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A while back, I had written about how I’d like to see AEW go about introducing Women’s Tag Team Titles. I felt one of the drawbacks to not having tag belts was you’re limiting the storytelling you’re able to do to adversarial rivalries. Woman-vs-woman stories, of course, can be amazing in their own right, but enriching those characters with partnership dynamics and all the variables that it brings makes things more 3-dimensional. To Tony Khan’s credit, he’s done a fine balancing act of bringing in that dynamic into the World Title scene without Tag Team belts.
The team of ThunderStorm (Thunder Rosa & Toni Storm) was born out of a mutual respect from their match at Forbidden Door. Meanwhile, long-time rival of Thunder Rosa, Britt Baker has been subtly undercutting her heater, Jamie Hayter. And Jamie has shown some waning enthusiasm of being in Britt’s shadow. As narcissists often do, Baker has been projecting this onto ThunderStorm saying that Thunder Rosa keeps Toni Storm close to keep her away from her title while also saying Toni Storm will eventually turn on Thunder.
As the weeks have played out, it seems to me like we’re headed in the direction of a 4-way match at All Out for the World Title. If this is what we’re getting not only are we assured some awesome snug physical wrestling but the subtext within the action will be off the charts!
On top of everything I’ve mentioned, there’s an extra layer of intrigue for me personally because these storylines all coming together into one match reminds of one of my favourite times in women’s wrestling: 2014-2015 NXT.
Leading up to her defence of the NXT Women’s Championship in a 4-way match at Takeover: Rival, Charlotte Flair had defeated each of her opponents one-on-one in preceding months:
- Sept. 11, 2014-Charlotte defeats Bayley at Takeover: Fatal 4-Way
- Oct. 16, 2014-Charlotte defeats Becky Lynch on NXT Episode #119
- Dec. 12, 2014-Charlotte defeats Sasha Banks at Takeover: R Evolution
If we are indeed heading to a 4-way match at All Out, Thunder Rosa’s path as Champion will have taken a similar path:
- Mar. 16, 2022-Thunder Rosa defeats Britt Baker at St. Patrick’s Day Slam
- Jun. 26, 2022-Thunder Rosa defeats Toni Storm at Forbidden Door
- Aug. 5, 2022-Thunder Rosa defeats Jamie Hayter at Battle of the Belts III
The similarities don’t end there either:
- Both Bayley and Toni Storm are babyfaces who’ve tag teamed with the Champion and have had matches against Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch and Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter respectively.
- Both Sasha Banks and Britt Baker are the top heels in the company and seen as the biggest threat to the champion
- Both Becky Lynch and Jamie Hayter were enlisted by Banks/Baker and enter the match as subordinates to the top heels
This isn’t to say that Tony Khan is copying Triple H. Firstly, the storylines aren’t a perfect apples-to-apples comparison and secondly, this is hardly the first time a 4-way match for a championship has been booked this way. Just look at Wrestlemania 2000’s main event. I’m sure there’s earlier examples. But in 2015, this was the first time I had seen this done in women’s wrestling. Also, I think the ThunderStorm/Baker/Hayter feud is better than the NXT 4 Horsewomen feud (and that’s high praise!).
Could Herstory repeat itself?
Just for fun, if we are getting this match at All Out and the result were to mirror this clash of WWE’s “4 Horsewomen”, we’d see Jamie Hayter turn on Britt Baker during the match. And for the finish, Toni Storm would hit her finisher on Thunder Rosa, Storm would get taken out by Britt Baker, who’d come in and apply the lockjaw to Thunder who’d refuse to tap but she’d be left so week that Britt could maneuver her into a pin for the win.
I could see it. But I also don’t think there’s a bad outcome. Thunder Rosa is a great champion. Britt Baker being the first ever 2-time World Champion would be fitting. Toni Storm with the belt would be very cool and Jamie Hayter winning the World Title would instantly elevate her to where I think she deserves to be based on her in-ring work, and the dynamic between her and Britt afterward would be class.
So what do you think? Is this match making you nostalgic for golden-era NXT? Do you think this 4-way will happen for All Out? Who do you think would win? Who should win? You can comment below or give me a shout 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.