WWE crowned its first Women’s Tag Team Champions at this year’s Elimination Chamber Pay Per View, but they’ve been criticized by fans for not focusing on these new titles. This makes AEW’s interest in a Women’s Tag Team Division even more noteworthy.
AEW is doing its best to present itself as a rival to WWE, and part of that means finding ways it can differentiate itself from the world’s largest wrestling promotion. One aspect of this involves AEW‘s focus on tag team wrestling, and it helps that they have one of the world’s most popular tag teams, The Young Bucks, as executives in the company.
But when discussing AEW and the importance of tag team wrestling, the spotlight must also go to the AEW Women’s Division, which is still taking shape. Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, Kylie Rae, and Hikaru Shida are just four of the standouts currently signed to AEW’s Women’s Division, and it’s safe to say that Brandi Rhodes has her eyes on several more talented women across the globe.
AEW will unveil a Women’s Title at some point, and they’re also eyeing Women’s Tag Team Titles. In his interview with Stone Cold Steve Austin, AEW CEO and President Tony Khan spoke about women’s wrestling in the promotion, and he specifically singled out the future introduction of Women’s Tag Team Titles.
“I want to focus on a serious main event picture. Both in the singles and the tag team, and then when we establish the women’s singles — ya know, this may be the first time that it gets announced, but just so you know — eventually we will establish a Women’s Tag Team title and focusing on the Women’s singles and the Women’s Tag Team title.”
[Hat tip to Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin for the quote.]
This is huge news for wrestling fans. We want equality and equity in professional wrestling, yet it’s glaring that the same care given to men’s tag team wrestling isn’t afforded to women’s tag team wrestling. While the IIconics are incredibly talented pro wrestlers, WWE hasn’t trusted them enough with television time as champions, and that’s a shame.
We also haven’t seen enough meaningful tag matches from contending teams for those titles, and that’s another missed opportunity for WWE. In some ways, of course, it’s par for the course with how they treat both tag team wrestling and women’s wrestling, so it makes sense that women’s tag wrestling would be severely undervalued by “The E”.
By creating a Women’s Tag Team Division with a title, AEW does three important things. Firstly, it has to sign more women to its roster to fill out a tag team division, which means more paid opportunities for women in wrestling. Secondly, it makes a statement of equality, since the women will have something approaching (I’m not sure even AEW will give the 50/50 split that fans are looking for) equal time and opportunities for women.
And thirdly, a Women’s Tag Division would put pressure on WWE to care more about its Women’s Tag Team Championships. WWE wants to position itself as the pinnacle of pro wrestling, which means they have to provide Eric Bischoff’s proverbial “wrestling buffet” to such an extent that fans wouldn’t see a reason to go anywhere else. They wouldn’t want to lose out on some viewers because AEW’s Women’s Tag Team Division caught everyone’s eyes and blew WWE out of the water. WWE has 205 Live, for example, because they don’t want Cruiserweight wrestling to be a niche another promotion can exploit, much like WCW did.
Women’s tag team wrestling isn’t a niche and should not be seen as a niche. Vince McMahon, sadly, seems to feel otherwise, or else why did it take so long for him to create a title that he barely focuses his booking around? AEW can show WWE and Vince McMahon that there’s huge interest in women’s tag team wrestling, thus opening up interest and opportunities for wrestlers in WWE who can compete for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
AEW has been saying all the right things in their first year of existence, and there’s so much optimism heading into the fall when their weekly television begins. They knocked Double or Nothing out of the park and have seemed like a somewhat progressive company, and Khan’s mention of AEW Women’s Tag Team Titles has to be viewed as a potentially huge positive for both the nascent promotion and wrestling as a whole.