Why Have The Wheels Come Off Asuka?

The women’s division in the WWE is a funny place at the moment. It is almost like a division of two halves. At one end you have Becky, Ronda and Charlotte involved in one of the companies leading feuds but then there’s the Smackdown women’s champion Asuka.

Rise to prominence

Asuka dominated on NXT breaking and setting a series of records for her unbeaten run. It wasn’t an unjustified run either. So talented is the empress of tomorrow that she made most of the women in NXT look bad. In fact, she frequently has to tone it down because she is just head and shoulders above most of the other women on the roster.

Current landscape

Unfortunately, the WWE in trying to perform a swerve had Asuka cough up her winning streak in her first Wrestlemania match. In fairness, it was against the ever-impressive Charlotte Flair but the loss hit Asuka hard and despite being the incumbent Smackdown champ, you still feel like she is yet to recover from the blow.

She has been in a feud with the duo of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. The problem is that neither of them is really quite good enough to hang with her. Don’t get me wrong both women have improved massively but they just aren’t Asuka and that is where the problem lies she is being made to put them over.

Not just one man’s opinion

This is not just my view either. Jim Ross recently touched on Asuka’s handling in his podcast. JR is outspoken, but he knows the business as well as anyone and he recognises how Asuka should be pushed among the WWE’s elite and he suggests she is being underutilised at the moment.

Why the lack of success?

It is hard to pinpoint why it isn’t quite clicking for The Empress of Tomorrow. Her in-ring skills are insane, she has a great look and an awesome gimmick. It doesn’t seem at all forced. And despite the language barriers she is entertaining. I fear this may be the issue. That the WWE is reluctant to put her in storylines due to her talking skills.

Crying shame

If that is the case it is a real shame as she is relatively good on the mic. And couldn’t they just stick her with a manager if they are really that concerned? It’s not like she couldn’t work as a heel. Because at the moment she seems like a placeholder champion and she really is too good for that. She is in dire need of a hot feud.

The future

The immediate future doesn’t look too rosy for Asuka. She was set to feud with Lacey Evans but it would seem that idea has been canned. Heading into Wrestlemania it has hard to see them putting together an angle that gives Asuka anything meaningful to do. It would appear that they are probably going to have Sonya and Mandy turn on one another and then have a triple threat at ‘Mania.

Long term

Asuka needs feuds. If she ends up dropping her title then perhaps a brand switch may give her a new lease of life. On Raw, she would be able to feud with the riot squad, Nia Jax, or if she turns she could face off against the likes of Sasha and Bayley. Both feuds would be entertaining and help her to rebuild some of her lost momentum. The WWE has shown lately that all it takes is a couple of matches to make somebody relevant again, as they have with Kofi Kingston. Let’s hope they don’t make Asuka wait 13 years before she gets pushed in a way she deserves.

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