The following editorial was written by Tyler Treese and does not reflect the opinions of WrestleZone as a whole. We encourage you all to discuss Tyler’s thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post and follow him on Twitter @tylertreese.
Yesterday the WWE shocked the wrestling world by having a surprise SmackDown Women’s Championship match between Asuka and Charlotte Flair. To the shock of many, Flair walked out with gold around her waist. While some liked the move, plenty went to Twitter to claim that Asuka and the rest of the women in the SmackDown locker room deserve better than to seemingly get their title match removed from the WrestleMania card at the last minute.
That’s a sentiment that I fully agree with. However, Asuka wasn’t getting a prime WrestleMania spot to begin with. No, she was getting a quick bout set up with just weeks to go before the biggest show of the year. It’s a far cry from last year when Asuka won the Women’s Royal Rumble and challenged Charlotte Flair. Instead, she was just getting thrown onto the card as a courtesy. That isn’t an actual sign of respect, as a throwaway match with no real build or feud isn’t doing Asuka’s reign any favor.
Ever since Asuka won the SmackDown Women’s Champonship, it has played second fiddle to the RAW brand. Both of her main competitors decided to chase the RAW belt and Ronda Rousey instead. From the very start, this reign hasn’t been treated with the respect it deserved. This wasn’t the dominant Asuka that controlled NXT, but a woman that was left off SmackDown for weeks on end and wasn’t even the featured female performer on the show.
Why Charlotte Flair Getting the Belt Makes Sense
So, with the current run already a disappointment and floundering (on no fault of Asuka), it actually makes sense to take the belt off her. Not only does it help an already bloated WrestleMania 35 card get slightly leaner, but the women can be thrown into the inevitable, yet currently unannounced, women’s battle royal that will happen. In fact, seeing an angry Asuka dominate a battle royal might be better than a quick defense of her title that doesn’t get enough time and has no story behind it.
The real plus side is where WWE’s attention has been the entire time: the triple threat for the RAW Women’s Title. It’s not currently known if the SmackDown belt will be on the line, but if it winds up being included then the match gets another layer of intrigue. Not only could we see the women’s division seemingly merged between brands, but a visual of someone like Becky Lynch holding up both titles to close ‘Mania would be an iconic moment. It still remains to be seen, but the WWE SmackDown belt is only elevated by being in the main event rather than being involved in a tertiary filler match that nobody really cares about.
However, Asuka definitely deserves better. Hopefully, she’ll get the attention and run she has earned. She’s easily one of the top female performers, if not the best, that WWE has on roster. She’s equally beloved in the locker room and is a true professional in and outside the ring. She deserves to be taken seriously, and hopefully after WrestleMania 35, they’ll make her out to be a real player in the women’s division rather than a champion that is barely around or displayed.