With the annual WWE Royal Rumble only a few weeks away, there are several women who look poised to punch their ticket to WrestleMania 35 in the second-ever Women’s Royal Rumble. Names like Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch have been floated as favorites in the match, but it seems far too many fans are forgetting the motivations that could lead Ember Moon to victory. Should she win, Ember can not only punch her ticket to ‘Mania, but she can look to finally avenge her losses to current SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka.
Fans should be forgiven if they’d only been considering Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch as potential winners of the 2019 Women’s Rumble. While others certainly have a choice, Flair and Lynch’s issues with Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey have been the talk of the town since Rousey interjected herself in their match at TLC. With the Rumble being the prime path to challenge the other brand’s champion, it’s no surprise that many want Lynch or Flair to pick up a win at the WWE Royal Rumble and go after Rousey.
It’s understandable, but it’s misguided. When the Royal Rumble is at its best, the event and marquee matches serve as a springboard for younger superstars to make them clear main event players. Look back to wins by Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Batista, and Rey Mysterio that catapulted them into the main event and led them to their first World Title victories. Even last year it looked like Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura would do the same with their wins at the Royal Rumble.
While Nakamura struggled against AJ Styles and has failed to turn that momentum into a top title win, Asuka finally avenged her WrestleMania 34 loss by capturing the SmackDown Women’s Championship at TLC right before the end of 2018. The Empress of Tomorrow may have seen her crowning moment delayed, but now she stands tall at the top of SmackDown’s women’s division. It’s gotta be eating away at Raw superstar Ember Moon.
Back during her time in NXT, it was Asuka that often stood in the way of Ember’s crowning moment. Ember was rising through the ranks and had proven herself a worthy challenger. After making a successful debut at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, Ember went on an undefeated streak not unlike that of then-NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. Moon tore through opponents and staked her claim, finally challenging for the title at NXT TakeOver: Orlando in April of 2017. Ember gave it her all, but there was no stopping Asuka.
Suffering her first loss, Moon had to regroup and find her way back into the title picture. She looked capable of doing so at NXT TakeOver: Chicago, but an untimely injury at the hands of Asuka forced her to be removed from a championship Fatal 4-Way. Instead, Asuka defended in a triple threat against Nikki Cross and Ruby Riott. For a second time, Asuka had stolen Ember’s moment.
Proving once again she wouldn’t be deterred, Ember Moon recovered from injury and was able to challenge Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, one year after her NXT debut. Unfortunately, Asuka came out victorious yet again. For a third time, Asuka stole her moment. However, an opportunity was coming. Shortly after that Asuka was called up to the main roster, and was forced to relinquish the NXT Women’s Championship as a result. Ember knew she had another chance, and there was no way for Asuka to stand in her way.
In a brilliant Fatal 4-Way Match with Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross, and Peyton Royce, Ember Moon was finally able to capture the NXT Women’s Championship after hitting both Royce and Cross with a simultaneous Eclipse and pinning Nikki for the victory. Asuka was there to present the title to her friend and rival, but there was no avoiding the whispers. “Ember only won because she wasn’t facing Asuka.” That was the murmur, and there’s no doubt it got under the skin of Moon. For a fourth time, even if only in the back of Ember’s mind, Asuka stole her moment.
Ember Moon had a great run as NXT Women’s Champion, but Asuka stayed on the horizon as the obstacle she just couldn’t quite overcome. A few months before her move to the main roster, Ember was able to enter the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble. She put up a great effort, but was eliminated by none other than her old rival and eventual winner Asuka. For a fifth time, Asuka stole her moment.
At WWE Evolution, Ember Moon finally got her first taste of revenge. Ember got her first moment of avenging all those losses and stolen moments. In the battle royal for a future Women’s Championship match, Ember Moon managed to eliminate Asuka. While Ember wasn’t able to win the match, just taking Asuka out of the equation gave her the taste of proving herself and avenging her past.
Now, with the 2019 Women’s Rumble coming up, Ember can finally do what she’s struggled to do since all the way back in her NXT days. If Ember can win the Royal Rumble, she can punch her ticket to WrestleMania 35 and try to topple The Empress of Tomorrow once and for all. If Ember Moon can defeat Asuka for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania, it would heal all those past wounds. It would eclipse all of those stolen moments. Ember can finally prove that she’s ready for Asuka.