Despite a very successful run down in NXT reigning as one of the longest reigning champions in WWE history, going undefeated since her debut to her farewell on the Black and gold brand and competing in several standout rivalries and matches WWE have managed to massively destroy the momentum of the empress of tomorrow and after a couple of years on the main roster fans have begun to worry about the future of Asuka, but exactly how did things get this bad? What mistakes did WWE make regarding Asuka and her main roster career? And can things turn around?
Losing to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania
Despite being one of the best matches of WrestleMania 34 card Asuka vs Charlotte saw the beginning of the end for the Empress of tomorrow. The challenger, of course, had fantastic momentum heading into this bout winning the first ever all women’s Royal Rumble match and heading into her Mania debut as the fan favourite for the win, however, the WWE surprised its audience by having the Empress tap out to Flair on the grandest stage of them all. I remember watching this and being totally stunned! A genuine shock, it was evident no one was truly expecting this, and it was the first sign that WWE was truly failing one of their best talents. The loss and end of her streak were far too soon and early into her main roster run and meant her key selling point no longer existed.
The Carmella Rivarly
The first Smackdown Live after WrestleMania saw Carmella cash in her Money in the Bank briefcase on Charlotte Flair to become the new Smackdown Live Women’s champion, a decision I actually liked as a Carmella fan, however, with that being said it would soon see Mella go face to face with Asuka in yet another disappointing booking situation for the Empress of tomorrow. The two had very little chemistry, the story was weak and to top it off Asuka failed to get her hands on the championship come to the end of this rivalry. Instead what fans witnessed was Asuka involved in a borderline joke of an angle that took away even more of her credibility. In what should have been an easy way for Asuka to dominate once again and finally capture gold on the main roster what we saw instead were two months of cringe-worthy segments and disappointing endings to matches that should have been over in seconds. This was a major opportunity for the WWE to turn things around for Asuka but again failed miserably.
Not Facing Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series
After Nia Jax left Becky Lynch injured to the point where she could no longer face Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series PPV last year, WWE had the decision of picking a talent to replace her in this match. A segment on an episode of SmackDown Live the same week saw fans in attendance make it perfectly clear they wanted to see Asuka challenge the RAW Women’s Champion the coming Sunday but of course, the WWE once again missed out on a major opportunity to turn things around for Asuka and put her back on top regardless of the end result of this match. It was an encounter fans wanted to bear witness to and one that had been anticipated by the WWE Universe since Rousey’s arrival in the WWE. Even if WWE wanted to Keep Charlotte in the Mania picture for this year and begin to build to that match from this PPV they could have done exactly that by having Flair attack Rousey during the match to end in DQ which would have ensured Asuka’s momentum remained strong also.
Lack of Character Development
Regardless of how strong a character is and how much it works there is always room for progress and WWE Superstars must see development in their characters when needed, this, however, is something WWE hasn’t kept in mind in regards to Asuka. After losing momentum at WrestleMania and failing to capture the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship from Carmella in the months that followed the company should have looked at making minor changes to Asuka’s character that enabled her to head in a new direction, turn things around and almost start afresh. Whether that be a heel turn, exploring a darker side to her character or simply making small changes, if the WWE had done any of those things then it could have seen Asuka bounce back a heck of a lot quicker and seen her stand a lot stronger on the roster than she did especially as a character the WWE were constantly failing.
Her Reign As Champion
In December of last year at TLC PPV, Asuka finally got her hands-on main roster Championship gold in WWE by winning a ladder match involving Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair to become the new SmackDown Live Women’s champion. The win was well received and massively overdue and the victory had me very excited for what was to come however, once again fans were left massively disappointed. Forever overshadowed by the Becky Lynch/Charlotte Flair/Ronda Rousey angle the WWE failed to remember Asuka too was a champion and major star amongst the women’s division. From minimal appearances on SmackDown Live to no storyline’s or standout matches as champ, it was clear the WWE were focusing on the situation revolving around the RAW Women’s Championship and Asuka got completely lost, mistreated and forgotten about by the WWE. To top it off, fans also witness Asuka drop the title to Flair weeks before Mania in what was the true final message fans needed to know Asuka was a failed talent.
With no WrestleMania plans and her shocking loss to Flair weeks before Mania fans are truly worried about the future of the Empress of Tomorrow. Once the most dominant female talent on the roster and a historic reign as Champion Asuka in the space of a year has gone from Royal Rumble winner to pre-show performer. Nothing can take away the fact she is one of the best talents amongst the WWE Women’s division and while fans continue to support her the WWE’s failed booking of this brilliant star has everyone very very concerned.
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