The 10 Women’s Stars in WWE and AEW Who Will Dominate the Next Decade
The battle for professional wrestling supremacy between WWE and All Elite Wrestling has brought with it the emergence of immensely talented women all looking to rewrite history and establish themselves as the faces of the industry's bright future.
Dr. Britt Baker, Shayna Baszler and Rhea Ripley are just three of the performers looking at the next decade with bright eyes and burning desires to be the best.
Who else joins those three as competitors looking to dominate the next 10 years of in-ring competition, and who takes the top spot on the countdown?
Take a look to find out for yourself.
10. Sadie Gibbs
The video packages hyping the debut of Sadie Gibbs first aired at Double or Nothing on May 25 but the 27-year-old Brit did not debut until the Casino Battle Royale at the August 31 All Out PPV. Since then, she has become something of a staple of AEW Dark, competing in tag team and multi-woman matches.
A prodigious athlete whose intense workout regime makes her tough to outlast, Gibbs has already shown flashes of a stellar in-ring worker, both in AEW and in Japan's Stardom promotion. She lacks experience in high-profile matches, but she has steadily improved her mat game with each match she has wrestled.
The question is when will AEW put her on Dynamite so she can compete in front of a major television audience. Once that happens, and the creative team can give fans a reason to care about her beyond her work ethic in the fitness center, Gibbs will be on her way to superstardom.
9. Sonya Deville
Sonya Deville first appeared as part of the revamped WWE Tough Enough reality competition show in 2015, and she was a runner-up. A former MMA competitor, she impressed officials enough to earn a developmental deal with WWE.
In the years since she has evolved into a promising competitor whose penchant for striking has helped her to pick up several high-profile wins while teaming with Mandy Rose as Fire and Desire.
Deville may be one-half of a tag team, constantly eyeing the women's tag titles, but she has proved on more than one occasion that she has the potential to be a star. Her recent addition to the Total Divas cast has allowed viewers to see her personality, something she has not quite been allowed to express as part of her on-screen persona.
The sooner she can prove to be more than just a face-punching badass, the quicker she will forge the all-important bond with audiences that will elevate her beyond her current place on the roster.
That will allow her to star for many years to come.
Shanna arrived on the October 23 episode of AEW Dynamite to little fanfare, looking on the surface to be enhancement talent as she squared off with Hikaru Shida in singles competition.
Instead of being beaten down and jobbed out in short order, she was highly competitive, using her incredible athleticism to hang with the Japanese competitor and nearly upset her. Though she did succumb to Shida, the Portuguese-born wrestler impressed enough to get another opportunity one week later, when she teamed with Riho in a losing effort against Emi Sakura and Jamie Hayter.
Still largely unknown, Shanna would benefit exponentially from a video package or a promo segment in which fans can get to know her and possibly connect with the young performer. If she can forge a bond with them, giving the audience a reason to invest in her, she will succeed.
The in-ring ability is there. She is a resilient competitor. Make the audience buy in emotionally, and the future is hers.
7. Nyla Rose
Anyone doubting whether "The Native Beast" Nyla Rose can be a legitimate star in AEW should look no further than her performance on the debut episode of Dynamite, on which she battled Riho for the company's women's title.
Rose dominated the much smaller babyface for most of the match and bumped for her around the ring once the comeback was initiated. While she lost the hard-fought battle, it was clear that the competitor had the tools necessary to thrive in big-match situations.
A physically superior, dominant force who impressed in the Casino Battle Royale at All Out, she has repeatedly proved she can overpower and punish any competitor she shares the ring with.
All she lacks on her journey to professional wrestling excellence? A signature win.
Whether that comes against the woman who cost her the opportunity to make history, Riho, or one of the other talented women on the AEW roster remains to be seen. Once she gets it, though, Rose will reign over the division, a queen daring anyone to try to topple her.
6. Lacey Evans
The Sassy Southern Belle has only been wrestling for five years but has already headlined a major WWE pay-per-view and competed against Raw's top star, Becky Lynch, for the brand's women's championship. Throw in a history-making match against Natalya in Saudi Arabia, and it does not take a lot to see how much WWE officials value Lacey Evans' unique blend of character and toughness.
The former Marine has forged a path for herself that has taken her to the highest level of competition. With a move to SmackDown opening up opportunities for her to star in front of a network broadcast audience, she figures to be just getting started.
