We’re three days out from AEW Full Gear 2022 and we have three – count ‘em! THREE women’s matches on the card to preview. Let us waste no time and get into each one…
Jade Cargill vs Nyla Rose
I’m normally not a fan of belt-theft angles. It’s not that they don’t hold some semblance of logic, it makes all the sense in the world in my mind that in a pro wrestling world, someone might take someone’s belt to aggravate them. Logically, the heel wrestler could say, “Listen, if you’re better than me then beating me and taking your belt back shouldn’t be a problem. If you can’t do that, well then you’re not really the champ, are you?” My issue is that I’ve just seen it too many times. But thanks to Nyla Rose’s seemingly innate ability to elevate anything to meme-status, I was mostly into it, although I do feel the feud peaked in Toronto (5 weeks short of Full Gear).
I think the story of the match will be Nyla is Jade’s equal in terms of physical strength and power. I expect the announcers to really put over how this is Jade’s biggest challenge to date and that Nyla, on top of flexing her power, has also aggravated Jade into getting her off her game. In the finish, Jade will impress with a feat of strength, maybe by simply hitting her Jaded finisher or perhaps some other big move preceding Jaded.
Given that the angle has persisted this long, I have to believe there is a bigger payoff than Jade Cargill simply getting her TBS Title back which means it’s time for a…
After the match, The Baddies grab the TBS Title from the timekeepers table to bring to Jade but Vickie Guerrero grabs it away from them and runs up the ramp and exits through the babyface tunnel while Marina Shafir holds The Baddies back. Jade Cargill looks irritated and asks for a microphone but then on the tron, a camera backstage shows Vickie Guerrero knocked out with the TBS Title strewn across her. We can also see that someone is standing over her. A hand comes down and grabs the title. The video cuts as we got back to the arena. Kris Statlander’s music hits as she walks out holding the TBS Championship. She walks down to the ring and hands Jade her belt back. Nothing more needs to be said.
Toni Storm vs Jamie Hayter
I don’t want to say this match should predictably go to Toni Storm but there are more than a few storyline/booking reasons why I’m heavily leaning towards Storm:
- #ThunderStorm: I easily forget that Toni Storm is merely Interim World Champ because she’s simply been the honourable babyface fighting champion this division has needed for a long time. In short order, she scans as the “Ace” of the women’s division. And yet, what does it say of her reign if she cannot eventually defeat Thunder Rosa to unify the belts as the Undisputed World Champion? Maybe Tony Khan has a twist in mind but I feel like that is her destiny.
- Baker Gonna Hayte: Despite Jamie Hayter going back with the good doctor, I think we all see Britt Baker vs Jamie Hayter as the eventual money feud and while Hayter holding the Interim World Title would be a great way of spurning that storyline, there are many ways of getting there without a title and I feel like AEW wants to make more compelling storylines in this division that don’t revolve around a belt.
One thing I will not say about Jamie Hayter is that it’s “too soon” for her to be World Champion. The timing may not be the best right now but she is a credible World Champion any day of the week. Besides being white hot with the crowd, she regularly delivers my highest rate matches every month. She’s an absolute dynamo but I think I’d rather see her go through this program with Britt first before having her first title reign.
I don’t think this match opens Full Gear but it could. The action will be stiff and fast and the crowd will be hot. I don’t doubt that Hayter will receive the more favourable crowd response, I just hope we don’t get fans ‘booing’ Toni Storm out of protest for Jamie not winning. There’s also the question of whether Britt Baker interferes to either inadvertently or purposely cost Hayter the title. My feeling is that with her having a match of her own (arguably the biggest match of her career), Britt won’t appear during this match. So I think playing the role of “was it accidental or not?” will be (Stupid Sexy) Rebel, costing Jamie Hayter at the worst time.
Toni Storm retains.
With that having been said, I’d rather Toni Storm go ever clean! I’m tired of every wrestler needing to be protected. Especially when having a tactical reason for a match result offers so much storyline material for a rematch. So if it were up to me…
After 5-6 minutes of solid action, the turning point of the match comes after Toni Storm has Jamie Hayter setup for the Hip Attack. Hayter tries to slip underneath the bottom rope to escape it but isn’t quite quick enough, leaving her knee in place to get the brunt of the attack.
