wrestling / Columns

The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards (Part Eleven) – The Best Women’s Wrestlers of 2021

January 13, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Bianca Belair WWE

Welcome back to Part Eleven of the 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards of 2021! The Year-End Awards have been out for a couple of years but they’re back, and here’s how they work. For the next couple of weeks, we will present our top choices for a particular topic relating to wrestling in 2021. All the writers here on 411 will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic and the end, based on where all of the votes rank on people’s list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…

1st – 5
2nd – 4
3rd – 3
4th – 2
5th – 1

Once everyone’s had their say, we will tally the scores and get our overall top 5. Tonight we’re looking at the Best Women’s Wrestlers of the year. Let’s get right to it…

Rob Stewart

5. Rhea Ripley
4. Sasha Banks
3. Raquel Gonzalez
2. Dr. Britt Baker, DMD

1. Bianca Belair – “Oh no, WWE buried Bianca at SummerSlam! What terrible booking!”. Calm down. Bianca still had, wire-to-wire, the best year of any woman in the wrestling landscape. She is made. She still looked super strong after losing the title and was booked as a star of the division. I have 0 fear whatsoever about her future going forward.

I could be wrong, though! It’s what I do. Let’s see what 2022 brings her. I could definitely see her winning back to back Rumbles, though.

Bianca went from “Very Talented With Great Promise” to full-fledged Superstar in 2022. She won the Rumble. Won a WrestleMania main event. Connected with the audience. And constantly had some of the best matches and feuds on the card. Her star shined bright this year. I can’t imagine WWE will let her just fizzle out.

(Who am I kidding? It’s WWE. I’ll probably be shocked if she hasn’t been released by August)

Jeffrey Harris

5. Raquel Gonzalez
4. Giulia
3. Utami Hayashishita
2. Thunder Rosa

1. Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. – She should be the only No. 1 on everyone’s list. It should be Britt Baker and no one else. 2021 was the year of Britt Baker. She not only became the top heel of AEW, but I knew after her Lights Out Match with Thunder Rosa, it was only a matter of time before she became champion and would dominate the division, and thus she has. I think in 2020, Dr. Baker was one of AEW’s most improved talents, and that culminated this year with her title win over Hikaru Shida at Double or Nothing. Match-wise, promo-wise, performance-wise, it’s Britt Baker as the best of 2021.

Steve Cook

5. Deonna Purrazzo
4. Thunder Rosa
3. Bianca Belair
2. Sasha Banks

1. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. – Lots of good choices for this award, but the Good Doctor stands out from the pack. Baker took part in one of AEW’s most brutal matches of the year against Thunder Rosa, then vaulted herself up the rankings to defeat Hikaru Shida for AEW’s Women’s Championship. She’s gone on to defeat all of her top challengers, leaving one to wonder just who her next top challenger will be. Somebody will emerge, that always seems to happen. Whoever it is, Dr. Baker will be ready to defend her throne and her spot as one of AEW’s Pillars.

Andrew Cazer

5. Sasha Banks
4. Thunder Rosa
3. Deonna Purazzo
2. Bianca Belair

1. Britt Baker – Britt’s consistently been featured as a primary part of AEW’s women’s division and this year she took things up a notch. She has been featured as THE Woman to beat in AEW consistently getting the support of top talent in promos and outside interviews. She’s grown both in the ring and as a character going from a somewhat unknown mid level baby face to a true top star that many look up to. Her run as AEW’s women’s champion has been nothing short of impressive and she consistently has great matches and feuds with whoever she’s paired up with.

Jake Chambers

5. Britt Baker
4. Kay Lee Ray
3. Meiko Satomura
2. Jinny

1. Charlotte Flair – I feel like Charlotte is approaching (or has achieved) John Cena levels of dislike throughout the internet wrestling community, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to feelings in the mainstream audience or my ability to respect what it takes to work at that level. Like Cena, Charlotte has an undeniable natural charisma that contributes to an aura of importance and spectacle when she comes to the ring. Unlike Cena, who was boo-ed mercilessly despite always playing it straight, Flair has the pure blood genes of a heel and can rile up a fandom like her father did in the ’80s, even if that means making a vocal minority in the crowd hate you for being a success. In a microcosm, nothing demonstrated all these characteristics better than in her breathtaking Survivor Series match with Becky Lynch. I’m assuming 411 readers, and the IWC in general, choose Britt Baker as their favourite women’s wrestler highlighted by her great Lights Out match with Thunder Rosa, but to me that’s like comparing AJ Styles to John Cena in 2006. Charlotte is the best female wrestler performing on the biggest stage, and love her (academically) or hate her (un-ironically) she’s the measuring stick for an entire generation of a division.

