At All Elite Wrestling‘s inaugural pay-per-view, All Out the AEW Women’s World Championship was unveiled. Since then it has been presented as the top prize in the women’s division.
In its short history, the title has experienced ups, downs, and controversies. There has been a total of ten championship reigns from eight wrestlers.
Each of these champions brought something different and unique to the role while attempting to establish and elevate not just themselves, but the championship and the challengers.
Let’s take a look at every Women’s Champion so far…
|1||Riho||October 2nd, 2019||Dynamite||Washington, D.C.||1||133||Defeated Nyla Rose on the debut episode of Dynamite to become the inaugural champion.|
|2||Nyla Rose||February 12th, 2020||Dynamite||Cedar Park, TX||1||101|
|3||Hikaru Shida||May 23rd, 2020||Double or Nothing||Jacksonville, FL||1||372||This was a No Disqualification, No Countout Match.|
|4||Britt Baker||May 30th, 2021||Double or Nothing||Jacksonville, FL||1||290|
|5||Thunder Rosa||March 16, 2022||Dynamite:|
St. Patrick’s Day Slam
|San Antonio, TX||1||172||This was a Steel Cage Match|
|6||Toni Storm||September 4th, 2022||All Out||Rochester, NY||1||76||Champion Thunder Rosa was originally scheduled to defend the title against Storm at this event but was pulled due to suffering an injury. Storm instead faced and defeated Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D., Hikaru Shida, and Jamie Hayter in a four-way match to become the interim champion.|
Rosa forfeited the title on the November 23rd, 2022, episode of Dynamite, and Storm’s interim reign was retroactively made an official reign.
|7||Jamie Hayter||November 19th, 2022||Full Gear||Newark, NJ||1||190||This was initially an interim title reign but following Thunder Rosa vacating the championship on November 23rd, 2022, Hayter became the Undisputed Champion.|
|8||Toni Storm||May 28th, 2023||Double or Nothing||Paradise, NV||2||66|
|9||Hikaru Shida||August 2nd, 2023||Dynamite 200||Tampa, FL||2||25|
|10||Saraya||August 27th, 2023||All In||London, UK||1||37|
1st AEW Women’s World Champion: Riho
- Number of reigns: 1
- Reign timeline: 10.02.2019 – 02.12.2020
- Reign days: 133
AEW’s Women’s World Champions got off to a surprising start when Riho, on October 2nd, 2019, became the first person to hold the newly unveiled title when she defeated Nyla Rose on the premiere episode of Dynamite.
The decision to make the lightweight high-flying Joshi star the inaugural champion was a polarizing one as her size and stature made her an unlikely candidate to become the promotion’s first women’s champion.
In the early days of AEW, its women’s division featured a mix of performers from all over the world with varying levels of wreslting experience. The promotion had signed several female wrestlers from various promotions and backgrounds, including Kylie Rae, Nyla Rose, Britt Baker, Hikaru Shida, Bea Priestley, Awesome Kong, and more.
Rae especially seemed to be a big part of the division but her sudden departure from the company left a top babyface spot open and Riho was the one they chose to fill it. Riho was far from the most recognisable star on the roster, but she was definitely one of the most experienced and despite some of her shortcomings such as character or promos, she made up for it in the ring.
Riho had several successful title defences against various challengers, including Britt Baker, Kris Statlander, and Emi Sakura, among others. Her championship reign lasted for 133 days, and while there were some good moments, her match with Sakura being the highlight, her title run failed to establish the title and the women’s division as a whole, a problem, which has plagued it ever since.
2nd Women’s World Champion: Nyla Rose
- Number of reigns: 1
- Reign timeline: 02.12.2020 – 05.23.2020
- Reign days: 101
Nyla Rose got her second shot at becoming champion when she faced Riho on February 12th, 2020 and this time made sure she emerged with the gold. However, despite being a dominant force in the women’s division and the first transgender woman to win a world championship in a major wrestling promotion, the reign failed to have the desired impact on the division and championship.
Rose had pretty much come from nowhere to be placed as AEW’s monster heel on the women’s roster. In the run-up to the title victory she had torn through her opponents but upon winning the title that momentum stalled. The ‘Native Beast’ had little opportunity to grow as champion, defending it only once against Kris Statlander at Revolution 2020 followed by a two-month absence.
The hiatus damaged Rose’s run severely. Her character was built on dominating inside the ring, and because of the lockdown-enforced absence, she was unable to do so. But not only was she out of action she was hardly mentioned or even given a video to interview segment and therefore any momentum she had gained just dwindled away.
