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Asuka's video by the pool was great. Her biggest problem in ring in NXT is not having any other woman that can keep up with her. Peyton was trying hard, but was still half a step behind. I think Emma was her best opponent.

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9 hours ago, Eivion said:

I liked Mickie more in the Takeover match. I liked Nia more in the Osaka match. I think Sasha/Nia from Fastlane was better than any of Nia's NXT matches sans maybe the first Bayley match which is weird to me since I think Nia has gotten considerably better since then. Asuka's only noticeable match with Liv Morgan was a squash so I'm not really sure why she was brought up. Asuka's style is shoot with a mix of what she was doing before then which was somewhat standard joshi so I don't find her super unorthodox like Mutoh. Whats more she actually does do NXT tours so she is essentially doing house shows. Never saw her and SDR's Chikara match, but I did see their Shimmer match which was good but nothing amazing. You have to understand I'm getting most of what think of Asuka from her Japan work and what I've seen her of this last year and half in NXT. I haven't seen too much of her US indy work, but I can't see it making a big change in my opinion. She hasn't been given the best of opponents, but neither was Bayley who I felt did solid to good work with lesser opponents when she was champ. I think Asuka is good and can be booked better, but I don't think she is so much better than every other female talent in NXT. I think she would honestly have it worse on the regular roster as she would be either similarly screwed like Nia so the Horsewomen can remain the top talents or she would be on SDL trying to carry most of her opponents like Becky.

Yup, Asuka does house shows but what was her last long term program where she was given a loop of house shows to familiarize herself with an opponent? Nia Jax? I saw those two have a pretty lousy match in Seattle and then at the next Takeover, the awkwardness was gone and they had a killer match. I prefer the Asuka/Jax matches over the Bayley/Jax matches because Asuka's offense looks a lot better against Nia than Bayley's and it's more believable. She's a better bumper too, but she's not as sympathetic as Bayley.

Your reference to Liv Morgan is exactly my point. She hasn't had an actual program! She's had a bunch of one-off, extended squashes for a year now and it's gone about how you'd think a year of squashes and one competitive match against an outsider could go.

As for Bayley getting more out of the same level of opponent, that's certainly true. The Eva Marie matches were a little sloppy but heck of fun. But that also plays to the major differences in Asuka and Bayley's characters. Asuka is a dominant champion that shows little to no vulnerability (aside when she's paired with Jax) and Bayley is the complete opposite, so Bayley's matches were competitive whereas Asuka is booked to dominate her opponents. If she were in a 3 month program with somebody on her level in kayfabe terms, we'd see better things than what we've seen.

Asuka's problems are largely down to booking but she could've done a better job with the Bayley matches.

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Asuka just moves so much more smoothly and executes all her moves so much more cleanly than anyone else in NXT. Ember looks decent in that regard, so I might buy the the "no good opponents" line for her, but definitely not for anyone else. Nikki has a great character but is still in the process of squaring her presence with her size, something Asuka has no issues with. Billie is just straight up slow and awkward in the ring in addition to having no presence. It's kind of amazing how bad she's looked in NXT given her experience.

Asuka easily got the best matches out of Nia, and is also the only person to have a good match with Dana Brooke. Her matches with Bayley could've been better, but were still pretty good, as were the Emma and Mickie matches. No one else in NXT has a resume that's even close to hers right now, and it's pretty clear she's holding back a lot of the time.

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Asuka/Bayley had the disadvantage of being face vs face. I think if they had let Asuka turn heel they would've had an incredible feud. All the best womens matches in NXT were with Sasha working heel, and none of her face vs face matches with Becky and Bayley on the MR have been anything special. Asuka is clearly the best female worker in NXT so it just seems silly when she has to sell for awkward wrestlers half her speed.

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Did they mic the crowd wrong or something for these latest two episodes?  I can't believe they were THAT silent.

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Asuka may not have had a long term feud with anyone, but she was working house shows agaisnt Royce and Kay going back to at least last April.  She worked Royce at the Concord show right after Wrestlemania.

