I’m not silly. Effectively, I’m not that silly. A minimum of among the time, when the few neurons I’ve left hearth on the identical time. I do know Rhea Ripley is successful the Royal Rumble on Saturday. You already know Rhea Ripley is successful the Royal Rumble on Saturday. And that’s not a nasty factor! She’s nice. Nevertheless it ought to be Asuka.
Rhea has been an underutilized badass just about her total time on the principle roster. She’s nearly the one advantage of Judgement Day, and I say that as an unapologetic Damien Priest fan (I appreciated him even when his identify was “Punishment Martinez,” which was a giant impediment to recover from). Even whereas being saddled with the failson cipher that’s Dominik Mysterio, Rhea has shined because the dominatrix who simply give up her job as a result of she didn’t get to inflict sufficient ache. She is principally the one powerhouse on the ladies’s roster that’s one thing different than simply large. Rhea can do a number of shit!
She’s additionally acquired a historical past with Bianca Belair, going all the way in which again to NXT. There is no such thing as a query they might have a Mania-quality match in Los Angeles, and will conceivably steal the present if given 15-20. Belair has turn out to be one thing of a Mania specialist, and Rhea is definitely on that stage.
However WWE and Triple H can get to that match with out Rhea successful the Rumble. She’s actually the one credible challenger on Uncooked as it’s. Bayley has been made to look extra doof-ish than conniving, and she or he’s already had her pictures at Bianca. Becky Lynch has a “Been there, finished that” really feel in the intervening time for Belair. Until Alexa Bliss’s flip to the theatrical with Bray Wyatt actually takes maintain, she doesn’t fairly have the in-ring chops to be in a Mania match with Belair. And even when it does, Bray Wyatt’s theatricality hasn’t ever actually labored on the Mania stage (suppose bugs, suppose Alexa herself popping out of that fucking field). Rhea-Bianca is already within the water.
What WWE wants is one thing for Charlotte. The SmackDown ladies’s roster is fairly barren in the intervening time. Raquel Rodriguez appears to be getting warmed up for Charlotte, however she’s not prepared for this type of platform. Ronda Rousey is off having one other pout as a result of issues didn’t go her approach just like the spoiled brat she is. Which has left Shayna Bazler twisting within the wind, although she is likely to be a reasonably good dance companion for Charlotte. Or she could be, if she’d gotten to do something on the principle roster as she did in NXT, which she hasn’t. To the WWE viewers, she’s only a face within the crowd.
Flair needs a legitimate challenger
If the goal is to give fans a Charlotte match they can actually sink their teeth into, then there’s only one choice. Asuka hasn’t disappeared like some, though she hasn’t been front and center since sort of pairing up with Belair and Bliss to take on Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai. The last time we saw Asuka, a month ago on Raw, she’d removed her facepaint but had a new, steely edge in her match with Ripley. Fans felt like she was getting back to her NXT/unstoppable monster days, if not her Japan/homicide clown days. On social media, she’s been teasing discovering a more moderen and/or higher model of herself, and there’d be no higher place for her to introduce a brand new leaf than strolling into the Rumble and clearing out the ring as a refreshed aggression machine.
She additionally has a wealthy historical past with Charlotte. The 2 of them perhaps had the perfect match at WrestleMania 34, when Charlotte ended Asuka’s unbeaten streak that had spanned her NXT and WWE profession to that time. Asuka additionally needed to get fed to Charlotte proper earlier than Wrestlemania 35, forking over her title as Charlotte was retrofitted/jammed into the Lynch-Rousey match the place she actually didn’t match.
Asuka hasn’t actually recovered from that, which most followers thought was fully unfair. She had an amazing run as champ a yr later…in the course of the pandemic. She by no means acquired to hold a title again in entrance of dwell audiences. Nevertheless it was the having to do the job to Charlotte to meet the imaginative and prescient that Vince McMahon had for the first-ever ladies’s foremost occasion that left followers feeling like Asuka had been cheated. There may be unfinished enterprise right here, which a Mania match might middle on.
WWE’s underutilized ace
It’s that feeling that Asuka has by no means hit the heights she’s greater than able to with WWE that makes her your best option to win the Rumble for a second time. She’d be the primary to do this, which supplies her much more sheen to take a primary Mania spot. Whereas HHH has introduced a number of wrestlers again into the corporate, who has actually been remade and improved? Perhaps Rhea? Debatable. Right here’s an actual likelihood.
A brand new daybreak for WWE, together with Asuka exhibiting a need to remake herself, offers each a street to a real Asuka revival. Her profession has been outlined by Charlotte, and by dropping to Charlotte. First, it was the top of her dominance. Then it was an instance of how she would by no means be held to the identical stage as Charlotte or Becky and even Ronda, regardless of possible being a greater employee than all of them. She belongs there, although.
One other match with Charlotte can put all that firmly previously and arrange one nice foremost roster run for Asuka. She’s 41 now, she received’t be round ceaselessly. WWE might get so much out of a reborn, murderous, scary-as-fuck Asuka. Greater than the form of lovely, very humorous, nonetheless technically gifted performer they’ve had for the previous yr or two. There’s no higher technique to get to the primary avenue than having her lastly get one over Charlotte, and the symbolism of a remade Asuka shifting past Vince’s previous standby/binky in Charlotte could be arduous to overlook. And one of the best ways to get there may be for no matter this new model of Asuka goes to be taking the Rumble.