Pose the idea of AEW introducing Women’s World Tag Team Championship (WWTTC) belts among fans and likely the number one criticism you’ll hear is “AEW has too many belts already!” Let’s be honest, this is a take that was born the instant AEW announced the All-Atlantic Title. At the time, everyone was stoked about the announcement thinking it was going to be Men’s Trios Titles. Fans still want Trios Titles! That said, I agree with the sentiment of Championship belts needing to feel important and prestigious. And that’s what I aim to address today.
Women’s Tag Belts Are Essential… Eventually
As of this writing, in June 2022, I think it’s fair to say that announcing WWTTC belts would be disastrous. And while it’s hard to forecast into the future, my gut feeling is that even June 2023 would probably be too early. I don’t think there’s any rush to introduce them but I do feel like there’s a bit of a rush to start the path to introducing them.
Why are WWTTC belts essential? I think Men’s Trios Titles are imminent. I’ve been ready for them since before the TNT Title was announced. So let’s say we finally get them and, let’s say, House of Black are the inaugural champs, imagine this graphic: “AEW’s Champions”—You’ve got CM Punk featured front and centre, Matt and Nick Jackson on there, Pac with the All-Atlantic, Scorpio Sky with the TNT, then we add on Malakai Black, Brodie King and Buddy Matthews, and, optionally, Ricky Starks could be on there with his FTW Title… and then there’s Thunder Rosa & Jade Cargill as well with their respective titles. 9 men, 2 women. Kinda awkward, not really in keeping with a “representation matters” ideal. But this isn’t me saying “The women have to have their thing too so it’s fair”…
More Than A Token
If you’ve read my first post on this blog, Women’s Wrestling Rules, I lay out the case for how watching women’s wrestling is often a viscerally different experience than men’s. And when you limit women to only being singles wrestlers, you’re mostly only touching on confrontational dynamics between rivals and it can be challenging to create characters who are more than one-dimensional because no stakes exist to be able to explore the relationship dynamics that organically arise when your characters must work together and trust each other.
I’ll never profess to say I know what draws in wrestling so I can’t say that not having a WWTTC “leaves money on the table” but I will say, as far as North American pro wrestling goes, it’s an untapped and untested avenue.
So with that in mind, here is my path to creating AEW Women’s World Tag Team Championships…
Feed The Press
The great thing about AEW is you don’t need to announce everything on TV for it to capture the awareness of its fanbase. However, fans do look for something to be “made canon” by being mentioned by an official AEW source such as during Dynamite or Rampage or on their official Twitter account.
So imagine Tony Khan is doing one of his media conference calls before an upcoming PPV. Coincidentally, the inaugural AEW Men’s Trios Titles will be crowned at this PPV. A
plant reporter asks about the possibility of Women’s Tag Team Titles coming to AEW, and Tony says:
“That’s definitely a goal down for the road but, I mean, we’ve seen what happens when you create women’s tag team belts before you have an actual women’s tag team division! Huge Pop We have an amazing roster of singles performers on our women’s roster but no real established tag teams – yet. So in the same way I wanted to make sure we had a bustling men’s trios division before bringing those titles in, I’d want to do the same with a women’s tag team division.”
That gets picked up by all the wrestling journalists, they put it on Twitter and it’s almost instantaneously known by the bulk of the AEW fanbase. This accomplishes a few things: It eases the anxiety of those fans worried AEW might introduce women’s tag team titles too soon. It eases the anxiety of fans who worry AEW will never have women’s tag team titles. It’s not a promise but it let’s fans know it’s on AEW’s radar. But most importantly…
At this moment in time, AEW fans could be forgiven for asking: “What’s the purpose of Serena Deeb & Mercedes Martinez tag teaming together? What could possibly be their end goal?” Once fans know that women’s tag belts are on Tony Khan’s radar, it instantly validates the existence of—and brings intrigue to—any women’s tag team matches thereafter. Fans would begin speculating on the viability of certain teams and start fantasy booking their own, building excitement for the possibility of these new belts.
