Since Asuka won the first Women’s Royal Rumble match back in January, the WWE Universe waited with bated breath to see who she would challenge at Wrestlemania 34 in New Orleans.
Well, the WWE Universe finally received answer during last night’s WWE Fastlane event.
After Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair retained her title against Ruby Riott, the Empress of Tomorrow’s music blasted through the Nationwide Arena. Charlotte watched as the Empress of Tomorrow danced down the ramp and entered the ring.
Like many during Wrestlemania season, Asuka pointed to the Wrestlemania sign while slowly approaching Charlotte like a hungry wolf as the crowd chanted “Yes!” repeatedly. Fastlane is seen by many WWE fans a throwaway pay per view that sets the plate for Wrestlemania. But during the segment, Asuka didn’t say anything to Charlotte.
It wasn’t until during a backstage interview, when Asuka was asked if she indeed wanted to face The Queen at the Show of Shows. The undefeated superstar said only these words – “At Wrestlemania, Charlotte versus Asuka.”
One day after Asuka’s challenge, both the Smackdown Women’s Champion and her father, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, tweeted to hype up the match.
I respect Asuka.
I respect her to much that she will wrestle the best Charlotte Flair there is. And her streak will end.
— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) March 12, 2018
There were rumors WWE was heading down this route for Wrestlemania in regards to the Smackdown Women’s title picture. Even though Asuka had wins over numerous Raw superstars, including current Women’s titleholder Alexa Bliss, a contest between Asuka and Charlotte was bound to happen at some point, even though the Empress has only been on the main roster since October.
Some critics may believe WWE rushing Asuka and Charlotte into a program is too soon, but it makes sense on some levels. WWE has already built Asuka to be one of their top players – giving her a lengthy undefeated streak and having her pick up wins over numerous superstars.
As for Charlotte, she has pretty much wrestled every woman currently on the main roster.
The match has a big fight feel to it and if both Charlotte and Asuka are given the opportunity to display their skills, then their Smackdown Women’s title match at Wrestlemania could be a Match of the Year candidate.
Both Charlotte and Asuka are great in the ring. Charlotte delivers a technical offense, much like her father, but she isn’t also afraid to fly from the top turnbuckle or take the fight to the outside.
Asuka’s offense consists of hard-hitting kicks and strikes, but she also has a good submission game. One attribute that both wrestlers share is their durability. Both Charlotte and Asuka have been in some great scraps during their time in WWE. With it being Wrestlemania season, both women will no doubt take their game to the next level.
As for the build up of this match, WWE can simply market it as a match between two of the best women’s wrestlers in the company. One of the differences between the two competitors is Charlotte is seen as the dominant force in WWE while Asuka is an underdog. The creative department can look at those attributes and keep the story simple.
What’s fun about this match is there is a level of uncertainty of who is going to win. This is Asuka’s first big shot at WWE gold, will she capture her first title or will Charlotte continue to reign supreme?
I guess we’ll have to wait until Wrestlemania to find out.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? May 7, 2019
For Raw, the main event between Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan in a Wrestlemania rematch was a good way to end their show. With this new “Wildcard Rule” being introduced at the beginning of Raw, this led to two Smackdown superstars main eventing a Raw show. While we will look into the “Wildcard Rule” later, the match between these two was back and forth and ended with Kingston retaining his championship. Kofi has all the momentum going into the Money in the Bank PPV, which is great considering he is the WWE Champion.
For Smackdown, after the Hardy Boyz had to forfeit their tag team championships due to injury, the match to determine the new champions was great. After Shane McMahon originally was going to give the titles to Daniel Bryan and Rowan, the Usos interrupted and stated that they should at least get the opportunity to earn them. Daniel Bryan and Rowan ended up winning, which is a positive sight moving forward because it will bring more attention to the division with these two as champions.
For Raw, even though things were good for the Usos on Smackdown, they were really bad on Raw. They came out during the Revival’s match and told them that they put Icey Hot on their ring attire. This led to bad acting and just an attempt at humor, which didn’t go well.
For Smackdown, while the Aleister Black promos have been good so far, they are starting to over welcome their stay. This has been going on for about a month, so hopefully we see him in the ring before he loses all momentum.
