Ahead of All Elite Wrestling's Revolution pay-per-view this Sunday, I had the opportunity to chat with "La Mera Mera" Thunder Rosa.
Rosa will be challenging Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D for the AEW Women's World Championship. While Rosa has had monumental moments during her time with the company, such as being one of the first women to ever main event AEW's flagship show Dynamite in the historic Unsanctioned Lights Out with Baker back in March 2021, and making it to the semi-finals of the TBS Women's Championship tournament, Rosa has never held gold in AEW.
If Rosa were to win the AEW Women's World Championship at Revolution, she would become the promotion's first ever Mexican-born American champion.
When asked how she would feel if she won the championship and what winning would signify to her and her career, she pointed out what it would mean representation-wise.
"...When was the last time that a Mexican born wrestler [won] a major title in a major company? And it's not only about being Mexican, being a Latina, when is the last time that a Latina that not only represents Mexicanas but represents so many other countries; I cannot tell you how many Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, they stop at my table and say 'You represent me.'"
Rosa compared the idea of winning the Women’s World Championship to graduating from college.
"This is not only an achievement for Thunder Rosa and the Cervantes family, this an achievement for so many people of color that struggle every single day in their own way doing their dreams and they finally achieve the major one. It's like when your kid goes to college and he graduates, it's kinda like the same thing. That [winning the AEW Women’s World Championship] will be graduation."
In AEW, there have been four previous AEW Women's World Champions: Riho, Nyla Rose, and Hikaru Shida, who eventually lost the championship after holding it for 372 days to Dr. Britt Baker.
While each champion has brought something new to the women's division, Rosa argues there has never been a champion like her.
"When I was the NWA champion, I was a fighting champion, I went out everywhere and I defended that thing during COVID. I found a way to make it relevant and I want the AEW women's division to be kinda like what Kenny Omega was doing, I would love to do something like that. I think we haven't had a champion like that and I think I have what it takes to be that. I have the grit, I have the determination, I have the consistency, everything is developing with Thunder Rosa."
Rosa further elaborated on some of the criticisms she has heard from others in regards to her promo work and notes that she has not only been working on that but she has also been working on her English.
"A lot of people criticize me because they say I can't cut promos, you guys haven't seen the promos that I have cut. On TV, things get edited, I've been working so hard on my English too, my dictation, and how smart I sound. I am not cursing as much in Spanish, when my time comes, when I become a champion I want you guys [the fans] to see it."
While Rosa's hard work could be rewarded on Sunday by winning the championship belt from Baker, there's always the possibility that Baker will retain. Regardless, Rosa emphasized that she is prepared for any possible scenario.
"It can be a coin toss too, I am prepared for everything. I am prepared for success and I am prepared for failure, because failure will prepare me for whatever the bigger thing is. I know that I am not gonna fail, but if that happens, believe me, this is not the last that you've seen of Thunder Rosa. I am always ready to win, but I am also prepared for the unknown and I want people to understand that.”
Rosa informed me that the thoughts running through her mind ahead of the show is not so much her opponent Baker, but rather what kind of champion she would be if she had her desired outcome become a reality.
"A real leader. That's what I have been working on in the last two years, how to become a real leader that leads with passion, with compassion, that is ready to take on challenges, that is ready to build other people up, that is ready to represent. I think this is the most important part, to represent others instead of just representing me. I am ready to represent the people. They call me ' the people's champ' and I am the people's champ. I am serious. Is that trademarked? Because if not I am probably gonna start using it (laughs)."
There is a lot of history between both Rosa and Baker. Their Unsanctioned Lights Out match was praised by many and not only elevated their careers, but also sent a message that women can be main eventers and that women can wrestle. I asked Rosa about her thoughts on the growth of the AEW Women's division since that match.
"We are demanding more stories for ourselves, we are ready to work and we wanna put the work in and that's the stuff that I hear a lot in the locker room at AEW. We are all ready to work, we're all ready to make each other look good and we're all ready to be part of the change of 2022."
The AEW women's division features many women of different backgrounds, ages, etc. Rosa spoke about her age and body candidly, sharing that while she does put a lot of pressure on herself, she feels she is only getting better and better every year.
"Maybe I put too much pressure on myself but I think if I don't do that, it's a disservice to what has happened to me. There's a lot more young people in the roster that can move a lot faster, that have a lot more time on their hands, and I don't. I am about to be 36, my body hurts a lot when I wrestle because I am pretty physical. I wanna make sure that whatever time I have left in the ring, it's gonna be at my peak. Every year I am getting better and better. I want to be the Serena Williams of professional wrestling, [because] the older she gets, the better that she gets. Because that's what we do, we've been working our whole lives to achieve something and she has worked since she was a little girl and I worked since I was 14 to achieve my dreams and I haven't stopped working, so we're gonna do this until the wheels fall off..."
Rosa is no stranger to hard work and spoke emotionally about how she has lived the idea of the American Dream.
"I lived the American Dream, everything that I have, like you see all this stuff that I have, I have because I have worked my ass off for it. Nothing, absolutely nothing has been handed to me. Nothing."
Rosa was recently in Los Angeles this past weekend for Game Changer Wrestling and talked about the fan interactions she had.
"I get so emotional because in LA, having girls that look like me, the brown girls and all types of girls that come and they say 'I follow wrestling because of you, you make me follow wrestling, you make me believe in wrestling' it's so important and it's so important that people know I am real and that what I am doing."
Her discussion on doing this ties this back in to explain her reasonings and motivations for wanting to win the AEW Women's World Championship.
I am doing this because I believe in this, and I believe in change. Even though a lot of the time I am not in the spotlight or on the big shows, being on Elevation and Dark, every time that I come out and people go nuts and I am just like 'Oh, is this me? Is this happening to me?' And it is happening for me. Again, it's because they see how real Thunder Rosa is and how she works for what she wants and she believes in what she is working for. I think that can make anybody a little scared and a little afraid because you can be under a spotlight, you can have all the accolades, you can have everything, but sometimes you can't have that emotional connection that other people have and that's what makes an opponent dangerous, because you start getting in people's heads. [They say] 'she has nothing, she's just a song, that's the reason people get so pumped up,' No, it's not a song, I am a whole vibe b*tch, a whole f’n vibe, and if you don't believe it, every single city I go to, it doesn't matter who's in there, Thunder Rosa comes and they feel the thunder. It's like 100%."
You check out my entire conversation with Thunder Rosa below.