See 22 Feb’21 Semi-finals update at end below
The first night of the AEW women’s world championship eliminator tournament premiered on Youtube tonight.
A few thoughts that stuck with me from the four matches:
- Veny did a great job; I was hoping she would go farther.
- The American audience (general cable TV audience) is probably not ready for Maki Itoh. Her signature promos would even get bleeped on American TV. She sure knows how to do the cute gimmick well.
- Rin Kadokura (along with Veny) would fit in well at QT Marshall’s training group, as both those Japanese women are tall enough to match in size well with the likes of Ana Jay and Tesha Price.
- Part of me believes this entire tournament is just a way to position Yuka as a legit challenger to Shida, given Yuka has been absent for so long. If that is the case, I really hope Shida turns heel on Yuka, as the latter is a better baby-face and Shida does a great mean-face pose, and her antics (with the kendo stick) ought to be more a heel gimmick anyway.
Also note that the first round will be on Youtube with Japanese commentary later on this morning.
Semi-finals update, 22 Feb 2021:
Yuka plays the pure babyface well and I am not surprised she won. I do hope it’s her and Shida on the 7th because I think Shida turning heel would be the best thing for her and the AEW women’s division (assuming Yuka wins), and I hope Shida coming to Yuka’s rescue in the quarter finals foreshadows this. It was a good match against Emi Sakura, but the ref counted too quickly for how Emi and Yuka were reacting in the near pinfalls.
Ryo Mizunami going over Aja Kong was not a big surprise as Aja is a draw for her fame, for sure, but can’t deliver in the ring like she used to do. Ryo winning by count-out likewise made sense. I expect Ryo to be a good opponent for Yuka, allowing Yuka to really fly.
On the American side, Britt and Nyla going over were no surprises.
I do think Madi Wrenkowski did a good job filling in for Ana Jay. Yet, as I was watching this match I couldn’t help but think Britt will end up in WWE sooner than later, especially if she stays with Adam Cole (who Levesque apparently loves) as he looks to be a lifer there. Britt Baker strikes me as someone who could have a long future in WWE given her promo ability and that she can play a doctor (trained as such) well; a decade of stupid WWE skits can await her.
Nyla v. Tay didn’t do much for me as it felt like we’ve seen this too much before (ok, only twice before) and it didn’t seem much of an improvement other than Tay’s kicks are getting a bit sharper.
The card for the Sunday semi-finals on Bleacher Report should be good, though I am perplexed why Mei Suruga is on Shida’s team and not her mentor’s (Emi) team.