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Asuka’s Return Is Much Appreciated and Much Needed

On the 25th April edition of Raw, Asuka made her return to action in the WWE by interrupting Becky Lynch during a ‘Big Time Becks’ promo that saw the semi-desperate former champion rant on about how she would regain her championship from Bianca Belair and that nobody would then be able to stop here: not Liv, not Tamina…

…How about Asuka?

Becky sold the moment brilliantly, selling the interruption of Asuka’s entrance music by freezing and dropping the mic to the mat in total shock. Asuka got a great pop as she appeared on the stage and swaggered, strutted and danced to the ring in her inimitable style. The dancing didn’t stop there as she clearly delighted in winding up Lynch, shimmying in her face and claiming that “I will stop you because no one is ready for Asuka!” She then proceeded to flick Becky Lynch’s nose in possibly the cutest insult I’ve ever seen. Lynch wasn’t taking that, throwing a fist and missing, and any cuteness in Asuka’s arsenal soon disappeared as she quickly switched into a back-fist, Lynch ducking and exiting to the floor.

It was a great return and well booked: simple, logical, full of energy and effective. And the timing, quite frankly, couldn’t be better.

WWE’s women’s division does have a lot of talent. The problem is, outside of Bianca, they have fallen into the trap of pushing the same few women: Charlotte, Sasha, Becky, Rhonda. Talented performers like Rhea Ripley are certainly being used, but you have no faith that they will reach the next level, something you know they could do so easily and supremely well, but they’re chained by their booking. When someone as talented as Shayna Baszler is not in your main event scene then you know something is wrong. No wonder Toni Storm left.

Because WWE is not willing to elevate new women to the top end of the women’s division, the lack of the likes of Bayley and Asuka, both out due to injury, was all the more severely felt. Asuka’s return helps to inject some more excitement into the women’s division. While she is not a new face, Asuka is undoubtedly one of the best wrestlers, male or female, in WWE, if not the world. She could have a match with a broom handle and make that length of wood look damn good. No doubt, whilst feuding with Lynch, that she is going to be wrestling some of the newer faces on the women’s roster as well. That sets up some fresh matches and hopefully will help to elevate some of that talent also.

There’s also the fact that Asuka feels like and carries herself like a real superstar, something some of WWE’s main event talent has struggled with in recent years (look at how long it took for Roman Reigns to be accepted as a main eventer). Asuka is a ball of colour and energy, and I’ve not seen WWE audiences look so genuinely happy as they do when she appears. Look at how excited people were when she reappeared on Raw, chanting her name as she strutted like an absolute boss (sorry, Sasha). Refuting the idea that non-English speaking wrestlers can’t get over and become stars, Asuka uses her personality and energy to great effect. A feud with Becky might not be fresh, but it will inject some genuine excitement into a stale women’s division.

Lastly, consider this: assuming Bianca is going to get a good run with the title this time, and assuming Vince does genuinely want to build Bianca up this time as a legit star, then who better than to have her eventually wrestle and defeat the returning Asuka? Assuming that’s where WWE is heading with this, that’s a very attractive prospect and will help to establish Bianca as a legitimate main event superstar.

Asuka’s return really couldn’t have come at a better time. I can’t wait to see her in action once more. I’m sure we won’t have long to wait…

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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