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TBS Championship Tournament Recap #2

MK Fell is back to take a look at the latest in All Elite Wrestling’s TBS Championship Tournament, including The Bunny vs. Red Velvet & Anna Jay vs. Jamie Hayter!

Welcome back to MK’s women’s wrestling corner! This week I cover the last two matches of the first round of the TBS tournament and the women’s matches during Full Gear week, but not the Women’s Championship match at Full Gear since obviously that’s a completely different storyline.

Intro — November 3rd Dynamite Promos

I want to talk about the Ruby/Kris promo from November 3rd before we get into matches, because while wrestling is, of course, at the core of a storyline, the promo is equally as important. And I love a promo where the two wrestlers involved respect the hell out of each other like this. Ruby admits that her coming match with Kris will be her hardest to date; Kris, meanwhile, confidently says she knows more about Ruby than Ruby knows about her. It’s a great promo for both of them, on a night of some already great promos.

Meanwhile, Tony presents Shida with her (newly repaired) trophy commemorating her fiftieth win, but before she can say anything Nyla and Vickie come out. Shida takes a step back with a noticeable limp— Serena, of course, attacked that knee in their match and after her loss— as Nyla and Vickie slow clap. “How long did it take you to get that? Don’t answer that,” Nyla says, regarding the fifty win trophy. We love some snarky heels— a nice little contrast to the previous promo.

Match #3 — Anna Jay vs Jamie Hayter, November 3rd Dynamite

Okay, I don’t know what Jamie’s hair was doing the last couple of weeks, but her look today is absolutely incredible. The double blonde streaks framing her face on the Farrah Fawcett blowout? The long black duster? Goddamn, remind me more that I love women.

Anna Jay also looks absolutely incredible tonight, in the pink gear that matches Tay Conti and the gorgeous eye makeup— even if the Dark Order aren’t accompanying her to the ring.

During picture-in-picture, Britt takes advantage of Aubrey being distracted by talking Jamie down to bite Anna’s face. Or like, I think she’s biting. It’s hard to tell, because the picture is so small.

Anna tries to go for the Queenslayer, but instead Rebel distracts Aubrey so Britt can tug at Anna’s ankles just long enough for Jamie to get away and take out Anna for the win. But that’s not enough for AEW’s resident mean girls, who surround Anna to beat her down. Tay runs out to defend her, getting a couple good hits in on Britt ahead of their match at Full Gear.

Match #4 — The Bunny vs Red Velvet, November 5th Rampage

The Bunny skips out alone just before the commercial break, leading me to believe she just spent the commercials skipping in circles. Red Velvet, meanwhile, doesn’t even spend a moment to let her music hit before she’s dashing down the ramp and yeeting herself directly at The Bunny to start the match.

These second two matches for the first round of the TBS Tournament are notably very, very short. All the ladies this week get a couple of really nice spots, including a brutal stairs spot dealt to Red Velvet by The Bunny, but neither match lasts longer than five minutes or so; and much of the focus of this particular match turns to Jade Cargill and “Smart” Mark Sterling, doing research on their future opponent by watching this match. (“Who writes on a pad?” asks Taz, on commentary.)

In any case, Red Velvet lands The Final Slice on The Bunny and pins her clean in the middle of the ring. The close of this match is a tense stand-off between Red Velvet and Jade Cargill ahead of their next match.

Interlude — Dr. Britt Baker, Rebel (not Reba), and Jamie Hayter vs Tay Conti, Anna Jay, and Thunder Rosa, November 10th Dynamite

Can I cover the Trios Match happening on the go-home show for Full Gear? It’s tied into this Tournament storyline, kind of, given that it was born from Anna vs Jamie as well as being tied into Tay vs Britt.

Okay, okay, you don’t have to convince me, I’ll do it.

Britt, Rebel, and Jamie Hayter all come out together, and can I just say? Rebel, I love you to bits, please protect your poor knees. The number of injuries she’s had, including that last one in the match against Nyla and Vickie that put her back on crutches… you look stellar, Rebel, now accent that fabulous gear with some bedazzled kneebraces.

Tay and Anna come out in their matching bright pink gear; every time I see it I’m even more in love with it. Thunder Rosa follows after them and she’s ALSO matching them in bright pink. It makes me so happy to see. All three of them look amazing in bright pink!

After all six women just start beating on each other— and that’s always so nice to see— the first matchup in the ring is Britt and Rosa… and boy, do you feel the history hang in the moment before they charge for each other. Please, please, PLEASE, AEW, give me their explosive bloody feud again. 

Match goes to picture in picture… again. I’ve gotta start thinking of things to say when the match goes to picture in picture. Let’s talk about Tay for a minute, I guess, since I won’t get another opportunity to talk about her during the rest of the tournament. I love when Tay Conti gets mad and her shoot-fighting background comes out. She genuinely is one of the most powerful looking women’s wrestlers in the AEW division. I’m glad Tony Khan recognized the talent in her and hired her when he had the chance, and I really hope she gets a good push soon.

