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Opinion

Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 4/25/2021

AJPW’s Champion Carnival continues, Impact Rebellion happened over the weekend, and the general television leads to some interesting mixtures!

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AJPW’s Champion Carnival continues, Impact Rebellion happened over the weekend, and the general television leads to some interesting mixtures!

Now last week wasn’t a strong contender, but the week still happened. So the winner was, NXT: Cruiserweight Championship: Kushida vs Santos Escobar, solid match and a nice surprise. But does it even hold a candle to this week, much less Mania week?

Let’s find out!

Quick Top 5:

  1. Impact Rebellion: X Division Championship: TJP vs Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton (c) vs Josh Alexander
    Rating: **** ¼
  2. Champion Carnival: Suwama vs Yuma Aoyagi
    Rating: ****
  3. AEW Dynamite: TNT Title: Darby Allin (c) vs Jungle Boy
    Rating: *** ¾
  4. Champion Carnival: Kento Miyahara vs Kohei Sato
    Rating: *** ¾
  5. Impact Rebellion: Champion vs Champion: Rich Swann (c) vs Kenny Omega (c)
    Rating: *** ¾

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • WWE SmackDown: Seth Rollins & Jey Uso vs Cesaro & Daniel Bryan
    Rating: *** ½
  • AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page vs Ricky Starks
    Rating: *** ½
  • NXT: Cameron Grimes vs Kyle O’Reilly
    Rating: *** ¼
  • WWE Raw: Riddle vs Randy Orton
    Rating: *** ¼
  • Impact Rebellion: Brian Myers vs Matt Cardona
    Rating: *** ¼
  • Champion Carnival: Shuji Ishikawa vs Shotaro Ashino
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NXT UK: Sha Samuels & Noam Dar vs Tyler Bate & Trent Seven
    Rating: *** ¼
  • AEW Dynamite: AEW Women’s Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs Tay Conti
    Rating: *** ¼
  • Impact Rebellion: Violent by Design vs Eddie Edwards, Chris Sabin, Willie Mack & James Storm
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Rebellion: Impact Tag Team Titles: FinJuice (c) vs The Good Brothers
    Rating: ***
  • NXT: Zoe Stark vs Sarray
    Rating: ***

3t. Impact Rebellion: Champion vs Champion: Rich Swann (c) vs Kenny Omega (c)

From AJ’s Review:

Omega thinks he can get damage on Swann again but, Swann uses his adrenaline and speed against Omega and actually gets a good amount of offense but the assault early on makes Rich take too much time and after each men go to the ropes at the same time, Rich gets the upper-hand and pushes Kenny off into a Splash, only for a two as Omega now gets the momentum and hits a Doctor Wily Bomb, V-Trigger and then attempts the One Winged Angel but Swann sees it coming and gets out of the way before getting hit with another V-Trigger. Omega looks like he was going to do an avalanche One Winged Angel but rolls out of the move and both do a sloppy fall down as they go back to the strikes. Kenny takes the advantage again with a V-Trigger and hits two Snap Dragon Suplexs before Rich breaks out of the third attack and hits a cutter. Swann goes for a handspring cutter but Omega pull Hebner in the way and take it. Kenny goes to do use a chair but Aubrey Edwards stops him and Swann uses this to do another Cutter and even then, Kenny gets another V-Trigger in and takes control. Croyt’s Wrath, unprotected V-Triggers, Kenny is dissecting Swann until another burst of adrenaline after Eddie and Willie cheer him on and even though Rich gets the advantage, he can’t hit the Phoenix Splash and misses, getting hit with another V-Trigger and with the finish of the One Winged Angel.

Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel

 

3t. Champion Carnival: Kento Miyahara vs Kohei Sato

From Mathew’s Review:

Sato was going for the German Suplex Hold but Kento was holding his ground, holding onto the ropes and when Sato saw it wasn’t going anywhere, he just shoved him into the turnbuckle. Sato charged at Kento but missed, leading Kento to hit the first Blackout of the match as they both go down. Kento would hit another Blackout on the back of his head before hitting another one soon as Sato got up but would kick out at two. Sato hits a knee to the gut to stop Kento’s momentum and would pick him up to hit a beautiful Falcon Arrow but Kento kicked out at two. Sato was getting ready for the German Suplex Hold again but Kento immediately turned behind him to hit a German Suplex and a Blackout. Kento went for the Shutdown German Suplex Hold but Kohei kicked his leg out to make him let go and hits a stiff forearm. Kento counteracted with another Blackout, leading to hit another one, and finally hits the Shutdown German Suplex Hold to grab the victory!

