I’m not silly. Nicely, I’m not that silly. A minimum of among the time, when the few neurons I’ve left hearth on the identical time. I do know Rhea Ripley is profitable the Royal Rumble on Saturday. You realize Rhea Ripley is profitable the Royal Rumble on Saturday. And that’s not a nasty factor! She’s nice. However it needs to be Asuka.
Rhea has been an underutilized badass just about her whole time on the principle roster. She’s nearly the one benefit of Judgement Day, and I say that as an unapologetic Damien Priest fan (I preferred him even when his title was “Punishment Martinez,” which was a giant impediment to recover from). Even whereas being saddled with the failson cipher that’s Dominik Mysterio, Rhea has shined because the dominatrix who simply stop her job as a result of she didn’t get to inflict sufficient ache. She is principally the one powerhouse on the ladies’s roster that’s one thing different than simply massive. Rhea can do lots of shit!
She’s additionally acquired a historical past with Bianca Belair, going all the best way again to NXT. There isn’t any query they may have a Mania-quality match in Los Angeles, and will conceivably steal the present if given 15-20. Belair has grow to be one thing of a Mania specialist, and Rhea is actually on that stage.
However WWE and Triple H can get to that match with out Rhea profitable the Rumble. She’s actually the one credible challenger on Uncooked as it’s. Bayley has been made to look extra doof-ish than conniving, and he or she’s already had her photographs at Bianca. Becky Lynch has a “Been there, carried out that” really feel in the meanwhile for Belair. Until Alexa Bliss’s flip to the theatrical with Bray Wyatt actually takes maintain, she doesn’t fairly have the in-ring chops to be in a Mania match with Belair. And even when it does, Bray Wyatt’s theatricality hasn’t ever actually labored on the Mania stage (assume bugs, assume Alexa herself popping out of that fucking field). Rhea-Bianca is already within the water.
What WWE wants is one thing for Charlotte. The SmackDown ladies’s roster is fairly barren in the meanwhile. Raquel Rodriguez appears to be getting warmed up for Charlotte, however she’s not prepared for this sort of platform. Ronda Rousey is off having one other pout as a result of issues didn’t go her manner just like the spoiled brat she is. Which has left Shayna Bazler twisting within the wind, although she may be a reasonably good dance companion for Charlotte. Or she can be, if she’d gotten to do something on the principle roster as she did in NXT, which she hasn’t. To the WWE viewers, she’s only a face within the crowd.
Flair needs a legitimate challenger
If the goal is to give fans a Charlotte match they can actually sink their teeth into, then there’s only one choice. Asuka hasn’t disappeared like some, though she hasn’t been front and center since sort of pairing up with Belair and Bliss to take on Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai. The last time we saw Asuka, a month ago on Raw, she’d removed her facepaint but had a new, steely edge in her match with Ripley. Fans felt like she was getting back to her NXT/unstoppable monster days, if not her Japan/homicide clown days. On social media, she’s been teasing discovering a more recent and/or higher model of herself, and there’d be no higher place for her to introduce a brand new leaf than strolling into the Rumble and clearing out the ring as a refreshed aggression machine.
She additionally has a wealthy historical past with Charlotte. The 2 of them possibly had the perfect match at WrestleMania 34, when Charlotte ended Asuka’s unbeaten streak that had spanned her NXT and WWE profession to that time. Asuka additionally needed to get fed to Charlotte proper earlier than Wrestlemania 35, forking over her title as Charlotte was retrofitted/jammed into the Lynch-Rousey match the place she actually didn’t match.
Asuka hasn’t actually recovered from that, which most followers thought was utterly unfair. She had an awesome run as champ a yr later…in the course of the pandemic. She by no means acquired to hold a title again in entrance of reside audiences. However it was the having to do the job to Charlotte to satisfy the imaginative and prescient that Vince McMahon had for the first-ever ladies’s important occasion that left followers feeling like Asuka had been cheated. There may be unfinished enterprise right here, which a Mania match might middle on.
WWE’s underutilized ace
It’s that feeling that Asuka has by no means hit the heights she’s greater than able to with WWE that makes her your best option to win the Rumble for a second time. She’d be the primary to try this, which provides her much more sheen to take a major Mania spot. Whereas HHH has introduced a number of wrestlers again into the corporate, who has actually been remade and improved? Perhaps Rhea? Debatable. Right here’s an actual likelihood.
A brand new daybreak for WWE, together with Asuka exhibiting a need to remake herself, provides each a highway to a real Asuka revival. Her profession has been outlined by Charlotte, and by dropping to Charlotte. First, it was the tip of her dominance. Then it was an instance of how she would by no means be held to the identical stage as Charlotte or Becky and even Ronda, regardless of probably being a greater employee than all of them. She belongs there, although.
One other match with Charlotte can put all that firmly previously and arrange one nice important roster run for Asuka. She’s 41 now, she received’t be round ceaselessly. WWE might get loads out of a reborn, murderous, scary-as-fuck Asuka. Greater than the type of cute, very humorous, nonetheless technically gifted performer they’ve had for the previous yr or two. There’s no higher solution to get to the primary avenue than having her lastly get one over Charlotte, and the symbolism of a remade Asuka shifting past Vince’s outdated standby/binky in Charlotte can be laborious to overlook. And one of the best ways to get there’s for no matter this new model of Asuka goes to be taking the Rumble.