Ever since its foundation, AEW has seen remarkable talent climb to to the top of the company by their own own merit; Hangman Adam Page captivating audiences with not only his outstanding in-ring skills, but his unique personality that made people fall in love with him both in and outside of the ring. Eddie Kingston’s authenticity and love for professional wrestling, speaking to fans in a way only he can. Or someone like Hook, who catapulted himself into becoming one of the most popular AEW talents way before he had even made his wrestling debut.
The same rings true for Jamie Hayter. She stepped out of Britt Baker’s shadow and into the spotlight, turning herself into arguably the biggest women’s wrestler in the United States today. But Hayter’s journey started well before she became AEW Women’s World Champion, before she was a support act to Britt Baker.
Hayter’s Superstardom Journey
Before joining AEW, Hayter spent a couple of years sharpening her skills in STARDOM where she was invited by Kagetsu to join the villainous ranks of Oedo Tai. The faction was a match made in heaven, Hayter’s natural in-ring bruiser attitude and nonchalant personality outside of the ring a perfect fit.
The seeds of current day Jamie Hayter were being planted during this time in Japan. Her already impressive characteristic and powerful move-set, strong presence in front of the cameras and self-confidence would only grow when competing with the best women’s wrestlers in the world, and she began to find success along the way.
A landmark victory over Utami Hayashishita saw her claim the SWA Championship. Alongside Bea Priestly she held the Goddesses of STARDOM titles and made the final of the tag league in 2019. Marquee matches saw her challenge for the Wonder of STARDOM Championship, Hayter stepping into the ring against two of the white title’s most prolific holders in Momo Watanabe and Arisa Hoshiki.
Hayter was putting together an impressive resume during her time in STARDOM, but the pandemic grinded her momentum to a halt. She was forced to vacate the SWA Championship and set her sights on new pastures. Fortunately for her, some old connections would lead to new opportunities.
Catching up with an old friend
Despite having her main wrestling house in Japan, Hayter kept wrestling everywhere she could before the pandemic arrived; from Pro Wrestling EVE to Revolution Pro Wrestling, she even appeared on WWE’s now-defunct NXT UK brand. But the appearance that ended up defining her future happened in 2019, when she wrestled Britt Baker on the 4th episode of AEW Dynamite, the catalyst to her eventually going back to AEW when she came to the aid of Baker on the first episode of Rampage.
It was official: Jamie Hayter was All Elite.
It was far from just a move between promotions. This was a life-changing decision, she went from her home in the UK to wrestling in Japan to now wrestling in the USA for one of the fastest rising promotions that the American continent has ever seen. She went from being a gem of the UK and champion in STARDOM to having millions of eyes on her.
Others might felt nervous by the overwhelming bright lights, but Hayter took this chance and ran all the way with it. Just as Roman Reigns got incredibly popular during his days in The Shield as a silent, strong and badass enforcer, Jamie followed a similar route, slowly and consistently growing in the background of Baker’s reign as the AEW Women’s World Champion.
The explosion of Jamie Hayter
Everything changed for Jamie on March 16th 2022: Thunder Rosa dethroned Britt Baker to be crowned the AEW Women’s World Champion. It was time for Jamie to seek revenge for her ally, to take the spotlight for herself, to stand out and seek individual glory. It was now Hayter’s time to become everything that she always knew she could be.
Despite her best efforts, though, Jamie Hayter was not able to strike gold despite being afforded the opportunity twice; firstly Thunder Rosa and then Toni Storm. But this would prove to be a learning curve, the building blocks to the inevitable – Jamie wasn’t going to let things end in long-term defeat.
Jamie Hayter went to WORK.
To redeem the present she first had to lay to rest the defeats of her past; first on the hitlist was Riho. 10 months prior Riho had bested Hayter to earn a shot at the AEW Women’s World Championship, but now this was a different Hayter, a rising star that proved too much for Riho to handle.
Jamie’s crowning moment
It had all been leading to this, not just Hayter’s AEW career but her entire wrestling journey. She had once again earned the chance to challenge for the AEW Women’s World Championship but this time it felt different. To earn the coveted gold she’d have to slay the biggest dragon of her career by defeating a woman she’s never been able to: Toni Storm. Not only would she have to achieve that which she has failed multiple times, she’d have to do it on the grand stage of Full Gear.
There was something in the air on that November 19th night, even before the match started you could feel the electricity that travelled all throughout the arena. Everyone knew the magnitude of this bout, we all knew we were about to witness something special.
Hayter and Storm collided, far from shy about going easy on each other. They left nothing in the tank; multiple rough landings, fighting outside of the ring and even exchanging finishers. Resilient and tough, never willing to fall victim to the dreaded three count. After a rough and hard-fought 15 minutes, Hayter managed to spin Storm around and successfully hit her with her best shot. The referee hit the mat for a third time and the crowd exploded. Jamie Hayter had just become the new AEW Women’s World Champion.
One last dance in 2022
Hayter elevated herself significantly in 2022, but you could see that she had taken a step forwards mentally as well. That was never clearer than her title defence against Hikaru Shida at the end of the year. Hayter boldly promised to batter Shida in the ring “like it’s 1990’s All Japan Women’s wrestling”. Hayter kept her promise and the two went to war in the main event of Dynamite, the first time in both their careers that they closed out the weekly show. It would be both competitors final match of the year, and they left 2022 in spectacular fashion.
For 16 minutes the perennial ace of the division and its new blood champion proved to the entire world that they deserve the spotlight, treating us all with top tier violence. Battered as Hayter promised and equally bruised, the two titans of women’s wrestling put on arguably the best match AEW’s women’s division has seen, but when that final bell rung the gold remained firmly in the grasp of Jamie Hayter.
What a way to end the year. Jamie began 2022 on the losing side of a tag team match with Britt Baker, she finished 2022 with a main event epic that would make the joshi legends of the past proud. Jamie went from an uncertain future when forced to drop her STARDOM Championship to now being the certain face of AEW Women’s division. Hayter’s journey is living proof that no matter how dire your life may seem at a certain point, you can always turn it around by pushing yourself forward. Keep believing in your dreams. And for those that might leave you behind or cast you aside, you know what they say…
Hayters gonna hate.