So, All Out is in the books and what a night it was! All Elite Wrestling had a big job ahead of them as they prepare to take the brand to broadcast television and they largely succeeded, in my opinion. However, among all the history making hoopla, there was a little detail that the didn’t get a major mention: Aubrey Edwards, the only female referee in AEW, became the first female referee in history to officiate a World Heavyweight Championship match. What’s more, Edwards called the match right down the line, never hesitating to get in the face of a competitor that got out of line.
You didn’t notice that? It didn’t occur to you that there was a woman officiating the Jericho/Page match or that it was a big deal? Exactly. It wasn’t mentioned by Justin Roberts, and no one in the commentary booth made it a huge deal. She wasn’t celebrated as a trailblazing woman, she was treated as an official doing her job and was given the same amount of respect as any of the male refs. Chris Jericho revealed on his most recent Talk Is Jericho podcast that he wanted Aubrey to referee the match, and that she’s his favorite AEW referee.
Of course, female refs are nothing new. WWE Hall of Famer, Jacqueline became WWE’s first female ref back in the 2000s but it didn’t last very long, and Jessika Carr is the only female ref in WWE and she has refereed men’s matches, and it hasn’t been made into a big deal either. Also, I’m aware that Lacey Evans was the special guest ref for Rollins vs Corbin earlier in the spring, but that doesn’t count in this. Evans was a wrestler doing a guest spot, Aubrey Edwards is a trained and licensed referee blazing a new trail for women in wrestling.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) September 1, 2019
In my opinion, this was a better way to treat history making moments by women after a year of ‘The First Women’s -‘ that has been going on. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the women main eventing at WrestleMania, the first all Women’s PPV by a major wrestling promotion, women FINALLY getting their own Royal Rumble. However, there’s been a significant backlash to this from fans who still don’t seem to get that women are a major part of the wrestling audience because they’ve claimed that the Women’s Revolution is being shoved down their throats, which is a whole different article, and one I’ve done before. The fact that I haven’t heard any blowback from those fans over Edwards’ involvement in the match shows the wisdom of AEW’s choice. If they’d made a big deal about it, the anti-Women’s Revolution fans would’ve probably been up in arms and squalling about how Edwards wasn’t good enough to officiate Jericho vs Page, especially with legendary ref, Earl Hebner around.
Does this mean that I’m against the Women’s Revolution or the women getting big moments? Absolutely not. I’m all for the women getting those huge moments, but I’m also a fan of not making big deals out of EVERY history making moment to the point that it overshadows everything else. Treating Edwards as just another ref doing a job made the moment that much more significant because we weren’t being hit over the head over what a big deal this was. It makes it feel more natural and less forced than how the main event of WrestleMania was done. Again, I loved it, but making it into SUCH a big deal set a bar that was almost impossible to reach. Big moments are great and should be celebrated, but there’s something to be said about treating a big moment as a normal part of life, it doesn’t make it any less important, in some cases, it makes it better.