AEW typically has a hard shift after their quarterly pay-per-views either introducing new stories or turning the corner on long-term ones. Currently, we’re freshly into the Full Gear 2022-to-Revolution 2023 PPV cycle, although there are always some notable stops along the way, the biggest of which is Winter Is Coming.
After Grand Slam, I think it’s fair to say that Winter Is Coming has become AEW’s biggest week of TV shows of the year. The Dynamite episode is almost like a mini-PPV. There are other themed Dynamite/Rampage episodes like Holiday Bash and New Year’s Smash. AEW also has several debuts in new markets, although none of them are in the hometown of any women on the roster, from what I can tell. And of course we have to mention ROH Final Battle. With all that being said, I want to take a look ahead and highlight some programs that appear to be developing.
The Rising Goddess
The biggest confirmed match on the docket right now is Athena challenging Mercedes Martinez for her ROH World Title at Final Battle. I have to think Athena walks out with the belt. This is an absolutely perfect piece of booking given it would setup Athena for title defences that adhere to the “Code Of Honor” before she absolutely brutalizes her opponent. I’ll be interested to see what type of heel Athena will be booked as going forward against non-enhancement talent and who that will be against.
Athena at Revolution?
Looking at the current makeup of the division’s babyfaces, I’m hoping we don’t get matches against faces at the level of Madison Rayne or Skye Blue unless their utter squashes. These babyfaces need to be heated up otherwise it’ll just be Athena beating the shit out of someone while the fans sit on their hands. Someone like Riho or Hikaru Shida would be big wins against two wrestlers fans don’t want to see get bullied. But to me, I think Willow Nightingale is the exact right opponent. She’s been attached to the ROH brand but more importantly, she’s a very over babyface that fans will get behind and she’s at a level where she can get over in defeat if she shows a lot of heart in a war with Athena.
What’s Next For Saraya?
In her interview with Renee Paquette, Saraya recaps her match against Britt Baker. She says she eventually wants to take a run at the World Title but that she’s ready to take on all comers. I have long-term and short-term opponents in mind.
Working up to a bigger Dynamite like, say, AEW’s Seattle debut maybe(?), I think Anna Jay A.S. would be perfect. She’s an irreverent young heel who’s at the right level where fans wouldn’t be excited enough to get behind her but would like the idea of getting this rub from facing a legend. Fans would ultimately expect—and root for—a Saraya win.
I think Saraya could use being in some good hands for her next PPV program just in case there’s any ring rust left and that list of women, for me, starts and ends with Serena Deeb. Arguably the best wrestler on the roster (man or woman) and she can make a big deal about how she couldn’t get over as a “Diva” during Saraya’s WWE run. She can be absolutely cruel with some neck stuff, in fact the whole build up to the PPV could be Deeb breaking poor jobber’s necks.
This might be the most unpredictable program. Being that we’re 13 weeks from Revolution, it stands to reason that this “feud” with Bow Wow, is Jade’s short-term program that will resolve itself on an episode of Dynamite. So who’s the wrestler that will represent Bow Wow?
Let’s quickly and succinctly acknowledge the Sasha Banks theory doing the rounds on Twitter. Basically it goes like this: Bow Wow was discovered by Snoop Dogg, the real-life cousin of Sasha Banks. Sasha, supposedly becoming a free agent as of January 1st, has trademarked the name “Mercedes Moné” to use in a wrestling capacity. Bow Wow said on Dynamite “…time is money, and I’m all about money…” I don’t put much stock in this theory however.
If I had to guess, I’d say Red Velvet ends up turning on Jade. It did seem suspicious to me that Red Velvet was in charge of arranging Jade’s celebration and there was red confetti. Maybe that’s nothing. But I think Kiera Hogan being kicked out of The Baddies could be a red herring (pun not intended). Maybe she does something to get in Jade’s good graces but then Red Velvet turns on Jade? In any case, I think out of the three, Red Velvet has the most potential to break out as a star and should therefore leave the group.
After that, it seems impossible to predict what Jade will do at Revolution but I think it’ll need to be her biggest program yet. Hikaru Shida definitely fits that bill as a former champion who had a year-long reign. It’s possible Toni Storm could get diverted away from the World Title program to face Jade but I think you build up to that. Saraya? Too soon. Riho? That’d be an awesome match but Riho’s lost some of her lustre in AEW from never being around for very long. You can’t expect her to have a title reign with her schedule. I am going to predict Jade’s biggest win of her career coming at Revolution against Hikaru Shida. She’s someone high up on the card where beating her would be a big rub for Cargill.
Does Baker Hayter?
Saving the best for last, we get to World Champion Jamie Hayter and her sidekick, Dr. Britt Baker, DMD. Much like Britt vs Saraya, this match feels destined for Revolution. I had entertained the idea that the feud is sparked after Britt costs Hayter her title, putting it back on Toni Storm. And while I’m still somewhat partial to that idea, I ultimately think it’d be more prudent not to fuck around with the stakes of this match. I can buy the argument that “this feud doesn’t need a title” but given that it’s already there, I think removing it risks hurting the vibe. I also think both World Title’s lineages could benefit from more stability. So summation; I’m predicting Jamie Hayter will beat Britt Baker at Revolution to retain her title.
Elsewhere, we’re seeing Bunny get back into action which is nice to see. If you didn’t catch Dark Elevation, it looks like a breakup of Nyla & Vickie is being teased, and Ruby Soho is seeking vengeance on Tay Melo. Other than that, who knows when Thunder Rosa will make her return, or Leila Hirsch for that matter, and Kris Statlander, she was estimated to be out 6-8 months in August so her return is a ways off still.
So that’s where I see the bigger programs in AEW’s women’s division heading. Let me know what you think, I’m especially interested to know if people have heard of these “Sasha Banks vs Jade Cargill” theories or if that’s just a small fringe group on Twitter. Thanks for reading and, as always, make sure the women in your life know how much you appreciate them.