WWE spoiled this themselves when it was filmed, but unless you were at Full Sail Live on Aug. 24, we didn’t get to see it until the Sept. 6 edition of NXT on the Network.
It was a relatively understated ceremony, especially considering Asuka’s officially recognized 523 days as Women’s champion is part of a storyline which saw WWE recognize her as besting Goldberg’s undefeated streak and become the hold a title for longer than anyone else in the modern (post-national expansion) company history.
General Manager William Regal talked up the Empress of Tomorrow’s accomplishments, she spoke about how much NXT’s meant to her and how proud of her time there she is. Regal then announced he and Asuka were negotiating with the GMs of Raw and SmackDown to determine where on the main roster she’d land... and he then confirmed she would not be taking the belt with her.
The roster came out on stage to join the fans in giving her a standing ovation, and she shared individual moments with her last and perhaps greatest rival, Ember Moon:
#WWENXT @WWEEmberMoon & @WWEAsuka Forever. pic.twitter.com/2TSn2VTjUb— JJ Williams (@JJWilliamsWON) September 7, 2017
And then the father of NXT, Triple H himself, came out to honor her. The hug from Haitch was the only time Asuka slipped from smiling to tears:
#ThankYouAsuka for all you've done for @WWENXT...— Triple H (@TripleH) September 7, 2017
Now, what's next for the Empress of Tomorrow??
Two words...#GetReady #WeAreNXT @WWEAsuka pic.twitter.com/GiryOCzyOY
No word on how her successor will be determined, and only brief mentions from Mauro Ranallo on commentary of the collarbone injury which was announced just before this was taped.
WWE also released this video of the now former NXT champion addressing her situation in her native Japanese:
More to follow, but for now, we’ll just join the fans at Full Sail in saying “Thank You Asuka”.