In Toni Storm’s most recent match on the go-home episode of Dynamite, Toni defeats Anna Jay A.S. with a Texas Cloverleaf. Also, what’s one of Jamie Hayter’s biggest spots? It’s her patented back breaker where she basically Rock Bottoms an opponent onto her knee. Hayter has to be looked at by Doc Sampson after this but is allowed to continue. Shortly after, Hayter hits her backbreaker but the impact on her knee leaves her crumpled on the mat. Storm is eventually able to take advantage of this and resorts to using the Texas Cloverleaf but Hayter refuses to submit. The finish of the match comes when Hayter has Storm in a back grapple, setting her up for the Ripcord Lariat. This is easily countered by Storm who simply back kicks at Jamie’s knee. Hayter drops to one knee and as she gets up, falls right into a Storm Zero. Toni Storm wins clean. In a future re-match, this can be referenced by Hayter as a fluke that will not happen again and she can even use this to goad Toni into making a mistake. In the present, however, Toni Storm stands tall and celebrates when Thunder Rosa’s music hits. She comes out with her own World Title. They toast belts but also signal that the unification match is neigh. I have no idea where Thunder Rosa’s recovery is at but I really hope this happens.
Britt Baker vs Saraya
I was there at Grand Slam when Saraya walked out and once my brain reformatted back from a pink myst to its normal self, it took about 2 seconds to see where this was heading. Britt Baker may have dropped a ton of matches lately but that just speaks to how over she is. When it came to the question of who Saraya’s first opponent should be, it always had to be her.
As exciting a moment as this is for AEW and pro wrestling in general, I think it’s a fair assumption to say that a lot of wrestling fans share two fears going into this match:
- What if Saraya looks out of place in the ring after this long off?
- What if Saraya re-injures her neck?
The first of those two fears isn’t a huge deal. Fans are pretty understanding if someone who’s had a lot of time off needs some reps to get back into their groove. The second one, however, leaves us having to reconcile that all we can do is take Saraya and her doctors at face value when they say she is indeed healthy enough to wrestle.
I’m just gonna keep this prediction really simple.
You need to keep Saraya strong and prove “she’s still got it”. That being said, it’s difficult to predict just how the match will go as we have no idea where Saraya is at in terms of ring rust and cardio. But let’s say for the purposes of fantasy booking, that she is 110% ready to fuck shit up…
It’s impossible not to get caught up in all the peripheries of this match. Fans won’t be able to help but be more invested in Saraya Bevis the person than Saraya the wrestler. So how about we take the fans for an emotional rollercoaster ride?
Rather than get into specific spots, I’ll just lay out a few general things I want to see:
- A neck injury scare. If Bryan Danielson can do it, Saraya can too. Don’t do it with something obvious like a Pile Driver but how about an Air Raid Crash? That seems like the kind of “safe” move you wouldn’t expect to be risky but that’s what makes it seem all the more real. Have Doc Sampson come over and check on Saraya but quickly cut away and keep the camera off the situation to throw off the TV audience.
- Double juice. Why yes, I am a monster. Look, clearly some type of mandate has befallen AEW from on high. We’re seeing a lot less blood. I think the time is right and this match is the right one to bring it back. This match needs to be sold as a war.
- Britt break character. Post-match, I want all the feels. I want Britt & Saraya to shake hands after the match and let the emotion overcome them, wherever that’s at. Whatever’s honest. Whether it’s just Britt raising Saraya’s hand or a hug or even tears. I can absolutely excuse seeing Britt let the facade fall for one night. This is a huge night for pro wrestling. Let all come and celebrate.
So that’s my round-up of the three women’s matches on Full Gear. Who do you think will win? Who you think think should win? Any fun fantasy booking ideas? Let me know in the comments below or looking me up on Twitter (if it’s still around) at @aew_one. Thanks for reading and, as always, let the women in your life know how much you appreciate them!