The majority of responses from fans to the latest surprise twist in the already-twisty WrestleMania main event saga - Charlotte Flair winning the SmackDown Women’s title less than two weeks before she challenges for Ronda Rousey’s Raw belt in a Triple Threat which also includes Becky Lynch - seem to include some lament for the woman Flair defeated on the Mar. 26 SmackDown LIVE.
Not just that Asuka lost, but that it ended a title run with only one standout moment (tapping Lynch at Royal Rumble) which WWE never followed up on in any meaningful way. That it came after weeks of the Empress of Tomorrow taking a backseat to not only the Raw title scene, but tensions between possible challengers Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose. That instead of heading toward a singles match at WrestleMania, she’s likely getting a spot in the still-not-officially-announced Women’s Battle Royal.
Fans weren’t the only ones expressing their disappointment in how Asuka’s first main roster championship reign was booked, either. Some kept it kayfabe, or blended their support for the Japanese Superstar with a nod to the storyline of Charlotte as an entitled heel:
She did less to earn that title shot than the Wrestlemania one. Asuka deserves so much better.— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) March 27, 2019
Others stuck to virtual side-eye and celebrating Asuka herself:
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) March 27, 2019
— MELLA I$ MONEY (@CarmellaWWE) March 27, 2019
Lana being Lana, she also had to awkwardly inject her own brand into the proceedings...
Others just got to the point:
Perhaps most telling though was this quote from the Queen herself. Flair stepped out of her TV character to join the chorus of praise and thank the former champ for doing the honors:
None of which changes the way everything from her Ronda-assisted title win at TLC to last night went down. And one person who hasn’t complained is Asuka herself, who’s always been an utter professional (a woman who’s done some promoting herself and who’s always seemed happy to do whatever’s asked of her as long as the paychecks keep coming). Although she does sound a little melancholy...
over— ASUKA / 明日華 (@WWEAsuka) March 27, 2019
... and confused...
So, if you are upset about how things were written for the Empress, know you’re not alone.