Asuka vs. Becky Lynch has been made official for the WWE Royal Rumble Pay Per View, but even though The Man is already locked in a championship match, she can still win the Women’s Rumble that night.
Becky Lynch held the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Hell in a Cell through TLC, losing the title to Asuka last Sunday in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, thanks to critical interference from Ronda Rousey. Because of her rivalry with Rousey, which has bled into every aspect of the product, Becky is one of the favorites to win the WWE Royal Rumble on Jan. 27 and face Rousey in the main event of WrestleMania 35.
However, a recent announcement at WWE‘s “Main Event” tapings complicates this scenario, because Becky is scheduled to face Asuka at the Royal Rumble Pay Per View in what should be a show-stealing matchup for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Although WWE announced that as part of their new approach to the product, rematch clauses will no longer exist, Becky has a rematch against Asuka for the most prestigious title in the company. I’m sure most fans are excited to see Asuka and Becky potentially battle at the Rumble Pay Per View, as they are two of the best wrestlers on the planet right now.
However, those same fans may be slightly disappointed, because this could mean that Lynch won’t compete in the Women’s Rumble match, which means she wouldn’t be able to get her revenge against Rousey in a WrestleMania 35 match for the Raw Women’s Championship.
Thanks to Becky, Charlotte Flair, and Asuka, who recently defeated Naomi in a singles match on SmackDown Live, the SmackDown Women’s Championship has felt like the much bigger deal these past few months, even considering Rousey’s star power as a mainstream celebrity. But the matches Charlotte and Becky have put together on PPV are among the best this year, with their Last Woman Standing match at Evolution being historically good.
The prestige of the SmackDown Women’s Title is worth mentioning, because that title means the world to Becky, who is primarily responsible for elevating the championship. But she and Charlotte have both turned their direction toward Rousey, and Vince McMahon himself essentially confirmed that when he appeared on the most recent episode of SmackDown to interrupt their argument with Asuka. Those two women both want Rousey, and there’s a chance they may get their opportunity at WrestleMania 35.
Becky will have her match against Asuka first, but she could still insert herself in the Rumble afterwards. That would be the biggest surprise of the night, and the pop when Becky appears in the Rumble, perhaps even taking out former foe Carmella from the No. 30 position, would be ungodly. Becky is the most beloved superstar in WWE, and the company has a real opportunity to pull a surprise here by teasing her being unable to compete in the Rumble before building anticipation and finally pulling the trigger on a WrestleMania main event involving Lynch.
While it hurts not seeing Becky with the SmackDown Women’s Championship in her grasp, there’s no shame in losing to Asuka, who is a real killer and last year’s Women’s Rumble winner. She’s a “dream” opponent for Becky in singles competition, so after Becky is finished tearing down the house with Asuka in a close loss (interference pending), she can strut her way into the Rumble match to go after “Ronnie”.
Some fans have tossed around the idea of Becky becoming a double-champ, which is a possibility now that she has a title match against Asuka at the Rumble PPV. But that isn’t a great idea, and while Becky is mostly loved, every superstar in WWE has their share of detractors, especially when they start gaining traction in the main event. Having Becky as a double-champ could lead to some backlash from those fans or breed resentment among members of the WWE Universe who have other favorites besides Lynch, so this isn’t a risk worth taking.
The announcement of Becky Lynch vs. Asuka at the WWE Royal Rumble PPV blindsided many of us, especially since it was announced on a Thursday night. But the match itself should be great, and it doesn’t rule out Becky from winning the Women’s Rumble itself. Heck, it could even make her impending victory feel even sweeter due to the doubt it has created, and I’m willing to hold my breath and watch before showing concern. The ball is still in The Man’s court, because she has multiple paths to reclaiming a championship…and Rousey’s arm.