The unstoppable force in WWE known as Asuka is every wrestling booker’s wildest dream and worst nightmare. Her lofty undefeated streak veils her in an aura that captures the minds of fans the world over, making her a licence to print money. However, booking someone’s entire existence within the company around them being unbeatable means that you risk tarnishing their credibility when they finally do lose. It’s a real catch-22 that must be handled with tact and trepidation, or else you risk irreparably damaging a once lucrative talent (see Goldberg).
In an ideal world, most fans just wouldn’t have Asuka lose whatsoever. She’d go her entire WWE run without ever putting anyone over, then retire as the most dominant performer to ever step foot in a wrestling ring. But we have to be realistic and accept it as an inevitability that Asuka will be beaten one day. So, how exactly should WWE go about this? When and where should Asuka take that first loss? And who should be the one to slay her record-smashing streak? Well, we here at Cultured Vultures have the answers to those questions, and this is how we get there.
When it comes to an event to showcase Asuka being defeated, that answer’s obvious enough, it simply must be at WrestleMania. Of course, this year’s event would be far too early, as Asuka is likely to win the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match and take the Raw Women’s Championship for herself at the show of shows. But what about WrestleMania 35? It would be just about 3½ years after her first match with the company, and she will have racked up even more notable wins between now and then. As for an opponent, there is no candidate more logical than Charlotte Flair.
This wouldn’t be a one and done deal, either, Asuka’s first loss needs to be built towards in a meaningful manner. Having it come to a head at the biggest wrestling show there is — in a big time interpromotional match with arguably the best female wrestler on the planet — that right there is the perfect pairing.
We begin our tale at WrestleMania. Asuka has won the women’s Royal Rumble and is ready to take Alexa Bliss’s head. Walking out of Mania as Raw Women’s Champion, Asuka is officially anointed as the top dog of her brand. Charlotte has an even more stellar night. Not only does she successfully defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship, but she also defeats Carmella, who cashes in her Money in the Bank contract after Charlotte’s title defence.
With both women established as the unstoppable forces of their respective brands, we can now build towards their blockbuster encounter. It all starts at this year’s SummerSlam.
Since the current brand split, Survivor Series has been designated as the only pay-per-view where we can expect to see Brand vs. Brand encounters. It wasn’t like this during the original days of separate brands, though. You could expect Raw and SmackDown to have colossal encounters at Big Four shows, it was treated as a rare meeting of two top talents from different rosters. This is why having the match take place at SummerSlam adds value to shows with both brands on the card.
At SummerSlam, not only does Asuka defeat Charlotte, but she does it handily. It’s not quite the level of Brock Lesnar’s destruction of John Cena in 2014, but the bulk of the offence comes from “The Empress of Tomorrow”, with the finish coming in the form of a brutal tap out victory via Asuka Lock. As Asuka is celebrating her win, the winner of this year’s Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase makes her way down to the ring. That woman is Carmella.
The manner in which Carmella won her first briefcase last year was notably controversial, as James Ellsworth grabbed the case for her. While this was corrected two weeks later on SmackDown, Carmella never got the true PPV victory that she deserved. Having her fail her initial cash-in at WrestleMania 34 is a simple exercise in breaking someone down to build them back up. Now she’s won all three Money in the Bank ladder matches and has her own story that intertwines with the biggest women’s feud in WWE. She craves revenge on Charlotte for embarrassing her on the biggest night of the year.
Unfortunately for Carmella, she made the mistake of interrupting Asuka’s victory celebration. After a brief interaction of Asuka staring at Carmella in contempt while the “Princess of Staten Island” talks trash, Asuka nails ‘Mella with a swift roundhouse kick to the head. Charlotte Flair has escaped the preying Money in the Bank holder once again.
Charlotte’s crushing loss sends the SmackDown Women’s Champion back to her brand in shame, making her division seem like small potatoes in comparison to Raw. Between SummerSlam and the next cross-branded event, Survivor Series, Asuka defends her Raw Women’s Championship with ease, crushing every single opponent into dust. Charlotte, on the other hand, is just barely managing to beat challengers to her throne.
All of this is in service to Charlotte being the underdog for the first time in her career. This is the story of a genetically superior athlete being forced to fight from underneath and feel more human in the process. The rematch is set for Survivor Series, all of Charlotte’s focus is dead set on putting Asuka away, but after a hard-fought match filled with false finishes, she still can’t get the job done. The match does end with a pinfall decision though, demonstrating Charlotte’s ability to survive Asuka’s submission onslaught.
After the match, a broken and beaten Charlotte has yet another piece of bad news to deal with: Carmella has learned her lesson and is here to pick up the pieces long after Asuka has left the vicinity. She takes advantage of the exhausted champion and takes the title for herself in a matter of minutes, she has her vengeance on the woman who almost ruined her shot at glory. Charlotte then loses in her contractually-obligated rematch to Carmella and sinks to the lowest point in her career. Asuka’s winning ways only continue over on Raw, with her first loss looking more like an outlandish fantasy than a real-life possibility.
Cut to the 2019 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Charlotte has been absent from television since her unsuccessful attempt at regaining her belt; Asuka is still Raw Women’s Champion and is closing in on a year-long reign after capturing the title at WrestleMania the previous year. She disposes of her opponent at the pay-per-view with ease yet again.
It’s now time for the Women’s Royal Rumble match, the first example of which was won by Asuka the year before. The number one entrant is of course none other than Charlotte Flair, making her illustrious return.
Charlotte goes the distance in an epic one-hour performance, matching only Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit in winning a Rumble match from the number one position. But her redemption is far from complete, she still has one major blemish on her record. The next night on Raw, Charlotte shows up. She reveals that she has signed with the red brand and is using her Rumble win to challenge Asuka, the only woman she could never beat.
Asuka is full arrogant heel now, boasting that Charlotte isn’t worthy of sharing a ring with her and even attacking her opponent in the build up to their climactic battle. With these clear character roles heading into WrestleMania established, it’s easy to be invested in a match that has had a build of more than half a year.
In a back and forth war between two of the best workers in the entire company, Charlotte finally comes out on top, pinning Asuka with the third Natural Selection of the match (it’s vital that Asuka doesn’t lose by submission). She has claimed the Raw Women’s Championship but, more importantly, she’s ended the most prolific undefeated streak in the history of professional wrestling. Asuka and Charlotte shake hands and embrace, knowing that they’ve yet again raised women’s wrestling to another level.
The accomplishments made with this story are threefold. Charlotte is made to look vulnerable when she is usually the one to beat; Asuka, on the other hand, loses in a realistic manner and becomes a more relatable character in the process. It’s now been made clear that beating her isn’t something just anyone can do, as it took three attempts from somebody who is widely regarded as the best in the world. On top of this, Carmella is finally positioned as the top heel in the SmackDown’s women’s division, holding their women’s title and being able to boast that she chased Charlotte Flair herself away from SmackDown live.
There it is, our booking of Asuka’s first ever loss in WWE. A tale of ups and downs, twists and turns, and presumably Ric Flair crying at some point. Do you agree, or do you think we’re way off the mark? Let us know in the comments and tell us how you’d have Asuka lose for the first time.
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