Over the last few weeks, one of the highlights of Dynamite for me has been the TBS Title Tournament. We have all been treated to a string of lengthy and fantastic matches. As anticipation builds for January 5th finals, there is a lot of debate over whether AEW can handle a second women’s title. The company has a reputation for not treating their women’s division the same as the men’s. Sure their champion sits pretty at the top, but anyone below Britt Baker is lucky to get more than five minutes on Dynamite.
So can AEW handle a second women’s title? Is this a concerted effort to put their women over and give them more of a spotlight? Or is it another step in the ongoing pissing contest between AEW and WWE? As someone who always tries to see the positive in everything (There is too much cynicism in wrestling as it is), I believe it is the former, not the latter. Titles are rarely created out of spite. If done correctly, the TBS title could be the perfect way to showcase AEW talent and maybe even some indie talent as well.
First, let’s address what the TBS Championship could be. Historically secondary titles were the workhorse title. They were a calling card of a great wrestler, one earmarked for greatness. Take the Intercontinental title. While the title has lost its luster over the years, it was held by Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels. All who would later go on to become world champions. Razor Ramone, Rick Rude, Ricky Steamboat, and the Honky Tonk Man, although never winning a world title, cemented their status thanks to an IC title reign. When used correctly, secondary titles are a great asset to get over newer talent and remind fans of how great their favorites are.
So what should AEW do with their second women’s title? The answer, precisely what they are doing already. AEW has done a great job replicating the workhorse mentality. Their TNT title has been a mainstay on Dynamite and especially Ramage and has elevated every holder. It made Cody the workhorse champion, solidified Brodie Lee as a top heel, helped boost Darby Allen’s already rising star, made Miro look like an absolute beast, and absolved him of the Best Man gimmick. Currently, it is helping Sammy Guevera break free from the clutches of Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle. There is no reason the TBS title can’t be the same.
It is not like AEW is short on viable champions. There is a long list of credible candidates, from relative newcomers to established veterans, who could quickly fill the role of a mid-card titleholder. So the question then becomes not who is worthy of being the first champion, but what do you want to achieve with it.
For me, an inaugural title reign needs to be definitive, lengthy, and, if possible, filled with as many memorable matches as possible. While putting the belt on a Jade Cargill, Kris Statlander, or Red Velvet would be an instant recipe for star power, I think a more established star is the way to go. Someone who can make the title feel legitimate. Then you can use it as a tool to get newer talent over.
It is a technique used in various guises as far back as I can remember. Whether it was an unreal tournament held in Rio De Janeiro, tapping into a rich lineage of a once defunct belt, or capitalizing on the nostalgia of a gimmick we remember fondly. In some shape or form, wrestling promotions have been inventing ways of instilling their titles with some form of built-in credibility. AEW does not have that luxury. So having that credible first champion is even more critical.
Out of AEW’s many viable options, there are three that, to me, are at the top of the pack. First up, Nyla Rose. The clue is in the name. Nyla is a beast. A beast who has sadly been defanged since she feuded with Hikaru Shida. Having her as the first TBS champion, squashing every opponent would reestablish Nyla and eventually lead to a huge payoff down the road when a rising star finally topples her.
On the babyface side of things is Ruby Soho. Ruby is another excellent choice for the first TBS champion. A solid hand capable of putting on a good match with just about anyone. It would also serve as vindication. Ruby walked down the ramp at All Out with something to prove. She is a damn good wrestler; holding the TBS title would be the perfect opportunity to prove that very point. Of all the options, Ruby is the most tailor-made to take the title. She has star power, mainstream notoriety and the skills and credibility to be the inaugural TBS champ.
The final front runner and my personal favorite, la mera mera herself, Thunder Rosa, is a part of the TBS tournament. As an MMA fighter, wrestler and promoter, she embodies that workhorse spirit. She is a legit badass and incredible wrestler with a unique look. Thunder Rosa has all the tools needed to be the first TBS champion.
Like John Cena with the US title or Cody the TNT championship, Thunder Rosa slots so well into a ‘take on all comers’ storyline. It is minimal fuss booking. Each week someone steps out to challenge Thunder Rosa. It could be a plucky babyface looking to make a name for themselves. A vicious heel tired of not getting the respect they deserve. Or it could be a woman from a different federation looking to show that their brand is where the ‘real women’s wrestling is. The story would not only get Rosa and the TBS title a chance to shine but get as much new talent over in the process. The possibilities are endless. While the forbidden door seems reserved for male talent, the TBS title could be a great way to open the ‘forbidden door’ and allow everyone to walk through.
Ultimately the success of the TBS is in the hands of Tony Kahn. There may be a roster full of talented women, but all the talent in the world can’t fix lousy booking. While there is much skepticism about whether the AEW roster can support a second women’s title, I still hope that it is a legitimate attempt at shining a spotlight on the women’s division. I may be foolishly optimistic about this. But only time will tell if the TBS title will be everything I have dreamed of or a token gesture.
Those are just a few of my thoughts on where the TBS title should go. But what do you think? Who is your favorite choice? Should AEW be in a hurry to create a second title belt when their division isn’t quite where it should be? Let us know what you think. We love to hear what you have to say here at Women’s Wrestling Talk.