Last night, RAW officially announced that NXT legend, Asuka will soon be joining their Monday night cast. While this comes as no surprise, we had yet to know WWE's reasoning behind the decision. Well, we do now.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio discussed the logic behind sending Asuka to RAW over SmackDown.
“They debated both brands and the deal is apparently that when you look at the roster of both brands they felt that the depth on Raw was not as strong — and it’s not if you really look at the depth on each brand. So they felt she was better off on Raw," he said.
Meltzer would continue on the subject, postulating that SmackDown is actually better fit for Asuka, but RAW needs her more.
“I wish she was on SmackDown because there would be more good matches for her there but that’s actually the reason she’s on Raw. Because she already has — SmackDown’s women are all kind of pushed or could be kind of pushed," he explained.
While SmackDown may have more potential, RAW finds itself in dire straits as the Women's Division is shockingly thin.
"Whereas Raw only has — just the fact that Emma is in the four-way and they don’t have any plans for Emma whatsoever. So you really only have Sasha Banks who they pretty much destroyed, Bayley who’s hurt, and then you have Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss and that’s it," said Meltzer.
Asuka is considered a slam dunk of a talent but Meltzer is wary that it's possible she doesn't translate to immediate success.
“On the SmackDown side, you have a lot more,” Meltzer concluded. “So they sent Asuka to the weaker side as far as that went. So, there ya go. We’ll see how it goes, who knows? You see Jason Jordan and you remember Jason Jordan and Chad Gable were like can’t miss and they missed? So who knows?"
It's tough to already assume that WWE could botch Asuka's arrival. Asuka is a starkly different character than Bayley or Alexa Bliss. While this could be her greatest strength, it may take WWE a couple tries to find her sweet spot. That, and the obvious language barrier. But hey, Sting didn't speak for nearly 2 years and that made him a Hall of Famer.
Asuka had the greatest NXT career of all time. While not all NXT success stories are world-beating, Asuka's floor is higher than most ceilings. Rumors have already begun to swirl about Asuka maintaining her undefeated streak upon arriving on the main roster. It sounds like WWE is already behind her and as we've learned, sometimes that's all that matters.
[H/T to Still Real To Us for the transcription]