It's been 11 days since Asuka made one of the most anticipated debuts in WWE history. The NXT legend entered WWE with an impeccable record and heaps of expectations and she's maintained both in the infant stages of her main roster stretch. However, fans have already to begun to ask if the Empress of Tomorrow was worth the wait.
While it's simply unfair to label her a "bust" it's equally ignorant to proclaim that she is the savior of women's wrestling. No matter what a wrestler has done in the past, nothing can simulate WWE's stage.
With the discrepancy between old accomplishments and new hopes being so vast, many lauded acquisitions by WWE fall flat. As to how or why that happens is worthy of a dissertation.
But for Asuka, we have a living breathing experiment of an NXT icon trying to translate her success to the main roster. And right now, things are teetering on the underwhelming side of the scale. Let's take a look at why Asuka may be in trouble.
Remember when Braun Strowman was wrecking 3 and 4 local jabronis at a time? His exposition of brute strength and unstoppable violence scratched an innate itch that resides in all of us. It was great.
However, When Asuka beats a local jabroni by submission it just doesn't have the same impact.
Squash matches exist to exploit physical inequalities. The laughably one-sided victories are supposed to make the victor look immortal.
Is that what we felt when Asuka tapped out Local Jabroni?
This isn't Asuka's fault as she's just doing as she's told. It's WWE's responsibility to figure out how to put her in the best spot for success. Handing her meaningless victories over jobbers can't be the best way to maximize potential.
One of the dirtiest secrets in WWE is that NXT call-ups tend to flop on the main roster.
Neville, Sami Zayn, Bo Dallas, Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, and Bayley, represent just a sample of NXT alum who have yet to find lasting success as solo stars in WWE. While there are examples like Kevin Owens who have been tremendous, he looks to be the exception that proves the rule.
While the magic chemistry for a NXT Star to become a WWE main eventer is all too elusive, we're learning that success on WWE's Yellow Brand guarantees nothing when they finally become Superstars.
In the history of professional wrestling, typically the less one talks, the faster they leave the business. Obviously, there are exceptions, like Sting, Undertaker, and Kane, but those were iconic characters. Are we sure Asuka is that?
While the NXT Curse is still a working theory, the fact that Asuka is the strong, silent type is what legitimately dampens the chances of her success. The NXT-ers who have carved out a permanent spot in WWE (Owens, Bliss, Rollins, Ambrose, and of course, Amore) can all cut above average promos. The microphone is where WWE makes their money and without the help of say, Paul Heyman, Asuka is going to have a tough time staying relevant.
While I'm local jabroni myself, WWE Hall of Famer Edge and Captain Charisma, Christian are not. On a recent episode of their podcast, they both expressed their apprehension about Asuka being a slam-dunk star in WWE.
“I’m sure I’ll get lambasted for this, but I don’t get the Asuka thing. I really don’t. Like, she’s fine and she’s solid but I don’t know," questioned Edge.
Christian would admit that he had not seen much of Asuka but feels that the hype surrounding her may be harmful.
"...I think that when there’s a lot of hype and that sort of thing it makes it almost harder sometimes for the talent to kinda live up to the packages and to the hype and they’re expecting something completely different than something they’ve seen before. And that’s really hard to do. I liked her body language, I liked her presentation. I liked her persona, she seemed really comfortable with what she’s doing but yeah there were some certain things and there weren’t necessarily super crisp and anything like that and that and it could be the first time, it could’ve been the first time she’s worked with Emma or whatever.”
Edge is open to liking Asuka but he sounds like he's objectively skeptical.
“[The match at TLC] was a little long.” Edge continued, “but even going back to the NXT stuff I’ve watched and I’ve never… I don’t know… I’ve just never really bought in. And it’s not because I don’t want to or anything like that. I just, I don’t know. Even the entrance and everything it’s very Nakamura-
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