Connect with us
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. AEW
Image: AEW

Wrestling

Baker’s Gonna Bake: Takeaways from Britt Baker’s 2021 Title Reign

Look back to the AEW women’s division of 2019. “Smiley” Kylie Rae, Nyla Rose, and Britt Baker were looked at as potential faces of the division. A wave of joshi names like Riho and Hikaru Shida leapt to the forefront with their unmatched experience. Outside talent like Bea Priestly and legends like Awesome Kong and Aja Kong popped up out of nowhere. The roster was tiny, but every basic role was represented.

A lot of the division’s depth in the early stages came through frequent use of non-regular talent. Between 2019 and early 2021, a variety of names could conceivably have their moment at the top. Shoko Nakajima pinned Riho and didn’t come back for the rest of the year. Emi Sakura had one of the promotion’s best women’s matches on PPV against World Champion Riho. NWA’s champion Thunder Rosa faced AEW’s champion Shida for the AEW title on PPV. Ryo Mizunami earned the same shot against Shida by sweeping a through a 16-woman tournament.

Which brings us to the rest of 2021, and the impact of Britt Baker’s first World title reign.

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. AEW
Image: AEW

1. Baker or bust

Once Baker had won the World title from Shida, the latter, AEW’s longest-reigning champion of any kind, just vanished from TV. Rosa, who (unofficially) pinned Baker in their classic Lights Out match, would be a fixture on Elevation for the better part of 2021. Then, we’d go on to see the doctor on TV every week, with Ruby Soho and others sprinkled in. With Baker at the top, you were constantly told there was an active World title scene on TV. But it was near-impossible to name a definitive list of peers when they’d all stay on Elevation or just be away.

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. AEW
Image: AEW

2. Emphasis on promos

Prior to Baker, the charisma of AEW Women’s World Champions had not translated to the microphone. Riho and Shida both made their mark as the smoothest top names that fought with honor and heart. Rose was the imposing foundation of the division. Baker’s most prominent skills upon winning the title would arguably be her mic presence and her toughness amid injury and hardcore matches. Having a champion with a popular catchphrase and venomous live promos, along with memorable matches, was a breath of fresh air in the division.

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. AEW

3. Much of the same

Promos are great fun and a necessity in pro wrestling, but the problem was Baker largely stayed the same. It held true whether on the mic or with how she won the better part of her defenses. I am the face of the division, yours truly, Doctor Britt Baker, DMD. Didn’t matter who the challenger was, it was roughly the same snarky intonation. Same promos on Dynamite, similar matches on TV or PPV. All these combined — and for as long as they did — became a glaring issue.

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. AEW

AEW is so compelling because people (1) constantly go through changes, or (2) stay defiantly the same amid changes around them. Around the time of the CM Punk feud, MJF’s promos evolved into less zingers and more storytelling. “Hangman” Adam Page continues to go through changes with his self-confidence and his relationship with The Elite and Dark Order. In contrast, Cody Rhodes’ entire arc was about him thinking the crowd’s perceptions of him were the same in 2021 as they were in 2019. And Orange Cassidy is Orange Cassidy no matter what, a unique foil for anyone in wrestling. It wouldn’t have been a lot to want 1 running development in the women’s division.

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. AEW
Image: AEW

4. Lack of material

In all fairness, Britt Baker can’t change if nothing ever happens around her. Despite solid in-ring pairings against Shida, Rosa, and Kris Statlander, Baker’s promos kept her both in a box and in a league of her own. For the longest time, the top TV stories were Jade Cargill’s undefeated streak, the Shida v Serena Deeb series, and who was getting strapped to the dentist’s chair next. As long as Baker defended in regular singles bouts, her opponents had as much chance of outtalking her as they did escape Hayter and Rebel’s ringside shenanigans.

Could we not have revisited The Waiting Room? That was an adorable show.

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. AEW
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. AEW
Thunder Rosa
Image: AEW

5. Resetting expectations

Criticisms rained down on the next World Champion Rosa and challenger Deeb for their live promos ahead of a PPV. Rosa’s TV time was also noticeably smaller compared to the previous champion’s.

And I wonder about that.

With the success of 2022 addition and interim World Champion Toni Storm; the reactions for Jamie Hayter now, and for inaugural champion Riho all 2019; and Shida being a top merch-seller despite not being a TV constant nowadays. None of these women have ever been relied on for promos, but they are all World Champion-ready anytime.

AEW Women's Division
Image: AEW

I wonder if Rosa and Deeb would have been tasked with live promos if Baker hadn’t just been champion. I wonder if Storm would be as popular and dominant as she is now had she debuted in 2021. But when it comes to the depth of the World title scene now — Storm, Hayter, Deeb, Shida, Rosa, and Baker — I know for a fact that that didn’t happen because of a promo segment.

In Sum

Britt Baker’s 2021 title reign was marred with sameness, stemming from a lack of depth at the top of the card. This was the result of a developing, wrestling-centered division suddenly emphasizing promo work to match Baker’s. Any improvements Baker made in singles bouts were overshadowed by the formulaic interference finishes, resulting in a feeling of staleness both in and out of the ring. Baker earned her position as the face of AEW’s women’s division in 2021, but it never should have been at the expense of Shida, Statlander, and others. And not for that long, and not with the same things going on.

Epilogue

For over a year, Britt Baker did interviews while Jamie Hayter stood beside her. The longest Hayter ever spoke came within a month of the dentist leaving after dropping the World title.

Look where we are now.

AEW
Written By

Harvey Garcia is sometimes a poet and freelance writer from Manila; always going to pop for a butterfly suplex, and a good line cut.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook

Trending

Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino: Whose Streets Are Meaner? Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino: Whose Streets Are Meaner?

Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino: Whose Streets Are Meaner?

Film

Godzilla vs. Gigan Rex Godzilla vs. Gigan Rex

Godzilla vs. Gigan Rex Review: One of Godzilla’s Finest Recent Outings

Culture

Lost Bullet 2 Lost Bullet 2

Lost Bullet 2 Delivers The Finest of Vehicular Mayhem

Film

Greatest Film Noir Movies Greatest Film Noir Movies

Noirvember: 50 Greatest Film Noir Movies Part 1

Culture

Long-Awaited 5-25-77 is a Coming-of-Age Triumph 

Film

Noirvember: 50 Greatest Film Noir Movies Part 2 Noirvember: 50 Greatest Film Noir Movies Part 2

Noirvember: 50 Greatest Film Noir Movies Part 2

Culture

Prey for the Devil Sucks the Possession Genre Dry

Culture

Blockbuster, photo via Netflix Blockbuster, photo via Netflix

Blockbuster: Netflix’s Latest Workplace Comedy Misses the Mark

Culture

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Personifies A Duel for the Ages

Culture

Good Night Oppy Provides Cheer From Another Planet 

Film

Streaming services Streaming services

Streaming Wars and Streaming Headaches

Culture

Prince Namor The Submariner Prince Namor The Submariner

Who is Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner in Wakanda Forever?

Culture

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio movie review Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio movie review

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Breathes New Life into the Classic Fable

Culture

Netflix's The Watcher Netflix's The Watcher

Netflix’s The Watcher (2022) and Thoughts on Ambiguous TV Mystery Endings

TV

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) review Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) review

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a Flawed but Worthy Follow-Up

Film

my house walk-through my house walk-through

11 Unsettling Short Horror Films to Creep You Out This Halloween

Film

Connect