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  1. #1
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    AEW Women's Division

    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?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #2
    Feeling Minnesota Powder's Avatar
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    The division is terrible with a terrible champion of Riho. She is just as unbelievable as Marko Stunt.

  3. #3
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Man, I've got no real clue what's going on but people are hammering the booking of the women on Twitter right now.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  4. #4
    Feeling Minnesota Powder's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #5
    The Brain
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    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.

  6. #6
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    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."

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  7. #7
    Feeling Minnesota Powder's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Powder; 4 Days Ago at 01:12 PM.

  8. #8
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    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.

  9. #9
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    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.

  10. #10
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    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.

  11. #11
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    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.

  12. #12
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    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.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  13. #13
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    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.

  14. #14
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    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.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  15. #15
    Feeling Minnesota Powder's Avatar
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    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.

  16. #16
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    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.

  17. #17
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    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.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Team Farrell's Avatar
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    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.

  19. #19
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    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.
    Last edited by Powder; 3 Days Ago at 12:07 PM.

  20. #20
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    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.

  21. #21
    The Brain
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    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.

  22. #22
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    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.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  23. #23
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    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.

  24. #24
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    Other than the tag, you mean?

  25. #25
    The Brain
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    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.

  26. #26
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEN15v2 View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    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.

  27. #27
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Updated rankings:

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

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  28. #28
    The Brain
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    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!).

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