WWE would like you to think that Asuka is the most dominant competitor in the history of women’s wrestling. They’ve used her invincible streak as proof of her superiority, but booking Asuka as unbeatable may be short-sighted.
Since being promoted from NXT in October, Asuka has won every match she’s participated in, including the Royal Rumble. Michael Cole will tell you that there isn’t a WWE Superstar she couldn’t dismantle. Corey Graves will tell you how sickeningly crisp her strike are. But Vince McMahon only knows her as the Japanese lady that will eventually lose to Ronda Rousey.
And when that happens, what will Asuka have left?
Edge and Christian spoke about the persona WWE has crafted for Asuka on their podcast. They both seem to think she would be better off playing the underdog, rather than the assassin.
"So here's is my point. In seeing her wrestle Nia, I finally saw her in the role I think she's better served with as the underdog," said Edge. "I got it, this is good. I just don't see her as the crazy ass kicker. I don't really get that aspect. Just because you can doesn't mean you necessarily should. You know what I mean. So in seeing her work from underneath an opponent like that, that to me almost made sense."
Without question, Asuka's best matches in WWE have come against Nia Jax. The unique juxtaposition forces Asuka to alter her character, something Christian would like to see more of.
"And it's not so much about portraying an ass kicker as much as it is ring intelligence. They're smart, they're savvy, and when you give them one little thing they'll take advantage of it," said Christian.
WWE has booked themselves into a corner of sorts. To strike the perfect chord, Asuka has to look even more formidable than Rousey. But that’s impossible. Because now, the primary question isn't who will finally extinguish Asuka’s eternal winning streak, but who will be the first WWE Superstar to pin Ronda Rousey?
In the meantime, WWE will continue to build up Asuka and Rousey, likely for a SummerSlam blockbuster. However, how WWE chooses to tell the story will be crucial. No one will believe that Rousey is the underdog to Asuka and her hollow streak. That concept makes Asuka the natural babyface, but WWE likely doesn't forsee Rousey turning heel for quite some time, if ever.
In short, something has to change, and that probably means Auska has a nasty heel turn awaiting.0comments
Or, WWE can package it as two world-class Superstars jockeying for the top of the mountain. But that ends in a post-match handshake, and maybe I'm old fashioned, but that sounds boring.
We'll certainly know in the coming weeks, but the master plan hinges on Rousey beating Asuka at some time in 2018. And WWE will have to get creative to ensure that moment doesn't permanently de-claw the Empress of Tomorrow.