Upon her return, she entered a brief feud with Hikaru Shida before dropping the title at Double or Nothing in from of a small contingent of the AEW locker room substituting as fans.
3rd Women’s World Champion: Hikaru Shida
- Number of reigns: 2
- 1st Reign timeline: 05.23.2020 – 05.03.2021
- 1st Reign days: 372
- 2nd Reign Timeline: 08.02.2023 – 08.27.2023
- 2nd Reign Timeline: 25
When Hikaru Shida won the title for the first time she did so in an empty arena. It was an unfortunate start to the historic and effective championship reign. At AEW’s first PPV without a live audience, Double or Nothing, Shida defeated Nyla Rose in a No Disqualification match to become the Women’s Champion.
Prior to winning the title Shida was on a hot streak of wins and a run of excellent performances. In the promotion’s early days, Shida was a standout performer in the struggling women’s division. Her hard-hitting style struck a chord with the fans and their support quickly followed. She was a champion they and the company could get behind.
Shida’s first reign was marked by a number of high-profile matches against Thunder Rosa, and Ryo Mizunami that helped bring legitimacy to the division. She also successfully defended the title against challengers such as Penelope Ford, Anna Jay, and Tay Conti among others holding the title for a record 372 days making her the longest-reigning champion in AEW history thus far.
Shida’s impactful reign was brought to an end by Britt Baker, who had become one of the promotion’s top stars and she was able to elevate the division thanks to Shida’s solid work as champion. Shida put the division on her shoulders and took it to new heights during an unprecedented period in human history.
Shida’s second run as Women’s Champion came as a surprise when she defeated Toni Storm for the title in the main event of the 200th edition of Dynamite. It was great to see her get to lift the title above her head in victory in front of a live audience. But her second time as champion lasted just 25 days giving her the unique record of both the longest and shortest reigns in the title’s history.
4th Women’s World Champion: Britt Baker
- Number of reigns: 1
- 1st Reign timeline: 05.03.2021 – 03.16.2022
- 1st Reign days: 290
The self-proclaimed Face of the women’s division reached the top of the mountain when she beat Hikaru Shida for the title at 2021’s Double or Nothing. It was a watershed moment for the division as Baker’s popularity and position brought it much-needed focus and attention.
Baker was the first woman signed to AEW and was positioned as the division’s top face, but something just didn’t land with the fans. Following a heel turn her star rose as she successfully transformed into a wicked-tongued brat with a huge chip on her shoulder. A historic main event Lights Out match against Thunder Rosa at St Patrick’s Day Slam in 2020 showed how much she had improved in the ring and just how far she would go to prove it.
As she established her heel character, she was clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the roster promo, character and popularity-wise, which often came at the expense of her peers. No one could touch her and she overshadowed her opponents en route to the title.
It was the same situation with Baker as champion. While the division had a focal point and was represented on Dynamite each week, something that did not always happen during the previous champion’s reigns, Baker constantly outshone all of her challengers.
Nyla Rose, Kris Statlander, and Tay Conti lined up to take the title but were predictably unsuccessful. Main event title matches against Ruby Soho and Riho followed adding further emphasis on the division, but it wasn’t until her longtime enemy Thunder Rosa came into title contention that a worthy challenger crossed her path.
Reigniting their rivalry Baker and Rosa embarked on a deeply personal feud that culminated in the first-ever AEW women’s steel cage match. The match harkened back to their previous bloody brawl and featured all the big spots that made their feud famous.
5th Women’s World Champion: Thunder Rosa
- Number of reigns: 1
- 1st Reign timeline: 03.16.2022 – 09.04.2022
- 1st Reign days: 172
During her quest for the gold, Thunder Rosa had the full support of the AEW fanbase. She received huge reactions whenever she made an appearance. Her hard-hitting matches pleased audiences while bringing respect and legitimacy to the division. These attributes ultimately led her to the title but upon capturing it all that changed.
Rosa ended Britt Baker’s 290-day run in a chaotic and bloody battle inside a steel cage. It was a fitting victory in front of her adopted hometown and one that seemed to usher in a new chapter of the women’s division. As champion, she had some rather big shoes to fill but she seemingly had the capability of doing so.
However, that was not to be. Her first three feuds with Nyla Rose, Serena Deeb and Marina Shafir were lacklustre in the ring and featured some unfortunate mic work. Adding to her dilemma, was her lack of screen time, which drew criticism from the AEW fanbase.
