AEW Women's Division Overview: A Mixed Bag

With ample funding, AEW constructed a middling women's division on paper. The disparity between top-tier talent and the rest of the division remains concerning.
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When AEW hit the airwaves in 2019, hope for a strong women's division began. Yet, through missteps and ignoring talent, the women's division finds itself in a state of flux. However, just perusing the roster, talent immediately surfaces. Like the analysis of the NXT women's roster, let's look at the AEW women's roster.

Toni Storm

Now, criticizing the many missteps of Tony Khan from a booking standpoint feels like a national pastime. However, he struck gold in "Timeless" Toni Storm. The backward hat and eye black gave way to black-and-white camerawork and a heelish persona that works live and translates well on television. Storm, after spinning her wheels for a couple of years, found a groove with this gimmick. With elongated vowels and facial expressions, she gives the 1940s movie villain vibe.

To their credit, AEW hit a home run with this gimmick. More importantly, the new persona does not hinder Storm's in-ring capabilities which seamlessly ties the whole package together. The only question remains whether Storm can continue to re-invent this gimmick and keep it relevant and fresh.

Jamie Hayter

Fan support appeared solidly behind Hayter when she was injured. Whenever she returns, that Toni Storm feud should highlight the summer. Should be the one to eventually dethrone her. Hayter brings an exciting, hard-hitting approach to the ring. While safe, her strikes convince both the crowd and the television audience. Hayter is truly dedicated to her craft. Similarly, she speaks with not just her voice but glaring into the camera to convey her message.

Willow Nightingale

Honestly, a phenomenal face that instantly connected with the audience. Regardless of whether her entrance or effect plays a role, Nightingale's organic charisma resonates with the crowd and she breaks the mold for women's wrestlers.

Normally, most wrestlers of her size will see a promoter slide them immediately into a monster role, feasting on smaller underdog babyfaces. Instead, Nightingale wrestles with smoothness, effective selling, and a smash-mouth style. Her Doctor Bomb ranks up there with the KOD and breathtaking finishers in the business. Plus, the fact that she doesn't mind laying in the offense occasionally snugly scores extra points. Hopefully, she remains one of the centerpieces of the women's division.

Mercedes Mone

Now, before delving into the reasoning, a statement: The former Sasha Banks maintains a rather large, vocal, and simpish fanbase that stans for whatever she does or says. The hype doesn't add up. First, we'll discuss the persona. The entire CEO vibe does not register or evoke a strong response. Even Ted Dibiase altered the Million Dollar Man gimmick ever so slightly to remain relevant.

In the ring, Mone wrestles well enough, but it appears as though the image overshadows what happens between the ropes. On top of that, her mic work doesn't set the world ablaze with snark, insight, or passion. The promos sound choppy and uninspired. In her defense, her AEW booking does no favors. How does her in-ring debut occur at a pay-per-view, months after the company devoted an entire episode, centered around her in Boston? Thirty-six years ago next month, Chuck D advised us to not believe the hype. Not a lie told. Nightingale probably drops the title to Mone, to the delight of no one.

Deonna Purrazzo

In the ring, Purrazzo displays technical acumen and fluid transitions. She displays a knack for accelerating from selling to hope spots to feeding the opponent. Additionally, the Virtuosa persona sets her apart and blends in nicely with her background and Jersey heritage. AEW needed to bring Purrazzo along a bit slower to build a strong enough backstory that captured attention.

While the heel turn clicks, the lack of simmering tension makes the move feel rather hurried. Meanwhile, within the construct of her promos, you can see a kernel of potential that grows with not only confidence but content help. Overall, Purrazzo should remain well within the title picture for years when not holding the title herself.

Thunder Rosa

In a dirty business, few received worse treatment in AEW than Thunder Rosa. From questioning injury legitimacy to atrocious backstage behavior, Rosa's AEW tenure just lost steam. When she chose AEW over WWE, that looked like a great move, considering that Stamford wanted to use her as a referee and not the top-tier wrestler she is known as today.

Also, the aforementioned injury derailed her title reign, robbing her of valuable time. From a wrestling standpoint, Rosa enjoys not just a full move set with believable strikes and holds, but quickness in the setup. Notice the confidence in running the ropes. In her ten years, you can see influences from everywhere she competed. Not to mention, the ease and credibility of her promos. Rosa articulates anger and determination through an energized speaking style. Equally important, are Rosa's connections in the wrestling world as a promotion owner and strong voice for Latina wrestlers. Whenever she wants to retire, Tony Khan needs to hand her the training part of the women's division.

