Since her debut in 2016, she has made an impact on various promotions she’s worked with, Defiant Wrestling and World Wonder Ring Stardom being perhaps the most prominent. She developed an in-ring style that’s defined by hard-hitting offense. She was also regarded as one of the favorite wrestlers of All Elite Wrestling Chief Brand Officer Brandi Rhodes, who she shared time in the ring with. It’s a no-brainer, then, that this competitor would receive an offer to become part of AEW. Enter Bea Priestley. This week’s AEW talent preview covers yet another talent in the promotion’s ever-growing women’s division, from her early days in the profession to her signing with AEW, and beyond.
Priestley began her wrestling training as a teenager at New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling. Though the Wainuiomata-based promotion has been on hiatus since 2018, it was home to a number of future stars, including NXT UK talents Ivan Dragunov and Travis Banks. Priestley continued to work in New Zealand for a few more years before eventually returning to her home country of England. In January of 2016, she debuted for International Pro Wrestling United Kingdom, defeating Rosie Leigh in her first match.
She would go on to challenge IPW: UK Women’s Champion Tennessee Honey in March but lost via DQ. During the same month, Priestley debuted for Progress Wrestling, losing to Elizabeth in singles action. In July, Priestley started to work for What Culture Pro Wrestling, which would go on to become Defiant Wrestling. She worked with Nixon Newell, currently known as Tegan Nox in WWE, a few times before losing to her in a Last Woman Standing Match for the vacant WCPW Women’s Championship in August. Priestley challenged Newell for the championship once more in December but fell short.
In 2017, despite another loss to Newell at WCPW True Destiny, Priestley trumped her the next night in a No Disqualification Match to win the WCPW Women’s Championship. In March, she would successfully defend the title against Kay Lee Ray and Tessa Blanchard. The following summer, she entered a feud with Viper, the current Piper Niven in WWE, in which Priestley emerged victorious. In October, she debuted for Joshi Puroresu promotion World Wonder Ring Stardom. She entered the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League tournament, partnering with Kelly Klein. They would eventually win the tournament and go on to challenge Oedo Tai, comprised of Hana Kimura and Kagetsu, for the Goddess of Stardom Championship. In this near 17-minute match, the champions emerged victorious. Priestley continued to wrestle in tag team matches in Stardom for the remainder of the year.
Priestley continued to wrestle largely in Stardom in 2018, not only in various tag team contests but singles competition as well. In March, at Dream Slam in Osaka, she challenged Io Shirai for the Wonder of Stardom Championship but was unsuccessful. In April, she competed in the yearly Cinderella Tournament, defeating Martina in the first sound, Hazuki in the quarterfinal, before losing to Momo Watanabe in the finals. The following month, in May, Bea Priestley debuted for the British TV series World of Sport Wrestling.
She challenged for the WOS Women’s Title on numerous occasions but fell short. However, in June, she would defeat Millie McKenzie at Defiant Built to Destroy for the promotion’s Women’s Championship. She would hold onto the Defiant Women’s Championship until December when she lost it to Kanji in a gauntlet match. Nonetheless, she would wrap up the year with another title victory, claiming the Fight Forever Women’s World Championship at FFW Trauma. It was in this promotion that she first worked with Brandi Rhodes, setting the stage for Priestley’s eventual offer from AEW.
Where to next?
Following her decision to not sign with World Wrestling Entertainment, one would wonder where Bea Priestley would go next in 2019. In January, she defeated Viper for the WOS Women’s Championship. She would drop it in February to Chardonnay in a three-way match that also involved former champion Viper. It was during this month, however, that it was announced that Priestley would be making her way to AEW. This was made public during an episode of “Road to Double or Nothing,” which featured Rhodes calling an elated Priestley to tell her the good news. While an official match hasn’t been set, it was confirmed that Priestley will make her AEW debut at Fight for the Fallen, which is set to take place this coming July in Jacksonville, Florida.
To say that Bea Priestley’s signing with AEW was big would be an understatement, and her hustle following this news was stronger than ever. Earlier this month, at Golden Week Stars 2019 Queen’s Quest Produce, in Tokyo, Japan, Priestley defeated Kagetsu to become World of Stardom Champion for the first time. Whether she makes it to Fight for the Fallen with the championship remains to be seen, but if she does, expect her to proudly represent Stardom.
Though she’s only 23 years old, Bea Priestley has considerable experience under her belt. From her early days in the business, as a teenager, to her current status as one of the most popular women’s wrestlers in the world, her journey to AEW has been an interesting one. What awaits the multi-time champion in arguably the hottest name in the independent wrestling scene? One thing is for sure: Priestley will bring a unique brand of strikes and aggression that her competition better is prepared for.