Winner: Miyahara via Shutdown Suplex Hold

 

3t. AEW Dynamite: TNT Title: Darby Allin (c) vs Jungle Boy

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

JB is still down, Luchasaurus shouts to him, but JB is up at 8, leaning against Luchasaurus. That’s enough for him to get in at 9.5!! Luchasaurus backs off because he was innocent, but Sting questions it! Luchasaurus defends himself to the Icon and puts a hand on his shoulder to keep him back. Sting catches that arm in a cording hold to ROCK Luchasaurus with haymakers! Sting and Luchasaurus brawl on stage! Sting kicks but Luchasaurus stays up to throw Sting down the tunnel! JB and Darby are up and they brawl in the ring! Darby shoves but JB rebounds to LARIAT!! JB gets Darby up fast for a BRAINBUSTER!! JB sits Darby up, BLINDSIDE LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!!??

Fans fire up as JB gets the legs and the crossface for the SNARE TRAP!! Darby is fading fast but his hand still reaches! Darby gets his second wind and he drags himself to the ropes! JB drags Darby back to stand on the legs! And then he gets the arms, for the ROMERO SPECIAL, and a ROLLING SURFBOARD! JB then gets the legs again, SNARE TRAP!! Darby endures again as JB shifts to a cravat hold, but Darby claws at JB’s eyes! Darby gets free, but JB comes back to SLAP Darby! And slap and slap and slap! Fans are thunderous as they duel, but Darby whips. JB sunset flips, Darby rolls through to get the legs! LAST SUPPER CLUTCH!! DARBY WINS!!!

Winner: Allin via Last Supper

 

2. Champion Carnival: Suwama vs Yuma Aoyagi

From Mathew’s Review:

The two would slowly get up as Yuma delivered a couple of European Uppercuts to get Suwama down on the mat before climbing to the top rope. As Yuma was on top, Suwama quickly got up to fight Yuma to get him out a bit before hitting a Superplex to make them both go down again. Suwama hits a Discus Lariat as Yuma barely kicked out and Suwama would get him up for the Backdrop as Yuma fights it off to make him let go, hitting a spin kick to have the champ go down. Yuma picked him up for the Rockstar Buster as Suwama kicked out and Yuma quickly turns it into the End Game! Yuma tries to grab the champ’s arm to lock it in full but Suwama would have his foot on the rope to break the hold and save himself. Yuma delivered a couple of forearms to get the champ down and ran the ropes but Suwama catches him with another Lariat before collapsing. Suwama went for the Backdrop but Yuma shifted his body around to pin him as Suwama kicked out at two but Yuma wasn’t done as he tried to roll him up with the European Clutch as Suwama kicked out again! Yuma had the champ in a headlock but Suwama grabbed onto him to hit the Backdrop! Suwama slowly got up to hit another Backdrop and it looks like this could be over as Yuma barely kicked out! Suwama turns Yuma inside out with a Lariat but Yuma kicked out again! Suwama, however, didn’t waste any more time as he hits the Backdrop Hold, getting the victory over Yuma! Great match!

Winner: Suwama via Backdrop Hold

 

1. Impact Rebellion: X Division Championship: TJP vs Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton (c) vs Josh Alexander

From AJ’s Review:

The match starts off fast and rapid to all men as Ace is removed from the ring early on as everyone shows their prowess. TJP with his all-around talent, Alexander with his technical wrestling and Ace with his speed and agility as everyone gets a good amount of high speed offense with what they are best at.  TJP goes for a few holds like the Octopus and weakening his opponents at some points, Ace goes and gets the wrestling goes into overdrive and Josh Alexander gets the strength factor, even executing a Russian Leg Sweep and Superplex at the same time to his opponents.

TJP and Josh Alexander get their submission moves on not only each other but Ace as well but Ace can also get his signature move, The Fold, on Josh Alexander getting things sped up again where nobody looks to get an advantage. After high speed and high risk moves with even Madman Fulton getting involved but all in vain, as TJP gets taken out by Fulton and Divine Intervention comes in the form of a new X Division Champion.

