AEW Needs Women’s Trios Belts

Hate reading? You can watch/listen to this article on YouTube at the link below. Otherwise, just keep reading!

Back in October 2022, I wrote the article: Making A Case For Women’s Trios Belts (link) about why, when the time comes, AEW bypass women’s tag team belts in favour of women’s trios belts. To summarize the article, my main arguments were:

  1. Exciting action is basically baked in to Trios matches.
  2. A women’s Trios Division will instantly create stables which, subjectively, I believe provides the best and most interesting storytelling and booking.
  3. It gives more women more TV time, increasing the likeliness of someone catching fire and becoming a bigger singles star.
  4. Differentiates AEW from WWE and Impact Wrestling who both have Women’s Tag Team belts already.
  5. Allows wrestlers who must limit how they bump (e.g. Saraya with her neck, Thunder Rosa with her back) to be obscured by the chaotic nature of trios matches.

But the reason I want to address today is that a Trios Division will help develop talent.

Trios as a Development Tool

No wrestling company in the world develops women wrestlers better and faster than Stardom (although true Joshi fans will be quick to point out Stardom poaches talent from smaller Joshi promotions but nevertheless). You may have heard Excalibur or Taz wax on about the intense training of Joshi wrestlers. And while, yes, there’s likely a lot you can credit to training technique, my hunch is that an even bigger factor is the sheer amount of matches these women put in.

Reps, Reps, reps

It’s not uncommon for Stardom’s wrestlers to have over 100 matches in a single year. Meanwhile in AEW, women will typically top out at around 30 matches per year, although thanks to Ring Of Honor, some women (e.g. Skye Blue, Athena, Willow Nightingale) may well double that number in 2023.

Multi-woman matches in Stardom are extremely, extremely common

That being said, when you look at Mayu Iwatani’s 106 matches in 2022, only 24 of them were singles 1-on-1 matches. As far as Mayu’s development goes, she doesn’t need to get any better. On CageMatch, she has a 9.70 rating with 80% of users rating her a 10/10. Whatever you feel about CageMatch ratings, it’s fair to say wrestling fans love her work. Mayu, and the rest of the Stardom roster, wrestle a TON of multi-woman matches with 6 or more women in them. And in doing so, you fast track your newer less experienced wrestlers by having them get hours of live match experience in front of crowds against everyone from fellow greenhorns to some of the best wrestlers in the industry. And it’s not like Stardom has more dates than AEW—In fact, AEW in 2022 had double the amount of Stardom shows! And now we’re getting Collision on top of that!

Early Signs

I should walk one thing back: I’m not advocating that women in AEW need to wrestle 100+ matches per year, nor do they need too. We are, however, already seeing signs of the additional AEW House Rules events yielding great results simply from having women wrestle each other beforehand instead of touching for the first time on Dynamite. Anna Jay just had, in my opinion, her best match in AEW against Kris Statlander on Dynamite and my hunch is that’s due in large part to them actually getting to touch for the first time days earlier on a house show. This coming Dynamite, we’re getting Toni Storm vs Skye Blue, who’ve wrestled each other 3 times on house shows recently (two singles, one 4-way). I’m expecting this will be one of Skye Blue’s best matches to date.

If AEW were to move to having an established and strong women’s Trios division, you can obscure these “practice dry runs” in the body of these multi-woman matches. And unlike singles matches where if you’re lower on the card you may not get to work on your big spots because doing so would necessitate you winning the match, in many Trios matches it’s common place for everyone to be able to Get My Shit In™ without it figuring into the finish.

Play To Your Strengths

Going back to my original piece, I say that AEW should bypass women’s tag belts and go straight to women’s trios belts as a differentiator to WWE and Impact. I actually want to double down on that take by adding that, more importantly, I just don’t feel AEW is equipped to book a strong women’s tag division nor should it strive to.

Tag Team Baggage

Unlike in men’s tag team wrestling, you can’t just sign a bunch of teams like the Young Bucks, FTR, Lucha Bros, and the list goes on and on. And while there’s nothing wrong with two singles stars coming together to form a tag team (Omega & Hangman, Swerve In Our Glory were both great) the division feels hollow when that’s EVERY team. There are equal parts prestige and baggage that comes with tag team wrestling. And because of that, tag team divisions can often struggle to feel relevant and important. Women’s divisions know this feeling all too well. And women’s tag team divisions, I’d argue that if any promotion booked one well, they’d be breaking new ground.

I don’t think I’m out of line in saying that AEW crowds might not be at their hottest watching what they perceive to be two unestablished tag teams of singles women wrestlers who were arbitrarily thrown together, “cutting the ring in half” and “isolating opponents from their corner”. You’d risk some deafening silence during those long sustained heat building sequences.

Hot Property

But as I said in my October 2022 article, I think an AEW Women’s Trios Division has the potential to be a hot property akin to WCW’s focus on Luchadores. If fans know that women’s trios matches mean that six women are going to have a fun action packed chaotic sprint, they will start to anticipate those matches. Knowing AEW fans, they might even get a little smug about it online. I really do think a women’s trios division could be the turning point in speeding up the development and raising the profile of AEW’s women’s division. And whereas I feel like a women’s tag team division would get bogged down by the baggage of fans pondering if it’s stronger than WWE’s women’s tag division or whether the women’s tag division feels important; I think we’d all kinda get that a women’s trios division ultimately serves a different purpose: Developing tomorrow’s singles stars.

Oh, and one last thing: In the same way Stardom’s Trios belts (called the Artist of Stardom Championship) are 3 different colours, AEW should steal that by having a red, a blue, and a white belt (as per my featured image).

But what do you think? You can scream at me in the comments below or on Twitter at: @aew_one. Thanks for reading and, as always, make sure you tell the women in your life how much you appreciate them. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts