The AEW Women’s Division by the numbers in July of 2020
AEW in the month of July had five episodes of Dynamite. Three of the shows were themed (Fyter Fest night one and two, Fight for the Fallen) in that time. With a lot of talk about the imbalance between the divisions (a subject I actually looked into back in 2019) I decided to look into AEW Dynamite by the numbers.
The AEW World Heavyweight championship held by Jon Moxley was defended once against Brian Cage.
The AEW TNT championship held by Cody was defended four times against Jake Hager, Sonny Kiss, Eddie Kingston, and WARHORSE.
The AEW World Tag Team championship held by Kenny Omega and Hangman Page was defended twice against Best Friends and Dark Order.
The AEW Women’s World championship held by Hikaru Shida was defended once against Penelope Ford.
In the month of July the types of matches:
Men’s Singles (1 vs 1): 9
Men’s Tag (2 v 2): 9
Men’s Trios (3 v 3): 2
Men’s Multi (4 v 4, 5 v 5, etc.): 2
Men’s Handicap: 0
Women’s Singles (1 vs 1): 3
Women’s Tag (2 v 2): 1
Women’s Trios (3 v 3): 0
Women’s Multi (4 v 4, 5 v 5, etc.): 0
Women’s Handicap: 1
Men’s Matches Total: 22
Women’s Matches Total: 5
Men’s Matches Total: 4 hours, 37 minutes, 39 seconds
Women’s Matches Total: 28 minutes, 8 seconds
What if we only calculated matches involving, say, The Butcher and the Blade. I choose them because they are a team currently unranked in the AEW Rankings as of August 5, 2020. In the month of July they have received 32 minutes and 12 seconds of ring time. That’s 4 minutes and 4 seconds more than the entire women’s division.
27 matches across five shows. Five hours, five minutes, and 47 seconds of in ring wrestling. Despite this, the AEW Women’s division has only received 10.38% of the in ring time from 18.51% of the total matches.
I bring this up because after the launch of AEW Heels, many fans online complained that this wasn’t what they were hoping for from All Elite Wrestling.
Basically AEW: pic.twitter.com/GgtEcMxUel
— Lola (@Cette_LolaB) August 5, 2020
Women should not have to pay in order to have a safe environment to discuss wrestling.
Using trans-exclusionary language while having a trans wrestler on the poster is SO tone-deaf.
We aren’t asking for $50 Zoom meetings. We just want the women’s division to be taken seriously.
— Val, stuck in Pam-demic Times (@corgidurst) August 5, 2020
Fans: asks for more women’s presence and better women’s division AEW: we’ll give you a YouTube tag tourney of random women and and charge female fans $50 fr service. Fans again: we…just…wanted… women’s wrestling on Dynamite…
— Tora (@Toragaki) August 5, 2020
They wanted better representation of the women’s division on the show. They watched as the company announced a brand new event of the Women’s Tag Team Tournament: The Deadly Draw only for it to be shown on Monday from YouTube instead of showing the matches on TNT.
One could make several valid arguments to their reasoning behind this. For starters, no division has taken a harder hit from the pandemic than the AEW Women’s division, in losing not just Japanese stars Riho and Yuka Sakazaki, but other international talent in Bea Priestley and Shanna. They also lost Kris Statlander to injury long term and lost Britt Baker to injury as well (though she has still been a focus on the program each week over wrestlers who can actually get into the ring). AEW has tried to fill these spots with women who are less inexperienced in the wrestling industry getting some of their first national TV exposure in AEW.
You can also make the case that if the Tag Team Tournament was on TNT and died in the ratings, it could lead to AEW considering it a failure and never doing it again. By putting it on YouTube, it can be watched by anyone and gain a groundswell of support from fans to do it again. It’s a fair argument. It doesn’t help the fact that these women are not getting that national television exposure on YouTube, meaning the moment they do go on TNT, they’ll be treated it as unfamiliar to viewers. When AEW talent and the President and CEO himself is constantly talking about the key demographics and winning the ratings, you just know that poor viewership leads to less exposure.
And that’s why the reaction to AEW Heels has been mixed from AEW fans. They know it takes time for some of these acts to get over. And every week they watch, they see All Elite Wrestling put hours into allowing Men’s tag teams get all the time in the world to get themselves established while their AEW Women’s World champion is in the audience like a fan instead of being treated like one of the most important people on the roster. Even if it costs a few quarters for a few weeks, they want to see the women get better represented on television and be familiarized with the TNT audience so when the women come on? They feel less like a specialty division and more like a cornerstone of the company.
In the past, All Elite Wrestling has been good at identifying issues and correcting them. Unfortunately, this has been going on since 2019 and at this point reminds me of J.J. Dillon in World Championship Wrestling coming out each week offering match contracts to Sting for random members of the New World Order while the fans scream for Hogan.
J.J. eventually got it, despite needing Sting to choke him by the tie. Time for AEW to.
Photo credit to AEW