Thunder Rosa has the match of her life Saturday against Hikaru Shida at All Out, and it all came together quickly.
Rosa is the NWA World Women's Champion, is promoting her own Mission Pro Wrestling show for September 18, and training heavily in MMA. The collaborative effort between NWA and AEW caught her off guard.
"It just happened. NWA and AEW worked together to make it happen. I know that the interest of me getting involved in one of the shows was there. I was contacted and I went through what I needed to go through and they made it happen. For me, it was a surprise to be, 'Oh, by the way. You’re in All Out.' I was like, 'Oh… Oh, okay. Alright.' I was not expecting that, but I’m ready and I’ve been ready.” So, they worked it out. AEW and NWA, they’re doing a cross promotional thing. It’s historical ‘cause I think this is the first female NWA Champion that goes to another promotion and fights another champion. What an opportunity and what a time, 2020, to make this happen, you know? After all the terrible things that happened during COVID and all the other drama and unfortunate events that had happened for women," Rosa told Fightful in an exclusive interview.
The precursor to All Elite Wrestling was 2018's All Out, which featured the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship on the show. As far as NWA and AEW officially go, this is a first and the gravity of the situation is not lost on Rosa.
"This is something big and it should be celebrated no matter what. Not because it’s me, but because [Hikaru] Shida and I are both very passionate about professional wrestling. She, herself, has been wrestling for nine years and she’s one of the greatest young talents in Japan. Not only that, she’s also a multifaceted athlete. She’s done judo, she’s an actress. She’s been hustling all her life to be where she’s at and now she is the AEW Champion. I’m not phased with her skills. I’ve faced opponents that are just as good or even better. I think the upper hand that I have is that I know her better than she knows me, and I said this before. So, that’s my strategy going into the ring, taking advantage of the things I know about her and knowing, hopefully, she did her homework. ‘Cause I told her straight-up, in Japanese, what I was coming for. So, it’s happening," said Rosa.
Many thought that Rosa herself may have been the person to reach out and make contact with AEW. After appearing on broadcasts for NWA, Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, WOW and others, it made sense -- but wasn't the case at all.
"No, that was NWA," Rosa clarified. "I’m very respectful when I work with companies that are putting their time in me. Yes, it was a collaborative effort with NWA and AEW. It’s 2020. I think at this point nothing should surprise me anymore. But, I’m glad it was me. I’m glad it's coming into a bigger arena onto a bigger stage and a bigger platform. I cannot be more happy than this. Again, it’s the culmination of all this work, sacrifice, tears, failures. Because they were able to work things together, I’m now able to be in the ring and see what AEW’s all about. Again, I’m like beyond grateful. I never asked for it, but I’m glad it’s happening. I put it out in the universe that things will happen in a certain way and it happened. But, I’m really grateful this is happening the way it’s happening."
Thunder Rosa still hasn't appeared in front of a live wrestling crowd for All Elite Wrestling, with all of her segments airing from backstage. All Elite Wrestling has actually brought her to their home base to get everything filmed.
"Everything is taped in Jacksonville," Rosa stated. "That signing was really intense, I really enjoyed the promo. They were saying it was like a big fight feel, but I said it from the beginning. I’m here to stir the pot. I didn’t just come here like, “Oh, I’m just booked and I’m going to have fun.” No, man, I’m here to go all out. I have nothing to lose, man. Nothing. Zero. I come here, and I put it on Twitter, I come here on her turf, with her fans, with her people for her title. Coming in with or without the title I still have a lot more to win than anybody else has ever. I just feel like it’s the same as when I got into the cage the first time I got into the cage."
Thunder Rosa walks into the match as NWA Champion, but her title isn't on the line. She compared her debut match to her MMA debut, a no-lose situation.
"A lot of people said, “Oh, you have a lot to lose because you have all these followers.” I said, 'No. She has more to lose because she if she gets choked or she can’t finish me, they’re gonna be like, ‘This girl has no experience and you couldn’t finish her.’' You know? Same thing. I’m the underdog. She ain’t. I’ve been in this situation my whole entire career and I continue to be in that situation all the time. No matter what I do, no matter how many accolades, no matter how many TV shows I worked in. It doesn’t matter. Still the same thing. That’s why I’m so excited for Saturday. ‘Cause I’m going to show the world, the universe, who I really am and why they’ve been missing me and why they shouldn’t sleep on me," said Rosa
Rosa left with a distinct message to AEW viewers.
"The most important thing to me is connecting with fans, and they're already invested in this match. I want AEW fans to know I'm going to come and beat Shida's ass. That's what Thunder Rosa does," she closed.
Thunder Rosa is in action this Saturday, September 5 at AEW All Out in Jacksonville, Florida. She's also promoting Mission Pro Wrestling, where she'll take on Lindsay Snow on Friday, September 18. You can watch the show on Title Match Wrestling.