Britt Baker on opposite sides of her boyfriend Adam Cole during AEW-NXT battle
By Mike Pankow
October 2, 2019
Britt Baker is ready and not even her boyfriend can get in her way in trying to dominate Wednesday nights.
Baker is ready to take care of business in the All Elite Wrestling women’s division while the AEW roster prepares to face serious head-to-head competition from NXT, WWE’s third brand packed with up-and-comers and former top independent talent.
Starting this Wednesday with AEW’s debut of its weekly show Dynamite on TNT, the superstars of NXT, including the love of Baker’s life, NXT Champion Adam Cole, will be performing live on USA Network directly against AEW. It will be the first head-to-head battle between two national wrestling organizations on cable TV for the first time since the abbreviated face-off between WWE Raw and TNA IMPACT on Monday nights in Jan. 2010 and the likely the most impactful since Raw and WCW Monday Nitro duked it out for about 5½ years.
“There was no awkward conversation,” Baker said during a media scrum at Starrcast III in suburban Chicago on Aug. 30. “[Cole is] my favorite wrestler to watch. He’s absolutely wonderful and so entertaining. But at the end of the day, you’re going to watch AEW live on Wednesday night and then you can watch him on WWE Network whenever you want at another time. Watch us live on TNT.”
Baker is embroiled in a burgeoning rivalry with Bea Priestly with the latest chapter at the Casino Battle Royale at All Out’s pre-show at the Sears Centre on Aug. 31. Similar to the ending of WWE’s 1992 Royal Rumble, Priestly helped to pull Baker out of the ring after Baker had already eliminated her, opening the door for Nyla Rose to win the match. Rose will face Riho to crown the first-ever AEW Women’s Champion on the first episode of Dynamite in Washington D.C. while Baker isn’t scheduled to wrestle.
“It sucks, because I feel like I’ve been the face of the women’s division,” Baker said during a post-show media scrum at All Out in suburban Chicago on Aug. 31. “The fact that someone else is in the position that I thought was mine, it’s tough. Whoever wins (between Riho and Rose) I’m coming for them right away.”
Cole is slated to defend the NXT Championship against Matt Riddle on the first full episode of NXT on USA live from Full Sail University in suburban Orlando, Fla., as part of a stacked card with three titles on the line. WWE added some fuel to the fire by limiting commercial interruptions.
In other NXT title matches, Shayna Baszler will defend the NXT Women’s Championship against Candice LeRae and the Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish will put up the NXT Tag Team Championship against The Street Profits, the former champions.
AEW Dynamite will kick off with Cody Rhodes, the No. 1 contender to the AEW World Championship held by Chris Jericho, against rising star Sammy Guevara.
The main event will be Jericho and two mystery partners against Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. One of the mystery partners won’t be John Morrison, whom WWE reportedly signed last week, per a report from PW Insider’s Mike Johnson. The surprise men could ultimately be the former LAX, Santana and Ortiz, who attacked the Bucks and the Lucha Bros. following their ladder match at All Out. (Editor’s note: AEW confirmed on Twitter late Tuesday night that Santana and Ortiz are indeed the mystery men)
Also, the long-awaited match bewteen Hangman Page and PAC will finally take place. MJF, one of the hottest heels in wrestling, will face Brandon Cutler. AEW is also advertising an appearance from Jon Moxley.
Baker, a Pittsburgh native and a practicing dentist, was one of the best women wrestlers in the U.S. not signed to major promotion until AEW came calling earlier this year. She was a staple recently in Chicago-area promotions Warrior Wrestling and Zelo Pro and had to relinquish the Zelo Pro Women’s Championship following a concussion she suffered during a tag team match at AEW’s Fight For the Fallen in July. She wrestled in a four-way match during All In against Tessa Blanchard, Chelsea Green and Madison Rayne at the Sears Centre last summer.
“To return [to Chicago for All Out] for me is really meaningful, because I feel All In was what put me on the map for a lot of people, because I wasn’t on any television programs or larger promotions. A lot of people didn’t know who Britt Baker was.”
Baker won the first women’s match in the history of AEW when she pinned Kylie Rae as part of a four-way match with Rose and veteran Awesome Kong at Double or Nothing in Las Vegas in May, so it’s obvious the fledgling promotion has big plans for her. She believed that she should’ve been named a top contender for the women’s title based on winning that historic match.
“It was a huge accomplishment,” Baker said. “I signed with this company with hopes of being the best. I’m not quite sure why I had to wrestle 20 other girls in the battle royal.”
Now Baker is in the somewhat awkward position of being part of a war against her husband’s company. As of right now, the winners are the fans, but time will tell to see if one entity budges or if the war gets even dirtier.
“It doesn’t change anything for us, because we’re still what we are,” Baker said of AEW. “We’re new, we’re fresh, we’re an alternative to what you’re watching in wrestling right now. As far as how I found out, my boyfriend came home from a meeting, he’s like ‘Guess what, we’re going to be running to head-to-head.’ Well, let the game begin. All’s fair in love and war, right?”
Catch Windy City Slam editor Mike Pankow talking local and national pro wrestling every other week on The Broadcast Basement, available wherever you download podcasts or at https://broadcastbasement.podbean.com/.