It’s a straightforward and logical story: At Double Or Nothing, Taya Valkyrie took TBS Champion Jade Cargill to her limit but came up just short. In Taya’s view, Kris came in and beat Jade after Taya had already “softened her up”. It makes sense then that Taya would feel like she is the reason Statlander is the TBS Champion or at the very least that Stat “owes” her a title shot.
This portion of the Review was written before AEW Dynamite
Looking at the potential quality of this match; Kris Statlander and Taya Valkyrie have never even touched (on TV anyway) let alone had a match. This is a departure from the trend of women having matches on AEW House Rules shows prior to doing them on live TV, and is yet another point for my argument that AEW needs Women’s Trios Titles (shameless plug). Despite this, both women are very experienced veterans so I’m sure they’ll make good dance partners but I like the idea of wrestlers having that dry run to go over later and think of the spots they could improve, add or subtract.
Story wise, I think we’re all on the same page that we don’t see Statlander losing this title any time soon but I’m glad she’s getting credible threats like Taya and not just jobbers to smash to inflate her run. If Tony Khan is looking forward to an eventual rematch with Jade Cargill, I like the idea of Statlander being able to evade Road To Valhalla in this match and use those spots as callbacks for Statlander-Cargill 2.
First things first: Yay, it’s Statlander in trunks! (The longbois are fine). So I had been remarking how in the opponent selection for Statlander, who’d ordinarily be a good base for smaller wrestlers, Tony Khan hasn’t been shy about putting her against the bigger women in this division (Jade, Nyla, Anna’s not small) and now Taya. I want to highlight a couple moves, one that Statlander needs to add to all her matches and another I wish she’d retire. Her leg sweep into a handstand twisted leg drop: Beautiful. Her standing moonsault from the apron… Oh Kris, as massively impressive as that is, I will hold my breath every time you do it, that can’t be great for your knees. Add to this it seems to take a while to setup and leaves the opponent having to stand and wait for it, I just feel like the payoff isn’t worth the ample risk (but what do I know).
Taya, even though she’s lost both her big matches in AEW, feels like a star and I really hope they find the right spot for her. She’s big, her facial expressions are incredible (which, as I say, is probably easier when you’re beautiful), and everything she does between every move tells you something.
My big takeaway from this match is the raw power exhibited in this match. Statlander’s spinning Falcon Arrow. Whatever that double underhook sit out move was that Valkyrie hit. And this finish will live with me for some time because matches where moves don’t come off as clean and as smooth as you’d like sometimes make the spot all the better. Statlander and Valkyrie did a great job of making me think, “Is the Superplex going to happen? Can it happen? Is it too dangerous to try?” and then Statlander just pulls Taya over through sheer force of will, Taya looking like she may land wrong, but it’s all fine. It’s better than fine, this looked REAL. Her exasperated look after the three-count spoke to me “Holy hell am I glad that’s over!” Adored this.
By the way, Statlander changing the name of her finisher toWednesday Night Fever, I’m guessing this is a reference to her being a “Dynamite Girl”, maybe because she’s the TBS Champion and Dynamite is on TBS. Seems like the TNT Title is mostly going to be on Collision on TNT. Although Tony Khan doesn’t usually like to be too strict with these types of details and lock him into having less booking freedom.