On September 1, 2018, Britt Baker competed in a four corner survival match at the All In pay-per-view event. Her performance there was enough to grab the attention of Cody and The Young Bucks as they were on their way to create their own promotion. Baker became the first female wrestler signed by AEW, an honour for a wrestler coming from the indies in the business for a few years only.
Despite a few injuries that prevented her from the Championship, at least for the moment, Baker has become one of the favourites AEW female wrestlers, making of her legit dentist practice a part of her character. Her recent heel turn and her feud with Big Swole led to an epic Tooth and Nail match at All Out, taped at her dental office. Because Britt Baker is at the same time a dentist and a wrestler, and she wouldn’t change that for any reason, that makes her someone you desperately want to see at her best in a ring.
SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the opportunity to talk to Dr Britt Baker a few weeks ago. She told us about being the first woman to be signed by AEW, her comeback from injury, transitioning from the indies to a live TV wrestling show, and what the future may hold for her.
How are you, how is your leg now?
“Now it’s good. I’m back a hundred percent now. I had my first match back a couple of weeks ago finally in the ring, so I’m definitely feeling confident now I’m ready to roll.”
Always ready to roll, whatever the way…
“That’s right (laughs). From the Rolls-Royce to the wheelchair, now I’m rolling in the ring.”
You are now terrifying the poor Tony Schiavone.
“Oh no, he enjoys that. He loves every second of it, don’t let him fool you.”
The waxing was tough (laughs).
“(Laughs) He needed it, though like it was very much needed. He knew he needed it, the world knew he needed it, so honestly, I am accepting the thank-you from around the world for relaxing his chest.”
What about the Tooth or Nail match at All Out. That was not really your first match back in the ring, but the match was pretty scary, mostly the drill scene. Tell me a little bit more about this match.
“The concept of the Tooth and Nail match was a cinematic imagine. It was very much because, in a perfect world, I would have been cleared 100% for All Out and been able to have a match in the ring, but between both my nose and my leg, I wasn’t cleared yet, so it was kind of working around the injuries, still able to do the physical activity that I was cleared for without having a full-on match in the ring. As far as like the horror spooky stuff, that’s 100 percent accredited to Kenny Omega, he really has a vision for that type of evil gory action and tying it into wrestling, and he always has great ideas as far as that goes. And also it’s the dentist, at the end of the day, most people don’t like coming to the dentist, so what better way to portray that than in a Tooth and Nail match in like a creepy dental office.”
I wasn’t expecting Kenny Omega to be that evil…
“Kenny Omega is a wonderful person. He just has an evil mind when it comes to ideas sometimes. He really has some interesting and innovative plans that he has deep down in there, deep in the brain of Kenny The Cleaner.”
It was AEW Dynamite first anniversary show a few days ago. You’ve been there since its beginning, since the very first episode of it, since the early days of AEW because you were the first female wrestler to be signed by the company. How did you feel at that time because you were an independent wrestler transitioning to a national-televised company?
“Early on, everybody was kind of so excited but so nervous at the same time because we didn’t really know what was coming next until it came. When I first signed to AEW, Dynamite wasn’t a thing yet, we didn’t have the official deal with TNT, we didn’t have the brand, AEW Dynamite. We had the pay-per-views, we had Double or Nothing, we had All Out, so it just kept getting better and better.
“When I first signed to this company, I was so excited, but like I said, again, so nervous because I felt a lot of pressure just because I was one of the girls that I think people knew more so than some of the other females just because I had wrestled in the original All In match, which kind of got the ball rolling for AEW. So being in the All In match, the only women’s four-way match on All In, that kind of put eyes on me, carrying on into AEW, there’s still eyes on me, “oh, we remember this girl. She’s got a lot of work to do because her face is on all the posters, on the ring trucks;” so there was definitely a lot of pressure that I felt coming into AEW, but I’ve honestly enjoyed every step of the way, and I don’t want to be anywhere else.”
Did you feel more pressure because of that, more expectations because you were the first female wrestler signed by AEW?
“Absolutely, especially very early on because no one really knew what to expect, and most of our women’s division now have never had any TV experience, so you’re very literally learning on the fly, you’re getting thrown into the fire and kind of figuring it out as you go. Of course, I was extremely nervous but also honoured to represent this company as the first woman signed. I think it says something very cool about the company that they really wanted to create their own brand, develop their own stars, and I was chosen as one of those females that they really wanted to grow into something that is like their homegrown talent.”
How was it to transition from indie wrestling to a national-televised program live on TV one year ago?