Anyway, Tay gets the pin on Rebel and immediately goes for Britt, who’s already halfway up the ramp clutching the belt to her chest like Tay’s gonna steal it out of her hands. Don’t worry, Dr. Baker, that won’t be til Saturday! (I harbor no illusions that Tay will win, but one day.) 

Interlude #2 — Full Gear Buy-In Match, November 13th

Makes sense they’re going to shelve the the tournament on pay-per-view weekend. No one can stop me from talking about the buy-in, then, which was Nyla Rose and Jamie Hayter vs Thunder Rosa and Hikaru Shida.

Nyla comes out first, followed by Jamie with an incredibly powerful look. Then Shida, and then Thunder Rosa with a deafening pop. All four ladies are still in the tournament, and Excalibur notes that Rosa is the clear favorite for the belt. 

Match starts with Nyla and Rosa facing off in the center of the ring. Nyla has the clear size advantage between both of her opponents, but Riho and Rosa are both proof that size isn’t everything when it comes to wrestlers. (By the way, the shrieking you hear throughout this match is Vickie Guerrero; the mic for this match was red-hot.) 

Nyla gets the advantage over her opponents by suplexing both of them… at once. This gives Jamie the chance to beat down a little on Rosa ahead of their quarter-final match, but Rosa gets a tag out to Shida to a nice little pop for Shida. Taz points out Serena Deeb is watching at ringside— to see the results of her attack on Shida following their match, perhaps? 

Let’s talk about the last few minutes of this match. Shida comes face to face with Deeb at ringside, which gives Vickie a chance to get a cheap shot at Shida’s injured knee with her own kendo stick. This gives Nyla a chance to get Shida back into the ring and give Jamie the tag. Jamie superplexes Shida off the middle rope, giving Nyla the opening to go for a Frog Splash and the attempted pin— but in comes Rosa to break it up. She throws Jamie out of the ring, so they can’t interfere when Shida thwarts Nyla’s Beast Bomb finisher and jackknifes her into the pin. 

Shida immediately flees up the ramp to join Rosa, away from Nyla, Jamie, and Vickie— probably leery of getting caught for a beatdown on an already injured knee. It’s a smart move, putting space between them as they all start shouting at each other from a distance. We get a final shot of Serena Deeb— who looks incredible tonight, by the way— and Excalibur wonders if the feud between her and Shida may not be over. I hope not, because it absolutely rocks. 

Closing Thoughts

  • All in all, I went 3 for 4 on my first round picks, which isn’t bad, even if I’m still confused as to what Hayter’s doing in this tournament.
  • AEW announced the first Dynamite to be filmed for TBS will be January 5th, 2022. I imagine the TBS champion will be crowned that night, if not the next week.
  • I’m glad to see Tony Khan acknowledge the importance of the TBS championship belt and the quality of the women’s division in the pre-Full Gear media call. I might talk shit about the size of the division, and I still think it’s important for AEW to sign more women if possible, but the talent we do have is some of the best in the world. Compare the quality of the women’s storylines on television now to that of the beginning of this year. There’s still a ways to go, for sure (the pre-Full Gear Rampage had yet another women’s match that was two minutes long, which is not doing Jade Cargill any favors) but the difference is notable.

Oh, wait, I get to do round 2 predictions now. Hell yeah. 

  • Ruby vs Stat is such a tough choice because they’re both so good and I want them both to move forward. Honestly, I wish this one were a semifinal match. Have to pick Statlander, though; I just love her too much. (That said, I will not be disappointed to be wrong.)
  • Nyla vs Shida has a LOT of history behind it from their Women’s Championship days; I honestly think it’s still one of the stronger feuds in the women’s division, besides Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker. I sort of don’t want to say it, but I can’t imagine Nyla doesn’t get the win, especially in the wake of Serena’s attack on Shida’s knee. I sort of hope I’m wrong though.
  • Hayter vs Rosa is an easy one for me— Thunder Rosa goes over; even though I still want her to get the world championship belt push she deserves, she’s just incredibly popular with the audience. Any other opponent, maybe she doesn’t? But having her lose this particular matchup is a little inconceivable to me.
  • FINALLY we get the Jade Cargill vs Red Velvet rematch. I’ve been waiting for this since their mixed tag match way back in March. Like, I think it’s going to be Jade no question, but Red Velvet’s gonna give her a run for her money and we’ll see the first strains of weakness in Jade. 

These predictions all assume that all four of the first round byes are the ones who progress to semi-finals. It’s a little unfortunate. Of the four making it from the first round prelims, I would say Ruby is the most likely to be the surprise swerve from my prediction. Shida’s next up, but I doubt they’ll put the TBS belt on the woman who was last women’s world champion. As for Red Velvet, though I desperately want her to beat Jade Cargill, I don’t think it’s now. 

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