Winner: Josh Alexander via Divine Intervention

 

Final Thoughts:

Much like I expected going into Rebellion, Omega won, the match was a bit disappointing and tried to make Rich seem “resilient” but coming off a match with Trey that tried the same thing, and the obvious outcome, none of this came across well. It was more just like dragging out the ending to a story everyone’s heard before. HOWEVER, the X Division match was match of the night like I expected, and became my personal vote for Match of the Week.

Champion Carnival had some contenders, and decent matches on SmackDown and AEW made some push; but the X Division is in a good place right now. It’s also really great to see Josh Alexander experiencing some singles success without much down time from the tag team dominance.

So vote away and we’ll see how the chips fall next week!


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Coverage

Greg DeMarco’s 2023 WWE SummerSlam Review

The biggest party of the summer comes to Detroit, when WWE SummerSlam 2023 delivers an action packed event that easily exceeds expectations.

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Cody Lesnar SummerSlam

The biggest party of the summer comes to Detroit, when WWE SummerSlam 2023 delivers an action packed event that easily exceeds expectations.

WWE presents SummerSlam 2023 live from ford field in Detroit in front of over 59k fans–who provided an electric atmosphere. Overall the card featured either matches, many of them delivering at or above expectations.

Read on for my thoughts, and even some ratings!

How I am rating segments:

I am using “The Line of DeMarco-cation,” which is for entertainment. the line is if I was entertained. You can have three main results:

  • ABOVE the Line of DeMarco-cation
  • AT the Line of DeMarco-cation
  • BELOW the Line of DeMarco-cation

If necessary, i reserve the right to go WAY ABOVE or WAY BELOW. Significant segments can be rated. individual and overall ratings are totally subjective.

It’s simple: ENTERTAIN ME!

Logan Paul vs. Ricochet

  • Welcome to the biggest match of Ricochet’s career.
  • Samantha Irvin’s outfit matches Logan Paul, not Ricochet — SWERVE, BRO!
  • Ricochet is a star, and I love seeing him treated like one.
  • Rocket Mortgage is donating $5k for every move off the top rope? This match alone might accumulate half a million.
  • I know Logan Paul needs to catch a private jet to Dallas and that’s why this is on first, but this is the perfect opener.
  • If you didn’t know who Logan Paul was, you’d think he was just another member of the roster–and that’s the biggest compliment you can give to him. He’s a damn good heel, too.
  • Paul using Braun Strowman’s powerslam–will we get Logan vs Braun?
  • LOGAN MUST POSE!
  • SPANISH FLY STICK THE LANDING.
  • This might be the best match either have had in a LONG time.
  • Logan Paul just hit a Buckshot Lariat over the top rope and to the floor. Sorry Hangman.
  • I love that refs continue to have names – like former Greg DeMarco Show guest Eddie Orengo (as El Bandido Jr).
  • I’d love to know Ricochet’s powerlifting numbers. Dude is deceptively strong.
  • Logan Paul flew two-thirds of the way across the ring on the Springboard Froggy Splash
  • This match is spotty–yes–but watch and learn Young Bucks. They are strung together by psychology and it all makes sense,
  • LOVE that finish. Logan Paul wins (as expected), but Ricochet is protected.
  • Think about that – RICOCHET IS PROTECTED.
  • Hell of a match.

Winner: Logan Paul (pinfall brass knucks shot)

WAY ABOVE The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes

  • That video package–amazing. It likely telegraphed Cody’s win, but I don’t think many expect Cody to lose.
  • I love when people question Brock’s presence. Did you hear that pop?
  • Cody got a hell of a pop, too.
  • You can tell how much Brock Lesnar respects Cody Rhodes, as he opens up the arsenal for him.
  • I love that Brock simply stands center ring as the ref counts Cody out. Brock wants to win–doesn’t care how. That’s a little detail that shows how brilliant of a character Brock Lesnar is.
  • This is the fifth time Brock has gone for the count-out–and I love the psychology.
  • Now Brock does care how he wins–he wants to break Cody’s will.
  • Wait, is this Cody Rhodes’ mystery twin brother Cory Rhodes?
  • That top rope Cody Cutter was fantastic.
  • Not sure when Brock’s shorts got ripped, but it adds to this fight.
  • That’s what this is, a fight. And that is Brock Lesnar at his finest.
  • It might have been a happy accident, but Cody’s hand bouncing off the bottom rope before he finally grabs it to break the Kimura is another amazing little thing.
  • Brock is so slow and methodical, but snatches people up for the F5 in a flash. So good.
  • Cody Rhodes wins, after THREE Cross Rhodes. Good shit.
  • Interesting that the show of respect from Brock to Cody is considered Cody’s arrival.
  • Or maybe it’s just the arrival of “The American Nightmare.”
  • I will be very interested–as will all of you–to see what’s next for both men.

