WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR TOURNAMENT FINALS (WINNER EARNS WORLD TITLE MATCH AT REVOLUTION 2021) United States Bracket Winner Nyla Rose vs. Japan Bracket Winner Ryo Mizunami
The path that has led these two women to the precipice of an AEW Women’s World Title Match has not been simple for either competitor. Nyla Rose, the winner of the United States Bracket, had to beat Tay Conti, Dr. Britt Baker, and former NWA World Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa to make it to this point. She put in just over thirty-five minutes of work, and now must survive one last fight to get her revenge on AEW Women’s World Champion Hikaru Shida. There is plenty of bad blood there, especially seeing how Shida is the women who dethroned Nyla back on May 23rd, and turned her away once again at FULL GEAR 2020 in their rematch.
In the case of Ryo Mizunami, this 16 year veteran of the ring wars had to make it past Maki Itoh, the legendary Aja Kong, and Yuka Sakazaki, clocking in 43 minutes and 39 seconds of ring time in the process, and then undertaking a sixteen hour flight to the States. It was a tremendous endeavor for Mizunami just to get to this opportunity to fight “The Native Beast” in hopes of surviving to challenge Hikaru Shida for the championship at REVOLUTION 2021. While Ryo has become more familiar to the AEW audience over the last several weeks through the Women’s World Title Eliminator Specials on YouTube, she is still somewhat of a mystery.
Over the course of her sixteen year career, Ryo Mizunami has been a multi-time champion, has competed throughout Japan in multiple promotions, as well as in the United States and Canada. She even crossed paths with Nyla Rose on one prior back in the fall of 2018, each on opposite sides of a Six-Person tag that also included Hikaru Shida on Ryo’s team. Over the course of her decade and a half in competition, Mizunami has stepped into the ring with Joshi legends like Manami Toyota, Chigusa Nagoya, and Meiko Satomura, as well as Aja Kong, who Ryo beat for the very first time in that Semi-Final bout en route to Wednesday night.
This meeting at THE CROSSROADS pits two wrestling powerhouses against one another, a situation in which Nyla Rose rarely finds herself, and with the highest of stakes short of the championship being on the line. Which woman will rise up to the challenge and move onto REVOLUTION 2021 this Sunday to try and make some history?
MIXED TAG-TEAM MAIN EVENT “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet Vs. Shaquille O’Neal & Jade Cargill
Much like the Jurassic Express/FTR situation that also comes to a head this night, the situation between these four individuals (five including Brandi Rhodes) has been simmering for quite some time. It all comes to a head this Wednesday night when the tag team clash pitting NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal and Jade Cargill against two-time former TNT Champion Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet opens up DYNAMITE: THE CROSSROADS at 8pm EST!!
It all began after FULL GEAR 2020 in November where Cody Rhodes lost the TNT Title to Darby Allin in a tremendous fight, finally getting Darby that elusive victory he’d been chasing since his AEW debut. So when Cody walked out into the ring the following Wednesday night on DYNAMITE, it was not only to congratulate Darby, but also to tell the world where he was heading from there with his career. The former two-time TNT champion managed to get it out that he would not be seeking a rematch at this time, but as he began to utter the name of former friend-turned-foe MJF, Cody was interrupted by a face unfamiliar to AEW audiences. Rather, that should be unfamiliar to all those who were not astutely paying attention to the individuals populating the ringside area every week, but that unfamiliarity would not last long as the rather striking woman introduced herself as Jade Cargill.
Jade, like many others, had been waiting for an opportunity within AEW, but apparently got tired of being patient, and decided that Cody’s time was now her time. Not only was it her time, but it was also the right time to drop another name down on The American Nightmare’s head, the name of legendary NBA giant and now analyst for INSIDE THE NBA on TNT, Shaquille O’Neal. The pair apparently took umbrage with one of Cody’s earlier statements that he was a Giant Killer after toppling men like Lance Archer, Wardlow, and Mr. Brodie Lee during his AEW tenure.
The blatant disrespect shown by Jade Cargill for Cody, and All Elite Wrestling as a whole, raised the ire of Brandi Rhodes as well, so the CBO of AEW confronted Jade on the spot and sent the upstart away with her proverbial tail between her legs. Unfortunately that moment only served to escalate the hostilities as Jade, with a little assistance from Nyla Rose and Vicki Guerrero would assault Brandi, using a steel chair to attack her arm. That would in turn bring Shaq onto AEW television for the first time via joint sit-down interview (Watch Here) with Tony Schiavone and Brandi, and suffice to say the NBA All-Star ended up all wet by the end.
Red Velvet, by sheer association with Brandi, ended up the victim of an attack from Cargill and it was very clear that Jade would just keep pushing until she got what she wanted: a match in All Elite Wrestling and clearly she wanted it to involve the Rhodes family in some form. Well Jade would not be able to get what she wanted, at least not out of Brandi, because the Rhodes’ family would announce to the world the impending arrival of a baby! Would that stop Jade from pushing to get what she wanted? Not in the least…
With Brandi out of the picture as far as a match was concerned, it started to feel like Jade might even try to push Cody into a match with how that all played out on The Waiting Room, she even tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to cost Rhodes his bout with Peter Avalon on the 1/20 DYNAMITE to further antagonize the man.
Shaq himself even said he would fight Cody and left the ball in Rhodes’ court as to the next step. Yet it was not “The American Nightmare” who would make the final move, rather it would be Red Velvet with a little encouragement from Coach Arn Anderson
The stage was set, and at BEACH BREAK (Watch Here) it was made official that on March 3rd the tag team collision would go down! In the month since that blockbuster announcement, fans have seen the training videos from the Jade and Shaq camp, and have witnessed both Red Velvet and Cody compete inside that ring. Cody, as he has mentioned on his Twitter, had his shoulder dinged up during a recent tag match on DYNAMITE, but nothing is going to stop Cody from stepping into the ring to answer the trash talking he has endured from Shaquille O’Neal all these months.
As for Shaq, well there is no questioning the athletic pedigree he carries when he climbs into an AEW ring for the very first time. Standing over 7 feet tall, O’Neal was a graduate of LSU before becoming the number one overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft. He went on to a basketball career boasting four NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVP awards, 15 times an All-Star, the Rookie of The Year award, a two-time scoring champion, a 1996 Olympian, and had his jersey retired with both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. He was inducted into the James Naismith Hall of Fame in 2016, and has been a part of INSIDE THE NBA on TNT since 2011. While he may not have any wrestling pedigree to speak of, Shaquille O’Neal is a dominating physical presence whose sheer size and power makes him a force to be reckoned with once that bell rings on Wednesday night.
Cody has stated on many occasions that no one can touch him in the ring, and recently referred to Velvet as “true grit” on his Twitter, and both of those statements are quite true. Unfortunately Shaq is not a wrestler looking to prove he can hang with Rhodes as a wrestler, and Jade is an untested commodity that Velvet can’t exactly go watch tape to prepare for the match. This is a situation unlike any Cody or Velvet have faced before, but if there is one thing that “The American Nightmare” has proven throughout his career it is his adaptability.
This historic tag team battle will kick off DYNAMITE: THE CROSSROADS at 8pm EST LIVE on TNT so do not miss a moment! Win or lose though, for Cody’s sake hopefully there is something left in the tank to climb that ladder come REVOLUTION 2021 on Sunday night