Has AEW’s women’s division caught up to the entire WWE women’s division?

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Women’s wrestling overall has skyrocketed in popularity among fans, and especially in terms of performance over the last decade. We definitely owe that perception to the rise of the WWE women’s division, no question about it. But seeing that WWE isn’t the only game in town anymore, is it safe to assume that other women’s divisions have caught up, especially AEW’s women’s division?

A deeper look at the WWE women’s division

Although the division has hit a slight hiccup as of late, especially since the absence of Bayley and Becky Lynch, a  wrestler whose popularity catapulted in her becoming ‘The Man,’ the moniker she took up when she truly started to leave an imprint so to speak, which came in 2018, really.

To call her momentum a revolution in the women’s division would be an understatement and anyone who missed that run of hers as ‘The Man’ and thinks that Bianca Belair is having quite the run, you haven’t seen anything close to the meteoric rise that Becky Lynch enjoyed, trust old Dom on that one.

The athleticism of the rest of the WWE division is perhaps seen best at NXT right now, particularly with stars like Candice LeRae, Ember Moon, Shotzi Blackheart, Toni Storm (now both on SmackDown), and of course Io Shirai.

AEW stars on the rise

AEW has responded to the call to action in kind, delivering action in their own women’s division, putting on matches that I dare say are a tad better—specifically when looking at two wrestlers in particular…

Thunder Rosa

She was officially signed with AEW just recently despite having already put on the match of her career thus far with the company, against another woman I’m about to go into detail about in just a few seconds, and Thunder Rosa, along with her counterpart, put on a clinic worth remembering in the form of a hardcore match, or rather an “Unsanctioned Lights Out Anything Goes Match,” as it was being billed at the time.

But no matter what you call it, the match crashed through boundaries set upon the women’s division…boundaries set up because of lackluster performances in the pro wrestling world by the torchbearers who took it from the likes of Lita, Trish Stratus, Molly Holly, Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix and Mickie James—all the top performers of the former era.

Those middle years there, with the Bella Twins and ‘Divas’ like them, really hurt the WWE women’s division, but there’s none of that in AEW…especially when looking at a woman like Rosa and the next lady of the ring in question…

Dr. Britt Baker

Some of AEW’s female wrestlers have been in WWE…Britt Baker specifically, although she spent only a mere few seconds at the company, jobbing to Nia Jax in a single match labeled on Wikipedia as a “squash match.”

Kris Statlander, Nyla Rose and so many others on that division are already gaining steam, as can be seen from week to week on Dynamite and Dark: Elevation. Statlander has only been wrestling since 2016 but already in that short time, she’s made an impact for sure.

Seeing that some had stints in WWE, the question can be posed: Well, did they just learn all the WWE tricks and then go to other companies? That’s why they’re good!

At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as all that, as they weren’t allowed to flourish in WWE…that invisible ceiling that so many wrestlers hit at that company was certainly present during their respective runs there, and it capped Baker as well as others that have migrated over to now greener pastures; in the men’s division as well.

It was AEW that gave them a platform—a new platform to shine—and it was there that they gained the steam they’re now enjoying.

An answer to the question

In the end, the division is certainly standing on its own and I guess I can say that AEW has the edge in match excitement and delivery, but the talent at WWE is strong and always has been…the distinction seems to come at a management level…what they’re allowed to do and what they’re not.

If WWE was still putting on hardcore matches like what we saw between Rosa and Baker, maybe the likes of Ember Moon and Mercedes Martinez could definitely deliver in that caliber of match—actually I’m sure they can; Becky Lynch as well, as she’s taken pretty bad beatings in that ring too.

But on the technical level. I’d say both divisions are at par. Take a look at Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair (SummerSlam 2016), Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey (WrestleMania 35). There are certainly good points and bad points, but overall they set the bar…a bar that AEW has reached. But to say that they’re better wouldn’t sit right just yet.

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What’s to come for both divisions?

Nothing but promising matches we can only hope. Just like the Attitude Era enjoyed by wrestling fans in the nineties, with the wrestlers at WWE and WCW at that time trying to one-up each other every Monday night, with a top new company in AEW, these two divisions are sure to push each other much in the same way and in ways they’ve never been pushed before.

We’ve already seen a massive difference since AEW’s inception in 2019, and perhaps, dear readers…there’s so much more excitement to come.