10 Women Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida

Hikaru Shida at AEW Dynamite
AEW

All Elite Wrestling's women's division was beginning to heat up at the start of 2020, marked by the rise of Nyla Rose and Hikaru Shida; promising upstarts like Big Swole and Kris Statlander; exciting international imports in Riho, Shanna, and Yuka Sakazaki; and a well-timed heel turn from Dr. Britt Baker. Then, the coronavirus super-kicked the world off its axis.

To the say the AEW women's roster is depleted right now would be an understatement. Many of the company's international stars are stuck overseas due to travel restrictions, including Bea Priestley, who looked set to begin a major feud with Rose before the global lockdown. And if that wasn't bad enough, Baker and Statlander both suffered injuries within mere weeks of each other, further decreasing the division's numbers.

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While the likes of Penelope Ford have stepped up in their absence, and Swole and Baker continue to pump energy into their rivalry despite injury setbacks, there is still more that can be done. The rebuild has started in earnest with the recent signings of rookies Abadon and Anna Jay, while veterans Diamante and Ivelisse will make their Dynamite debuts this week. However, judging by Shida's latest promo, this appears to be just the beginning.

The current AEW Women's World Champion challenged any woman who thinks they are "strong enough, tough enough, and have enough passion" to come and take a shot at her.

With that in mind, here are 10 incredible women wrestlers from the North American indie scene who we believe AEW could (and should) hire.

AEW Dynamite, Wednesdays, 8/7c, TNT

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida AQA
Photo Credit: JK Demeter

A.Q.A

From practicing moves on her backyard trampoline to earning a roster spot at RISE and SHIMMER, at just 23 years old, Angela Quentina Arnold is on a fast track to glory. Trained at WWE Hall of Famer Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling school, this Alabama native is a real head-turner, and if not for the pandemic shutdown, she’d likely have been the buzz of the indies in 2020. What A.Q.A lacks in size she makes up for in dynamic, fast-paced, high-flying offense—infectious energy, a breathtaking Shooting Star Press, and limitless upside, A.Q.A is a star in waiting.

Match To Watch: A.Q.A vs Hyan – Steel Cage Match – (Reality of Wrestling)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Snow
Photo Credit: John Moses

Lindsay Snow

Tattooed head to toe in ink, Lindsay Snow looks like a badass character from a Soska Sisters horror movie. Trained by Ring of Honor’s Jay Lethal, with a background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, this 33-year-old grappler is a true hybrid-athlete. She combines painful mat-based submissions with hard-hitting strikes, and she can even bust out some flips! The self-described “American Kaiju” received a WWE try-out in 2017 and last year made her debut for SHINE Wrestling. It’s also fitting that Snow hails from AEW’s home-base of Jacksonville, Florida.

Match To Watch: Lindsay Snow vs. Leyla Hirsch – (Ladies Night Out 8)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Savoy
Photo Credit: Scott Lesh

Nicole Savoy

Why the hell isn’t Nicole Savoy signed to a major company already? As a near nine-year veteran, Savoy is highly-regarded by her peers and fans yet still tragically underrated by the industry at large. Noted for her stunning array of suplexes, this Missouri-born technician has wrestled everywhere from RISE to SHIMMER to the WWE Mae Young Classic to Japan’s World Wonder Ring Stardom. Not only is the “Queen of Suplexes” capable of delivering classic matches, but her experience would make her an excellent lockerroom leader for a growing division. Hire her now, hell, have Taz bring her into his suplex squad with Brian Cage!

Match To Watch: Nicole Savoy vs. Nicole Matthews – (ECCW Women’s Championship)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Hyan
Photo Credit: Scott Lesh

Hyan

Another product of Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling, Hyan is one of the most polished performers in the game right now. This Houston-based wrestler is only 26-years-old but is already approaching six years of experience, and it shows. Everything Hyan does in the ring is crisp, not just her technical execution but also her movements and expressions, showing a veteran-like knack for storytelling and crowd involvement. An enhancement spot on WWE Raw in 2016 and a 2019 tour of Japan only added to The Renaissance Woman’s repertoire, making her a top tier opponent for Shida.