Kris Statlander

In a perfect world, Statlander doesn't suffer brutal knee injuries that take months to heal up. When she ditched the alien gimmick, you could witness someone who found herself in a better space, no pun intended. Statlander combines the power aspect with strikes that show little to no daylight between them, making her and her opponent appear much better. On the mic, the sense of purpose flows from her words. The word believability appears in wrestling circles. Recently, Statlander has shown off her comedic timing along with Willow Nightingale. Despite the funny, she weaves in seriousness, elevating the humor and making her must-watch.

Skye Blue

As mentioned with Roxanne Perez, the weird, overly-assisted sunset flip does not work for her. That's where the comparison ends. Often, Blue will hesitate with it, bringing a sloppy finish to the television. Not to pile on, but Blue needs serious in-ring polish as the camera betrays her by capturing blown spots and botches, helping her.

Furthermore, of all the talents listed, she needs the most promo work of all the talents. Too monotone and flat, leading to boredom. Promos sell matches and place butts in seats. In her favor, age. Blue doesn't turn 25 until this fall. By the same token, the entire goth heel turn doesn't work for everyone. If AEW wanted to turn Blue heel, a mean-girl gimmick sat right in front of their faces. If Tony Khan really envisions her as a future player within the division, by everything that's holy, take her off television, send her to TNA or Japan, for a year, and allow her to work as many indies as possible. After that polish time, repackage her and start her anew.


One a positive note, Athena holds the ROH Women's Championship. Since her days as Ember Moon, an evolution occurred for her. Instead of trying to fit within a certain type of talent, Athena picked standing out than fitting in. On the other hand, why did Tony Khan stick her on ROH? Athena is a main roster talent. No one really watches ROH. The storylines fail and the company relegated Athena to being the best of the rest, a big fish in a small pond. In other words, making her a TBS title contender after destroying the lower card.

Serena Deeb

As sound physically of a wrestler you will find. Deeb checks the in-ring boxes with explosion and craftiness. Rip Rogers trained her well. Then, she improved on that tutelage with extensive work around the world. Now, AEW receives points for working on her medical history in her comeback. According to Deeb, she suffered three seizures last fall. (On a personal note, my daughter suffered a seizure in 2020. She almost died. Seizures are scary because they happen out of nowhere and you're powerless to stop them. ) Meanwhile, doctors cleared her, allowing her to return. In a stranger twist of fate, Deeb recounting her trauma connects and her manner of speaking from the heart endeared her to fans. AEW needs to not rush her along and allow her to expand her range as a face.

Hikaru Shida

Why did AEW stick her on ROH? Shida doesn't need seasoning; she needs competent storylines and reasons to show up on their top three shows. Inspiring promos, due to the fact that she worked hard on English, and it shows. In the ring, placing her against slower-paced wrestlers forces her to alter her style. Shida is a prime example as to why AEW needs a women's tag title. Tells a decent match story with selling and underneath fighting. Carried division through COVID. If AEW ever constructs a Hall of Fame, Shida tops the list of female inductees.

Quick Thoughts

Nyla Rose: The biggest misstep for Tony Khan in this division. Ready-made monster heel in the Awesome Kong with mic skills department. Stuck on Honor Club, when she should compete on Dynamite. Pair her with Stokely Carmichael when she returns and watch the progress. At 41, she still moves well enough to factor into the title picture.

Julia Hart: In the same boat as Skye Blue. Young wrestler with decades of career ahead. Unfortunately lacks the gravitas or character depth to helm a program. In the ring, green as a Shamrock Shake. Time away and training, plus a re-debut would work wonders. Quality moonsault.

Anna Jay: Bouncing between factions, with plenty of ring time, yet still wrestling at a snail's pace. Biggest positive? Height. Jay towers over many in the division and that needs to serve as the basis for her offense. Yet, it hovers in the punch, kick, robotic movement phase.

Ruby Soho: On maternity leave, Found personality in Angelo Parker storyline. Good in-ring, very tough. Improved promo. Lost in WWE shuffle, same early in AEW, eventually made headway. Solid pro.

Mariah May: Smart move to keep her as an understudy until she inevitably turns face and excites crowd. Background in Stardom helps with pacing and technique. Mic skills will improve.

Saraya: Debuted to fanfare, failed to live up to expectations. Title handed to her at Wembley. Ring style is ultracautious and signals time to retire. Managing in her future.

Britt Baker: Better heel than face. Inside the ropes, still needs to work in ring awareness and spacing. Upon return, she should have a solid push before residing in upper midcard. The talent that arrived after Baker passed her by.


Despite stop/start/inconsistent booking, the AEW women's division could eventually, with tons of retraining/training off-camera could work. Right now, the division looks like a game of Spades: 5 possibles a bunch of maybe. While some may see this as harsh, understand that a strong AEW women's division is great for the business.