Upon the release of this graphic, and with how the crowd response went for the Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter vs Saraya & Toni Storm match, I had to wonder: Are they turning Toni Storm heel? Because any time you put anyone against Willow Nightingale…
The pre-recorded segment earlier on in the night with Saraya, Toni Storm, and Hikaru Shida seems to hint that Saraya & Storm will indeed be turning heel as the “superstars” vs the “homegrown” women in AEW. I think they went with the “homegrown” moniker over “day one” because later additions like Willow Nightingale fit into that.
The action in this match opens up quick and snug. Not particularly “hard” but despite being the smaller wrestler, Toni’s ability to manipulate Willow’s body around the mat looks so credible.
The mood changes once Toni slaps Willow and then Hip Attacks her off the apron to the floor. Even though Saraya previously instructed her to stay in the back, Shida makes her way to the ring during commercial break.
Willow comes back with attacks that utilize her power and throwing her frame around. Awesome sequence that I thought was the finish with Willow hitting a middle rope shot gun drop kick but then misses on the cannon ball. Toni comes back with a neck-snapping hip attack and a tornado DDT. Really makes Willow look strong to have her kick out there.
I wondered if they were going to slow burn this heel turn but nope. Saraya & Toni cheat to win. And they attack Willow after the bell.
There’s so much smart dove-tailing of storylines and wrong footing in this single post-match angle. I’m really glad to see Tony Khan putting this much layered detail into the women’s division.
Shida is dumbfounded so her plausible deniability remains intact and we have a built-in reason for Storm & Saraya vs Willow & Ruby. I’m probably not the only one wondering if Ruby’s allegiances are in question. At the moment, I kind of hope not. I don’t want to see Ruby and, like, Athena drawn into this simply because they’ve wrestled for WWE. I have a few thoughts on this but that’s its own article.
As far as a match rating goes, look, this match was strongly worked with some really good sequences but it’s what I would call an economical “tidy piece of business” as it primarily functioned as a storyline beat but it was as well worked as it needed to be and hit every spot perfectly.
Winner: Toni Storm (7:13)Winner: Toni Storm (7:13)
- Strongly worked match
- Nothing was bad