Hello, hello! This is Erica Ford. Yes, that one. Turns out that even though I’m not medically cleared to wrestle for the foreseeable future, I’m still on the EAW payroll and thankfully this place isn’t getting a purge-cut going like ESPN so I’ll get to try my hand at writing. This is the very first “Empire Eight” article and it will specifically rank the eight best women on a week-to-week basis on the Empire brand. Why? To generate a little debate, maybe warm up some people to female elitists who slip through the cracks and may not get noticed straight away.
Rankings are done with these guidelines aside from the obvious win/loss record:
1. Championships, accolades and position matter…. with some exceptions. Championship holders, winners of accolades such as Empress of Elite, the Empire Cup, Control in the Vault, etc. will be given preferential treatment in the rankings. Same thing goes for those in mandatory challenger positions. The exceptions include accolades not specifically fought for by Elitists on Empire (EAW Hall of Fame Championship, Young Lions Cup, New Breed Championship, etc.) but can be obtained. Why? EMPIRE EIGHT, not the EAW Eight.
2. Women on the EAW roster who are not signed to the Empire brand will not be ranked.
So, without any further ado or explanation, here is the very first Empire Eight!
#8: Tarah Nova- This ranking is entirely low for Tarah even by my own admission but I will ask this question: Why should it be higher? Sure, Tarah is one of the most decorated and badass performers to grace an EAW ring. But with her essentially out of the title scene after a horrific injury and attempting to murderdeathkill Empire GM Cleopatra last week, it would be a bit unfair of me to rank her ahead of people much more devoted to winning titles and big events, at least on the surface. This ranking will almost surely go up at some point, but this is where Tarah is now in my view.
#7: Alexis Diemos- The winner of Empire’s first Ultimate X match fell short in her attempt to win the EAW Women’s World title (not in the least part due to Cameron Ella Ava’s chicanery). Alexis seems to have her sights set on destroying the returning Stephanie “Cloud” Matsuda after a gripping confrontation on Empire. Alexis may not appear to have much going for her if you watch her wrestle, but she has an entire army of dangerous “Family” with her to back her up. While not in the title picture now, if she makes good on her threat to eliminate Stephanie, there may not be much left in the way to stop her and the Coven from ruling Empire with an iron fist. “Mother Famine” doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
#6: Aria Jaxon (Young Lions Cup Holder)- Aria was off this week, going to Voltage to do Voltage things, but with her clean defeat of the current Women’s World Champion at Grand Rampage she is the clear-cut choice to be Cameron’s first challenger. It is looking more and more like she’ll have to get past Cailin to make that match a reality, however.
#5: Consuela Rose Ava (Mandatory #1 Contender for the EAW Specialists Championship)- And I’ve already had to break one of my two rules for this ranking, but for good reason: Consuela did lose to Cailin in singles competition on Empire’s main event this week. Of course, that match was marred by outside interference (more of that later) but unfortunately a loss is a loss. Consuela is still very much on track to add more gold to the Ava family’s trophy case as she is on a collision course with Brody Sparks over the EAW Specialists Championship at Pain for Pride X.
#4: Cailin Dillon- The last few weeks have been rough for the former Women’s World Champion. Losing her title after being betrayed by Cam, Cailin has been adamant about a rematch for the title but as of now there is no clear indication of her title position. She did pick up a win this week on Empire thanks to an assist from Brody Sparks and that result as tainted as it is forces me to bump her one spot above Consuela.
#3: Azumi Goto (Control in the Briefcase holder)- Most of you are probably about to pound your keyboards in demented fury protesting this is far too high. It may be. Two things though: Azumi has proven that she can win big matches and now I can’t think of anyone else on the roster as hard-hitting and aggressive. This isn’t bias because she was my former partner, this is reality. One she exercises her rights via Control in the Vault, she may be EAW Women’s World Champion or Specialists Champion. She dispatched of MJ Doom in emphatic fashion and combined with her ability to change the landscape of Empire on a whim lands her in this position.
#2: Brody Sparks (EAW Specialists Champion)- Ah, yes, one of the most insane members of the most insane group in wrestling. The crown jewel of the Sanatorium and Coven and everyone’s favorite bat-s**t crazy person: Brody Sparks. With a reign as Specialists Champ that is already more than 120 days, Brody has been able to outwit, outlast and out-crazy the competition to keep her title. Sparks flew…. sorry…. when she confronted Consuela after she and Madison won a tag team match against Consuela and April Song. Brody appeared to get the upper hand on this week’s Empire, playing a huge role in Cailin beating Consuela in the main event. If her title reign continues and she successfully defends the title past Pain for Pride, it may be time to consider giving her the top spot. Not yet though.
#1: Cameron Ella Ava (Current EAW Women’s World Champion, 2017 Empire Cup Winner)- Is there any doubt? One of the most successful wrestlers, male or female, in EAW history, Cam continues to dominate. With her former OG partner Kendra Shamez seemingly forced into retirement, Cam has shouldered the OG mantle with the graceful resilience that has made her one of the most beloved and respected figures in EAW…despite the completely disgraceful way she won the Championship at Grand Rampage. While she faces challenges from Cailin Dillion and Aria Jaxon in the very near future, I can’t bump her from the top spot with all she’s accomplished this year alone.
And now, for some of what I was told in Louisiana is called Lagniappe, a few extra tidbits:
*April Song and Megan Raina picked up some much-needed wins. April wasn’t a very good month for, uh, April, and the win over newcomer Erika Sato saved face during what has been a rough patch for the Professional, coming so close to winning the Empire Cup and losing a hard-fought semifinal during the Specialists Championship contender tournament. Megan was simply looking to build some momentum and consistency in her match and may have done so. Submitting Amelie Larrieux was a good first step to getting on track but where does one of the strongest women in EAW today go from here?
*Jocelyn Diemos may have creeped out MJ Doom more than we could have imagined. After the most awkward hug in the history of mankind last week, MJ found herself on the receiving end of a crushing defeat from Azumi Goto. Has the “Oncoming Storm” cleared up or is this just a bump in the road? Also, how will Jocelyn amuse herself going forward?
*Erika Sato is a name we may hear more from in the future, but she seemed to not have an answer for April Song’s relentless attack. Sato, a veteran with a long run of experience before arriving to EAW, will have to adjust quickly if she’s going to fulfill her promises of a takeover.
*Notable return this week: Haruna Sakazaki who had a rather awkward yet interesting stare down with her own wife Azumi during her return address. While the two are obviously in love, business will be business apparently.
*Another notable return: ITS CLOUD O’CLOCK MOTHERF**KERS! Stephanie “Cloud” Matsuda returned and had words for the EAW Universe and “Mother Famine” Alexis Diemos. If you have not seen this segment of Empire yet, it’s highly recommended.
*Recent signing: The incredibly adorable Savannah Sunshine! I cannot wait for this debut. I haven’t seen this much positive energy and unabashed camp since I joined EAW with my old tag team partner Aurora Rose. Good luck Savannah and may you have a long, wonderful career.
Well, that was my feeble attempt at journalism for the week. Comments and questions are welcome. This is Erica Ford and unless I get fired I’ll see you next week with another edition of the “Empire Eight”.