Time of writing: 7:15pm on Wed, June 7th.
This contest comes off the heels of a well received singles match between these two from an AEW House Rules house show in Tupelo, MS. The match may serve to extol the virtue of doing more “dry runs” on house show circuits before bring them to TV. It’s a practice that AEW hasn’t really utilized. And while this lack of practice has had little to no ill effects on the men’s division, stacked to the gills with experienced wrestlers with decades of tenure, I feel the women’s division is another matter. This very young and relatively inexperienced women’s division is more prone to sequences which break the immersion of a fight. Usually it’s something subtle that I think a lot of fans wouldn’t catch. Like an awkward stutter step due to the timing being off like when a wrestler is preparing for a running strike but they need to wait for their opponent to square up to them for the sake of the sequence.
When you can’t help but see the strings, it’s extremely hard to see the wrestlers as their characters. So rather of putting yourself into their shoes and take in the story of the match, you instead put yourself into the shoes of the woman playing the character and root for them to have a strong technically proficient match and also hope the crowd reacts positively to them. That’s still fandom. I don’t want to say there’s anything wrong with watching that way. But I do feel like the goal in wrestling is to cast that spell over the audience where they’re taking everything at face value so they live in that world with the wrestlers.
I think this match has a good chance of accomplishing that.
The women get their usual penultimate quarter hour segment. Anna Jay is accompanied by Daddy Magic (w/8-ball Jacket) for some extra heat. Kris Statlander comes out with her silver kimono and longbois. But let’s get to the in-ring.
The action to start his match was smooth and snug and never relented throughout. You can count on Stat to give you solid wrestling while Anna’s inexperience will show up at times but not here. Anna Jay looked quick, fluid, and decisive. Anna Jay hits a great looking heel kick to the back of Statlander to send her into the turnbuckle and us into commercial break.
Returning from break, Statlander’s power game just feels unassaliable but Anna Jay’s guile is more than able to overcome it. This is highlighted with a smooth rollup pin into the Queen Slayer. Stat is able to escape and eventually win with Friday Night Fever (if that’s what she’s still calling it?).
Admittedly, once I had set myself up with the task of “getting lost in the match”, it was like telling yourself not to imagine a brown squirrel. I played myself. But nonetheless, the action was very very good. Had the threat to Statlander’s TBS Title felt credible, maybe I would’ve. Instead, I watched this critically, as I usually do, and I really really enjoyed this match. I can’t know how their first bout at House Rules went but my hunch is this match benefited from it.