Ian Hamilton

5. Io Shirai
4. Deonna Purrazzo
3. Serena Deeb
2. Sasha Banks

1. Thunder Rosa – From the stuff I’ve seen in 2021, Thunder Rosa pretty much put her head and shoulders above the pack – there’s still that feud with Britt Baker to go back to, but despite not having concentrated focus on her, still gets insane reactions on shows, which to me puts her ahead of a very keenly-fought top three.

Kevin Pantoja

5. Britt Baker
4. Sasha Banks
3. Thunder Rosa
2. Deonna Purrazzo

1. Bianca Belair – Britt Baker is accomplished and good on the microphone but I didn’t love a lot of what she did in 2021. Sasha Banks was great when she was around, though that wasn’t as often as I hoped. Thunder Rosa might not have won many titles but she was consistently a highlight on AEW. Deonna Purrazzo had a remarkable title reign and was great throughout the year. Bianca Belair it the choice though and I honestly don’t think it’s close. She won the Royal Rumble and headlined WrestleMania in an incredible match where she became Smackdown Women’s Champion. Obviously, the blemish is her stupid loss at SummerSlam but she managed to rebound well from that and remains over as a top star despite it, which is telling.

Robert Leighty

5. Becky Lynch
4. Sasha Banks
3. Rhea Ripley
2. Britt Baker

1. Bianca Belair – The last few months can’t bring down what Bianca did this year. She truly broke out with her Rumble win and was made by Sasha at WrestleMania as they closed the show on Night One. Her reign ended in a weird way, but she has remained in the title picture and won this award for me based on the strong 8 months she had compared to what others on this list did.

Thomas Hall

5. Bianca Belair
4. Charlotte
3. Serena Deeb
2. Thunder Rosa

1. Britt Baker – I know there are more talented women in wrestling, but Baker’s confidence moves her over the finish line. She feels like she believes every single word she says and has dominated AEW’s women’s division for most of the year. Her match with Rosa was an instant classic and she has mowed through everyone in front of her. The rematch with Rosa is looming, but for 2021, the Doctor was in (the #1 spot).

Jeremy Thomas

5. Deonna Purrazzo
4. Thunder Rosa
3. Sasha Banks
2. Bianca Belair

1. Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. – Women’s wrestling picked back up big time in 2021, and this was a hard list to narrow down to five. Deonna Purrazzo spent almost all of 2021 reigning over a quite good women’s division in Impact Wrestling, while Thunder Rosa was an absolute force in AEW. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair’s WrestleMania 37 match is one of the best bouts of the year, and they both had great years even outside of that match. But I can’t not give respect to everyone’s favorite/most hated dentist in wrestling (actual dentist, not Glenn Jacobs). Britt Baker was on the cusp of becoming a member of wrestling’s top tier of women last year, and 2021 rocketed her up to the top. She perfected her heel character and got even better in the ring, regularly delivering some of the best matches of any card she appeared on. Her title reign has helped invigorate the women’s division in AEW and looks to keep going strong in 2022. This is an easy #1 for me.

AND 411’s TOP 5 Women’s Wrestlers of 2021 ARE…

5. Deonna Purrazzo11 points

4. Sasha Banks18 points

3. Thunder Rosa22 points

2. Bianca Belair27 points

1. Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D35 points

* 1. The Biggest Disappointment of The Year: WWE’s Talent Releases – 28 points
* 2. The Best Non-Wrestler: Paul Heyman – 40 points
* 3. The Best Tag Team: The Lucha Bros – 32 points
* 4. The Worst Major Show: WrestleMania Backlash – 18 points
* 5. The Best Major Show: AEW All Out – 34 points
* 6. The Best Weekly Show: AEW Dynamite – 42 points
* 7. The Best Promotion: AEW – 47 points
* 8. The Best Match: WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov (NXT Takeover 36) – 35 points
* 9. The Most Overrated Performer: Charlotte Flair – 14 points
* 10. The Most Underrated Performer: Damian Priest – 11 points