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16 hours ago, Oyaji said:

 I thought Asuka's match with Mickie James was good, really good even. But other than that, she's been working Nia Jax, who I think she's gotten the best out of in their encounters (I seriously loved both of their big matches–way more than either Bayley match), and a lot of green girls or above average workers.

Agreed, loved the Asuka/Nia match in Osaka. Thought that was easily the best Nia has ever looked and remained credible in defeat unlike tapping out to bayley.

I've thought Asuka's on another level since she started in NXT and really enjoyed her first several matches. The debut against Dana Brooke was perfect, the early squash vs Cameron was super fun and the Takeover match with Emma remains one of my top favorite NXT matches.

Since then, as mentioned the Mickie match was very good. I don't like bayley at all but those matches were pretty good while admittedly far from Asuka's best. Really liked the recent Peyton Royce match, thought both looked great there.

I like Ember a lot and have watched her since her first match 10 years ago through Shimmer where she worked Asuka before to now, she has certainly gotten very good but I wouldn't say she's quite on the level of as good as Asuka yet. Booking/push wise I don't feel like she's ready to be the one that beats Asuka so I'm hoping that doesn't happen yet. Asuka/Cross does feel left unresolved. Billie Kay is a long time indy fav of mine, thought she was a top 5 worker in Shimmer so I hope she continues to get better in NXT. I like her and Peyton's heel act a lot but think she might still be a better babyface.

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1 hour ago, FakeWorker said:

Did they mic the crowd wrong or something for these latest two episodes?  I can't believe they were THAT silent.

They miced the crowd pretty poorly especially during TJP/Shinsuke and Roode/Ohno. However, the crowd was pretty dead for Sanity segments/matches.

If Asuka is beating Ember at takeover, I hope she faces Ruby Riot at least once. I think Ruby has more potential than Ember and I like Ember but she's just not as over as she should be.

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After reading everyone's take, I think Asuka is getting too much leeway because of her past glory. Her matches have no gravitas since there's no chance of her losing. (Major part of this is because of booking yet I can't help but put part of the blame on the hardcore crowd themselves; I mean, when Asuka went up against Emma, some peeps were complaining that Emma got too much offense in.)

Yes, Asuak's a great wrestler, but one of her biggest flaw is that she can't carry a match by herself. To do that she'll need to match her speed with her opponent and/or be a great ring general, neither of which I think she's very good at.

Asuka's match with Jax got progressively better not because of Asuka, but because Jax herself elevated her game. Emma was at the height of her glory when she faced Asuaka (if anything, I wish they had used Emma to help break Asuka's invincibility). And Mickie was Mickie, displaying her in ring presence and experience. (Whatever the reason, WWE stylistic change or communication.)

With all the leeway given to Asuka, I wish the same would be given to Royce and Kay since both of them are also hampered by the same hurdles. I mean, their biggest feud is with Liv freakin Tyler. If anything, I think they should have been booked much stronger as a pair, so much so that they would handily beat Asuka as a pair instead of being bowling pins.

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11 minutes ago, turk128 said:

 

With all the leeway given to Asuka, I wish the same would be given to Royce and Kay since both of them are also hampered by the same hurdles. I mean, their biggest feud is with Liv freakin Tyler.

I would imagine a feud with Liv Tyler would be big, what with her having all those Middle Earth elves on her side.

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2 minutes ago, zev said:

I would imagine a feud with Liv Tyler would be big, what with her having all those Middle Earth elves on her side.

I blame it on the fact that her character is so freakin forgettable, down to her generic randomly generated name :D

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As much as I love Chris Hero/Kassius Ohno, whoever told him that ring gear looked good on this week's episode needs to be FIRED. I mean, my god, what were they thinking?

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All I want from Asuka/Moon is the Eclipse countered into an Asuka-lock. Actually I want a good match, but if they time that right it could be beautiful. 

When Regal announced the 3 way elimination tag I could almost see the wheels turning in Dawson's head coming up with all the possibilities. 

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Asuka's best match was the one against Mickie James. Honestly I'm kinda sad they didn't keep Mickie in NXT a little bit to maybe help season some of the other girls because they would have benefited from that immensely.

