SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Britt Baker D.M.D
Pennsylvania native Brittany Baker is a rarity in mainstream professional wrestling. Both AEW and Baker have vaunted the impressive fact that not only is she a grappler within the ropes but a working dentist outside them. Baker juggled both professional wrestling training and her medical education whilst attending the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 2018. Studying such a intensive subject as well as gaining independent wrestling experience meant long days on campus and even longer nights on the road for the dedicated Baker. Her reward for such dedication was becoming AEW’s first female signee when the company formed in 2019.
Dentistry has become synonymous with Bakers act, be it her entrance video and music, ring name, and even her finisher the “Lockjaw.” The D.M.D title has become a familiar chant for the live audience and helped Baker differentiate herself on a crowded female roster. As with other AEW stars such as MJF in Long Island or Jon Moxley in Cincinnati, Baker has a special relationship with the fans in Pittsburgh. Often accompanied by the Steelers famous scarf waving tradition, Baker is beloved in her university city and is always spotlighted when AEW Dynamite emanates from the self-styled “Brittsburgh.”
Bakers ring style initially portrayed the fighting babyface. Although popular, Baker found her natural presentation when leaning heel. Displaying an egotistical and dismissive attitude, Baker entered a new phase of her career with her heel persona. Technically proficient in the ring and able to adapt to a multitude of techniques and match styles, Baker is much improved since her AEW debut and is now considered one of the centerpiece acts in the company. An unofficial pillar.
As noted, Baker entered AEW as a battling babyface facing off against heels such as Nyla Rose, Awesome Kong and Bea Priestley. It was an encounter with commentator Tony Schiavone at the Dynamite at sea special in early 2020 which would chart the course for Baker going forward. Her demeaning and mean girl presentation was immediately successful and showcased Baker as a compelling character. The pandemic provided Baker a further opportunity to develop this newfound character in interview segments in a faux dental office (akin to the Pipers Pit, Barber Shop or Kings Court of days past) accompanied by personal cheerleader Rebel. Baker would then go on to feud with Big Swole culminating in the polarizing ‘Tooth and Nail’ cinematic match which took place in Bakers own dental office.
A feud with now arch-enemy Thunder Rosa would begin in earnest in late 2020. Baker would defeat Rosa in a February 2021 edition of Dynamite before falling to defeat in a critically acclaimed ‘Lights Out’ match which main-evented that weeks flagship show. Success was around the corner though as Baker completed her ascension to the AEW summit by defeating long-time Women’s champion Hikaru Shida before defending her title against Red Velvet, Tay Conti and nemesis Rosa. It would be Rosa though who would unseat Baker as champion in another Dynamite main-event, this time within the confines of a steel cage. Disappointment was short-lived as Baker would win the inaugural Owen Hart Foundation tournament defeating Maki Itoh, Toni Storm and Ruby Soho on her way to the crown.
A debuting Saraya would provide Baker with her most high-profile feud in AEW to date. The feud proved muddled though as both stars blurred the lines of character and narrative with damaging promos which confused an already apathetic audience. Baker, a heel in the feud, would posit her AEW original status and loyalty to the company whilst Saraya would highlight her career successes outside of AEW and denigrate her rival. The feud ended in defeat for Baker as a returning Saraya was victorious on her AEW PPV debut.
Baker then took a background role as her protege and stable-mate Jamie Hayter gained momentum both competitively and with the live crowd. Hayter would attain the AEW Women’s title with the support of Baker and although dissension was teased, the duo would settle their differences to remain united. This unity has recently become imperative as Baker and Hayter have clashed with the heel Outcast group featuring former opponents Storm, Soho and Saraya.
Britt Baker is an AEW original and undeniably one of the most popular female acts in the company. Fiercely loyal to AEW, a move to the WWE in the short-term seems unlikely. The current Originals vs Outcasts feud has given the women’s division a focus and there are still match ups to explore amongst the competitors. If Hayter was to lose the title as soon as Double or Nothing then Baker would be an obvious first opponent for new champion Toni Storm.
