Earlier this week, Britt Baker vs. Bea Priestley was added to the card of tomorrow night’s AEW Full Gear Pay-Per-View. Don’t feel remiss if you had no idea the match was happening. The match wasn’t even mentioned during AEW’s go-home episode of Dynamite. Perhaps worse, the match will not be featured on the main card of the PPV. Instead, it will be a part of Full Gear’s Buy-In pre-show.
In theory, if AEW wants The Buy-In show to feature a match that’ll inspire potential buyers to buy the PPV, this match should do the trick. Both Baker and Priestley are really good athletes who’ve shown some strong chemistry over the past few months. The problem with that theory is that there is a stigma that comes with matches being on the pre-show.
That goes for any wrestling promotion, be it AEW, WWE, IMPACT, etc. If a match is on the pre-show, the majority of fans view it as either lesser than anything on the rest of the card, or something worth skipping. Neither should be expected with Baker vs. Priestley. They don’t deserve the stigma attached to being on the pre-show. Again, good athletes make for good chemistry, but it goes beyond that even.
Baker and Priestley have been at each other’s throats for the better part of five months now. It all started in July, when Priestly concussed Baker at Fight for the Fallen. Then, at All Out a month later, Priestley cost Baker a chance at the inaugural Women’s Championship match during the Battle Royal. Their feud has also been prominently featured on AEW Dynamite since then. Specifically, a tag match on the Oct. 9 episode of Dynamite.
By all accounts, AEW has invested a lot of time to get fans invested into this feud and for many fans, it’s worked. The prospect of a one-on-one match between these competitors is something that some fans may actually want to pay to see.
Compare that to something like, say, Joey Janela vs. Shawn Spears. That match is on the main card, but their feud began only a couple weeks ago. There is no doubt that this will be a good match. If we’re comparing stakes, feud intensity, and crowd interest in Baker vs. Priestley, the women’s match is more suitable for the main card.
Or, even compare it to the Women’s Championship match which has even less build-up. Without any storyline between the two, Riho vs. Emi Sakura was announced about a day before Dynamite’s go-home show. The closest we have to a feud is the fact that Sakura pinned the champ on said go-home show.
Again, this’ll be a great match, but PPV cards should feature matches with history, stakes, and enough fan interest that people want to see a payoff. Priestley vs. Baker has exactly that.
Of course, hours before the PPV, it’s far too late to change AEW’s mind on this one. Don’t expect this to be miraculously moved to the main show anytime soon. However, what we can expect is for Baker vs. Priestley to potentially steal the show.