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? December 10, 2018
For Raw, their main event was between Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin in a TLC match for the Intercontinental championship and it was a great match to end the show. It had some crazy spots and was intriguing from start to finish. To make things even more interesting, Heath Slater’s story of him being a referee played into this as well and questions what lies ahead with him too. Rollins ended up winning so the championship match with Dean Ambrose at TLC is still on.
For Smackdown, the opening match between Daniel Bryan and Mustafa Ali was as good as it sounds. Along with that, they had a promo before their match started in where Daniel Bryan picked on Ali and ended up slapping him right in the face. Bryan ended up winning after applying the heel hook,which may be his new finishing submission since he has been doing that the past few weeks. After the match, Bryan proceeded to attack Ali even more on the entrance ramp, giving him all the momentum in his title match against AJ Styles.
For Raw, it seems a little crazy that they are trying to embrace that their ratings are at an all time low. To open the show, Seth Rollins had some things to get off his chest towards Baron Corbin. In his rant,he stated that the ratings were at an all time low and that the recent shows have been bad because of Corbin. While it is a good way for management to look bad, it still looks bad to address the bad numbers and try to think of a bailout reason to address why that is.
For Smackdown, the rap battle between the Bar and the Usos was bad and good at the same time. While it was pretty humorous to see the Bar try their best Vanilla Ice impersonation, the whole concept of having a rap battle is what made it bad. While it did help build up the tag team championship match at TLC, their could’ve been another route WWE could’ve gone.
The Final Verdict
With TLC being this Sunday, both brands needed to put on good shows to get fans prepared for the PPV. Both shows did give a lot of time building it up, but things feel a lot smoother on Smackdown compared to Raw. Smackdown has done a really good job of putting time into their championship matches along with things just meant for their show. A prime example of this is giving proper build up for the WWE Championship match while at the same time wanting fans to turn in every week to see where things go for the Miz and Shane McMahon as the Miz keeps trying to get Shane on his side. Due to this,Smackdown had the better show this week and overall had a really good build for all of their matches at TLC. In conclusion, the matches for Smackdown have all the momentum going into TLC.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? December 3, 2018
For Raw, the segment and match featuring Drew McIntyre is the best thing going for this show right now. After Baron Corbin decided to honor McIntyre by giving him a medal, Dolph Ziggler interrupted the presentation to ask for some credit for Drew’s rise to the top. McIntyre stated that he used Ziggler, which irritated Ziggler and led to a match. The match was great too and Ziggler surprisingly won after getting an assist from Finn Balor. Overall, this was a good story told to help get some spotlight for the Balor vs. McIntyre match for TLC as well as solidify the split between Ziggler and McIntyre.
For Smackdown, they did a good job of putting a lot of time into building up the WWE Championship match between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles for TLC. First, they had Daniel Bryan guest star on Miz TV, which led to a brawl between Styles, Bryan, and the Miz too. This then led to a match between AJ Styles and the Miz in the main event of the show. The match was pretty good and ended when the Miz hit the skull crushing finale on Styles after a Bryan distraction. Then, after the match, Daniel Bryan beat up Styles even more and yelled at the crowd to end the show.
For Raw, we had another repeat match between Lucha House Party and the Revival and it just felt like filler. This has been the 3rd week in a row they have had this match and it has been the same result every time. The same thing over and over again tends to get boring after almost a month.
For Smackdown, they honestly did not have anything bad on their show. They gave time to feature a rivalry for each championship they have going as well as rivalries that they have just been building up through their show.
The Final Verdict
Both shows did put a lot of effort into building up TLC this week. Smackdown’s stories have more intrigue than Raw’s though. With that said, Smackdown ended up having the better show this week. A lot of focus was on their championship matches going into the PPV and when a brand puts a lot of time into their championships, they have a bigger feel to them. While Raw, on the other hand, doesn’t even have competition for their tag team championships anymore and we still have the same problem with the Universal Championship that we had a year ago. In conclusion, Smackdown is still doing everything right going into TLC while Raw is just coasting by.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? November 26, 2018
For Raw, the opening segment and match was entertaining. Baron Corbin was with Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley to open up the show and Corbin was emphasizing that when he becomes the permanent GM, you are either with him or against him. This brought out Elias, who made fun of everybody in the ring and said that anybody but Corbin would be a good fit for a GM. This then led to a match between Bobby Lashley and Elias, in where Lashley won because Corbin decided to make a last second adjustment in the match and make it a no DQ match, which led to the three guys all beating up Elias.
For Smackdown, they had a celebration for Jeff Hardy and his 20 years with WWE and Smackdown. They produced a great video and had the entire roster out to celebrate. But, then Samoa Joe came out and crashed the party. Joe went into Hardy’s past trouble with alcohol and drugs and already started this rivalry out on a personal note. That is what Samoa Joe does best with his rivals and this rivalry with Jeff Hardy is already out to a great start.
For Raw, they hosted a Intercontinental Championship open with Seth Rollins and while these are enjoyable most of the time, this week didn’t work out. The main reason being is because Rollins defended his championship this week against Dolph Ziggler, which feels like the millionth time. For as many people that they have on the Raw roster, to not have other than Dolph Ziggler be the one to face off against Rollins is a total lack of creativity from WWE.
For Smackdown, they had a segment where the Big Show decided to end things with the Bar and it fell flat. The main reason is because they didn’t even make this a main point on the show. Instead they just showed a quick backstage segment that was filmed before the show even started where Cesaro was upset with Big Show for not helping last week, only to take a KO Punch. This could’ve been made a bigger deal considering the Big Show was the whole reason that the Bar was tag team champions, but for some reason WWE doesn’t want to give the tag team division proper attention.
The Final Verdict
Overall, Raw was very bad this week while Smackdown was very good. For being the “superior show” after winning at Survivor Series, you would think WWE would be able to have better plans laid out for Raw. Instead, we get repeat matches or filler matches and segments that just don’t feel intriguing. While Smackdown, on the other hand, has great build up for TLC and gives the proper time to each rivalry they are trying to push. With all that said, Smackdown won this week by a landslide and have all the momentum going forward right now.
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