For most of 2018, WWE has packed the Ronda Rousey wagon with every stick of dynamite in the company. The remaining firepower has been tossed Askua and her streak, leaving Charlotte Flair holding the flickering sparkler that is the SmackDown Women's Championship. But Jim Ross would like to share an important reminder.
"Charlotte Flair is the Hulk Hogan of women's wrestling. She's the present and the future,' he said.
While we're sure WWE decisions makers hope that lofty comparison will one day apply to Rousey, she's lightyears behind Charlotte Flair. As Rousey learns how to deliver a proper Samoan Drop, Charlotte has already mastered a heel character and crafted a convincing babyface version of herself. That last part is worthy of expansion.
It's highly possible that Charlotte moved to SmackDown for the sole purpose of switching from heel to babyface. Since debuting, Charlotte has already proven that she can be the company's top heel in the women's division. With WWE knowing they have such a weapon, they have the luxury of trying her out in new situations. This is a testament to how good Charlotte actually is.
With her peers Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch all still in phase one, Charlotte has not only surpassed them, she's nearly in another world. Banks is still stuck in between psychologies, unable to unlock her full potential. Bayley has remained in a perpetual sputter and for some reason, Becky Lynch is having a hard time staying relevant.
No. Not even TNA Hulk Hogan.
Right now, Asuka is red hot. And after she beats Charlotte at WrestleMania, she'll appear to be the queen of the women's division. While that will be technically true, the future of women's wrestling will likely be a tug of war between Rousey and Flair. Asuka will play a prominent role, just like Sasha Banks, but right now she's being cultivated for harvest.
At the moment the women's division offers 3 big trophies: The RAW title, SmackDown title, and Asuka's streak. And on our current trajectory, Rousey will be the one the inhale Asuka's invincibility, and without her streak, there's just not much else to the Asuka character.
There's plenty of time for that to change, but understand that Asuka's time on top is already ticking. It's not that she's unworthy, it's that Charlotte actually has a limitless ceiling, something the Empress of Tomorrow can't promise. Rousey could one day challenge for such a title, but there are far too many blanks to be filled in between now and then.
So while there will be plenty of noise surrounding Rousey and Asuka, it's Charlotte who has already proven herself to be an elite WWE Superstar—and that gap isn't closing anytime soon.