the Britt Baker promo, however. It wasn't as bad as last week, she definitely needs more work all around. Can't say I'm looking forward to her match next week against Yuka Sakazaki.

I'm still kind of peeved that Riho still wasn't on the show again. She's been on a total of like 3-4 shows in the past three months.

mizfan
01-31-2020, 02:37 PM
I've seen some really praise the Baker promo but I had mixed feelings about it myself. All she really did was voice some of the same complaints fans have had about Jim Ross' performance, and I didn't think the execution was particularly sharp either. She's got a lot more to do in order to win me over.

As much as I like Riho I'll cosign her not being more isn't ideal. Even with her popularity, it might be worth switching the title to someone more present and giving it back to Riho down the line if she's got more availability.

Mr Chop
01-31-2020, 09:15 PM
Makes me nostalgic for the days when guys would rather throw a damn stiff shot than risk it looking like crap, to be honest. Never hurt the Road Warriors when they were still green!

Or on the other end of the spectrum, reminds me of the story Foley told in one of his many books about being in there with Terry Funk. Had never been able to see what he was doing that made his punches look so good, and he thought now I'm finally going to be in there I can see first hand and up close what it is that was so special. So he's stood there, waiting for it trying to see what Funker does to pull it off, and WHAM! His idol had pretty much just smacked him in the head as hard as he could.

Saw a similar story with Jerry Lawler. He was asked why his punches always looked so good, his answer was that he never learned to throw a "worked" one so he just punches people for real!

mizfan
01-31-2020, 11:52 PM
Quite different from the stories you hear about wrestlers training to "punch" a string hung from the ceiling without actually moving it! Though I was never quite sure I believed that one anyway...

Oliver
02-03-2020, 07:27 AM
Was it Rock vs Cena the first where both of them worked pretty snug? That's the best recent example I can think of, for some reason.

This is just reminding me of Goldust offering to teach people to punch after that Dark Order segment. Give him his due, Goldust throws some excellent punches in the ring.

Powder
02-03-2020, 09:20 AM
BUUUT, some Dustin's open handed slaps to the face are pretty weak. The 'knife edge finger poke chop' (no idea what to actually call it) to the throat is good though.

Prime Time
02-03-2020, 10:16 AM
Not sure how a knife edge and a finger poke work together, but alright. Anyway, think we've been off the women long enough, so here's their updated rankings. Basically the same 5 as last time but the order has shifted.

1. Nyla Rose
2. Hikaru Shida
3. Kris Statlander
4. Britt Baker
5. Awesome Kong


So Nyla Rose and Britt Baker each gain a place at the expense of Kong and Hikaru Shida.

Y'know, I'm finding this ranking system actually quite productive. If the in-ring product matched up to this kind of presentation I think I would have been all over this (although in that sense it's very much just NJPW all over again for me).

Though in pure numbers terms it is hard to see why Baker isn't ranked #1, as she would seem to have an equal or better 2020 rating than all the others, and a better overall rating than anyone else who is 1-1 for the year. I know that is not something many here want to see, but the mathematics would seem to indicate she's got a strong case to be ranked #1 or at worst #2.

Powder
02-03-2020, 10:42 AM
OK, Dustin uses the same stiff ope handed poke chop to the throat that Kane uses. Know what move I'm talking about now?

Prime Time
02-03-2020, 11:28 AM
I believe I do, and if I'm right people tend to just refer to it as a 'throat thrust'. My point initially that you can't really combine a 'knife edge' and a 'poke' because they imply the use of a different part of the hand in each case. But anyway, as I say, we should probably cycle back to the AEW women's division in here. No reason you can't start a 'Natural Dustin Rhodes' thread if you wanna carry on with an intricate discussion of his repertoire.

Team Farrell
02-03-2020, 11:52 AM
Quite different from the stories you hear about wrestlers training to "punch" a string hung from the ceiling without actually moving it! Though I was never quite sure I believed that one anyway...

I learned, and encourage other people, by full-on punching the ring post. First until it stopped connecting so hard and hurting my hand, and then until it stopped making a ding.