Winner: Cody Rhodes (pinfall, three Cross Rhodes)

WAY ABOVE The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

NOTE: Very interesting that Roman Reigns was featured in the PayBack promo, as well as Logan Paul. I wouldn’t expect either to be on that card.

Slim Jim SummerSlam Battle Royal

  • I have to admit, it just feels right to have Slim Jim back in my wrestling.
  • This better be good since it cost us Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus.
  • I hope Sheamus got a full entrance for the crowd.
  • Oh look, Omos still works here!
  • Chad Gable is so damn good.
  • Austin Theory is in this match? And didn’t get an entrance?
  • At WrestleMania 30, Big E was in the Andre The Royal Giant Memorial Battle Rumble, didn’t get an entrance, and didn’t even get to carry his Intercontinental Champion. And I don’t even think his elimination was mentioned by commentary (I’d have to go back and check).
  • Santos Escobar eliminating Austin Theory at least makes sense.
  • LA Knight barely breathes and the crowd gets ELECTRIC.
  • I haven’t made as many bullet points because this has actually been a really good battle royal!
  • I’d love to know who the agent was–fantastically done.

Winner: LA Knight (last eliminates Sheamus)

AT The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

MMA Rules Match – Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler

  • Some of the shots during the entrance make me want WWE to get rid of stages altogether, and stick with this type of entrance.
  • Also, it’s a reminder that I hate major wrestling events in daylight.
  • This being an MMA Rules Match seems to be a missed opportunity at having a special guest referee.
  • The fans DO NOT CARE About this match, and I see why.
  • I am all for Ronda being able to go out how she wants to go out, and the talent pushing their own idea forward. But sometimes, you gotta say no.
  • Some matches also play much better in an arena instead of a stadium (Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair from WrestleMania comes to mind). This is one of those matches.
  • Whenever NXT had an “unsanctioned match,” the ref wore all black. That’s what we should have done here.
  • Now we have doctors checking on Shayna? Really? I know we want to put over how tough she is, but…..
  • The crowd pops out of relief when it’s over.
  • Do this on Raw, not here. Give Becky and Trish this spot.

Winner: Shayna Baszler (technical submission, Kirifuda Clutch)

BELOW The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

Intercontinental Championship: Drew McIntyre vs. GUNTHER (c) 

  • My Peacock membership doesn’t let me see the video package here, and I am fine with that–it’s been a while since I’ve seen that AFLAC Duck, though.
  • Ludwig Kaiser must love doing the entrance, but honestly the act might be getting stale?
  • Corey Graves very poetic in pointing out that “records are meant to be broken.” That’s one of the core values of WWE at this point.
  • It does appear GUNTHER will be going it alone tonight as Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci are headed to the back. Let’s see if they stay there.
  • Interesting placement for this match, right after the ill-received MMA Rules Match.
  • Didn’t the internet tell us Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor was going on fourth?
  • Btw, this match is brought to you by Rocket Mortgage. Money talks, BAYBAY!
  • GUNTHER truly lives the “Ring General” gimmick.
  • As the match progresses, I honestly can’t see Drew winning here.
  • The simplicity of the finishing sequence really adds to GUNTHER: top rope slap fest, McIntyre crotched on the ropes, splash, lariat, powerbomb. Nothing fancy–trademark GUNTHER.

