Hindustan Times, New Delhi
In the late 90s, the professional wrestling industry saw its first ratings war between two warring industries – WWE and WCW. Dubbed as the “Monday Night Wars”, the two shows went hammer and tongs at each other to boost their ratings and get one-up on each other. But soon, the two companies merged together as WCW ran out of juice, support, fans and money – WWE was quick to swallow the competition. And for good part of a decade, Vince McMahon’s professional wrestling industry ruled over the landscape. That till the inception of AEW in 2019 that emerged out of nowhere to challenge the mighty WWE.
The battle between the two brands well and truly began when AEW started their weekly TV shows “AEW Dynamite” on Wednesdays, and WWE moved their NXT Live shows on USA Network on the same day. This became “Wednesday Night Wars” between WWE and AEW – as fans once again started debating which was the better show.
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At NXT Takeover War Games pay-per-view in November last year, AEW women’s division star Britt Baker was in attendance for her boyfriend Adam Cole’s NXT title match. At the event, during Cole’s match, the cameras showed Baker looking shocked after her Cole took a nasty bump, a moment, which garnered massive media buzz – AEW star shown on WWE pay-per-view. Speaking to Chris Jericho on his Talk is Jericho podcast (h/t Wrestling Inc), Baker revealed how WWE authority figures Triple H and Stephanie McMahon came to her to apologise after the goof-up. Here’s what she said on the entire episode:
“I’ve always asked ahead of time, whether it’s the Bucks or Tony, ‘is it OK if I go?’ It was to the point where Tony said, ‘stop asking me. Of course you can go. Why would we not want you to support your boyfriend. It’s not like a cult. It’s not like you can’t go there. It’s fine.’ So I was just sitting there in my comp ticket section, and the camera was nowhere near us at any point in time. This was very early on before we were on TV or anything.
“I think we had one PPV, and Stephanie McMahon comes out. She sits right next to me or a seat in between us, and they zoom in on her for her ‘hey, I’m in the crowd’ spot. And I’m like two seats down looking at her. I truly don’t know if they knew who I was at that point or not because it was so early on. They didn’t have the camera anywhere near us at that point, but it was a funny little meme because it looks like I’m mean mugging her in it.”
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“The second time, I knew Adam Cole was winning the title so I definitely wanted to go, and I didn’t want to just sit backstage and watch it on a TV,” Baker said. “Is there anyway I can watch it? They were doing these crazy cagematch bumps. All kinds of stuff that were terrifying. No, I want to be out there, and they said yup absolutely. I was texting with the one security guard [who said], ‘We got you covered. Don’t worry.’
“So I’m in my seat. Everything’s good, and for his match, they move me. They said, ‘hey, you’ll be fine here because you’re behind the commentary table. Because the match is in the cage, the camera is not gonna come out here at all.’ To me, I was like OK that makes sense, and it wasn’t until the very end, he took this disgusting bump at the top of the cage. I don’t even know where the camera was because I was looking in the ring. I didn’t even know until I got backstage in gorilla. I went to check in on Adam, and Triple H came up right away saying, ‘sorry, we didn’t mean for that to happen.’ I’m kind of like wait, what? He’s like, ‘yeah, we got you on camera with your reaction to the bump. I’m so sorry. They didn’t know.’ The head production didn’t know who you were. Do I believe that? I don’t know, but he was super apologetic to me, super nice. Him and Stephanie both said we’re so sorry about that. I hope you don’t get in trouble, which Tony didn’t care at all because after that night, I was the top Google search of that show, the entire NXT show was Britt Baker because of that one little blip they showed on TV.
“Afterwards, I’m not sure who it was came up to Adam and said I know who your girlfriend is. It was a series of unfortunate events that happened. It ended up being a happy accident because it was me, an AEW wrestler, who became the top Google search of their PPV.”
A fun fact: AEW parodied that episode in a Dynamite episode where Britt was shown to be showing exact worried emotion when Nyla Rose slammed the referee on to a table. “That’s Adam Cole’s girlfriend,” screamed the commentator!
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