AEW: Hikaru Shida’s anticipated return to AEW Dynamite is long overdue

AEW, Hikaru Shida (photo courtesy of AEW)
AEW, Hikaru Shida (photo courtesy of AEW) /

The COVID-19 global pandemic had a trying impact across the world, professional wrestling included. Many organizations were forced to shutter their doors, while big promotions like AEW, WWE, Impact, and New Japan had to find new ways to conduct business. Those promotions needed to lean on smaller rosters, and that gave the opportunity for several performers to step up. Hikaru Shida was such an individual for AEW and she’s scheduled for a big match on AEW Dynamite after an absurd amount of time Dark and Dark Elevation.

Shida held the AEW Women’s Championship for 372 days. Just like Drew McIntyre in the WWE, her reigning moment was overshadowed by the continued impact of the pandemic on wrestling. Still, Shida was one of the best performers for AEW during that first year when the company needed as many dependable performers as possible.

It was during that time she worked to help establish names in AEW like Penelope Ford, Thunder Rosa, Anna Jay, and others. While at the same time, doing so for herself to an audience that wasn’t that familiar with her as a performer before her time with AEW. Her championship run is one of the best to occur in “mainstream” wrestling within the last year.

Shida dropped that title to Britt Baker at Double or Nothing on May 30. Baker was long tabbed as a name that AEW wanted to build around, unfortunate injuries delayed that rise to fame. Still, Baker was consistently on television and provided an opportunity to shine, which she did. Ending Shida’s run kicked off one of the most enjoyable aspects of AEW programming today.

But with the end of Shida’s time as champion, her presence on television ended as well. After Double or Nothing, Shida would not be seen on Dynamite nor AEW Rampage. In fact, this Wednesday’s match against the returning Serene Deeb will be her first match on a non-PPV, televised event since May 13.

Shida has won twelve straight matches across Dark and Dark Elevation. Those two platforms are leveraged to help build talent in AEW, but it would be hard to call them as “important” as Rampage or Dynamite. Those are the two shows that garner the most eyeballs and where the most stakes are played out. AEW has a robust roster, but there’s still concern over the time given to women’s wrestling. Being unable to find consistent time on television for the likes of Shida, Rosa, Big Swole and others should raise a concern to fans of the promotion.

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Shida versus Deeb is a big matchup for the AEW Women’s division. These are two of the best workers on that roster and expectations are high for what they will accomplish in the ring. However, this shouldn’t be the first time that viewers of AEW’s flagship show have seen Shida in the ring. It will be a welcome and long overdue return for Hikaru Shida.