With the next Owen Hart Foundation tournament on the horizon would Baker be interested in defending her crown? Another match yet untapped by AEW would be a clash between alphas Baker and Jade Cargill. Could Baker challenge for Cargills TBS title thus ending the champions undefeated streak in the process? It would certainly provide a compelling opponent for Cargill and culminate in a PPV battle between the two. With rumors of an association between AEW and Stardom, another unique match up could be possible for Forbidden Door 2. Dependent on Mercedes Mone’s injury status, a rivalry between Baker and Mone would be box-office gold and provide a stellar hook for the PPV.
Verdict: Baker is undoubtedly a Pillar of AEW (official recognition or not) and is one of the companies strongest female acts. Much improved since debut, Baker is another asset AEW should focus on protecting. Injuries and an outspokenness may have lead to Baker being a polarizing figure both in-front of and behind the camera but AEW needs to retain and highlight talents with the ambition and drive that Baker has displayed thus far.
William Morrissey was born in New York and enjoyed a stellar high school and college career in sports. Morrissey also studied in economics during his University education and then moved into the professional wrestling scene shortly after graduation. He attended famous trainer Johnny Rodz’s wrestling school in New York and represented the schools WUW promotion.
Morrissey’s size and athletic ability would soon catch the eye of WWE scouts as he was signed to a developmental contract with the then FCW in 2011. Success came when paired with New Jersey native Enzo Amore on the then developmental NXT brand and a natural chemistry developed. As the tandem caught on with the NXT crowd, the team were soon destined for the main roster where success followed. Acknowledged personal issues would blight Morrissey’s latter years as part of WWE and the former Big Cass was released in 2018.
In somewhat of a redemption story, Morrissey would seek to address his addiction issues after several health scares and journey the independent scene repositioning himself in the eyes of a cynical audience. A transformative stint in Impact Wrestling would re-introduce Morrissey to the wider wrestling public and announce him as worthy as another chance.
Perhaps christened with the worst in-ring name in modern professional wrestling, ‘Big Bill’ (sigh) has been showcased sporadically during his short AEW run thus far. Debuting for AEW whilst still under Impact Wrestling contract status, the then W Morrissey would be the mystery opponent for Wardlow on a May 2022 episode of Dynamite. Portrayed as a hired-gun for MJF, Morrissey would fall to defeat in his debut match and then briefly return to Impact Wrestling.
In August 2022, Morrissey would sign a full-time contract with All Elite and re-debut as a member of the MJF associated stable, The Firm. Led by manager Stokely Hathaway, The Firm would be retained to do the bidding of MJF whilst charting their own individual courses. Aligned with fellow members Ethan Page, The Gunn Club and Lee Moriarty, the powerhouse Morrissey has been restricted to singles and tag appearances on AEW Dark and Dark Elevation programming as well as the odd appearance on Dynamite. Perhaps his most highlighted individual moment came in a losing effort to Orange Cassidy in an International Title match.
Has the die already been cast with Morrissey in AEW? Losing to Wardlow on debut as well as defeat to Cassidy, Hook and Darby Allin may have set fan perception early in his AEW run. Morrissey may not be the strongest on the microphone but with Hathaway by his side is there the opportunity to feature him as a monster heel opposite the more valued babyfaces in AEW.
A return battle opposite now TNT champion Wardlow is an attractive proposition. There are several other giants though that Morrissey can face. Keith Lee, Brody King, Miro, Brian Cage, Konosuke Takeshita and Luchasaurus could all provide titanic television clashes different to the conventional AEW product.
Verdict: Morrissey is certainly better than his 8-9 AEW record suggests and has been under-utilised by All Elite in this writers opinion. He offers AEW something different and is a giant with the athleticism to face-off against many of the companies more agile wrestlers.