NXT Women’s champion Asuka is a curious case.
Undefeated in one-on-one competition since signing with WWE, the Japanese Superstar is already the longest reigning singles titleholder in brand history, and she’s about to pass The Ascension to become the champ with the longest tenure, period.
Her dominance in the not-even-a-year-and-a-half since her official debut at TakeOver: Respect has reached the point where WWE is touting her epic run in historic terms - and they’ve even enlisted the man who arguably holds the most famous undefeated streak in pro wrestling history to call attention to it:
Congratulations @WWEAsuka on your 149th win in a row! #whosnext 次はどなたですか— Bill Goldberg (@Goldberg) February 25, 2017
The honor is more than I deserve.— ASUKA / 明日華 (@WWEAsuka) February 25, 2017
I'm looking for sacrifice... #QueenOfDeathMetalStyle #Assassin #ゴールドバーグ https://t.co/2jwZfn5ZF7
It’s widely accepted that Goldberg’s 173 - 0 streak in WCW was inflated, but it’s still “official”. Referencing it, especially as he’s headed into a high profile WrestleMania match (and a possible run with the Universal title) is a big deal.
As we were just reminded with Ric Flair, John Cena and the World title rankings, WWE controls the record book for everyone under contract to them, and can use it however the story they want to tell requires. No matter, that they’re even teasing Goldberg’s feat could be topped by a non-American woman on the company’s third brand is remarkable.
This also brings up the question, would WWE be doing this if they planned to keep the Empress of Tomorrow on a show that only airs on their streaming service?
With Naomi down with a knee injury, WWE made the call to give Asuka her Madison Square Garden debut at the pre-WrestleMania house show they’re running there on March 12. Now we’ve got word that’s only one of several live events she’ll be working with the SmackDown roster. After the MSG show, she’ll on the next night’s card for Charleston, West Virginia, then she’ll rejoin the main roster the weekend before Mania for shows in Johnson City, Tennessee, Raleigh, North Carolina and Norfolk, Virgina March 25 - 27.
This could all be prelude to a full-time call-up. There’s not much else for Asuka to do in NXT except put over whoever they decide the next Women’s champ, and top female star, should be.
Another theory is that WWE’s booking her for as many matches as possible to pad her win total before Ember Moon, Nikki Cross or whomever Triple H & team decides dethrones her. In that scenario, she may or may not be moved to Raw or SmackDown - but could remain a “special attraction” for NXT where they can promote her as the woman who bested Goldberg’s undefeated streak, regardless of whether or not she has a championship around her waist.
A dominant, ass-kicking force of nature like her can absolutely succeed on the main roster, but that’s if WWE wants to commit to her and her character. As most observers know, it can be difficult to predict what the company is thinking.
It all adds up to a bunch of speculation, which is why she’s a curious case. The next couple months should be very interesting for the Empress of Tomorrow.