Last night at Clash of Champions we saw Asuka perform double duty as Raw Women’s Champion yet again. There was some late shake-up with the card that caused it, but in the end Asuka is heading to Hell in a Cell looking dominant as ever with wins over Zelina Vega and Bayley (albeit by DQ with the latter).
So, who is next? We start on the road to Hell in a Cell tonight on Monday Night Raw and Asuka has run through almost everyone on the brand at the moment so who could shape up to be her opponent at HIAC on October 25th?
Let’s start with Asuka’s opponent from last night. Yes I know they literally just fought and this feud seemed to come out of nowhere, but I really thought that Vega held her own last night. Asuka has a way of making her opponents look good, but Vega still showed up and showed out and I think that this feud would be a good one to continue through the draft to HIAC to see what we have of Vega and to either push her or to further build Asuka as a monster in the division. Plus, if you felt that there was lack of storytelling with their match at Clash, there are 4 weeks until HIAC where you can build this feud up.
There have been a lot of questionable finishes within matches in the last month or so. From what feels like a record number of X’s being thrown up by refs to stop matches, to shoulders not being fully down on the mat, it has been a head scratching period for match endings.
A match with Mickie James was hit with this a few weeks ago when a match got stopped abruptly and you could even see the confusion and fury in James’ face at the decision. She was trying to build herself one last run at the Women’s title, but after this miscue of a fall, she was beaten by Vega the following week so that Vega could secure her match last night at the PPV.
I know that James had her title shot on the In Your Face edition of Raw a few weeks ago, but I still want to see James get one last push. I would expect her to throw her name in the hat for a championship match at HIAC very quickly. Whether James turns heel and gets an edge to her by taking out other opponents, or if she just continues performing well, I think we see a new level of focus and intensity from James going forward.
This is your weekly reminder that they broke up the Iconics. I know, YOU’VE GOT TO BE JOKIN’ ME! Supposedly this was done to let Royce have a singles push, so let’s start that push. She had a match with Asuka last week that got called a DQ when Vega interfered so it would make sense that Royce has a chip on her shoulder and that she would want to prove that she can take down Asuka. Have her come out tonight when Asuka cuts some promo about being the best still and that she has beaten everyone. Royce’s single persona is so new that we don’t really know what to expect from her. Get creative, have some fun, and see what you have with Royce as a singles competitor.
Bianca Belair’s main roster presence would fall under the “what are they doing here” category of Monday Night Raw. They brought her up to team with Ruby Riott, she has teamed with the re-formed Riott Squad, and she has competed on Main Event. She also was involved in the Street Profits and Andrade/Garza poisoning angle as she took out Zelina Vega. Last week we got a video promo of her outworking guys in the gym. She looks super strong, from a Mr. Perfect-esque promo, so let’s throw her in the mix. If Vega would’ve won last night I was expecting Belair to get involved. I think that she is a bright spot of the women’s division on Raw and is underutilized. Let’s not lose her to SmackDown in the upcoming draft and let’s give her some direction by putting her in the title picture.
I can’t say that I enjoy the newfound tag team of her and Lana with the “better than you” gimmick; I guess that means Natalya as a heel is working? Either way, a few weeks ago when Mickie James, Lana, and Natalya were all saying they wanted a piece of Asuka, I was most excited about Mickie James there, but Natalya was a close second. If they aren’t going to get pushed in the Women’s Tag division, this team needs some gold from somewhere. Even as a team I think Lana works better as the mouth and she can drive the social media banter behind a Natalya championship run. There is a lot they can do claiming to be the Best Of All Time, but I think they need some gold to really cement this angle.
...All of them?
Hear me out. Do you want Asuka to look unbeatable heading into Survivor Series? Have her beat all of them in Hell In A Cell. Call it a 6-pack challenge, make it a gauntlet match if needed, just utilize the PPV’s gimmick and angle it towards making Asuka look dominant. The other added bonus is that if you want Asuka to drop the belt, the new champion would fall into legitimacy with their title reign if they best the other 5 members in the match and it is Hell in a Cell. I’m sure there are ways WWE creative could screw it up, but we won’t see an unearned finish like the Men’s Money in the Bank match or anything. PLUS, as an added bonus, if you do want a new superstar from Smackdown or NXT from the upcoming draft to make an instant impact, they could earn their spot in the multi-person match and it would be an easy way to have instant relevance without needing a long-term story for a build. This type of match would help in so many ways, and it would really create some interesting feuds and story telling no matter who would be victorious.
Who do you want to see step up to face Asuka next? How long do you see Asuka holding the belt? Let me know in the comments and on Twitter!
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