One by one, the lights go out at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, enshrouding the arena in darkness. Anticipation ripples through the crowd, and through fans all around the world as they set out to behold the main event of AEW Dynamite – a lights out, anything goes, unsanctioned match between Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa. Promising to be a night and a fight to remember, Baker, the rising star and face of the AEW women’s division and Rosa, former NWA women’s champion and MMA fighter, are set to go to war in the culmination of a months long blood feud.
Gone are the smack talking antics from Baker, as she walks to the ring with focused determination, preparing for what’s to come. Rosa, in kind, walks to the ring, her cold stare set on Britt Baker. The two of them only have eyes for each other, set in the intensity of a warrior’s resolve, as the bell rings for twenty minutes of blood fueled mayhem.
Relentless in their fury, Daily’s Place became a violent proving ground, an arena of their own design. Here, Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa fought to prove themselves as main event contenders and hardened warriors, ready for battle.
Standing Tall In The Face of Adversity
Thunder Rosa has been unstoppable in her pursuit of the art of physical violence. Juggling her time training as a professional wrestler with her career as an inner city social worker in the Bay Area of California, she found inspiration in the fight. Even her name Thunder Rosa hails from “Thunder Road”, a Bay Area rehabilation facility where she worked with kids who were struggling on their road to addiction recovery. She found the physicality of the fight, and the art of performance to be just the thing she needed to let out steam, challenge herself mentally and physically, and pursue her goals within the combat arts.
Indeed, not only is she a former NWA women’s champion, and a well renowned wrestler in AEW, she’s still contracted with MMA through Combates Americas. She also spends time building her own promotion, Mission Pro Wrestling, showcasing the strength of women throughout the professional wrestling industry.
Britt Baker on the other hand, trained as a professional wrestler while still pursuing her doctorate in dental school. Juggling rigorous training with high intensity medical exams, clinical responsibilities, and hands on dental practice, she’s not been one to shy away from taking on any challenge, no matter how extreme. Indeed, she even took one of her final exams in dental school with a black eye she received during a wrestling match. Currently, she is a practicing doctor of dental medicine and a professional wrestler within the AEW women’s division.
Suffice it to say, both of these women know a thing or two about battling against the odds, throwing everything on the line to overcome their obstacles and emerge victorious. When it came to wrestling with AEW, a new set of challenges would emerge for the women of this growing wrestling promotion.
Built from scratch in a brand new wrestling company, AEW has faced more than its fair share of criticisms for its women’s division over the last couple of years. While wrestlers spent a year honing their skills on AEW Dark or training at the Nightmare Factory, they were still met with an online discourse that questioned their booking. While the women’s division of AEW was in the midst of it’s highly celebrated AEW Women’s Eliminator Tournament, both in Japan and in the United States, people wondered when they would start seeing more matches on the flagship Dynamite. In AEW, Baker and Rosa found themselves not only battling for their own proving ground, but also found themselves proving the legitimacy of a division.
With Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker starring in the first ever women’s Dynamite main event, they had the chance to prove once and for all, that the women of AEW were a force to contend with. That not only were the increased Dynamite appearances, online tournaments, and PPV matches going to continue, but that they could take the reigns and break out in their own brilliant spotlight.
A Tapestry of Violence
As the lights turned back on in Jacksonville, Daily’s Place was buzzing with anticipation. The parameters were set, and AEW would no longer be officially responsible for what would occur in the ring. What would unfold would send shockwaves through the wrestling world, as these women made history with a new brand of vicious brutality and beautiful violence.
Almost immediately, Britt Baker and her trusted sidekick, Rebel Tanea, took advantage of the no disqualification rule. Before the bell even rang to start the match, Rebel brutally attacked Thunder Rosa with her crutch, bringing her to her knees. Baker violently sped forth with a rapid spear, bringing her crashing to the ground outside the ring. As the two women gleefully taunted Rosa while gloating to the cameras, Rosa recovered and threw a steel chair right into the face of the Role Model. Rosa sent Baker flying over the guardrail and crashing into the chairs forcing the wrestlers watching at ringside to quickly get out of the way. The pace for the match had been set, a vicious whirlwind of brutality fought by two hardened warriors.
