While many of us were suffering through another painful episode of WWE Monday Night Raw last night, AEW aired the first-round matches of the Japan side of its Women's World Eliminator Tournament on YouTube. The tournament is split into two sides, United States and Japan, with matches taking place in both countries for the first round, semi-finals, and finals for each country. Then, the winner of each side will face each other in an overall final match, with the winner earning a shot at Hikaru Shida's AEW Women's Championship.
Only one match on the United States side of the tournament is complete, with Thunder Rosa defeating Leyla Hirsch on Dynamite last week to advance to the semi-finals. On the Japan side, we now know everyone who made it out of the first round. Aja King defeated Rin Kadokura, Ryo Mizunami defeated Maki Itoh, Emi Sakura defeated Veny, and Yuka Sakazaki defeated Mei Suruga. Yes, that's right. Sadly, Maki Itoh will not advance further in the tournament, though hopefully she will advance her feud with Jim Cornette on Twitter.
The semi-final round for Japan will see Yuka Sakazaki take on Emi Sakura and Ryo Mizunami take on Aja Kong. On the United States side, things are further behind. In the first round, Serena Deeb is set to take on Riho, Tay Conti will take on Nyla Rose, and Dr. Britt Baker will face Anna Jay. It's not entirely clear when AEW is hoping to hold the finals to the tournament. AEW's Revolution PPV would seem like the perfect place, assuming travel restrictions allow it, but AEW will need to pick up the pace if they want to finish all those matches on the United States side by March 7th.
Watch the Japanese matches below: