Heading into All Out, Thunder Rosa is preparing to make her AEW in-ring debut on Dynamite. The current NWA Women's World Champion is one of the hottest and most legitimate independent women wrestlers in the world. That isn't hyperbole as "La Mera Mera" has had an impressive run since 2019 that should put her on everyone's radar.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Thunder Rosa is one of the biggest stars that hasn't been snatched up by a major promotion yet. She has a fantastic look, believable strikes, a well-rounded style, and an unmistakable presence. To that end, Thunder Rosa vs. Hikaru Shida may be the most high-profile AEW women's title match to date.
This first-time match-up pits the Joshi veteran against a formidable competitor who has wrestled all over the world. Holding the prestigious NWA Women's World Championship gives her credibility that other challengers may have lacked. However, Thunder Rosa also brings a level of star power to the upcoming pay-per-view that AEW's women's division has been sorely missing.
Thunder Rosa's six-year journey
Thunder Rosa started her career in 2014 and rose to prominence in the following year during the second season of Lucha Underground. As Kobra Moon, she enjoyed her first hint of mainstream recognition. Around the same time, she also worked with STARDOM in Japan.
In 2016, she and Holidead, The Twisted Sisters, competed in the Goddesses Of Stardom Tag League. The team didn't win the tournament but they tied with the eventual winners, Yoko Bito and WWE's Kairi Sane, in Block A. Rosa also took on Mayu Iwatani for the High Speed title. A month later, Thunder Rosa and Holidead unsuccessfully challenged the Goddesses Of Stardom Champions, Oedo Tai —Kagetsu and Kyoko Kimura.
At the end of her stint with STARDOM, The Twisted Sisters defended the Vendetta Pro Wrestling Tag Team Championship against Momo Watanabe and HZK. The history of the Vendetta Pro tag titles is a little convoluted. Thunder Rosa and Holidead were one of the last teams to hold the titles while they were still associated with NWA.
In 2018, Rosa and the Reptile Tribe won the Lucha Underground Trios Championship. Later that year, she debuted as Kobra Moon for WOW - Women of Wrestling. That summer, The Twisted Sister also dethroned Las Sicarias, Ivelisse and Mercedes Martinez, to become the SHINE Tag Team Champions.
They lost the titles to Rainbow Bright in January of 2019. Nevertheless, Thunder Rosa caught fire that year en route to her biggest successes to date. In April, "La Mera Mera" returned to Japan to work with Tokyo Joshi Pro. WWE, NWA, and the MMA franchise Combate Americas also approached her.
With several new opportunities on the table, Thunder Rosa made a decision that undoubtedly changed the trajectory of her career. She rejected the offer from WWE and opted to sign with Combate Americas and NWA. During an interview with Bloody Elbow, she said the following:
"The WWE offer was not something that interested me. They offered me stability for my family and me, but that's not what I want. My goal in life is bigger than that. What I need is to be able to fight and fight at the same time. I am fighting not just for myself and my family, but for those whom I inspire to believe in themselves."
It was a risky decision as WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world but it paid off. In October of 2019, Thunder Rosa debuted on NWA Powerrr and quickly became one of the most popular characters in the new weekly series. In the following month, she made her MMA debut for Combate Americas in a losing effort against Nadine Mandiau.
The NWA chronicled her foray into MMA in a documentary called "Into The Cage." Rosa lost her first fight but NWA was firmly behind her every step of the way. Their support spoke volumes about how much the organization believes in her.
Thunder Rosa came into 2020 with so much momentum and she capitalized on it immediately. In January, she realized one of her dreams when she defeated Maki Itoh to win her first title in Japan and become the International Princess Champion. To date, she is the first non-Japanese champion in Tokyo Joshi Pro history.
Then, she and Allysin Kay delivered one of the best matches of the year at NWA: Hard Times. At the event, Thunder Rosa ended Kay's 272-day reign to claim the NWA Women's World Championship.
Unfortunately, NWA has been on a hiatus due to COVID-19. However, her popularity hasn't diminished. Fans immediately suggested Rosa for Hikaru Shida's open challenge. That's a testament to how far she has come in less than a year with the organization. It's even more telling that AEW chose her to face their champion at possibly their biggest pay-per-view event of the year.
Thunder Rosa vs. Hikaru Shida has the potential to steal the show this weekend at All Out. Rosa's involvement could be the shot in the AEW's women's division needs but it's also hard not to see this as proof of her hard work and dedication, as well. If you still don't know who she is, you will soon.Published 03 Sep 2020, 00:48 IST