Emma vs. Asuka
On Raw weeks back, Emma won a fatal 5-way to earn the right to face the undefeated Asuka in the former NXT Women’s Champion’s first main roster match.
It’s a match that Emma won’t win.
Since arriving in NXT, Asuka has been unstoppable. She debuted over two years ago, on September 23, 2015, and since that time, she has not been pinned nor submitted. (Outside not winning a battle royal early on, she’s undefeated.) She won the Women’s title from Bayley six months after her debut and held it for 523 days until she relinquished it to move to the main roster. During that time she retained against the likes of Bayley, Mickie James, Nikki Cross, and Ember Moon. She left NXT dominant and undefeated.
That certainly won’t end tonight. It looks like WWE plans to play up Asuka’s NXT streak, and her dominance, on the main roster.
If WWE were planning to make Asuka start from scratch on the WWE roster and earn her way up, she would have lost before leaving NXT. That’s what happens with pretty much all of the champions that leave developmental (outside Paige who relinquished her title). She would have likely lost to challenger Ember Moon at TakeOver: Brooklyn and then showed up on Raw.
That didn’t happen. Asuka defeated her foe in New York and relinquished her title. In retrospect this shouldn’t be too surprising. When they have Goldberg putting over her undefeated streak, they’re taking it seriously. They’re certainly not going to waste the opportunity to explore it further on the main roster.
After she relinquished her championship, it was soon announced she would be a Raw talent. To hype her debut, they started airing very impressive video packages for over a month. This was in order to introduce her to the main roster crowd, which is much larger than just the folks who watch NXT. The WWE video department is always stellar and these videos were no exception.
It isn’t commonplace for NXT call-ups to receive the video rollout. Often, NXT wrestlers will just show up. (Usually this will happen in front of a hardcore crowd like a post-WrestleMania show where fans already know them.) Shinsuke Nakamura, the Revival, Samoa Joe, Finn Bálor, Bayley, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Sasha Banks are all former NXT champions that showed up without any fanfare prior.
Given such an introduction, Emma is a long shot to win tonight. But this isn’t bad for her. She was chosen because she’s worked Asuka before and they had a very good match. If WWE is serious about Asuka’s rollout being a big deal, and it certainly looks that way, then it means they have faith in Emma to keep it going.
Asuka is special. She has a unique look, a silent charisma, and a believably vicious style in the ring. WWE knows this. Tonight, the larger WWE crowd will as well.
TLC airs tonight at 8 EST on WWE Network. Keep it here to CagesideSeats.com for all of your TLC coverage.
Who will win this match?
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