Monday, November 28, 2022

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Does AEW Need ThunderStorm?

A storm has been brewing in AEW. After a mutual respect rivalry that culminated at Forbidden Door, Thunder Rosa and Toni Storm joined together. Built on a shared Stardom lineage, on paper both Storm and Thunder Rosa fit together as well as their team’s name suggests, the incredibly synergistic Thunderstorm.

But this alliance raises more questions than provide a logical conclusion to the events of Forbidden Door. Putting your world champion in a tag team mid-reign is an unusual decision to make. It is this very question that this article looks to explore. To examine the reasoning behind the formation of ThunderStorm and the implications this union ship could have on the women’s division. Will this thunderstorm be something we ride out? Or will it have us dancing in the rain?

Two Women One Path

Thunder’s title reign started with a bang. A huge victory over Britt Baker in March of this year, the culmination of a yearlong on again off again feud. Since capturing the title

Rosa has had a string of title defenses, taking on Serena Deeb, Nala Rose, Marina Shafir, and her now tag partner Toni Storm. While the matches have been good, they have lacked the oomph that propelled Rosa to the top of the card.

Storm’s journey in AEW is a similar story. Since arriving in March Storm has ploughed through most of the women’s division. This includes a rivalry with Britt Baker where the two women exchanged victories.

Rosa and Storm find themselves in similar situations, who else is there to face? Tay Conti looks set to face Anna Jay, Jade Cargill is currently feuding with Athena, throw on top of that Tony Khan’s reluctance to put on rematches and the only logical option left seems to be to form a tag team.

The Impact of ThunderStorm

Despite all the potential of ThunderStorm, this partnership serves to highlight the shortcomings of the AEW women’s division.

What does this say about AEW if they don’t trust their top talent to carry feuds and elevate the other women in the division. That’s the role of a champion. If you believe the opposite to be true, that your champion is only as good as your opponent, that also brings to light another weakness in AEW, its failure to provide women with strong enough stories and the time needed to build them.

Accusations such as these are a regular occurrence in AEW. That the bare minimum is done to highlight the women’s division despite a strong in-ring ability of most of the women on the roster.

A Unique Opportunity

Despite all of this, the creation of ThunderStorm presents AEW with a unique opportunity. There is an old adage in wrestling ‘they can’t miss you if you don’t go away’. The saying comes from the territory days where wrestlers would leave one territory for another, with the hopes to one day return and earning a bigger payday.

Since WWE has monopolized wrestling, the industry has become an unstoppable freight train. Wrestling has no-off season, no mid-season finale, no Christmas holiday. Wrestlers are bodies in the creation of an infinite stream of content. Extended breaks only come if you have serious F-you money. AEW has the chance to make a dent in this toxic business philosophy.

With an insanely deep roster and a communicable mindset to talent exchanges, this brief shift of focus off the AEW Women’s Championship allows the spotlight to be directed somewhere else. A chance to build up other women to become a credible threat to both Thunder Rosa and Toni Storm.

Not only that, but it could also be a perfect opportunity to further elevate AEW’s secondary women’s title, the TBS Championship. Already the queen of TNT Jade Cargill is making Friday nights her home. By dedicating time elsewhere, you could create a one in a lifetime scenario where a mid-card title and the Women’s championship are of equal worth.

What’s Next for ThunderStorm?

The immediate future of ThunderStorm is Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter. The DMD made her reappearance this week on Dynamite and made her intentions clear. A sandbag in hand she is here to weather this storm and come out better on the other side.

Beyond that, who knows. This all could be fuel for a Storm vs Rosa rematch. There have been rumblings of a women’s tag team championship for the past few months, so perhaps ThunderStorm could play a role in adding another title to AEW’s vastly expanding trophy case.

Final Thoughts

ThunderStorm leaves me with some very mixed feelings. One the one hand the self-contained storyline of a potential rematch between the two women seems like a strong possibility. As two of AEW’s biggest a rematch is inevitable. The history of the partnership could play a role in furthering the story, especially if ThunderStorm hangs around for the foreseeable future.

On the other, having your world championship take a backseat hardly shows the greatest faith in your world champion. With few challenges and with the face and the Storm Rosa rivalry still fresh, there is a clear rationale for AEW holding off on Thunder’s single run, there are few viable alternatives. Is it worse to face wave after wave of not quite credible opponents? Or remain on TV in big profile matches just not in a singles capacity.

Regardless, if this is the direction AEW has presented itself with the chance to shine a light on people outside and build these people up to become a credible threat for Thunder Rosa’s title in the future. For the moment ThunderStorm continues to be looming over the AEW Women’s Division, but how long will this storm last.

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