AEW's second Full Gear pay-per-view will be taking place tonight, live from Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida. With that, it is a good time to check in on the winners of last year's event, and see how the AEW machine has treated them over the last year.
AEW Superstar Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D
2019 Match: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. Def. Bea Priestley
2020 Match: N/A (Not on the card)
As much criticism as AEW's women's division has received in the past year, virtually zero of that negativity is directed at Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. There is no question that Dr. Baker has carried a large amount of the entertainment of the division, with many attributing a badly-timed leg injury as one of the only reasons why she hasn't had a run with the AEW Women's Championship.
At AEW Full Gear in 2019, Dr. Baker took on Bea Priestly in a fairly average match, with all things considered. The match was designed to help Dr. Baker continue to build credibility, and that it did.
In the months following her Full Gear match, Dr. Baker worked programs with some of the top women in AEW. She fought in many matches involving Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, AEW Women's Champion Riho and more.
Even after her injury in May, Dr. Baker still entertained with her "Roll Model" gimmick and hilarious segments throughout AEW programing. When she was finally able to transition back into full-time wrestling, she engaged in a fun feud with AEW star Big Swole, ultimately helping elevate Swole's status at the same time.
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D is not on this year's AEW Full Gear card, but she still holds the fifth best record for 2020 in the women's division. This has led some to believe it is only a matter of time before she receives another opportunity at the AEW Women's Championship.
Former AEW Women's Champion Riho
2019 Match: Riho Def. Emi Sakura to retain AEW Women's Championship
2020 Match: N/A (Not on the card)
If you are looking for a good example of how someone could go from top star to non-existent in a short amount of time, here is the best case study...
Riho became AEW's first Women's Champion in October 2019, when she defeated Nyla Rose on an episode of Dynamite. While fans loved her fighting spirit, they were heavily critical of AEW's decision to give Riho the championship so quickly.
As a natural babyface, it seemed like she was perfect for a slow buildup, and one that would conclude with her having to conquer the mighty Rose later down the line. Instead, AEW rolled the dice by making her their first champion, and it quickly backfired.
Fans found themselves becoming bored with Riho and AEW did not do their best in marketing her to a larger audience. Her matches became stale, and her lack of character beyond being a rag doll would eventually catch up to her.
She would eventually lose the title to Nyla Rose on a February episode Dynamite. Before then, however, she would face Emi Sakura in a slightly above-average match at Full Gear. After their bout, Sakura would wrestle two more matches for AEW. Her final match took place on the December 19th edition of Dynamite, where she lost to Big Swole.
Riho would go on to defend her championship successfully twice, defeating Dr. Britt Baker and Kris Statlander just one week apart from each other. After her loss to Rose in February, she would wrestle five more times in AEW in a mix of singles and tag team matches. She was on the losing side of each match.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Riho has been unable to return to the United States to compete for the promotion.