Six minutes into the main event of AEW Dynamite, Baker stomped Rosa’s face into the steel steps outside of the ring, bringing the first mark of blood from their relentless battle. Framed by a pile of steel chairs waiting in the ring, Thunder Rosa looked up to the camera with blood streaming down her face from a gash in the forehead. Two minutes later, a collection of hardcore weaponry lay scattered in the ring. Steel chairs, ladder, and spattered blood coat their battleground, as both women battle through the streaks of crimson painting their faces in a tapestry of beautiful violence.
Less than halfway through the match, there is no question that Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa have not only set out to prove that women can flourish in brutality, giving it to each other just as hard and gruesome as their male counterparts, but that they were their own stars of their own right. This was real pain, real rage, and real fury, bursting forth with the force of every woman who’s ever been told she wasn’t good enough, that she couldn’t be the “draw” for the main event. This was sheer and utter violence and there was absolutely nothing delicate about it.
Indeed, as Baker and Rosa both sent each other face first into steel ladders, a stunned commentary team remarked upon the tapestry of violence these women had put forth. Jim Ross remarked, “I have never seen anything like this in my entire career!”, while Excalibur was struck by awe, “These are two women – these are two warriors doing battle here in our main event tonight”.
With ribbons of red streaming down her face, Britt looked up at the camera and smiled. She donned her glove, preparing for her lock jaw finisher, as Rebel grabbed a bag of thumbtacks to cement a vicious victory for her friend and counterpart. As Baker emptied the contents, Thunder Rosa quickly recovered, and in her last gasp, dispatched Rebel with her own crutch, before powerbombing Britt Baker onto the very weapons laid out for her own demise.
Her back dripping with blood from dozens of thumbtack wounds, Britt Baker still managed to kick out of the pin set by Rosa. Both women are spent. Embattled, bruised, and bloodied, Thunder Rosa reached inside for her final gasp of fury. Bringing Baker to the outside of the ring, the former NWA women’s champion delivered a brutal Fire Thunder Driver, sending Britt Baker headfirst through the table, as they both crashed through. Breaking barriers of wood, steel, blood, and determination, Thunder Rosa emerged embattled and victorious.
While Rosa won this match, both women were victorious in the personal battles they had set forth. Britt Baker emerged as the “Hardcore Queen”, while Rosa and Baker both earned universal praise from wrestlers and legends all across the wrestling world. Hardcore legend Mick Foley gave this match his signature thumb’s up, while Tony Khan said this was the greatest thing they had aired on Dynamite television. As they walked away from the wreckage of the ring, both wrestlers received a standing ovation from the full AEW locker room.
Claiming The Spotlight
On March 17th, 2021, in Jacksonville Floriday, Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa made history. Not only was this the first women’s main event match on Dynamite, but it was also the first Lights Out unsactioned match on AEW’s TNT flagship show. It was also tied with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair as the highest rated American women’s match, was universally praised as a Match of the Year contender, and was heralded as one of the best, most brutal women’s matches in history.
Baker and Rosa set out to not only prove their stature as signature wrestlers within All Elite Wrestling, but they also cemented the dominance of its women’s division. These two women proved without a shadow of doubt, the power, prestige, and star power of what women could become when given the opportunity to unleash it all.
As Thunder Rosa’s arm was raised in victory, she finally released a cascade of blood, sweat, and tears as her eyes swelled with pride.
My goal in life has always been to champion things for those women who don’t belong, who are ostracized and criticized, for those who are pushed aside and not taken serious. This win was bigger than me. It was for you! Never allowed anyone to tell you don’t belong… #LaMeraMeraThunder Rosa, via Twitter
Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker fought a war on AEW Dynamite. A war against each other within the story they were telling, but more importantly, they joined forces and battled against every criticism, every time they’ve been called “overrated”, or picked apart for their physical statures. They fought for women around the world, furiously defiant against the idea that their own merits couldn’t be enough.
As they furiously painted their own tapestry of violence, they took all of the doubts they’ve faced along the way, and left them strewn among the wreckage left in the ring. As I watched their intense battle play out, I couldn’t help but feel inspired and emboldened by my own inner warrior’s spirit. They set the stage once again, for women and girls all around the world to see that power in themselves too. Knowing that they have the power to rise up, take the reigns, and grow to become stars.
The power that burst forth in those two women that night, cast amidst blood, fire, and fury, proved that not only could they become the stars they grew up wishing to see, but that they too, could draw the power of the main event spotlight.