One of my mentors was taught by punching a brick wall. He was told to go punch the wall until he stopped hurting himself. When he came back his trainer told him "I never thought you'd actually do it!". Still throws one of the best working punches I've ever seen. No matter the distance or angle, he can hit you with a working punch that looks like a million bucks but is pulled perfectly. Sadly, I'm not quite there yet, sometimes I still tag guys.

PEN15v2
02-03-2020, 11:59 AM
In theory, the rankings bring a lot to the table. So far, I don't think AEW has really done much with them. They've become talking points for the announcers, but that's about it. And in the end, they are still putting time into crowning #1 contenders.

The counter to my issue is that if they became too much of a focal point right away, it would become played out quickly. So maybe AEW is doing the smart move just establishing them for a bit before they become used to push feuds a bit more.

As for the women, I finally am getting to the Dynamite from the Jericho Cruise. Priscilla Kelly vs Britt was fine. I was more impressed with the heel stuff Kelly was doing than Baker. The promo wasn't nearly as bad as many have been claiming, but it was average at best. I'm guessing AEW has a high $ investment in her to be pushing her so strong, despite her not delivering much.

We are also seeing the weakness of involving the Joshi wrestlers. They were honestly the biggest draw for me once AEW was getting started, but the combination of their lack of regularity and zero character development is wearing the interest thin.

mizfan
02-04-2020, 05:59 PM
If Kenny Omega is indeed in charge of booking the women as rumored, I place the blame more in his department than I do on any of the joshi wrestlers. I'm glad he has an appreciation for the in ring style but I'm still not convinced he would know character development if it bit him in the butt. The only woman who seems to get a lot of time devoted to character is Britt Baker lately, which I'm still not overly optimistic about it!

Regarding Britt's ranking, I think it's worth factoring in that her 1 victory was against Priscilla Kelly, who hasn't established any standing at all in AEW yet, and her one loss was eating the pin in a championship match. I know they chucked the 2019 ratings but if you look back, Nyla hasn't suffered any kind of real loss in a really long time besides the 4way for the title, where she wasn't involved in the decision.

Prime Time
02-05-2020, 08:23 AM
Regarding Britt's ranking, I think it's worth factoring in that her 1 victory was against Priscilla Kelly, who hasn't established any standing at all in AEW yet, and her one loss was eating the pin in a championship match. I know they chucked the 2019 ratings but if you look back, Nyla hasn't suffered any kind of real loss in a really long time besides the 4way for the title, where she wasn't involved in the decision.

Yeah, I thought there might be something like this at play, this is why I hedged a bit and put 'at worst #2' at the end there, to allow a bit of wiggle room. In reality, i suspect it's just an example of how difficult it can be for rankings to look like they mean a lot a) when they are so even, and b) in this case, so early in the year when everyone has only one or two matches on them.

mizfan
02-05-2020, 04:09 PM
Wonder if Shida has a chance of capturing the top spot after beating Melanie Cruise on Dark? It'd be a stretch if you looked at their whole recent history but just since January she could have an argument for it.

Also seen rumors that they may have written off Awesome Kong when Cruise and Luther attacked her. That'd be a shame as I love Kong, but by all accounts she's very beaten up so it could possibly be for the best. It's really too bad if they can't deliver on Kong vs. Kong (Aja vs. Awesome) match they teased a while back, but so it goes.

Degenerate
02-13-2020, 01:34 AM
Looks like there might be something to the Kong rumors, with the whole Nightmare Collective deal getting shut down or at least paused temporarily with Brandi now playing the role of concerned wife. I think the group had potential but it just didn't work out.

I'm happy to see Nyla Rose win the AEW Women's Championship. I like Riho enough in the ring but her spotty appearances were not doing her any favors for the fledgling division. Now at least we have a chance to have someone appear on a more consistent basis, and definitely be a threat to the rest of the women. It was a good move to make. Hopefully they can capitalize on this change.

On a related yet unrelated note, I was having dinner the other night with my wife's family. Her brother's wife showed me a picture of her from about 25 years ago, when she was in her late 20s. She was pretty much a clone of Riho back then. This story has nothing to do with wrestling but I don't know where else I could share this with any sort of related context.

