Toni Storm feels the pressure of being the (interim) champion.
Upon the announcement that reigning AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa had to take a step back from in-ring competition, Toni Storm stepped up. At All Out in September, Storm captured the Interim AEW Women’s Championship while Rosa attended to her back injury. Since then, Storm has successfully defended her title on a few occasions. Most recently, she fended off Hikaru Shida on AEW: Dynamite to retain. With the “interim” label strapped to her title though, Storm revealed she feels the stakes will raise even higher to retain.
“There’s so much added pressure because I defend the title like a real, true fighting champion,” she told The Ringer‘s Cameron Hawkins. “But if I lose the interim championship, then that basically means I never was champion, really. And it was all for nothing.”
Storm continued on to note that losing the interim title, “essentially doesn’t go down in the record books as the actual champion.” In addition, Storm’s chance to vie for the “actual” Undisputed AEW Women’s Championship could slip through her fingers with one loss. “The embarrassment, the humiliation if I was to lose the interim championship, it just feels [like] so much work,” she said.
The opportunity to even become Undisputed AEW Women’s Champion hinges upon the return of the AEW Women’s Champion, Thunder Rosa. According to Rosa, she’s making “good progress” with her recovery, as said in a recent appearance on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast. Toni Storm, however, believes that all champions should defend their titles, or find themselves stripped of their gold for prolonged inactivity.
“Personally, I think she should just come to work and defend her championship like she’s supposed to, like a champion should,” Storm said. “But if the injury lingers too long, I believe she should probably be stripped. And then I should be the AEW undisputed Women’s World Champion like I was supposed to be at All Out. That’s verbatim. I think she should defend her title. I think all champions should defend that championship. That doesn’t just go for Thunder Rosa. That goes for everybody.”