When All Elite Wrestling first began signing wrestlers in 2018, the first woman the company hired as an in-ring competitor was Dr. Britt Baker DMD.
The real-life dentist has been wrestling since 2015 for various indie promotions, but her first taste of the national limelight came at the All In pay-per-view on September 1, 2018. At the show billed as the largest event in indie wrestling history, Baker faced Madison Rayne, Chelsea Green and Tessa Blanchard.
Ever since AEW Dynamite began airing in October 2019, Baker has been one of the main stars of the women's division. B/R spoke with The Role Model to discuss her AEW career, being a dentist, not having an action figure and much more.
On the Feb. 3 edition of Dynamite, Baker faced former NWA women's champion Thunder Rosa. The two had a physical fight that ended with the dentist's hand being raised in victory, and she is still feeling the effects of the contest.
"That was a war," Baker said. "I'm still hurting and still sore, but I came out on top. Only one person can win and, obviously, it was going to be me. I'm just moving full steam ahead to the tournament because it's time that the face of the women's division holds the title. That match was special to me because we had time. I was really happy with it, obviously because I won."
Baker will compete in the upcoming AEW Women's World Championship Eliminator Tournament alongside 15 others for a chance to face Hikaru Shida, and she is confident about her chances.
"I'm not concerned about anybody," Baker said. "I don't even know who is in the tournament because I know that no matter what, I am going to come out on top. There is nobody in the world more focused than me.
"I have been here since Day 1. I was the very first female signed, and I have been nowhere near that title picture for I don't even know how long. I have been carrying that division on my back, and now I am going to carry it on my back with a title around my waist."
As one of the first people signed by AEW, Baker has battled many of the faces who have become regular fixtures on Dynamite and AEW Dark. When asked about her goals and who she is looking forward to facing in the future, she only has her eye on the champion.
"I just want to help lead the women's division to more TV time and the main event eventually," she said. "We're getting there, but this is a business, and we need to stay strong. For a long time, the women's segments weren't doing well, but now we are getting to a point where the fans want more women's matches.
"Shida is just a phenomenal athlete. I have a lot of respect for her, even though she premeditated and viciously broke my nose. She picked up and moved her whole world to America. I would love to share the ring with her again. She is really special to AEW because she has been a champion through the hardest period. That being said, time's up."
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the women's division suffered most in AEW. Many of the Japanese talents were unable to travel to the United States for shows, but the upcoming tournament will see many stars like Riho and Yuka Sakazaki return.
When Baker first debuted with AEW, she worked as a babyface. The announcers mentioned her dental career so often that some fans turned it into a meme.
When she turned heel, she switched the situation by reminding everybody she was a doctor at every turn. AEW even staged her match with Big Swole at All Out 2020 in a dentist's office, but it didn't take place at her own business as many fans assumed.
"I like getting any reaction from the fans. Whether they boo me or cheer me, it's such an adrenaline rush," Baker said. "My biggest fear is I am going to come out through the tunnel and there will be silence. I love my relationship with the fans. So many people are jealous of me and my place in the women's division. Jealousy is a disease. Get well soon.
"For the vignettes shot with Reba, that was my real office. With Big Swole, it was actually a co-worker of mine from a couple of years ago who had just bought a new office. They had just painted the walls and had some equipment in there, but they weren't done moving in yet. It was perfect because we could get the camera and the crew in there without having to worry about breaking anything."
Reba, aka Rebel, has been Baker's loyal assistant ever since they filmed those segments in her office. When Baker began hosting "The Waiting Room," Reba was a natural choice to serve as her own personal Ed McMahon.
"That was Cody [Rhodes] who came up with the idea for the show," Baker said. "Him and Tony [Khan] developed the whole concept of it, what we will talk about, and the opening monologue. Reba is ridiculously funny, and we just flow together. It's a lot of fun because we have a lot of freedom with it while we advance storylines.
"When we did a vignette in my office, they [AEW] were trying to limit the travel as much as possible. She was a makeup artist for AEW, and we are really good friends. It was Cody's idea to use her as the makeup artist who gets bullied, and it was just so good that we had to keep Reba around. I don't want to share the spotlight with anybody. It's all about me, but Reba is there to have my back."
Speaking of Cody, he and Baker have developed a minor rivalry over the lack of Role Model action figures in recent months. The day after speaking with her, it was revealed she would have one in the upcoming line of AEW toys, and she was not shy about her desire to have her own figure.
"I have been scanned for an action figure since a year and a half ago," she said. "There are rumors that I will have an action figure. When? I can't be sure. Is it going to be 2023 or 2025? I don't know because we have to get those Codys out there. We gotta keep pumping them out. We need dark-hair Cody, suit Cody. He's going to be a father so we need Cody with the crib."
The designers played a joke on Baker by saying her figure would be in a two-pack with Cody before revealing she would have her own figure as well as a "Waiting Room" two-pack that will likely come with some dental accessories.
Another recent segment that got Baker a lot of attention had her take Tony Schiavone to a spa for a chest waxing. What many fans may not know is the commentator had no idea that was going to happen before they started putting the wax on his body.
"A lot of our segments aren't scripted so we will just go back and forth. He started looking around when we put the wax on him, but he let it go and was such a good sport about it," she said.
"Tony is one of my best friends. We text every day. He is hilarious and we get along so well. He is one of my favorite people in the entire world. Working with him is so much fun because he is such a good sport about anything. He will do anything for AEW. He is one of the most valuable players we have."
As time-consuming as being an AEW star can be, being a dentist is still important to her. Whenever a celebrity has a second business, fans will often show up in an attempt to get an autograph or picture, but Baker says everyone has respected her office and professional life.
"At first, I would say I didn't really get recognized at all but as time goes on, there are patients who want to talk about it," she said. "Some of them are actually nervous and don't want to bring it up, but I will see them wearing an AEW shirt. But if they don't know, I will never bring it up because it's my job to work on their mouth.
"Obviously, I don't want these circumstances to continue, but during the pandemic, it has been easier because the dental office hasn't been as busy. Even now, I have a lighter schedule, so I have a lot more time to dedicate to wrestling and training. I have been taking advantage of this as much as possible because it's not going to be forever.
"My boyfriend and I have been enjoying this time together to watch Netflix and Disney movies. I never have time for that because we are always traveling. To be able to watch like six episodes of something in one day, people can really take that for granted. We did Cobra Kai in like a day, which was unreal. We're waiting for Stranger Things.”
While AEW has been able to have a small number of fans attend recent tapings, the company is not touring the country. Baker's message to fans who have been watching at home every week during the pandemic is clear.
"We are grateful and appreciate them," she said. "We know they are home watching us, and we are wrestling for them right now. We can't wait to get back to performing in live arenas so just keep hanging with us."
Baker can be seen on AEW Dark and Dynamite every week and will be competing in the women's eliminator tournament over the next several weeks.
We don't know who she is facing in the first round yet, but whoever it is may want to wear a mouthguard.