“It very much felt like being thrown into a hurricane at first because there were so many aspects of live TV wrestling that goes on behind the scenes that you don’t even know about when you’re just a fan on the other side, which is essentially what I was, I was an independent wrestler, but more than anything, I was a fan. Getting to wrestle on that live TV stage had to really learn how things go quick, and of course, with that comes a lot of trial and error and as many failures as successes, so it’s definitely been challenging, but we are very lucky, us younger talent, that we have so many Legends and veterans that we have backstage, helping us. They really are all very passionate about helping our younger talent develop into stars.”
Do you feel that your own way you were also able to put a brick on the wall and be able to, yeah, to create something for the company?
“I would hope so. I hope that, as we’re writing the history books now, in years to come, down the road when the upbringing of AEW is talked about, I hope that I’m one of those pillars that people mention as they got the company going and contributed to its original success.”
While you were injured and because of the COVID context, new talents have made their debut in the women’s division. Do you think they changed the division?
“During this whole period, both with the injuries that the women’s division has suffered and just the travel ban due to COVID, we’ve kind of been forced to really work with what we have, as far as women’s division goes. It’s a blessing in disguise bringing in new talent that we have learned fit absolutely perfectly with our division and our company, Serena Deeb being one of them. She really brings experience in television and production history that a lot of us don’t have. And of course, she looks great, she’s one of the best wrestlers in the world, and we’re very lucky to have her on our team now because she can help all across the board, and she really hits the check marks in every category.”
It also brings more competition in the women’s division, of course. Who are you interested in wrestling, from the girls who were there before and the new ones who debuted recently?
“I think everybody has their eye on the champion because to beat the champion means that you are the best and there’s no one better than you at that time. You have a physical belt to display that you are the best, the champion, and I am the face of this division. So really, the only thing I’m missing right now is a championship title across my waist, so Shida is definitely who I can’t wait to step in the ring with again. With that being said, I fully understand that I need to re-establish myself as a wrestler since I’ve been out for so long with an injury, and I have no problem doing that.”
AEW notably welcomed Thunder Rosa.
“Thunder Rosa is great. She brings her own style, her own charisma, her own persona, that’s very different from anything else in AEW, and it’s another person that I would love to lock up with.”
Did you take the fans’ feedback into account when you turned heel?
“Absolutely, because it was really leaning into the criticism and the hate that the fans had towards the babyface Britt Baker, just kind of taking all that and gearing it towards the heel Britt Baker. The fans hate that I’m a dentist, and the commentary tells every single match, ‘Hey, Baker’s a wrestler and a dentist.’ That shoves it in their face, that’s fine, but now that I’m a heel, I’m going to make sure I tell you ten more times in a day than the original one because that’s what drives you crazy, then that’s what I’m going to really, really pound into their brains.”
Do you enjoy being a heel?
“I love it. I have really been having a lot of fun, kind of diving deeper into Dr. Britt Baker, DMD, the villain. It’s something that I’m super new to because I’ve never been a heel in my entire wrestling career, this is the first time. So it’s learning, but it’s having so much fun with the learning process, and I have a lot of people helping me, a lot of mentors backstage that are really contributing.”
How do you do to be able to wrestle and be a dentist at the same time?
“It’s time-consuming, and it’s mentally and physically exhausting, but it all comes down to just time management and knowing where you have to be and when at all times. I’m very lucky that both of my careers are very understanding of the other, my dental office understands that I’m also a wrestler, and when I have to take the days off to wrestle, they’re very understanding. Tony Khan could not be more supportive of my dental career. He’s always asking about it, he always says how it’s inspiring that I’m pursuing two careers, and he’s so supportive of it.”
Do sometimes fans come to your dental office?
“Every now and then, some fans are coming, but my patients are usually just very respectful and great patients. They’re in the dental office because they need to seek dental care, not because they’re there for an autograph or anything like that, so I’ve been very lucky on that playing field. I don’t have any over-enthusiastic fans running in my dental office yet, hopefully, that does never happen.”
What advice would you give to a young wrestler who wants to make a career in this business?
“I guess it would be to make sure that you really have a true passion for professional wrestling because it’s not easy on the independents when you’re travelling the country making no money, and it’s not easy when you’re wrestling on Dynamite each week either there are always challenges, and you really have to dig deep to kind of overcome those. But it’s also the most rewarding career or experience you could possibly have, and I think that to those aspiring wrestlers that do have the passion to just don’t give up and just keep trying, keep hustling even when it seems like it’s not working, or it’s not going to prevail. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, take baby steps, and just keep trying.”
Follow Britt Baker on @RealBrittBaker. AEW’s Full Gear is airing live on PPV this Saturday at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT) on Fite TV. The Buy In Pre-Show will air for free on AEW Official YouTube Channel and Fite TV.
All pics and videos courtesy of AEW