How AEW Messed Up The Britt Baker And Thunder Rosa Rivalry

How AEW Messed Up The Britt Baker And Thunder Rosa Rivalry

Thunder Rosa is finally the new AEW Women’s Champion! After one year of scratching and clawing her way through AEW Dark, the epic story of the former NWA Women’s Champion and Dr. Britt Baker reached its climax in Rosa’s hometown in a bloody steel cage match. The problem is it wasn’t an epic conclusion to their rivalry. It just feels that AEW is tacking on that moniker because they managed to not milk their matches dry after their Lights Out bout a year prior. But a story needs more than that. It has to have a beginning, middle, and end. There was a solid beginning, but an extremely messy middle that ruined the climax. The main issue with the Britt Baker/Thunder Rosa rivalry is that Tony Khan chose to pretend that it didn’t happen until the time was right.

This is completely the wrong approach. Having Rosa go in one direction and Baker in another is not the method that this story should’ve gone. The plate needed to keep spinning. It was bad enough that Baker somehow came out better in the Lights Out by advancing to the top while Rosa seemingly faded from the spotlight. But the former NWA Women’s Champion should’ve called out Baker the moment after she won the belt; Bringing up the fact that she has her number, despite the Lights Out match not counting on record. Baker is a heel, so she could’ve just stalled out and refused to fight Rosa. This means that the AEW star would have to climb her way to the top by the traditional method of getting numbers in the rankings. To be honest, AEW doesn’t particularly use their rankings system to full effect as getting meaningless jobber wins on AEW Dark is a waste of time. Doing this keeps the Baker/Rosa feud warm while allowing the former to fight other talents on the roster.

Simply dropping the rivalry until the time was right took away the momentum and heat from the feud. The prime example of this is the Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa feud. Following Ciampa’s shocking turn, the former NXT Champion was forced to sit out of action due to injury. In the meantime, NXT creative did subtle things to keep their heated rivalry alive. For example, Zelina Vega threw a #DIY shirt at Gargano, costing him his match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III against Andrade Cien Almas. AEW didn’t do that those subtle moments and the rematch was cold because the middle was so lackluster. Sure, there was a tag team match with Baker and Rosa before the former champion defended her belt against Tay Conti at Full Gear, but the story after that wasn’t hot. AEW made the mistake of assumingly the rivalry was at second gear once they finally made the decision to revisit it. It nearly needed more time to development in order to recapture the heat they had going into the Lights Out match. Plus, Baker’s title reign had been pretty lackluster at this point because she just wasn’t clicking as champion. Creative having Rosa go through her lackeys just wasn’t enough. There needed to be more high-profile segments to put the feud back on track, but that just wasn’t the case. It didn’t help that the tired heel interference played a factor in Rosa’s loss at Revolution.

Lelya Hirsh vs. Thunder Rosa was unnecessary. Creative already had an excuse for why Rosa deserved a title rematch, so booking this match was pointless. This moment should’ve been dedicated to some type of segment that got them to their final destination: a cage match at St. Patrick’s Day Slam. The moment of Thunder Rosa winning the title was great and emotional, but that wasn’t at the back of a compelling feud. It didn’t really seem creative knew how to navigate the rivalry in the proper direction and fumbled multiple chances of steering it into the right direction. This is also the same problem with Adam “Hangman” Page’s journey to getting back in the world title hunt. The direction in the middle was a bit lost, though they at least changed course properly towards the end. Thunder Rosa rightfully has the AEW Women’s title because it was desperately time for a new face at the top; however, her feud with Britt Baker will not go down as one of the best. AEW is making strides improving the women’s division and are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were a couple of years ago, but there’s still more improvement needed for the treatment as a whole.

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