Winner, #ANDSTILL the Intercontinental Champion: GUNTHER (pinfall, powerbomb)

ABOVE The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

World Heavyweight Championship: Finn Balor vs. Seth “Freakin'” Rollins (c) 

  • I presume we will get a bunch of Judgment Day shenanigans here, but I really needed Seth to go on last to further establish his championship. Instead, we are smack in the middle of the event (according to the Peacock slider, anyways)
  • Seth Rollins’ entrance + 58k people = a beautiful sight
  • The worst thing about this, to me, will be when Balor and Rollins are partners after Balor turns babyface.
  • Love Rollins tossing the vest at Balor.
  • Love the more unique start to the match.
  • Interesting that Rollins, with a win, moves to 5th all time for SummerSlam wins? I had no clue! Mr. SummerSlam anyone?
  • We keep naming refs, and I love it,
  • If you want an “inside look” at a match, start paying really close attention for a few minutes starting with the triplicate of dives from Seth Rollins. You’ll see a few things that the cameras picked up.
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE the Buckle Bomb into the barrier from Balor to Rollins. Should have known they’d do that, but it never crossed my mind. Brilliant.
  • Decent amount of overlap in the offense of this match and the one prior–in hindsight, they may have wanted to put GUNTHER/McIntyre on before Rousey/Baszler.
  • Fans boo’d the crap out of Damian Priest when he came down–but popped like hell for Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley.
  • I really enjoyed the story told with the Judgment Day. When Priest called for the briefcase to be used, it would have worked. When Balor called for it, it wasn’t going to work, and Damian Priest knew it. But he let Finn Balor sink himself anyway. That will definitely play again later when they fully implode.

Winner AND STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Freakin’ Rollins (pinfall, Stomp on the Money In The Bank Briefcase)

WAY ABOVE The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

WWE Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (c) Bianca Belair

  • Very odd having Asuka enter second.
  • Charlotte Flair with the ode to Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 35 (IYKYK)
  • Did I miss the C4 ad read? I saw that Bianca Belair entered with some, which made me thing THAT was why she came in last, and now the C4 branding is around the ring, but no real mention? Or did I miss it? Was it only for Peacock Premium subscribers?
  • Very choppy match so far–and Charlotte has to basically stop the match to have Jessika Carr fix her outfit, leaving Belair and Asuka in the corner waiting until Asuka realized what was happening and tried to cover. The Double Natural Selection that followed was quite clunky.
  • Bianca nowhere near Charlotte Flair when the moonsault hit–is Bianca really that good? I seem to ask myself this during every big time Bianca match, dating back to WrestleMania 37 when I felt like Sasha Banks had to carry her.
  • I find myself wanting to fast forward to the finish, here. I’m not, but I kinda want to.
  • ANOTHER REF NAMED! Thank you, Michael Cole.
  • If IYO SKY cashes in here (which is easy to expect), I really hope it’s not right after Charlotte wins, getting her to #15. Granted, she could cash in DURING the match and make it a 4-way. But of everyone, I think Charlotte needs to eat the pin tonight.
  • We have now had medical personnel tending to one of the participants in the middle of each women’s match tonight–first Shayna Baszler, now Bianca Belair. Seems like a misstep on someone’s part.
  • Bianca with the heroic comeback, and a beautiful 450 Splash on Charlotte during the Figure Eight.
  • Charlotte gets misted but Bianca gets the pin???
  • Makes sense if we do the cash in here. as Bianca is hurt.

Winner, AND NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair (pinfall, small package)

  • Aaaaaaaand here comes IYO SKY.
  • I love Corey Graves telling Bianca to get the hell out of dodge.
  • IYO and Bayley take out everyone, and she is indeed cashing in.
  • Over The Moonsault, new champion, and the crowd goes nuts. Women’s Money In The Bank briefcase is still undefeated.
  • Nice World Of Stardom reference by Michael Cole, too.

Winner, AND NEW WWE Women’s Champion: IYO SKY (CMITB cash-in, pinfall, Over The Moonsault)

AT The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

There were some rough spots, but the cash in saved it for me.

