Britt Baker may not have seen the fan holding up the “book the women’s division better” sign after her match with Taya Valkyrie on Dynamite last Wednesday (July 26). But she was the first woman signed to AEW’s women’s division, and has often been the focal point of criticism of it — so she didn’t need to see it to know that sentiment is out there.
TV Insider’s Scott Fishman asked Baker about her reaction to the sign during an interview to promote this week’s 200th episode of Dynamite. She said she understands fans’ frustrations, but then pivots to questioning if the online behavior many of them engage in is part of the problem:
“I see both sides to that because I completely agree. The absolute best matches that come out of professional wrestling come out of storylines you are so invested in. There are weeks and months that tell this beautiful story. It’s something we haven’t been able to invest as much time in the women’s division lately. Again, there are many factors. Injuries, this and that. I definitely want to get to the point where we can get some solid storytelling with the women.
“At the same time the fans who hold signs that say to book the women’s division better, that’s great. Then when I go on Twitter it doesn’t echo that. I don’t see the same support. It’s I hate these two wrestlers. This match was too long. This match was too short. If all you see about women’s wrestling is all negative online, it doesn’t add up to what they are preaching. If you want the women to be booked better, support the women.
“You don’t have to like every wrestler and every match. You also don’t have to get on Twitter and preach from the mountaintops how much you hated things. Some stuff, keep to yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I go to a restaurant and I don’t like how my steak is cooked. I don’t need to talk to the chef and take 30 pictures of the steak to tell them I don’t like how this steak is cooked. There is too much invested in the negativity that it does so much harm. I hope people realize one day how much harm it does to not only the individuals and mental health, but to the industry as a whole.”
Like Baker’s take on the sign, we see two sides to her answer.
On the one hand, not many will disagree that we don’t need to read/hear everyone’s subjective opinion on every topic. It’s an issue with social media and our interconnected online lives that goes beyond wrestling. An regardless of their profession, when it comes to women on the internet the feedback they get is usually closer to harassment than criticism.
On the other, if a match just isn’t good — or isn’t served by a story, as Baker admits has been an issue with the booking of AEW’s women’s division — it’s not the fans’ fault for saying so.
But to Britt’s point, it would be nice if more people didn’t make it personal when they do so. While their match last week wasn’t great (Baker admits as much in the interview with Fishman, saying it was the first time she & Valkryie worked together), there’s no call for the feedback Taya says she got online afterwards:
Waking up to comments such as, Taya is fat, disgusting, slow, untalented, loser, looks like a man, and so on and so forth. I’m just a human being trying my best. Remember that next time and hopefully you never have to hear that kind of stuff about yourself.
— TAYA VALKYRIE (@thetayavalkyrie) July 27, 2023
Here’s hoping for better booking for women in AEW (and elsewhere). We’ll also keep hope for better behavior from wrestling fans online, even though that sadly seems less likely to change than the creative.
Check out Britt Baker’s entire interview with TV Insider here.