WWE Has Backed Itself in a Corner with
Asuka vs. Nia Jax at Elimination Chamber
At Elimination Chamber 2018, Asuka will face one of her greatest challenges yet in Monday Night Raw’s most powerful woman, Nia Jax.
Not only does The Empress of Tomorrow have to worry about her undefeated streak’s endangerment, but Jax is also on the prowl to hurt Asuka and make a statement.
If Jax is successful in winning this match, she will be added to the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 34, making it a Triple Threat with Asuka and the winner of the first Women’s Elimination Chamber contest.
This sounds all well and good with an exciting set of circumstances, but there are myriad problems with how this match can possibly go down that will either render it pointless very fast or just plain bothersome for certain fans to watch.
Before explaining why that’s the case, it’s important to be reminded of the possible outcomes of how this singles match can go down.
Either Asuka wins by pinfall, submission, disqualification or count-out, Jax is victorious through one of those methods or there is something of a draw or no-contest.
In the latter example, everything is thrown out the window and none of it mattered at all—a finish that rarely satisfies the audience since it becomes obvious WWE couldn’t figure out a better way to protect all the parties involved and pulled a metaphorical “never mind” card to bail it out of a more creative solution.
However, there are problems with the stipulation that Jax could be given a title opportunity, as it has been stated numerous times that the end result would be a Triple Threat match with Asuka involved.
Why is that a guarantee that is being advertised at this point when there was a purposeful avoidance of having Asuka choose the Raw Women’s Championship to fight for at WrestleMania 34?
Shinsuke Nakamura immediately called his shot for the WWE Championship against AJ Styles, who could still lose the title at Fastlane against any of his four opponents there. But the winner of that match will assuredly be fighting Nakamura in any case.
Asuka, on the other hand, has been treated differently, with the fact she hasn’t chosen to compete for either championship at this point being a plot element that shouldn’t be glossed over.
If we assume, like what WWE has done with its wording while advertising this match, that Asuka is going to challenge the winner of the Raw Women’s Championship Elimination Chamber match, then that has already been spoiled for us and in a lackluster fashion when it could have been a moment to enjoy.
Also, that would mean Asuka is fighting this match to keep her undefeated streak alive and to ensure her title shot will be a one-on-one affair rather than allowing the possibility that she loses without getting pinned, as that could happen in a Triple Threat.
That is OK, but it puts Jax in a tough position.
If Jax loses, her chances of competing at WrestleMania are slim, as there just isn’t enough room for two women’s title matches, Ronda Rousey’s proposed mixed tag team match and then something for Jax to be highlighted in.
That would also mean there is less interest in seeing Jax face Asuka in the future since The Empress of Tomorrow will have already proved herself to be the better of the two in multiple affairs.
If Jax wins, though, that means she’s conquered the undefeated streak at an event that doesn’t mean as much as it would if it were to happen a little more than one month further down the line at WrestleMania—or even later this year or next year, for that matter.
Asuka’s streak should end in a way that helps put somebody over and doesn’t get swallowed up by other storylines, especially in an environment where Rousey recently upstaged her Royal Rumble.
That would hurt Asuka’s momentum going into WrestleMania.
WWE could try to cop out of a commitment to the streak ending by having Jax defeat Asuka by disqualification or count-out, but that is less than desirable.
Any time that has happened in the past, WWE commentators have become glued to the specific phrasing of saying someone “has never been pinned or made to submit” since they can’t quite say the Superstar in question is undefeated anymore.
This repetitive phrasing is exasperating, just like it was frustrating to hear how Survivor Series is the one time in the year when Raw and SmackDown Live go head-to-head for three months in the fall season.
In a way, that is WWE attempting to have its cake and eat it too. Jax wins and can say she beat Asuka, who can say she didn’t lose in the conventional sense.
That tactic would see WWE’s creative team try to get away with a fake deal. Fans are supposed to be buzzing about something they didn’t quite get so they can be just as happy when it happens later.
With Asuka losing her streak either legitimately or through these shenanigans, the two Elimination Chamber matches and Rousey’s signing segment will still overtake some of that spotlight and make it less of a story, so that isn’t fair to her, either.
All of this isn’t taking into account the possibility Asuka doesn’t elect to fight for the Raw Women’s Championship after this match.
There is a solid chance Asuka uses her Royal Rumble victory to challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship instead, which would create all sorts of other problems.
If that happens and Asuka beats Jax here, why did she have to take out Raw’s top contender to Alexa Bliss’ belt and make her look weaker just to jump ship?
An Asuka loss ahead of a move to SmackDown would seem like she were dodging a fight and running scared, which is not the type of character she has been built up as.
There seems to be no way this match can go down without feeling like a bit of a cheat or a disappointment unless you have no problem with either Asuka or Jax taking a big hit to their credibility or you’re OK with non-endings that mean WWE avoids having to make a proper decision.
How WWE decides to go about booking this match is up for speculation, but we will find out when Elimination Chamber hits the air February 25.