Oliver
02-13-2020, 06:15 AM
Brandi herself seems to have said recently that the Nightmare Collective wasn't working and Kong wasn't in the right condition (or words to that effect) to compete so they'd knocked it on the head. I feel pretty sorry for Kong, she finally got to WWE and then got pregnant before having a miscarriage, then it seemed wasn't really mentally ready to be in the ring after that for quite a while and WWE eventually released her. Now it seems she's slowly reaching the end of her full time wrestling career. Hopefully she can keep up the acting gigs, as I really like her in GLOW.

Nyla's definitely a good choice to be women's champion, and I thought the way they did the switch was very strong for her. Not sure where they will take the angle of her knocking the women's roster that came after the title win, but it certainly adds some interest there.

SirSam
02-13-2020, 07:41 AM
I'm really happy for Nyla, she has improved a lot in the last 9 months and I think the time is right to make her champ. With monsters you can't have them fail at the top of the mountain too many times and their losses hurt them way more than smaller wrestlers.

It also sets up an awesome trilogy match down the line for Riho who now has a chance to go through the division again and get even more over as she chases the championship.

As I said in my column, I'm really positive on the AEW women's division, it is a long way from being perfect but a lot of the hot takes are a long way off base with it.

Powder
02-13-2020, 08:24 AM
I am totally surprised that AEW has not promoted Nyla as Transgender. It is NOT a secret, and they have mentioned it early on, but now that she is champion, I think AEW should do a sit down interview with her, like they did with Santana last night, or a Foley/Ross interview from back in the day.

I think it will go a long way, and be a great avenue for the widespread acceptance of transgender people.

AEW should not take away the monster of Nyla Rose, but with the correct marketing, she really could become a huge symbol for transgender people as a top champion of a Major Wrestling Promotion.

Good for her for winning the title, and I love that AEW did not shy away from signing her, nor shy away from making her champion. I am not so sure that the WWE would have done either.

Oliver
02-13-2020, 08:34 AM
I actually think it's better for them to not overly promote it. As you say, it's not a secret, and Nyla got a lot of online abuse for it in the past, including on AEW match announcement videos and Tweets, I understand.

She's a woman in the woman's division - and I think they actually will do better by just letting that be the case and not playing up that she is transgender and inviting the pointless arguments/hatred that brings with it, especially amongst the knuckle draggers on the internet. Just let it be that a woman in the woman's division won the women's title. Whilst it's great that they've made the decision to make her champion, I don't think they need to make a big thing about it showing how inclusive they are, how they're an LGBTQIA+ ally etc.

For want of a better way of saying it - 'normalising' the presence of transgender people within a company by not making overt references to it is, in my opinion, a much better way to handle the situation then by coming out all guns blazing and highlighting it. The latter just isn't necessary.

Powder
02-13-2020, 08:42 AM
Fair point, and I cannot argue with anything you said, nor say anything to counter it. Both of our arguments would work.

I really would love to hear from TO on this.

Oliver
02-13-2020, 09:56 AM
One point I was going to make but then rowed back from (but feel like I might as well make it now) - I think just accepting it and moving on might be the first time I've really felt like AEW has notably handled a situation differently to WWE. I'd suspect they'd have Stephanie McMahon making pronouncements on social media within an hour if a transgender woman ever won the women's title on Raw or Smackdown.

PEN15v2
02-13-2020, 12:38 PM
I am totally surprised that AEW has not promoted Nyla as Transgender. It is NOT a secret, and they have mentioned it early on, but now that she is champion, I think AEW should do a sit down interview with her, like they did with Santana last night, or a Foley/Ross interview from back in the day.

I think it will go a long way, and be a great avenue for the widespread acceptance of transgender people.

AEW should not take away the monster of Nyla Rose, but with the correct marketing, she really could become a huge symbol for transgender people as a top champion of a Major Wrestling Promotion.

Good for her for winning the title, and I love that AEW did not shy away from signing her, nor shy away from making her champion. I am not so sure that the WWE would have done either.

