Upon Ronda Rousey’s long-anticipated debut at the Royal Rumble in January, WWE made a point to have her initial showdown with Asuka, the winner of the first-ever Women’s Rumble.
Rousey would go on to battle with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H at WrestleMania 34, but the seeds had been planted for an eventual showdown with the Empress of Tomorrow.
In the weeks separating the Rumble to WrestleMania, something changed behind the scenes. Asuka went from being groomed as the top act alongside Rousey to unceremoniously falling to Charlotte, ending her nearly three-year unbeaten streak.
According to Brad Shepard on his Backstage in WWE podcast, here’s how everything went down:
“This was very interesting, because originally Asuka was going to win with a Carmella cash-in. Carmella was going to lose and the big match they were going to build to was Asuka vs. Ronda Rousey. Now you may have heard me promote that I believe personally the biggest match they could do is Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte. And they finally came around to that opinion at some point in the past few weeks.
I don’t know exactly when but it was around the time Asuka stopped using the armbar that they made the decision that Charlotte was going to go over and end the streak and be the person and Vince (McMahon) lost faith in Asuka as that top woman to face Ronda Rousey. So that’s essentially what happened.”
Charlotte dropped the Smackdown Women’s title against Carmella on Tuesday evening, so she’ll certainly move forward in hopes of reclaiming her throne.
WWE is already reportedly preparing for Rousey-Charlotte to main event WrestleMania 35, and it will be interesting to see where Asuka goes from here and what exactly led to Vince McMahon losing faith in the top women’s star.
Anything can change in the next year, but for now Charlotte and Asuka will likely go their separate ways.