Evans is still a raw in-ring performer, learning and evolving with every match. Her work with Natalya has helped exponentially, while her matches with Lynch gave her a taste of what it means to be a legitimate star in an industry starving for them.
It is up to her to learn from her experiences and continue developing her ring work. As it is, she has the character, drive and determination necessary to be the star necessary. She just needs to shore things up and put together the whole package in order to realize her potential.
If she can do that, the industry is Evans' for the taking for as long as she wants it.
5. Rhea Ripley
At just 23, Rhea Ripley has already established herself the future of women's wrestling in WWE thanks to her in-ring aggression and unrelenting attitude.
A competitor in the inaugural Mae Young Classic, Ripley disappeared from television for more than a year before exploding back into the living rooms of fans everywhere by confronting Shayna Baszler and expressing her interest in challenging for the NXT women's title.
During her time away from the bright lights and cameras, Ripley developed her in-ring work at NXT house shows across the country and now finds herself one win away from dethroning The Queen of Spades as the top star in the brand's women's division.
Recent appearances on SmackDown as part of the battle for brand supremacy is proof of management's belief in her to be a star. With so many prime years before her, Ripley ranks as one of the young stars with the brightest of futures ahead of her.
4. Bianca Belair
Bianca Belair is a ferocious competitor and a hell of an athlete to boot, making her one of the most intense performers in NXT, as the women of SmackDown experienced on the November 1 episode.
The EST blends a power-based offense with raw athleticism and pummeling striking, leaving her more than one way to defeat the opposition. Throw in her wicked ponytail and the manner in which she uses it to whip her opponents, and you have a Superstar who takes pleasure in punishing the competition.
A young worker who is improving with every match, she has already challenged for the NXT women's title in two high-profile TakeOver events and will star as part of the women's War Games match on November 23.
The experience she gathers from those contests, coupled with undeniable charisma and presence, makes Belair one of the top candidates to dominate the industry for the next decade and beyond.
3. Brandi Rhodes
She may not do it as an in-ring competitor, but Brandi Rhodes will dominate wrestling for the next decade both as an on-screen performer and off-screen executive.
The chief brand officer of AEW has already worked diligently on putting together a diverse women's division full of young stars ready to seize the wrestling world by the throat and make it theirs. She has been essential to the growth and the development of the company as a whole and is someone who has put herself out there in the media to tout what makes the revolutionary brand different from others.
Of late, she has also developed a darker edge and, with Awesome King by her side, waged war in the women's division. She has watched as Kong overpowers female talent, beating them down before cutting a lock of their hair off.
It remains to be seen where that particular storyline is going, but for now, it appears as though Rhodes is well on her way to being a prominent figure in women's wrestling for the foreseeable future.
Both in front of and behind AEW cameras.
2. Dr. Britt Baker
If you have tuned into AEW Dynamite on TNT, you know Dr. Britt Baker is a dentist. You also know she is a tenacious and resilient competitor who is hitting her stride as an in-ring competitor.
The Pittsburgh native has bounced back from a nasty concussion suffered over the summer to showcase her abilities in recent matches with Jamie Hayter, Bea Priestley and women's champion Riho—all while juggling two occupations.
Baker has been the focal point of AEW's marketing efforts since day one, and executive vice president Cody said of her in an exclusive interview with B/R, "I think she has the potential to be the ace of the division." Expectations have been high and for the most part, the young star has held up her end of the deal.
With momentum on her side, there are opportunities for her to claim gold and become the star so many expected her to be from the moment she appeared at September 2017's All In. If she seizes them, she could well be the standard-bearer of women's wrestling in AEW for as long as she pleases.
1. Shayna Baszler
A badass wrestler who seamlessly transitioned from the world of MMA to professional wrestling, Shayna Baszler has dominated NXT for well over a year, holding the brand's women's title and defeating every challenger to cross her path.
The breakout star of the inaugural Mae Young Classic, she has the potential to be the top star in WWE's women's division for many years to come if she can avoid injury and resist the urge to return to the Octagon.
With a wealth of fresh faces to work with in NXT, not to mention the talented crop of Raw and SmackDown workers she has yet to spar with, Baszler has the rare opportunity to continue her reign of dominance without becoming overexposed or bogged down in repetitive matches.
That will only help her as she carves out her legacy as one of the greatest female performers to ever set foot in a McMahon-owned ring.