Nobody is ready for Asuka.
Wrestlemania 34 is filled with matches that could serve as the main event of the show. However, to me, there are two matches that stand above the rest in terms of anticipation, buildup, and potential to be instant classics: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Charlotte vs. Asuka. And while Styles/Nakamura will be fantastic, it's Charlotte/Asuka that will take the proverbial cake.
The rivalry between the two is new, as the match is built entirely around a Royal Rumble win, but both women's journeys to the top is just as important. Here is how Asuka and Charlotte got to the main WWE roster and into this Wrestlemania match.
Asuka travelled back and forth between Japan and the United States, beginning in 2004 under the ring name Kana. Most notably, she wrestled for Shimmer, although she never won a title at the promotion. In August 2015, she signed with the WWE and changed her name to Asuka. Early on, she was unstoppable and put on some stellar performances, with her battle against Emma at NXT Takeover: London being the first of many in WWE. In April 2016, Asuka won the NXT Women's Championship and held onto it until August 24, 2017, when she had to relinquish it due to injury. She did not lose the title once, and her reign lasted an astonishing 510 days. While Asuka was--and still is--undefeated in singles competition, she did suffer three losses and five no-contests in tag and four-way matches. Otherwise, she has been undefeated for two and a half years, racking up 250 wins without a loss.
Since coming to Raw, she remains undefeated, and she won the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble match on January 28. New rules for Rumble winners went into effect this past year, as the lone survivors of each match got to choose who they wanted to fight in a title match at Wrestlemania. It didn't matter what show the superstar was on. After making the WWE Universe wait, Asuka announced on March 11, at the Fastlane PPV, that she was challenging Charlotte for her belt.
Charlotte Flair, the daughter of two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, had a very different journey on her way to becoming the Smackdown Women's Champion. While she had a few appearances in the final years of WCW--as a teenager--she got her true in-ring start in NXT in 2012. In May 2014, Charlotte won the NXT Women's Championship after beating Natalya. She was a heel during this time and a member of the BFFs along with Sasha Banks and Summer Rae. She dropped the title in January 2015 to Sasha Banks in a four-way match featuring the other Four Horsewomen Bayley and Becky Lynch. This was a golden era for women's wrestling in NXT.
Later in July, Charlotte was called up to Raw along with Banks and Lynch as part of the Women's Revolution. She was the Diva's Champion for a short stint, and then became the first WWE Women's Champion at Wrestlemania 32, which later became the Raw Women's Championship after the brand split. Eventually, Charlotte headed to Smackdown and won the Tuesday night show's championship as well. She will be the only superstar to hold every women's championship in the modern era: NXT, Diva, WWE, Raw, and Smackdown. No one else will ever achieve that again, as the Diva's title will thankfully never return.
That brings us to Wrestlemania 34 on April 8. Asuka chose Charlotte as her opponent, and there could not be a better matchup for the women currently in the division. They are polar opposites with their styles, as Charlotte is an American-trained athlete, who works much more like an '80s or '90s star with some modern-day pizazz thrown in. Asuka utilizes more kicks and punches and works with a stiffer Japanese style of wrestling--or "Strong Style" if you prefer. What the two do have in common is the use of submission wrestling and a "never give up" attitude. Charlotte is strategic and cunning, and Asuka is controlled chaos.
What we really have to weigh here is Asuka's streak. Is Wrestlemania the perfect place for her to get her first single's loss since coming to WWE? Yes. Is the time now? I don't think so. Even when you ignore the rumors that Asuka's win will set up a year-long run as champion, only to lose to Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania 35--which I really hope isn't true--Asuka and her streak are still new to the WWE Universe. Sure, NXT fans have been seeing her for a few years, but she's only been on Raw for six months now. She's still new to the average fan of WWE's programming. There is still a lot of time to build up just how dominant Asuka is, to really put Goldberg's WCW streak to shame--which Asuka broke almost a year ago, prompting a congratulations from Goldberg.
The whole match shouldn't be about making Asuka look like a dominating force and Charlotte simply putting her over though. It's going to be a battle, as both women are two of the best competitors WWE has to offer currently. Expect this match to be longer, filled with ups and downs, and for Charlotte to look just as tough as Asuka. This should be a clean, straightforward match with no shenanigans or controversial endings. It doesn't need it.
It's apparent that Asuka will beat Charlotte and win the Smackdown Women's Championship, but what could that mean for Charlotte? Will she continue to feud with Asuka or jump ship to Raw during the rumored Superstar Draft happening at Backlash? If she does make the jump, she'll more than likely take on Ronda Rousey before the former UFC fighter starts her slow build to the aforementioned story with Asuka. Regardless of future storylines, we're in for an exciting match at Wrestlemania.
If you're interested in more breakdowns of upcoming Wrestlemania matches, check out all our predictions here and stay tuned to GameSpot for more Wrestlemania coverage.
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