To his credit, Tony Khan appears to be dabbling in this. We’ve now got “The Baddies”. We’re seeing The Baddies go up against somewhat of a rotating cast of babyfaces including Kris Statlander, Athena, Anna Jay and now Willow Nightingale seems to have subbed in for Anna for some reason. We have the aforementioned Deeb & Martinez odd couple. And if you follow AEW’s Dark/Elevation shows, there’s been quite a few different combinations of women’s tag teams being booked. But so long as tag belts are on the shelf, I’d want these experimentations to yield something else…
If there’s one thing Tony Khan and I have in common it is that we love stables. Tony’s great at stable-based booking and storytelling and with stables, you can naturally work out some tag teams and even adapt different members into tag teams. For example, the Inner Circle had “Le Sex Gods” (Jericho & Guevara), “Sammy Hager” (Guevara & Hager) and also Chris Jericho & Jake Hager were a strong tag team in their own right. Oh, and I almost forgot Jericho & MJF. And the great thing about two members of a stable forming a tag team: THEY DON’T JUST FEEL LIKE TWO SINGLES WRESTLERS THROWN TOGETHER. This detail is crucial for having a credible tag team. Another great way of bringing in credible tag teams…
Develop Rookie Tag Teams
With men’s wrestling, you get tag team specialist wrestlers. Matt Jackson. Dax Harwood. Ortiz. Guys who’s names are synonymous with their tag team partner’s. The challenge with women’s wrestling is there doesn’t tend to be long established tag teams. The only one I can think of is the Renegade Twins from Mission Pro Wrestling and it’s fair to say those are unique circumstances with them being twin sisters. The good news is though that there doesn’t have to be an established Indy field of women’s tag teams. Look at The Acclaimed. AEW can put two wrestlers together on Dark and eventually bring them up to Dynamite or Rampage and they feel like tag team specialists. So for example, recently on Dark/Elevation we saw Max The Impaler take on Nyla Rose and then later, Heidi Howitzer take on Ruby Soho. The next week we saw Max & Heidi as a tag team. Whether they are two performers you’ve tracked on the Indies or on Dark/Elevation or not, if they were to show up one night on Dynamite, not as enhancement talent, but as full blown roster members, they’d be received as a genuine tag team, not two singles wrestlers thrown together. We’re about to see this with Tony Blanchard’s new tag team of Toa Liona & Kaun.
Have Wrestlers Drop Hints on TV
Because of AEW’s very passionate, very tuned-in fanbase, you can have wrestlers hint or tease things and the fans know at a meta level what they’re referring to while also measuring expectations as it’s “not official”. So after a few women’s tag teams start heating up, you can have women start to drop lines about being “at the top of the women’s tag team division” or “wanting to prove they’re the best tag team in the women’s division” and eventually even a team say “everyone knows what’s coming and we will be the first tag team to claim that prize”.
These are little bread crumbs to keep the WWTTC belts in the periphery and remind fans that these tag team matches are important. It will also allow you to gauge audience excitement through live TV reaction & online chatter without actually made the commitment.
By gawd, I love tournaments and I have a feeling Tony Khan does too! Ideally you’d have 8 tag teams but given that that’s 16 wrestlers from a division which currently features around 20-ish actual signed talent during any particular stretch, that would probably be pushing it. I’m going to be optimistic though and say 6 teams (12 wrestlers) with two teams earning byes somehow. Maybe start a rankings system for the women’s tag team division and give the top 2 teams byes. If 6 teams is too many, maybe just 5 teams with #1 getting a bye to the final. Naturally, have the finals culminate at a PPV to crown inaugural AEW Women’s Tag Team Champions.
So that is my path. In all, it’s hard to say how long it would take. IF AEW could ever move to having three women’s matches on Dynamite/Rampage per week––or even every other week––that could help things along. But let me know what you think! Comment below or hit me up on Twitter.
Thank you for reading! And make sure you tell the women in your life how much you appreciate them!