The WWE Universe is irate after Asuka lost the SmackDown Women’s Championship in an impromptu title match, and this was all about getting as much heat on Charlotte Flair as possible.
Wrestling fans expected to watch a Fatal Four-Way No. 1 Contender’s match on the March 26 episode of SmackDown Live fought among Naomi, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, and Carmella, with the winner facing Asuka for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WWE WrestleMania 35.
Instead, that match was scrapped – without any prior announcement – and a new match was booked. A title match between Asuka and Charlotte Flair, who entered the ring immediately after Becky Lynch asked Sarah Schreiber what “The Queen” would bring to the table at WrestleMania. (Becky, per her words, is bringing the people, and Ronda Rousey is bringing the Raw Women’s Championship.)
We got our answer. Charlotte is bringing the SmackDown Women’s Championship to WrestleMania, and I have a feeling all the fans who said, “Why is Charlotte even in this match?” aren’t too happy about WWE giving a stronger reason for her inclusion.
The second title match between Charlotte and Asuka was, unsurprisingly, brilliant, and it is remarkable how good “The Empress of Tomorrow” is inside the ring. Charlotte, of course, always shows up in the big matches, and she is absolutely in her element as a heel.
But the WWE Universe was, largely, upset at the sudden end to Asuka’s title reign. Despite a huge win over Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble, Asuka’s championship run never got off the ground, as SmackDown barely featured her. It’s a huge disappointment for wrestling fans, who were also looking forward to a Fatal Four-Way match featuring four other talented women.
Since Becky vs. Charlotte vs. Ronda is the first women’s WrestleMania main event, other fans have reasoned that it makes sense for WWE to make this match as big as possible. Now, it’s debatable if putting two titles on the line was necessary to make this match feel even bigger, but because the SmackDown and Raw Women’s Titles will be involved, speculation of a title unification and/or an all-women’s show have flown around. WWE may have a plan here, and fans will be watching closely for the fallout from Charlotte’s win and this match.
What we do know, though, is WWE has already leaned into making Charlotte an “entitled” character who has special connections backstage. Vince McMahon, after all, replaced Becky with Charlotte for no apparent reason, and the YouTube video of this segment is the most disliked WWE video of all-time.
WWE – and Charlotte especially – understand how many fans view “The Queen” as entitled, so why not lean into that to make this an even bigger babyface story? Becky already faces an almost insurmountable task against Charlotte and Ronda, and now there’s even more heat with Charlotte taking the SmackDown Women’s Championship. She can even point to Becky’s loss at the Rumble and say that she’s beaten Asuka twice for the title, whereas Becky tapped out to The Empress earlier this year. Since Charlotte hadn’t won a match in 2019 prior to her title win against Asuka, perhaps this played into WWE’s logic.
Still, was building up an already highly-anticipated Triple Threat ‘Mania main event even more worth the cost of suddenly ripping the title away from Asuka? Nia Jax’s recent words about WWE not promoting Women of Color have come to the consciousness of many fans, and wrestling icon Gail Kim shared her valuable opinion on Twitter, too.
This result came at the expense of five other women, and that has not been lost on the WWE Universe, especially since many felt the WrestleMania main event was already a big enough deal without the possibility of a “double champ”.
Charlotte Flair has done a wonderful job in this story as the ultimate heel and will, presumably, help make Becky look that much stronger as a babyface on Apr. 7, and the record-breaking eight-time champion is indeed one of the best in this business. But, again, it’s a shame that this all came at Asuka’s expense, and, as always, complaints should be send in Vince McMahon’s direction. Charlotte, who immediately praised Asuka after the heart-breaking result, doesn’t book the show. As disappointing as this result was, Asuka will be fine (erasing the word “buried” from our vernacular may do us well), so long as the fans continue to show their support for her.
As always in WWE, there’s a need to sit back and wait. Is there a title unification coming? Would that be a negative? Could WWE give fans a special all-women’s brand as an additional showcase for its growing Women’s Divisions (and with an inter-brand title already present)? These are all important questions to ponder, even as our immediate attention is on Charlotte’s heel work and the valid criticisms of Asuka’s all-too-brief title reign.
And yet, there’s one question that is more important than them all: What if we get Charlotte vs. Asuka at WrestleMania after all, and Asuka gets her revenge? This remains a possibility, and this is one more wrinkle to watch on next week’s episode of SmackDown Live.