Match To Watch: Hyan vs. Jordynne Grace – (Ladies Night Out 3)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Adora
Photo Credit: Sadiel "Speedy" Ruiz

Trish Adora

Decked out in her signature red, green, and gold, the self-coined “Afro-Punk” is a captivating presence. After eight years in the United States Army, Trish Adora decided to pursue her dream of becoming a pro-wrestler, training at the legendary Dudley Boyz’s Team 3D Academy in Florida. Her strength and athleticism made her a stand-out on the local circuit, even landing her an NXT TV match against Kairi Sane in 2018. Beyond the Sunshine State, Adora has won over fans in the California-based Hoodslam promotion and recently became the first-ever Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling Champion in her home-state DC promotion, F1ght Club Pro Wrestling.

Match To Watch: Trish Adora vs. Big Swole – (Nerd Street Wrestling)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Threat
Photo Credit: Geoffrey Cole/ShootingTheIndies

Jody Threat

This red-haired “Wild Child” from Toronto, Canada, brings a grungy aggressiveness to the squared circle. Despite just under three years of in-ring experience, Jody Threat is quickly establishing herself as one of the best wrestlers on the indie scene. With her motto of “skate and destroy,” Threat delivers a smashmouth style, effortlessly switching between power moves and high-flying acrobatics. A breakout 2019 saw appearances in PROGRESS Wrestling, where she faced off against former NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm. Given the opportunity, Threat could become a top star in any women’s division in the world.

Match To Watch: Jody Threat vs. Kris Statlander – (Limitless Wrestling)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Ellering
Photo Credit: SHIMMER

Rachael Ellering

Pro-wrestling is in Rachael Ellering’s blood. The daughter of legendary Road Warriors manager Paul Ellering, the “Queen of Strong Smile” remains one of the hottest free agents on the market. Trained by Lance Storm, Ellering competed in WWE’s Mae Young Classic, appeared in Impact Wrestling, and signed with NXT in 2019, though was sidelined most of the year due to an ACL tear. Released from her WWE contract earlier this year, this Minnesota-native would be an asset to any company looking for an experienced grappler who packs power and positivity.

Match To Watch: Rachael Ellering vs. Britt Baker – (International Wrestling Cartel)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Kelly
Photo Credit: Michael Watson/BrainBuster_

Priscilla Kelly

The bewitching Priscilla Kelly instantly demands attention with her fiery red locks and gothic glamor. Growing up in the gypsy community, Kelly took to wrestling in 2015 and soon carved a niche for herself with a sadistic and often controversial style of offense. A spot in the WWE Mae Young Classic in 2018 followed by a tour of Japan saw the Georgia-native continue to build her resume. Having appeared for AEW twice in the past, the door certainly seems open for a return for “Hell’s Favorite Harlot” (as long as her Major League Wrestling contract allows for it).

Match To Watch: Priscilla Kelly vs. Kris Statlander (AAW Pro)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Conti
Photo Credit: Tay Conti/Instagram

Tay Conti

It’s easy to see why WWE signed Tay Conti to a developmental contract given her impressive athletic background: a black belt in judo, a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and participated in trials for the Brazilian Olympic team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. However, while Conti showed potential and a certain crazed charisma in NXT, she never quite got the chance to shine. When she was listed as part of WWE’s pandemic layoffs back in April, no one would have blamed Conti for hanging up her boots. But the feisty Brazilian has developed a passion for wrestling and is determined to continue. Let’s see what she can do in AEW.

Match To Watch: Taynara Conti vs. Bianca Belair – (NXT Live)

10 Women's Wrestlers Who Should Challenge AEW's Hikaru Shida Evans
Photo Credit: John Moses

Savannah Evans

Savannah Evans might not have the name recognition of some of the other women on this list, but she certainly has the skill and experience. The self-declared “Cannibal” is a vicious competitor who enjoys tossing her competition around the ring. Hailing from the wrestling heartland of Charlotte, North Carolina, Evans is a mainstay of the local Queens of Combat promotion, where she previously teamed with AEW star Big Swole. An imposing figure who towers over most of her opponents, Evans is an absolute force of slams and suplexes and would make for a compelling clash with Shida.

Match To Watch: Savannah Evans vs. Karen Q – (Battle Club Pro)