Across the board in All Elite Wrestling, there are few competitors who have gone one-on-one as many times as former AEW Women’s World Champion Hikaru Shida and Serena Deeb. Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin have done it; other competitors, like Jericho/MJF and Nyla/Shida, have had a trio of singles bouts, but there is nothing about the Rhodes/Allin quartet of bouts that remotely compares to the anger that has seeped into Shida/Deeb rivalry.
It started when AEW seemed to begin celebrating Shida’s 50th win before it had even occurred, even crafting a trophy prior to the match that would have netted Hikaru that landmark record. It was almost as if the win was a given, and that victory would’ve come at the expense of none other than Serena Deeb. “The Professor” ended up playing spoiler that night, besting Shida in the center of the ring, and then to add insult, as well as injury, to injury, Deeb smashed the 50th win trophy across Hikaru’s head.
And just like that, a rivalry that seemed strictly professional on the surface was elevated into something far more personal. Perhaps it was the trophy situation that pushed Serena over the edge, or perhaps this is just who she has truly been the entire time, the darkness was just simmering under the surface waiting to break loose. Unfortunately for Shida, it broke loose at the expense of her 50th win (at least for the moment) and at the expense of her knee.
She’d bounce back though, score that 50th win, and it would be at Serena’s expense after all, only this time instead of in a standard singles match on DYNAMITE, it would come in the opening round of the TBS Title Tournament! Deeb won the opening battle, but Shida certainly won the bigger one, it there was no way Serena was going to let that go without a measure of revenge. That would come during Shida’s Quarter-Final tournament bout with Nyla Rose when Serena found an opening to clip Hikaru’s injured leg, an attack that would prove Shida’s undoing when Rose slapped on a Horse Collar submission.
Round three came at DYNAMITE: WINTER IS COMING where Shida picked up the win in the rubber match, and one might anticipate that would bring about the end of the road for this rivalry. But clearly, based on the words Deeb spoke to Jim Ross in the video embedded above, that is not the case for “The Professor” and she simply wants to permanently hurt Hikaru Shida. Serena wants to insure Shida cannot walk away after the match, and one can extrapolate that is exactly what she wants for the rest of the women’s roster as well.
This is not going to be an athletic exhibition or catch-as-catch-can contest between two of the best wrestlers in the game today; this is going to be a fight and neither woman is going to walk away unscathed.