This is more likely to happen when/if she turns face. But as a heel, the less sympathy we have for her struggles, the better.


One point I was going to make but then rowed back from (but feel like I might as well make it now) - I think just accepting it and moving on might be the first time I've really felt like AEW has notably handled a situation differently to WWE. I'd suspect they'd have Stephanie McMahon making pronouncements on social media within an hour if a transgender woman ever won the women's title on Raw or Smackdown.

You'd be right, but it's because WWE is the home of babyfaces. Nia won her title as a babyface after heel Alexa called her fat and ugly. That face run last 6 months before turning heel again. They would have handled Nyla the same way, but without the heel run. I think WWE would have played the whole scenario very differently from the start and not let her be a heel, because they'd get a lot more flak letting a transgender person be booed.



All that said, I read a headline yesterday about either college or high school girls suing or in some way challenging their school academics department about letting transgender women (who were born men) in competitions. This topic is so delicate with both sides having valid points. Thankfully in wrestling, it's fake anyways, so they can make it work easier.

T.O.
02-13-2020, 04:09 PM
I actually think it's better for them to not overly promote it. As you say, it's not a secret, and Nyla got a lot of online abuse for it in the past, including on AEW match announcement videos and Tweets, I understand.

She's a woman in the woman's division - and I think they actually will do better by just letting that be the case and not playing up that she is transgender and inviting the pointless arguments/hatred that brings with it, especially amongst the knuckle draggers on the internet. Just let it be that a woman in the woman's division won the women's title. Whilst it's great that they've made the decision to make her champion, I don't think they need to make a big thing about it showing how inclusive they are, how they're an LGBTQIA+ ally etc.

For want of a better way of saying it - 'normalising' the presence of transgender people within a company by not making overt references to it is, in my opinion, a much better way to handle the situation then by coming out all guns blazing and highlighting it. The latter just isn't necessary.
Bingo. The best way to treat this is just like a normal title change. Donít stress her gender identity just for company goodwill.

Team Farrell
02-13-2020, 04:34 PM
I view Nyla the same way as I viewed it when Darren Young came out publicly. You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't.

If you make it a part of her character or use it in a story, you're exploiting it. If you don't, there's going to be people that claim you're ignoring or hiding it or trying to erase it.

Putting the title on her was the right decision, and the one they should have made on day one.

mizfan
02-13-2020, 04:55 PM
Brandi is better off as herself, for sure. RIP Nightmare Collective, you could have been something but you never really were.

Very happy for Nyla. Riho brought some big positives but there were points against her as well, particularly her availability and her size being a barrier for some fans. I’ve been impressed by Nyla since 2018 and she keeps getting better and better. Her match with Riho was my favorite one on a show full of strong matches. Regarding her being transgender, I’m inclined to agree with Ollie that it’s best that AEW treats it in a matter of fact sort of way. It doesn’t feel quite right to try to make it into a marketing angle or part of her gimmick. I definitely think it’s tricky no matter how you treat it thanks to the current climate, but bottom line I’m just really pleased that Nyla is champion.

I don’t feel too bad for Kong, I’m under the impression that her interest in acting is stronger than her interest in wrestling right now, which considering how hard she pushed herself at times during her career is understandable. I still want that Kong vs. Kong match eventually though. Actually just fly over Aja Kong more often in general!

Prime Time
02-25-2020, 11:59 AM
First update to their rankings since the title change for us.

1. Riho
2. Kris Statlander
3. Hikaru Shida
4. Yuka Sakazaki
5. Britt Baker


In other news, I heard that JR threw over to Excalibur to explain Statlander on the show, and when he started talking about the alien shit and home planets he just shut it down.

mizfan
02-25-2020, 01:37 PM
I can see your implicit cheer there, Pete, but honestly it was a pretty awkward moment. From my perspective Excalibur was trying to go gently on the "alien" thing when JR abruptly put him on the spot about it, at which point Excalibur got maybe 10 words into the background of the gimmick before Jim Ross started moaning about it.

