Best AEW Women Wrestlers
By far, the easiest target for criticism in AEW is their mishandling of the women’s division. It’s one of a few truly well-meaning criticisms to be had because for every critic of the promotion relegating the women to a single match per TV episode (for the most part), there have been as many who believe the division is comprised of a lot of talent who still need time to develop for TV, whether in matches or in promos.
But as we chicken-or-egg our way out of these arguments, we cannot deny that the promotion has taken strides to add depth to their women’s division this year alone, through the introduction of a much-needed second women’s title, the TBS Championship; and the signing of impactful female talents such as Toni Storm and Athena. It is company efforts like these, along with the efforts of captivating, sound wrestlers like the ones to be celebrated below, that make a division put the world on notice.
Thunder Rosa, Toni Storm, Athena, Willow Nightingale
Thunder Rosa and Toni Storm both need to be commended for putting on the best defense of Rosa’s Women’s World title at Forbidden Door, and one of the best, tightest matches in the division all year.
The only reason Athena and Willow Nightingale do not make it to the Top 5 is that they have not been given as many chances to wrestle (yet), which considering the unfortunate trend of the division they’re in, means they get few chances, to begin with. Nightingale in particular has what it takes to be AEW’s next top star on the back of her vibrant personality, and natural power and agility, without even necessarily being fast-tracked to a title picture.
(5) Serena Deeb
Serena Deeb is the most consistent technical, mat-based wrestler in the division. She has brought out the best of the World Champion Thunder Rosa in a feud centered around their mutual respect for the other, which built up to a well-positioned and well-received technical match at Double or Nothing.
Not to mention, Deeb has been champion on AEW TV before, holding the NWA World Women’s title, and the division was all the better for it. And now, on a presumptive collision course with ROH Women’s World Champion Mercedes Martinez, a second reign could very well be coming to “The Professor.”
(4) Jamie Hayter
Jamie Hayter could easily be number one on this list, but she has largely been confined to the supporting cast of Britt Baker’s adventures since aligning with the dentist in August 2021. (Then again, Baker is the reason Hayter appears on TV regularly, so now there’s this thing we have to think about.)
Hayter has been dominant in quick showings on Dark: Elevation when given the occasional opportunity. But against fellow roster members on Dynamite and Rampage, she has proven to be the best wrestler in the division not to be featured in any title picture yet, which was best shown in May’s tag team banger, Hayter/Baker versus Toni Storm and Ruby Soho. If Hayter ever decides to once again “put her sticky fingers on a belt that doesn’t belong to her,” its champion better be ready.
(3) Jade Cargill
People criticize Jade Cargill for not having the most exciting or most polished matches despite being the inaugural TBS Champion, but in the months since winning the title, Cargill has swayed many over to the Baddie Section with her unique promo presence, as well as her steady in-ring improvement.
Since beating Ruby Soho to become champion, Cargill has gone on to beat the likes of “The Problem” Marina Shafir, Willow Nightingale, and a rejuvenated Anna Jay. While there are still others who are undoubtedly more dynamic and captivating in the ring, the dominance that “That Bitch” brings to the women’s division as an undefeated monster, who is still in her rookie years, is nothing but money.
(2) Nyla Rose
Nyla Rose is an early candidate for Dark wrestler of the year. She has been consistently bringing it in tags and trios matches with several partners, namely Emi Sakura, The Bunny, Diamante, and most recently, Marina Shafir.
However, she has lost her last 2 World title opportunities (against Baker and Rosa in their first defenses, interestingly enough), which leaves her future and spot in the division in question. Perhaps, it takes a rivalry with Sakura, or starting an official faction with any of her tag partners to propel her forward. Whatever it may be, it still has to be praised that Rose, at her supposed down period, is never far from the top.
(1) Kris Statlander
If fans were still unsure of where they stood with Kris Statlander after she had opted for a darker presentation (in place of being the Galaxy’s Greatest Alien), there was no more ambiguity once she displayed her focus in a no-nonsense promo on Rampage.
“Everyone apparently needs to win this tournament,” she said, swiftly cutting down fellow Owen Cup semi-finalist Ruby Soho. Statlander may have been brought in as a tournament alternate this one time, but the passion and pointedness with which she delivered her words indicated she has felt a sentiment equal to it before, necessitating a shift in attitude.
She may have changed her song, her hair color, and the like, but if her matches against Red Velvet (by far Velvet’s best match in AEW) and opposite teams led by Nyla Rose on Dark and Elevation are anything to go by, Statlander has always been this strong and this smooth in the ring. She just doesn’t feel like everyone’s best friend now. Between her, and the newly debuting Athena and Willow Nightingale (an alliance formed out of collective annoyance with the Baddies), Statlander is the one who seems poised to give Jade Cargill her best match—and claim That Bitch’s winning streak and TBS Championship while she’s at it.