What we saw on Wednesday night was historic. For reasons beyond those we saw on-screen.
We've witnessed a women's revolution in a lot of ways over the past five years. Incredible matches, marquee stars, new titles and personalities established, and long overdue airtime on a male-dominated program. We've touted all those things -- the Horsewomen, NXT Takeover Brooklyn, WrestleMania main events. This week, Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Thunder Rosa get their roses.
I've had the good fortune of interviewing both Thunder Rosa and Dr. Britt Baker DMD before the ascent to All Elite Wrestling fame. The ambition in Rosa's words and voice were always clear. She wanted to wrestle, she wanted to fight, and she wanted to cultivate talent. Dr. Britt Baker DMD had worked her ass off to achieve the title that surrounded her name, while being one of the most-watched women's prospects in the wrestling world. She was fresh off of All In, and everyone knew she was going places.
Thunder Rosa was thrust into a television spotlight on Lucha Underground very early in her career. She told me that the creative force of the series Chris DeJoseph -- better known to some as WWE's Big Dick Johnson -- was the only person that saw the "it factor" in her. Needless to say in the years since, that's changed. Britt Baker always seemed to be a shoe-in for a television role, but for whatever reason, companies dragged their feet on signing her. By the time AEW did, she had other hurdles to overcome. Shaking the "that's Adam Cole's girlfriend tag" isn't exaclty an easy thing, but she did it. In fact, she killed two birds with one stone.
Baker had worked WWE Raw, Ring of Honor, All In, NXT shows. Thunder Rosa had been a part of Lucha Underground, ROH, and was on her way to the NWA. Their paths actually crossed in Baker's hometown and home state in Ring of Honor, where they traded victories. What main evented AEW Dynamite couldn't have been more of a contrast of those tag team affairs, but cast a light on the work the two have put in.
Being All Elite Wrestling's first female signing, Baker was bound to be typecast as the poster girl, and the company's chosen one. She's turned that into being the face of the division, and the consensus chosen one, embracing a personality on-screen that is categorically different than you see in interviews and in person. Taking a gimmick -- a wrestling dentist -- that has quite literally been a punchline in the otherwise Hall of Fame career of Glenn Jacobs, and making it hers. No more weird comparisons between the two. Baker owns the "wrestling dentist" space, and has pushed Isaac Yankem DDS out of the conversation forever. Every uphill battle Baker has faced, she's sprinted towards, overcome and dominated the next one.
Reba, also known as Rebel, deserves an incredible amount of credit. A multi-talented performer, Rebel was best known in many wrestling circles for her "minus five star" match with Shelley Martinez. By August 2019 she'd largely gone on to do makeup for the newly formed-AEW. 18 months later, Reba is an indispensable part of the roster, and one of the best valets or seconds in recent memory. She's been a crucial aspect in Britt Baker achieving these heights in 2020 and 2021.
Thunder Rosa, especially as Kobra Moon, Britt Baker, chosen one of the AEW women's division, Rebel (not Reba) during her entire career. All faced heavy criticism for a variety of things. On AEW Dynamite, they achieved rarified air, and immortalized themselves forever.
I've barely talked about the body of the match, and I'm not sure I need to. If you haven't seen it, it's at the top of the page. Not that it means a damn thing, but since I've started "rating matches (subjective and largely pointless)" for Fightful as a regular feature in 2018, Baker and Rosa are only one of six matches I gave a 10/10 rating. I viewed it as virtually perfect. A violent, beautiful match that made sense, had me on the edge of my seat, made me care without stakes, and surprised me with the finish. I don't think I need to walk each through each spot to convey how special the match was. The people who made the match happen are special.
When I conducted my newly dropped interview with Rosa, it was days after the match taped. She wouldn't divulge details for obvious reasons, but the pride on her face when prodding her about it was evident. The pride in her voice following the win was even more clear, telling Tony Schiavone "With blood, sweat and tears, I just showed you that women's wrestling should be valued everywhere, and I'm very, very proud of this."
Thunder Rosa should be proud of it. Britt Baker, on the trainer's table backstage, mentioned that she thought Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley would be proud of it. They should be. After being anchored to a wrestling news platform for years, I was proud to see two performers who put the work in, drowned out the noise, and became history makers. The "role model" tag applied to Britt Baker's nickame has worked itself into a shoot, and the two will be cited by many in upcoming generations as "that match" that made them decide to start wrestling. The blood the two spilled provides life for many that follow them.
She and Britt Baker will forever be linked, and so many that watched this won't ever forget it. Thumbtacks, ladders, shamrocks, tables, blood, sweat, tears and history.