Thunder Rosa was disrespected after her injury announcement


Three weeks ago, a tearful Thunder Rosa announced that she could not compete at ALL OUT. In a backstage segment with Tony Schiavone, the AEW Women’s Champion announced she has an undisclosed injury. Fans learned that there would be a Fatal Four-Way match to crown an interim Women’s Champion.

The AEW Women’s Champion isn’t presented equally to the World Champion

This info came in a short one-minute segment. It was followed by a four-minute match between Britt Baker, D.M.D., and KiLynn King. After the match, the former Women’s Champion reminded everyone that she competed injured. Instead of coming off as a heel, it came off as a personal dig at Rosa since the two are rumored to not like one another.

From Thunder Rosa’s promo to Britt’s promo, the whole thing was less than 10 minutes. Thunder Rosa’s revelation about her injury fit in a Twitter video, with time to spare. Many fans were left wondering why the Women’s Champion got a minute promo while former AEW World Champion, CM Punk, got eight minutes to talk about his injury.

Fans also pointed out that in order to crown an interim World Champion, there was a tournament that included a match involving NJPW with Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto. Tanahashi ended up being the one to face Jon Moxley for the title.

For the Women’s Championship, we’re getting a Fatal Four Way match that feels thrown together. During the ALL OUT media call, Tony Khan admitted that it didn’t take him long to put the match together. Baker, Jamie Hayter, and Toni Storm have been in a feud. Hikaru Shida was added as a former champion.

Of course with Punk’s injury, Khan had more time to come up with a segment and could use the Forbidden Door show to his advantage to hold a tournament. For the women, there could’ve been a tournament with a winner being crowned at Grand Slam. If he wanted to utilize the women for a match at ALL OUT, the tournament could’ve started there with a couple of matches.

The women have long been presented as an afterthought and the presentation of the women has been an ongoing issue since AEW’s debut. Given how Thunder Rosa’s injury was presented on TV, followed by a short match and a hastily match announcement to crown an interim champion, this backs that perception. It appears that the Women’s Championship is not equal to the World Championship, no matter what we’re being told.

Tony Khan’s response to criticism of the situation

I had the opportunity to ask a question on the media call. I brought up Thunder Rosa’s injury segment length compared to Punk’s. I also prefaced it by saying that there was a tournament to crown the interim World Champion, but the women are getting a Four-Way match. I used Punk’s segment as an example. I did not ask why Thunder Rosa wasn’t given eight minutes. The point of the question was to show the discrepancy in the way two top champions were treated in the same situation.

I asked Khan what he has to say in response to the criticism of the segment and the upcoming match. His response:

"“I strongly disagree with that. I very strongly disagree with that. I give the TV time based on what l believe is going to draw the most ratings. If you want my honest opinion on an eight-minute Thunder Rosa promo vs. an eight-minute CM Punk promo, then you’re going to get an honest answer. I think the eight-minute CM Punk promo is probably going to do a better rating. As far as match length, I think Thunder Rosa has had some great matches as champion and to come out and do a live eight-minute promo, I’m not sure that would have been good for the television show, to be honest. Especially given where we were at with Thunder Rosa, I found out she was injured a few hours before a live television show, I don’t really have time to put an eight-minute promo in when I had just a couple hours notice vs. CM Punk, I knew days earlier he was pretty badly hurt and we had already made a plan two days earlier. Furthermore, a lot of people criticized the way Jon got his match with Tanahashi, so I guess you can’t please everybody, no matter what you do, and I’ve actually seen more people excited about the four-way match than they were for the original match and I think the four-way is one of the more anticipated matches on the card and I’ve seen people way more excited about that than, honestly, in some cases, the way we go through the Casino Battle Royal match. I noticed people complained when Kyle got that opportunity. Jon vs. Kyle is one of my personal favorite TV matches. There were people criticizing that. I’ve seen less people, although there may be some, criticizing how we got to this. You can’t necessarily please every body, but I do think in this case, it’s been positive given the situation we were in.” (h/t Fightful)…where you find out the champion is hurt a couple of weeks before the pay-per-view and you have to scramble, I actually had less time in the case of this to get the situation resolved. With Jon, there were a few weeks before Forbidden Door, so there was more time before the TV shows, to prepare the promo–I think if you want my honest opinion and look, that’s just a fact, as far as what’s going to draw ratings, talking for eight minutes. And then the build to the match–I’m super excited for Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Jamie Hayter vs. Toni Storm. And I think a lot of people are more excited for that than how we got to the first match. So, you’re definitely entitled to your opinion.”"

Finding out about Thunder Rosa’s injury a few hours before does make things a bit more difficult, but not impossible. Thunder Rosa could’ve had a sit-down interview with JR or Schiavone. It could’ve been pre-taped. Even a three-minute interview and a clearer explanation of the four-way match would’ve been better than what we got.

ALL OUT 2022 predictions: Mox will retain. dark. Next

When Thunder Rosa gave her first interview as champion, she was attacked from behind by another former women’s champion, Nyla Rose. Some questioned then if that would set the tone for her title reign and it seems like the answer is “yes”. There were rumors into her title reign that the champ was frustrated about the time she was given and how she was being booked. Between that and how she was treated on TV when announcing she was injured, it feels like her title reign was doomed from the start.

Women have to be presented better, especially with Ring of Honor eventually getting some sort of deal with regular shows. It needs to be figured out before ROH has regular TV or streaming because Khan can’t have two women’s divisions that are struggling with presentation and perception.