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match: Jey Uso vs. Roman Reigns (c) with Paul Heyman

  • I am timing this from the second Jey Uso’s theme hits through the end.
  • Man, Mike Rome is on one, and I am not sure if that’s a good thing. He doesn’t sound as fantastic as he usually does.
  • 12:34 from Jey’s music hitting to the bell ringing.
  • Roman is so slow and methodical, I don’t know if he realized Jey was going to dive so soon. Jey connected with Roman’s back, but that could have been really really bad.
  • I know this is Tribal Combat, but given the use of stairs earlier tonight, we might as well consider the stairs legal.
  • You know it’s an important match when Roman Reigns hits The Drive By, as he did on Jey Uso.
  • Table, Kendo Stick, and more early.
  • Jey clotheslining Roman over the top rope (with the Kendo Stick) and hitting the dive makes me think Jey got slightly lost earlier when he did the dive to a kneeling Roman’s back.
  • That was a MASSIVE powerbomb onto the chairs!
  • 35 minutes in (remember, since the start of Jey’s entrance, so 23 minutes into the match) and this is definitely just a touch slow. The story is amazing, so that’s my only complaint so far.
  • I have to wonder if Roman knew he was bleeding when he hopped the barricade to go into the crowd.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaand here’s Solo Sikoa. That should surprise no one. We gotta get the whole family involved, right? At least the whole Bloodline.
  • Solo declining to help Roman up might be starting Solo’s arc in the story, but it wasn’t apparent enough and commentary had to fill in the blanks.
  • 50:22 since Jey’s entrance is the point where Jimmy shows up (pulling Jey out of the ring).
  • Jimmy hits the Superkick and leaves.
  • Spear through the table that was set-up about a week ago and Roman Reigns pins Jey Uso at 52:09 (from th estart of Jey’s entrance).

Winner AND STILL Undisputed WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns (pinfall, spear through the table)

AT The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

“At” might surprise you, but this was WAY too slow. Bell-to-bell it was roughly 40 minutes, and that was about 10 minutes too long. But the story is worth it in the end.

WWE SummerSlam 2023

Total Matches: 8

  • ABOVE the Line of DeMarco-cation – 4 matches (3 WAY ABOVE)
  • AT the Line of DeMarco-cation – 3 matches
  • BELOW the Line of DeMarco-cation – 1 match

One “bad” match and seven “good ones, four of those I’d call “great.” Three of the great ones I labeled as “WAY ABOVE” the line, which easily makes up for one match that was lacking. Hell, when even the Battle Royal is good, you know you watched a damn good show.

Overall Rating for WWE SummerSlam 2023: 9/10

Let me know your thoughts! Drop a comment and tell me your ratings, and what you think of the Line Of DeMarco-cation.


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King’s WrestleMania Rewind: Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka from WrestleMania 34

Chris king is back with one of the most underrated matches in WrestleMania history–Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka!

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WWE WrestleMania 34 Charlotte Flair Asuka

Chris king is back with one of the most underrated matches in WrestleMania history–Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka!

We look back at Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka at WWE WrestleMania 34. ‘The Empress of Tomorrow’ put her unprecedented and historic undefeated streak of 914 days on the line against ‘The Queen’s’ SmackDown Women’s Championship.

For years, this was considered a dream match while Asuka dominated the roster in NXT, while Flair won numerous championships on the main roster on both Raw and SmackDown. The Empress made her long-awaited debut on the September 11th episode of Raw and began to tear through the competition.

Asuka outlasted all twenty-nine other women in the historic first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble match to challenge for the title of her choosing. At Fastlane, she made her choice.

The WWE Universe was so excited for this match myself included. Both superstars delivered a fantastic performance on the Grandest Stage of Them All executing counter after counter. Asuka showed off some nasty-looking kicks to her opponent, and Flair hit a thunderous Spanish Fly off the top rope. Flair was seconds away from defeat at the hands of The Empress but she locked in Figure Eight and Asuka was forced to tap out.

I can’t even begin to explain how shocked I was at this outcome, as nearly everyone expected The Empress to continue her undefeated streak and walk away with the women’s title. This controversial decision was the downfall of Asuka’s momentum. She would ultimately win the SmackDown Women’s Championship at the 2018 TLC pay-per-view in the triple-threat ladder match.

Fast forward to this year when Asuka has recently returned with her Japanese-inspired persona Kana. Kana is dangerous and ruthless and is heading into a championship with Bianca Belair at WrestleMania 39. The Empress has regained all her momentum and is highly favored to walk away with the Raw Women’s Championship. Let’s hope that Asuka and Belair can tear the house down and deliver an A+ grade match both women are fully capable of.


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