Making the Case for 5 Stars to Be AEW's Inaugural TBS Champion
On the anniversary episode of AEW Dynamite, Tony Schiavone announced that the company will introduce a second women's title, the TBS Championship.
Afterward, he and referee Aubrey Edwards unveiled the new belt, which is essentially the same design as its TNT counterpart. All Elite Wrestling will eventually host a tournament to crown the inaugural champion. The finals will start during the premiere of the flagship series on TBS on Jan. 5, 2022.
Later, Thunder Rosa, Skye Blue, Ruby Soho and Jade Cargill set their intentions to win the new prize in an accompanying video package. While these four women were the first competitors to stake their claim, this is also great news for the division.
It's an excellent opportunity to showcase more of the roster and add new stakes for them to compete for in television matches. Straight away, this seems similar to what the company did with Serena Deeb as NWA world women's champion. There are also similarities to the dynamic Stardom utilizes with its World and Wonder of Stardom Championship.
Although the company's use of women's wrestling has been highly criticized, this is a huge step forward. The fact that there are many potential suitors for the new title illustrates just how much the division has grown over the last year.
Let's take a look at five stars who would excel at the first AEW TBS Championship.
Red Velvet has been a fantastic addition to the AEW women's division. The hot new prospect straight out yo mama's kitchen still has some room to grow but she already has a noticeable aura and an array of crisp strikes.
Even more, the 29-year-old has stepped up and delivered every time AEW has put her in high-pressure situations. As Brandi Rhodes' replacement, she and Jade Cargill stole the show during Cody and Shaquille O'Neal's mixed tag match on the March 3 episode of Dynamite.
Red Velvet was also a part of the first AEW Women's World Championship match to take place in the main event on the series premiere of Rampage. In August, she and KiLynn King represented the company in the NWA world women's tag team title tournament. The duo made it to the finals where they lost to The Hex.
The Miami native has unsuccessfully challenged both Britt Baker and Serena Deeb this year, but she proved she could develop into a tremendous champion someday. A stint with the TBS title could be a perfect way to reward the 29-year-old for all of her hard work this year.
Kris Statlander seemed like a safe bet to dethrone Riho for the AEW women’s title in January 2020.
As a matter of fact, The Galaxy’s Greatest Alien defeated Britt Baker to become the No. 1 contender at the end of 2019. However, a prior commitment forced her out of the match set for the Homecoming edition of Dynamite. Then, The Nightmare Family (remember them?) cost her a shot at Riho a week later on the Jan. 8 episode.
Unfortunately, Statlander tore her ACL in June 2020. The injury added another setback to what initially appeared to be a promising year and kept her off of television for 10 months.
It seems like the former IWTV independent wrestling champion is back on track following her return on March 31. Even though she fell to Baker in an incredible title match at All Out, it’s only a matter of time before the 26-year-old attains championship gold with AEW.
If the company wants to cement the TBS title as a “workhorse title”, Serena Deeb or Statlander would be a perfect fit as the first to carry the mantle. Both women are among a handful of competitors who could use the role to deliver high quality television matches
Leyla Hirsch is another wrestler who could help to establish the new belt as a "workhorse title," akin to the Intercontinental Championship in WWE.
The 25-year-old is quietly one of the most dynamic performers in the women’s division. Her unique in-ring style and understated promo work make her someone viewers should keep an eye on. In the squared circle, her exhilarating suplexes, stiff knee strikes and beautiful moonsault set her apart from the pack.
Hirsch produced a Match of the Year candidate against Kamille at NWA Empowerrr. Their title match illustrated just how well the New Jersey native could portray a gutsy underdog and tell a convincing story.
One could argue an established name like Hikaru Shida would mint the TBS title, but the new championship should elevate someone into a bigger star. And if anyone could use a weekly open challenge to raise her profile and deliver competitive matches, it's Hirsch.
Ruby Soho's entrance as the Joker in the women's Casino Battle Royale match at All Out was one of many highlights of the show. That's an impressive feat on a card that featured CM Punk, Adam Cole, and Bryan Danielson.
The Runaway already feels like a massive star alongside Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa. In fact, she competed in the main event of the AEW's biggest show of the year, Grand Slam, in just her third match on the roster. It was possibly the highest honor she has received so far.
The 30-year-old wasn't able to unseat "The Face of the Division," but her first month with the company was an indication of just how popular she is with its fanbase. It's also clear her peers and the right people behind the scenes want her to succeed.
The drawback to putting her in the women's title picture so soon is that there is still so much Baker can do as champion. So, it was hard to believe Soho would leave Arthur Ashe Stadium as the victor. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but AEW has to follow up on the loss as soon as possible.
During the media scrum after All Out, Soho noted she has never won a championship on national television. That's shocking but it will more than likely change soon.
Winning the TBS title would be a great way to continue to capitalize off of a strong debut.
Jade Cargill is currently undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the women's division. As such, she has to be an early favorite to become the inaugural TBS champion.
Many of her detractors would argue she is too inexperienced and longer matches would expose her flaws. However, a strong showing in the tournament could go a long way to proving she is ready to step into the spotlight.
Cargill already has star power and captivating athleticism but a dominant title reign would legitimize her. It's too soon for Baker to drop the AEW Women's World Championship, but a secondary belt would be a significant litmus test for the Florida native. After all, promotions routinely use midcard titles to prepare someone for a stint with the top prize.
Moreover, the new crowning achievement represents progress for AEW. It's a secondary women's title but "women's" isn't used in the mantle like many of its counterparts. That gives the company a chance to create a visual similar to Chyna's iconic WWE Intercontinental Championship win.
No, it won't have the same historical significance, but the optic of Cargill holding a belt that looks like the men's title would be monumental. That may not be intentional, but it's a satisfying possibility that could be a game-changer.