Rosa’s situation worsened following a series of unfortunate events in the ring. These in-ring mishaps brought forth rumours of backstage animosity that began to overshadow her title run. Then on August 25th 2022, Rosa revealed she was unable to compete in her scheduled title match against Toni Storm at All Out.
Her departure due to injury resulted in the introduction of an Interim Women’s Championship, which in turn brought more heat upon the absent champion. A few months later, Rose relinquished the title and the two interim title reigns of Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter were retroactively recognised as official title runs.
6th Women’s World Champion: Toni Storm
- Number of reigns: 2
- 1st Reign timeline: 09.04.2022 – 11.19.2022
- 1st Reign days: 76
- 2nd Reign Timeline: 05.28.2023 – 08.02.2023
- 2nd Reign Timeline: 66
Toni Storm came into AEW after a poor run on WWE’s main roster. She brought with her name value, experience and promise. She was a big-name acquisition and was instantly portrayed as such. She picked up several wins before she came face-to-face with the division’s resident gatekeeper, Britt Baker.
A series of matches with Baker and her backup, Jamie Hayter followed and a single victory over the D.M.D. secured her a title match against Thunder Rosa at the first-ever AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door after just six months in the company.
Scheduled to face Rosa in a rematch, Storm became the Interim Women’s Champion after the champion withdrew from the PPV due to injury. It was an unfortunate start to her first title run and one she was vocally critical of. The interim moniker cast a cloud over her 76-day reign and despite successfully defending the title several times, the AEW faithful had rallied behind and chosen their next champion, Jamie Hayter.
Following her title loss, Storm forced herself back into contention with a heel turn. Backed up by her new crew, Saraya and Ruby Soho collectively known as the Outcasts waged war on Baker and champion Hayter. The rivalry resulted in Storm’s second run with the title, which was also shrouded in controversy.
In the lead-up to her match against Hayter at Double or Nothing 2023, it was reported that the champion was injured. The bout went ahead but lasted only three minutes and was full of sneak attacks, and outside interference in order to work around Hayter’s injury. With the win, Storm became the first two-time AEW Women’s World Champion in the promotion’s history.
7th Women’s World Champion: Jamie Hayter
- Number of reigns: 1
- 1st Reign timeline: 11.19.2022 – 05.28.2023
- 1st Reign days: 109
In the lead-up to her title win, there was a huge groundswell of support for Jamie Hayter from the AEW fanbase. She was no longer the silent and imposing backup for Britt Baker, she was the promotion’s breakout star.
Hayter had a brief stint in AEW during its premiere year before returning two years later as part of Baker’s muscle. Hayter’s rise came as she broke out of that mould and began building a following.
The timing was perfect as the division was going through a tough time. Champion Thunder Rosa had left due to injury and Toni Storm was crowned Interim Champ and despite her best efforts, it didn’t feel legitimate.
Hayter was next in line for the title and the fans knew it. The crowd were visibly and audibly behind her during the title match at Full Gear and came unglued when she won even with the Interim moniker attached. The win and support showed that both the fans and the company were drinking the Hayterade.
Following her title win Hayter was recognised as the official champion. She went on to further establish herself as one of the best in the promotion with a series of excellent hard-hitting bouts. Sadly, her title reign was not fully explored due to an injury, which forced the hand of the company to switch it to Toni Storm.
10th Women’s World Champion: Saraya
- Number of reigns: 1
- 1st Reign timeline: 08.27.2023 – current
Like all of the former WWE female Superstars that came into AEW, Saraya brought with her a tonne of promise for the division. She came in and immediately got into it with the division’s top star, Britt Baker.
Their feud led to her first match in over five years. The outing was a tense affair due to her lengthy absence from the ring due to a career-ending neck injury. The former two-time Divas Champion overcame her Baker in a triumphant in-ring comeback.
After the win, as good as it was, two things became obvious. Firstly, she hadn’t changed the division in the way many thought she would and secondly, her run as a babyface wasn’t working. The answer was a heel turn alongside Toni Storm and Ruby Soho. The trio became the Outcasts and targeted what they deemed as AEW “originals” which included Baker and Jamie Hayter.
Positioned as the leader, Saraya often accompanied her crew to the ring and did so during Storm’s second title win. Then in the lead-up to All In in London Saraya booker her way onto the card and in a four-way match for the championship
Despite being a heel, Saraya was the sentimental favourite among UK fans and got a huge win in her home country. Saraya celebrated the victory with her family in an emotional moment celebrating her first title since winning the WWE Divas championship in 2014.