This was getting really good but got in its own way of crossing over into great. Nyla Rose has gotten her fair share of flack since debuting in AEW both in the transphobic harassment from narrow minded folk on the internet as well as just general criticisms of her ringwork. But I think that since Dynamite started, she’s come a pretty long way in terms of her performances in the ring.
Her title win against Riho likely remains still the best women’s match in AEW to date and this match against Hikaru Shida could have easily been of a similar quality. In fact, despite the love that Shida gets from her pedigree as a joshi wrestler, I found myself coming away thinking of Nyla’s performance more than Shida’s. Most of this comes from some clever selling on Nyla’s part in the third act of the match. Shida works over her back and Nyla does a great job adjusting her offense in little ways to let that come across.
It’s a no disqualification match which means they have all the bells and whistles to mess around with in the arena to compensate for having no crowd in attendance. The raucous locker room guests in the front row help with that as well but these two fill up time rather nicely. They do a lot of crowd brawling including a great press slam bump from Shida through a blackjack table. Nyla doesn’t shy away from punishment either as she gets kneed into a standing poker chip setpiece. The kendo shots from both ladies leave a little to be desired but the one the saved for last to lead into the finish was the best one in the match.
I do think this does go overlong though. There were probably one too many nearfalls as Shida worked to chop Nyla down in the finishing stretch. For me personally, it felt like they missed their peak by about three or four minutes here. That being said, Shida winning was a nice moment and while I’m not too sold on some of her offense, she brought a lot of fire and determination to her offense that makes it worth your time. It was a nice moment to see her crowned the champion and she did a lot to put over the importance of the title.
What we have in the end is a very good match that’s just a few minutes too long to be called great. While the women’s division in AEW has been up and down on average, I do think they get it right for these big title switches. Every major title switch around the AEW World Women’s Title has felt pretty big so far and it’s been backed by some really good wrestling.