Statlander is much closer to Davie Bowie than Max Moon so I don't know if there's really much to groan about anyway, but even if you think JR is 100% right and to even mention the word alien will drive away viewers, I can't stress enough how bizarre it is to me that AEW has a commentator who thinks it's ok to show contempt for their product. Tony Schiavone is a million times better about this stuff. If he hears or sees something weird he may call it out but at worst he'll act bemused at the kooky tactics or personality traits of the wrestler.

Prime Time
02-25-2020, 01:58 PM
It did make me laugh, I won't lie.

Weird one though. On the one hand, I can't see that there's any way not to shut it down once it's been brought up, because otherwise you're making yourself look like a schmuck in the process, and if Ross is going to do what he's there to do he can't lose his credibility by getting too much of the dross on him. So there's that.

On the other... if he's the one who brings it up, abruptly as you say.... the question has to be, why? I guess he either doesn't know the character back story, which raises questions by itself. Maybe he thought he'd not fully understood it, and immediately regretted asking? I guess that's the best interpretation.

Alternatively, if he knows what the answer is going to be and that he's going to have to cut it off quickly, then it's hard to conclude anything other than he's trying to show up Excalibur, or the characterisation, or both.

I can see how the latter would be more irksome and it's far from ideal in some respects. But I guess if you're looking to steer them in the direction of the Cody, MJF, Jericho stuff, thenit might still actually be preferable, if he's being a bit more forthright (alright, a lot more forthright) in how he puts his views across.

mizfan
02-25-2020, 04:00 PM
The weird thing to me is that Ross has called outlandish gimmicks all across his career, as has every commentator who worked for a major promotion in the last 40 years, and even with the dumb ones you at least try to stay within the lines of what the promotion is going for. There's a big difference between calling out something as odd and barely veiled contempt.

In this case I definitely got the feeling that Jim Ross truly had no idea what the answer to his question was going to be. But JR has been credibly (in my opinion) accused of often not really knowing what's going on with a lot of the stuff he's called in the past few years.

Prime Time
02-25-2020, 05:56 PM
The potential difference between those other instances in the past and now, is that Ross is there to appeal to a particular fan, and do a certain job. He's there for those fans who might want to come back to wrestling, who have been put off by the WWE over the past however long, and in flicking over to a wrestling show will recognise the voice of the greatest announcer of his generation, the guy that was in his time the voice of both WCW and WWE. Someone that they can treat seriously and will give the shows a look. The fan like me but, as you once said to me, who might still be in the kind of place where they're willing to give it a shot.And if Ross doesn't say what that fan is thinking when they hear 'she's an alien from the planet Scooby-doo' or whatever the gimmick is, then the ability to reach those fans is going to be gone instantly, and JR can't do the job that he's there to do. He's the ever-present, broadcast team equivalent of having Arn, Tully, and some of those other guys turn up. And he's got more than four times as many followers on Twitter as the AEW official account, so we shouldn't downplay his reach.

Now, with that said - if you're right that he doesn't know the answer to the question before he starts, then there's a problem of a different kind. I mean, I don't expect him to know the gimmick of the underneath talent intimately at this stage, particularly when they are new, but I think it's probably fair that he should have enough of a handle on what she's doing not to throw to someone to explain it on the air if it's that goofy.

Then again, from the video that was doing the rounds, it's goofy enough that I don't think you can let it pass without explanation either. So.... using wrestling logic as I understand it, I don't know what the fuck you do. It's a lose-lose so far as I can see.

PEN15v2
02-25-2020, 11:25 PM
In my catch up on Dynamite before the PPV, Ross did the same thing during the Yuka vs Britt match, asking Excalibur why Yuka is called the Magical Girl, and had a condescending tone when calling the Magical (though he said magic) Girl Press. I haven't seen this most recent video, so I may be way off, but I don't think he's mocking the gimmick, it felt more like he was mocking that the "Magical Girl" gimmick had no real purpose and was meaningless. Just a cute name. When he asked the masked announcer to explain, Ex sputtered about her genie pants, and JR cut him off. That felt like he knew that he made the point, the name carries no purpose.