For the AEW World Championship at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door
For an AEW x NJPW pay-per-view, Toni Storm was the perfect challenger due to her tenure competing in Japan with Stardom, winning several Championships and accolades. Toni entered wearing like half a red & black studded leather jacket which was pretty cool. And then Thunder Rosa walked in. Her gear was like it was Aztec patterns in that royal oriental gold & red colour scheme. She had on a beautiful headdress. Her face paint was definitely taken up a notch. And as the match wore on and the makeup wore off, it kind of augmented her look. My description doesn’t do it justice so here’s a link to an AEW tweet:
Going into this match I felt really on the fence as to who would walk out with the belt. And it seemed like AEW journalists were pretty split too, maybe even a bit more tilted towards Toni Storm. Toni seemed to have built a lot of momentum after winning two very good matches on Dynamite against Britt Baker and Marina Shafir. So either we were getting a new champ or Thunder Rosa was about to have the biggest win of her title reign.
Austin, Texas influences
Match starts off with a handshake. A pretty even back-and-forth of duelling chants from the crowd for both women. A steady pace starts the match as they sort of measure each other up. Thunder Rosa hits a drop down slap and then a taunt, both honouring her mentor Dustin Rhodes. Things heat up after Storm gives Rosa a big slap which TR sends right back. A back-and-forth chop battle ensues before unravelling when Thunder Rosa hits a Stone Cold Stunner!
TR takes advantage with some offence in the corner and running drop kicks. Storm kicks out of several pinning combinations as Rosa starts showing some early signs of frustration. Toni sends Thunder Rosa out to the floor and goes for the Tornado DDT off the apron but TR turns it into a Northern Lights Suplex. TR tries to hit a Death Valley Drive on Storm on the apron but Toni turns it into a German Suplex on the apron. Toni Storm would then finally hits her apron Tornado DDT. Storm brings TR back into the ring and sets her up in the corner and then slams her with a Hip Attack. She follows that up with a Tornado DDT and goes for the pin. Kick out at 2.
Thunder Rosa manages to stop the momentum with a Code Breaker. She then a Death Valley Driver, then a Fire Thunder Driver which typically finishes a match but as Excalibur is saying “Thunder Rosa retains…” Storm kicks out at two. Thunder Rosa is now very visibly frustrated, screaming and kicking the seated Toni Storm. Toni catches one of TR’s legs, gets up and tries to go for the Storm Zero but Rosa reverses it into Dustin Rhodes’ Final Reckoning and pins for the win!
Post match, Thunder Rosa and Toni Storm shake hands again.
what do you reckon?
This kinda made for a weird ending to the match as Thunder Rosa’s Thunder Driver is so over that when Toni Storm kicked out of it, it felt like we were in for a lot more action, maybe even Storm coming back and winning. The Final Reckoning, however, to the untrained eye might scan as simply a variation of a suplex. I don’t even think when Dustin Rhodes hits it fan remember that it’s a finisher. The volume of the crowd counting “1-2-3” was much less for the Final Reckoning than it was for the Thunder Driver. I feel like if they were going to make that Thunder Rosa’s finisher, they should’ve gotten that over on an episode of Dynamite.
Thunder Rosa wins via pinfallThunder Rosa wins via pinfall
- Move execution & action
- Somewhat underwhelming finish