The Final Verdict
Both brands had interesting shows this week because this new “Wildcard Rule” was introduced. This “Wildcard Rule” means that four superstars from Raw will be on Smackdown and four Smackdown superstars will be on Raw every week. This idea does seem like a bad one though because it will take time away from superstars in their respective brand. Along with that, this is right after the Superstar Shakeup, which now feels completely pointless. As to who had the better show this week though, Smackdown had better matches and was still able to help put good build towards Money in the Bank. In conclusion, Money in the Bank is still about two weeks away, but proper time has been put into it and all the matches gain momentum in build week by week.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? April 30, 2019
For Raw, the contract signing between AJ Styles and Seth Rollins was a great segment to end their show and continue to build up their match for Money in the Bank. They exchanged insults and eventually came to blows and the final shot we saw was AJ Styles standing over Rollins after he hit him with a phenomenal forearm through a table.
For Smackdown, the build up between Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens got a lot of time featured on their show this week, and it was all really good material. It opened and closed their show and ended with Kofi Kingston getting the upper hand after he brawled with Owens. Overall, this match is getting a lot of attention and it should considering this is for the WWE Championship.
For Raw, unfortunately, it looks like the rumors with Lio Rush not getting along with people backstage is true because when Bobby Lashley went on Miz TV, Rush was nowhere to be found. While it is unknown what the future holds for Rush, WWE has to start all over with Bobby Lashley again by himself and he’s not even in the Money in the Bank match either.
For Smackdown, they had a tag match which had Kairi Sane and Asuka versus two local competitors and this match felt like filler. With the main focus being on the women’s ladder match and neither Asuka or Sane being in that match, there really is nothing for those two to do at the moment.
The Final Verdict
Both brands are focusing on the Money in the Bank PPV, but some delivery of the matches have fell flat. Both the men’s and women’s ladder match competitors were just announced instead of each competitor actually earning an opportunity to get in the ladder match. But, as far as their championship matches, both men’s and women’s, have been given plenty of time and those matches do feel more important. As far as who had the better show, Raw has more matches on the PPV, therefore they were able to put more time into them. In conclusion, Money in the Bank is still a few weeks away, but WWE has given a lot of time into it so the fans should be excited for the first PPV since Wrestlemania.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? April 23, 2019
For Raw, they had a series of matches to determine who would face Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship at Money in the Bank. All of these matches were pretty solid and in the end, AJ Styles ended up winning it all. This has been a dream match WWE fans have asked for ever since Styles came to WWE, so Raw should be able to build this up properly.
For Smackdown, we all knew that Kevin Owens was going to turn on the New Day, it was just a matter of when. Owens decided that this week was the week to do it as he attacked both Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods after Kingston’s match against Shinsuke Nakamura. This is going to lead to a WWE Championship match between Kevin Owens and Kofi Kingston and this is another solid match added to the Money in the Bank PPV.
For Raw, after WWE was torn apart by the fans by naming the War Raiders the Viking Experience, they decided to change their name again. This time, the new name is the Viking Raiders. It is a little bit of an improvement, but not to name them the War Raiders to begin with is still baffling. They had a segment on the show this week they felt like filler as well as they attacked Lucha House Party before they could even begin their match with them.
For Smackdown, Becky Lynch is deciding to defend both of her belts at Money in the Bank, but her challenger from Smackdown is a sight WWE fans have seen too many times. Charlotte Flair ended up earning her opportunity by beating Bayley in a number one contender’s match. While WWE wants to show that Charlotte did earn her opportunity, it’s just a match we have seen one too many times.
The Final Verdict
Both brands put on pretty good shows this week. Even though there was some mix up in the superstar shake up (Andrade and Aleister Black going from Smackdown to Raw, then back to Smackdown), WWE was was still able to bounce back from that confusion. Both brands were able to establish number one contenders for their biggest championships, and help put a story behind them too. But, as far as a better show from start to finish, it seems that Raw had the more impactful and better show. A wacky segment with Bray Wyatt, a dream match in the making for the Universal Championship, and proper time given to their women’s championship match helped Raw this week. Overall, both brands are starting to layout the blueprint for what is in store for WWE Money in the Bank, so hopefully WWE is able to capitalize on this moving forward.
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