Roster In Flux

AEW’s women’s roster has taken a serious hit lately. In fact, if you look at Full Gear 2022, where AEW booked 3 women’s matches, half of those women (Britt, Jamie, and Jade) are not on the active roster. If you look at the AEW.ONE Roster Page, there are some major talents not wrestling for one reason or another. Now, we should respect these people’s privacy and not make assumptions. Obviously, Tay Melo is absent due to having a baby (congrats to her and Sammy, btw) but regardless of the reason, this list makes for an impressive roster:

  1. Jamie Hayter (last match in AEW/ROH: May 28, 2023)
  2. Britt Baker (Sept. 16, 2023)
  3. Thunder Rosa (Aug. 10, 2022)
  4. Riho (June 14, 2023)
  5. Yuka Sakazaki (March 31, 2023)
  6. Serena Deeb (Oct. 18, 2022)
  7. Tay Melo (Jan. 11, 2023)
  8. Penelope Ford (Oct. 12, 2022)
  9. Taya Valkyrie (Oct. 25, 2023)

Of this list, Yuka Sakazaki & Taya Valkyrie are still wrestling actively in other promotions. Supposedly, Yuka is moving to the US and will be more active in AEW which I’m really excited for since I never felt like I could invest in her as I just assumed she’d be gone again soon after she showed back up.

I am, under normal circumstances, pretty critical of AEW’s “one women’s match per show” edict but at the moment, between Dynamite, Collision, Rampage, and Ring Of Honor, with all these absences they are stretched pretty thin. Does that mean AEW couldn’t possibly have 2+ women’s matches on any given AEW show? Of course not. You only need to look at the most recent episode of ROH where 4 women’s matches were booked and they’ve got multiple storylines going on, including what I’d say is the best story across ROH & AEW with Athena & Billie Starkz. Those two are carrying that entire brand.

Looking to 2024

With any luck, AEW will see some of these women slowly trickle back into the fold. On paper, AEW’s women’s locker room is actually pretty stacked. And even more so now since, as often happens, during absences of major players, others have stepped up. Kris Statlander has been regularly giving women their best matches. Julia Hart has emerged as arguably the most improved wrestler across the entire Tony Khan Wrestling Universe (don’t coin that). Timeless Toni Storm has gone from “nice & talented lady” to a legitimate draw for AEW. Skye Blue has grown leaps and bounds. Willow is getting regular matches and showing out, climbing up card. Hikaru Shida has been leaned on as the Ace of this division and has become the Jon Moxley-level glue holding everything together. And Mariah Fucking May is #AllElite!

Former Vicious Vixens

On the other end, there’s a few roster members who’ve fallen off the card a bit. Two of my favourites, Nyla Rose and Marina Shafir haven’t been in prevalent positions. Not sure if Nyla’s been rehabbing anything or not but I want to see more of her. Give her an actual TBS Title run in 2024! As for Marina Shafir, I just can’t figure out why Tony can’t pull the trigger on her. If you watched Shafir in Wrestling Revolver’s Women’s Grand Prix or in Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport earlier this year, you know how fucking elite she can be. She is so so so very good. Hopefully Ronda Rousey’s brief stint in ROH has shone a light on her existence and Tony will finally give her the push she deserves.

Where my Bayne-iacs at?

Other than that, I won’t make any predictions of new signings since I typically get them wrong. But I was relieved to hear that Megan Bayne, who’s currently grinding out a heavy schedule in Stardom, is signed to AEW.

If you don’t know Megan Bayne, think Jade Cargill but 6 years younger with 4 more years experience, taller, bigger, better, and a lot more motivated. She has a more “strong silent” aura about her than Jade who could really shit-talk but an aura nonetheless. She’s not the kind of act that you can just ease into the roster and eat “moral victory” losses. She’s a hoss. She looks like Diana of Themyscira before she became Wonder Woman. She needs to make an immediate impact if/when she arrives in AEW.

2023 was a year of growing pains and setbacks but hopefully in 2024, mostly everything can come back together in AEW—including more women’s matches on TV per week—and this division can be a real strength for AEW. Let me know your thoughts in the comment below on look me up on Twitter. Thanks for reading and, as always, let the women in your life know how much you appreciate them! 🙂

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