This past Wednesday on NXT, we saw Asuka defend her title once again. While touting an astounding 174-0 record in WWE, the “Empress of Tomorrow” is seemingly unbeatable. Last night, her title match against Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot ended in a no contest. After brawling with Cross throughout the arena, the show ended with the two going through a set of tables near the entrance ramp. This match, along with other recent bouts starring the women’s champion, has led fans to ask: What gives? When is Asuka finally going to lose and relinquish her title to another worthy woman?
When Will Asuka Lose?
Sooner, Rather than Later
It’s no secret; Asuka is an absolutely fantastic wrestler. Honestly, WWE wouldn’t be pushing her so hard if she wasn’t. However, it’s also no secret that her time in NXT is getting a bit boring. Back in older times, long-reigning champions were more widely accepted. I mean, just look at Bruno Sammartino. Holding the WWE Championship for a jaw-dropping 2,803 days, Sammartino is the longest reigning major champion ever for WWE. At the time of writing, the Empress of Tomorrow has been champion for 434 days, and counting. Sure, that’s nowhere near Sammartino’s epic reign. However, fans are far less likely to accept long title reigns in this era. There’s a sweet spot that exists, and it’s incredibly important.
From November 30, 2011 to January 27, 2013, CM Punk held the WWE Championship. Doing the math, that also amounts to 434 days. But audiences loved it. Could part of this be because Punk was exactly what WWE needed at that time? Yes, and actually, that’s probably a lot of it. Punk looked absolutely unbeatable for a time, and fans never wanted to see him to lose the title. So, why isn’t Asuka the exact same way?
NXT Is A Different Beast
In an article about Tye Dillinger, I noted that there’s an innate formula to the yellow brand. In short, champions reign until a new challenger walks into NXT and takes the mantle. The former champion then moves up to the main roster. Simple, right? Well, the current NXT Women’s Champion has broken that formula a handful of times.
Championships are a great thing. Of course, there’s only room for one person at the top (save for tag teams, of course). If Asuka were to have this type of reign on RAW, she would be legendary. But because she is still in NXT, it’s a different story. Truthfully, it almost seems like she buries new challengers, although that isn’t the case at all. She just halts the momentum of the newest challenger until they find a different woman to feud with, while she remains at the top. Eventually, that challenger moves up to the main roster. Truthfully, if this reign is hurting anyone, it’s Asuka herself.
Let’s try to pinpoint when Asuka is finally going to lose this title. Looking at WWE’s schedule, there are two main sets of NXT call-ups that occur each year. One set on the night after WrestleMania, and one after each year’s Summerslam. And there is where we find our target. If the Empress really wants to move up to the main roster, she will undoubtedly have a date with someone at Takeover: Brooklyn III. Who that someone is remains to be seen. However, Nikki Cross, Ember Moon, and Ruby Riot seem to be the favorites.
Whoever she faces at Takeover: Brooklyn III will most likely be the one to take that title off of her. And when that happens, fans can absolutely expect to see Asuka on the main roster, wreaking havoc in another women’s division. If she loses the title at Takeover: Brooklyn III, the Empress of Tomorrow is in line to be the next big star of today.