One of the things that grabbed me when I came back to wrestling in March was Asuka. I have no doubts that she will go down as one of the greatest women wrestlers, if not just one of the greatest wrestlers period. The story she had while in NXT (WWE’s developmental brand) was that she’s so dominant that she was undefeated. She never lost a match. She only gave up the NXT Woman’s Championship because she was injured and wouldn’t be able to defend, so she relinquished it. This Sunday she is going to premiere as a WWE main roster talent for Raw at the TLC PPV. What I want to do is something called fantasy booking. Think of it like predicting the storyline of a character rather than just the outcome of a single match. I will admit that I got into it from two great YouTubers, Oli Davis and Luke Owen of the Wrestletalk channel.
A few ground rules:
- Nothing is changed storyline-wise on Raw. We are going with the current state as of last night’s episode.
- I’ll be going by months instead of weeks since this is all the way to Wrestlemania in April.
- The rumor of the Jinder Mahal v. Brock Lesner match at Survivor Series is true.
- Assumes the last Raw PPV is Roadblock on December 3rd (though I could see then doing a New Years PPV).
- Assumes the Raw PPV after Royal Rumble is Elimination Chamber.
At TLC, the match with Emma is short, despite the #GiveEmmaAChance hopefuls. It won’t be a squash match with Emma getting a few good spots in, but that dominating presence of Asuka will be on display and the idea that she is an indomitable force is the story of the match. The other women were excited to fight Asuka until they watch that night, except Bayley and Alexa. Bayley is shot a little away from the others giving the slightest shake of her head as they watch the match, while Alexa gets visibly worried. Despite her worry though, Alexa retains her title against Mickie James
The following Raw is another destruction match with either Alicia Fox or Dana Brooks to boost the idea from the PPV for everyone that didn’t watch it the night before. We see also get two backstage segments with Bayley and Sasha Banks in one and Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax in the other. Bayley and Sasha are discussing the upset Asuka brought to division. Sasha is pumped and ready to fight her, where Bayley is a bit more cautious and realistic about Asuka being there, since she fought her in NXT and lost the title to her. Alexa convinces Nia that she needs to deal with Asuka next week because she’s “afraid Asuka will take the title opportunity we’ve been working towards” for Nia. This results in a match the next week between Asuka and Nia. This is a good match with a few spots that seems like Nia might get an upper-hand, but ultimately Asuka gets the win in less that 8 mins. That victory is sort of a wake up call to the rest of the women since Nia had been the imposing force up until now.
Leading up to Survivor Series, we get an announcement that there will be a women’s Raw v. Smackdown Survivor Series match and the winner of the match will get a title shot and the next brand PPV for the brand’s championship. If there is more than one survivor, there will be a match on the next Raw or Smackdown to determine the #1 contender.
To determine the participants there will be one-on-one matches where the winners advance, and then a Fatal 4 Way to determine the fifth member. Alexa has been petitioning a get a match with the current Smackdown Women’s Champion like the Jinder v. Brock match. Meanwhile, Asuka is making it known she is coming for the Raw Women’s title. The one-on-one Asuka match would’ve been with Bayley–lots of hype as a rematch from NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II–but it never happens as her music plays, but she doesn’t come out. Cut to backstage and we see Asuka laying on the ground, looking like she was attacked from behind. Kurt Angle is trying to figure out what happened when he catches Alexa wearing Asuka’s mask. He denies her the match she wanted and tells her she is defending her title against Asuka at Survivor Series. Bayley gets a by, which doesn’t sit well with Sasha.
As for the Survivor Series match, the Raw side wins with Bayley, Sasha, and Nia surviving. The Alexa v. Asuka is solid 10+ minutes match, including interference from Nia at times to help Alexa from getting pinned and trying to wear down Asuka, but ultimately Asuka wins the title. The following Monday is both the rematch for the Women’s Title and the Triple Threat match for the match at Roadblock. The Triple Threat is brutal as Bayley and Sasha do everything to knock out Nia, but through all this build up the tension between the two is getting hot, especially since Bayley wants Asuka since she didn’t get her rematch before Survivor Series and Sasha doesn’t feel like Bayley should even be there since she didn’t have to fight in the first place. So they team up to put Nia out including a spot where Sasha gets Nia in the Bank Statement, but muscles out of it into a slam which lets Bayley, incredibly, do the Bayley-to-Belly on Nia and goes for the pin before Sash breaks it. Then we have a good fight between Sasha and Bayley where Sasha wins with a variant Bank Statement trapping the injured arm of Bayley.
Roadblock kicks off the month and the week before was a lot of bluster from Sasha about being the roadblock to Asuka’s continuing undefeated streak. Bayley is trying to help Sasha get ready, but Sasha doesn’t value the advice, which is seen in a tag match between Sasha/Bayley v. Asuka/Emma–Emma is trying to be a friend to Asuka much like the Alexa/Nia relationship. At Roadblock, the match between Sasha and Asuka is a good fight. Bayley is at ringside and as Asuka is hitting her spots, she makes sure to get Bayley’s attention, possibly recalling spots from their Brooklyn II match. Bayley is a mixture of concern for Sasha and anger at Asuka. But the match ends with Asuka winning the match.
For the rest of the month, Asuka promos about being undefeated while the rest of the women’s division has to up their game to match Asuka. Asuka has short feuds with Mickie James and Dana Brooks while Bayley and Sasha have their feud where Sasha can’t believe Bayley didn’t help her get the title at Roadblock and Bayley defending herself about how she tried to help before but Sasha blew her off. At some point, Alexa comes back after being out with injury. She has things to deal with, like a Nia Jax that never got her shot at the title like Alexa promised. But the surprising part is when she comes to Bayley and asks for that help Sasha turned down. It’s a hard choice, but Bayley agrees. It is not a cohesive partnership as they are exact opposites. Eventually there is a tag match of Bayley/Alexa v. Sasha/Asuka where Bayley and Alexa exhibit that personality conflict as a team, but despite that work well, but the match ends with Asuka pinning Alexa.
The big announcement is that there will be a 20 women Royal Rumble match, and the winner will have a Wrestlemania match for their brand title. Participants will be from Raw, Smackdown, and NXT. Most of January is all about matches to qualify for the Rumble match. At the Rumble, the ending of the match is Bayley, Sasha, and Becky Lynch and Bayley wins with a surprise toss out of both Sasha and Becky. The story going on from here is finally the rematch of Asuka and Bayley at Wrestlemania.
With Raw getting the Elimination Chamber this year, more history is made with the first Women’s Elimination Chamber match for the Raw title. The build will be Asuka against Sasha, Alexa, Nia, Emma, and Mickie James with Asuka retaining with a pin on Emma after Emma steals an elimination on Alexa from Asuka.
The long road to Wrestlemania starts and the idea is to alternate the opponents of Bayley and Asuka each week to boost up the hype of the dominance of Asuka, who is getting close to 200 days undefeated since premiering at TLC, and showing a new, more intense side of Bayley determined to not have a repeat of the last time she fought Asuka. At the actual match, they go a full 20 minutes with Bayley showing off a few new moves including a bear hug move called the Bayley Hug, which she goes to a couple of times and wins off a Bayley-to-Belly as counter-reversal to Asuka escaping the hug.
That’s how I would work Asuka for the long-run and refreshing a great rivalry while using smaller rivalries to set it all up. And I think the undefeated part is the strongest this with Asuka and since Baylee was the one that lost for NXT Women’s championship, having the reversal happen at Wrestlemania isn’t just a great story for both characters, but it also evens the score that can be the start for an epic third match between the two at a later date, possibly Summer Slam.