AEW Full Gear was packed with some of the best wrestling action seen this year. While “Hangman” Adam Page defeated Kenny Omega to become the promotion’s fourth AEW World Champion, Britt Baker defeated Tay Conti to remain the top woman in the promotion. However, there’s a growing sentiment that Baker’s title run has stalled, hurting her overall momentum.
When people talk about the “pillars” of AEW, leaving Baker out of that conversation is a mistake. She could easily be considered the company’s first “home-grown” talent. Naysayers tried to criticize her signing when the promotion was getting off the ground in 2019, but she’s surpassed all those critiques, becoming one of the most popular individuals on the entire roster.
Yet, some are still criticizing her run as champion. She’s held onto the title for 169 days and picked up wins against the likes of Nyla Rose, Red Velvet, Kris Statlander, Ruby Soho, and most recently Conti on Saturday. As those wins pile up, there’s a noticeable lack of momentum behind the build to the matches and the interest in what’s next for her as champion.
A big part of this is the overall utilization of the AEW Women’s Division. There has been improvement in recent weeks, but AEW has struggled to build a consistent stream of strong challengers and intriguing storylines with women looking to unseat Baker. The TBS Title Tournament has been enjoyable and very well-received to this point but doesn’t help find a solution for a credible name to stand across from Baker and raise the bar in eyes of fans.
Another part of the equation is that AEW has made it clear that Baker is the name that the women’s division will be built around. Even when she was injured, the company found a way to keep her on television to build the feud with Big Swole. It’s hard to see another woman being booked over her. Even Thunder Rosa and Big Swole – both women with wins over Baker and widely popular with fans – have been kept away from her at this point in her run. Going back to those matches and seeing Baker get the victory may not have the reaction that AEW decision-makers want to see in the end.
Fans are far from turning on Britt Baker as has happened to other well-protected stars in the past. But AEW should be mindful of the slowly turning fan perception around her current run as champion. AEW has a talented roster of women and improving how that group is utilized will only help their champion. Without it, Baker’s momentum will come to a halt and the promotion will have to pivot sooner, rather than later.