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NXT is gonna be like 10 minutes from my house, but I'm leery of getting tickets before the post-Mania call-ups.

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I don't think Asuka is a very effective face. A huge part of that is because she is in Bayley's shadow. Bayley's NXT run pretty much defined "babyface overcoming the odds."

It's not just the booking. And it's not just the competition being green. The Nia matches were good, but I liked the ones with Bayley more. Asuka had to fight from underneath in the four way but didn't look great in that, either.

I have never once believed her to be in danger. I don't think she fights from underneath well at all. It's not just the booking. She's just not convincing when she has to show fire. She doesn't project sympathy. She doesn't sell well. Shinsuke has been booked a lot like Asuka. I'm not crazy about Shinsuke, but he really knows how to emote suffering and hurt and a struggle. Asuka doesn't communicate that well.

This is probably going to sound really goofy. But Asuka is like a not-as-good Ultimate Warrior. Like, obviously, Warrior sucks in terms of executing anything resembling simulated combat. But in terms of being an overwhelming force-of-nature, he certainly communicated it well when he was in peril. Asuka is a force-of-nature. And she has been put in places where she is supposed to be in peril. She doesn't feel like she's in danger because she's not good at showing like she's in danger.

It's a really weird thing to see because Asuka is AWESOME at communicating. She wrestles like she's in front of 50,000 people at all times. But she also knows how to do really subtle pauses and glances to the crowd. She also speaks English really well -- showing emotion in a second language is really hard, and she does that really effectively

Asuka is a great ass-kicking heel. She's great at showing overwhelming self-confidence. That pool promo was such a great jerk heel video. She could be the best heel in wrestling with her arrogance. She should be such an awesome heel that she gets respect face reactions.

Play to her strengths. She's a natural heel and let her run with that.

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At this point, do you think it's too late to play that card?

I mean, Bailey would have been the perfect opportunity to do it but they didn't then. Also, short of having the Drifter escort her out, it didn't help that the crowd would have cheered her anyways if she heeled it up.

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At the moment, there aren't any over enough faces for Asuka to get booed against. Liv and Aaliyah aren't at that level, and Ember Moon is maybe the least interesting/over person to challenge for the title at a Takeover. I do feel like Heidi Lovelace has a chance to break out as a face, think she can take the Bayley role of someone who appeals to teenage girls as well as being a great wrestler, but that may be a while in coming

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I kind of think they should do the falconer bit Gary Hart used to do with Abdullah for Nikki when she has a a match.  Keep her head/eyes covered to keep her calm and then she goes berserk when she sees an opponent.

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I'd be perfectly ok with Nikki being the one to take the belt from Asuka.  You can play up that Asuka can overcome an opponent's size, strength, or wrestling ability but couldn't counter someone as unpredictable and crazy as Nikki.

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It's kind of pointless to discuss the women's division right now when it's going to be so different in a few months time. Even if there's no Shirai there's going to be 5 or so new faces I would assume will be booked strong from the start.

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11 hours ago, turk128 said:

At this point, do you think it's too late to play that card?

I mean, Bailey would have been the perfect opportunity to do it but they didn't then. Also, short of having the Drifter escort her out, it didn't help that the crowd would have cheered her anyways if she heeled it up.

It's fine if the crowd cheers her if she heels it up. Fans will cheer for whoever. But her matches would be way better if she was a heel.

Execution wise, Asuka is awesome. Everything she does looks great. But her storytelling is off because she doesn't show vulnerability well.That's not because of booking -- it's because she's not great at working from underneath, and she has had to in most of her matches.

i kind of can't even "rank" her next to the other NXT women over the years. She's just not good at playing a face. And it's pretty clear to see since she took the torch from Bayley who is one of the all-time best at emoting sympathy.

She has "Miz" syndrome. Miz is the absolute bottom pit of wrestling when he's a face. But he's Hall of Fame-level great as a heel.

There's nothing wrong with that. It just is what it is. She's so good at physically expressing herself in every other way other than "oh, crap, that dastardly heel just did something awful to Asuka and she might lose!"

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