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Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss - Why Asuka vs. Emma Can, Will and SHOULD NOT Be A Squash + Will An Epidemic Shake-Up the TLC Card?
By Super Chrisss
Oct 20, 2017 - 6:50:29 PM

Tom Jenner rocks!

I find it baffling that so many card-carrying members of the Internet Wrestling Community are practically begging WWE to have Asuka squash Emma this Sunday. Really, guys? What purpose would that serve, other than destroying what remaining credibility the Australian superstar has left? I know people are worried that having Asuka have to work to overcome Emma in a lengthy contest could damage The Empress of Tomorrow’s aura from the get-go, following in the footsteps of Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode’s debut matches with Dolph Ziggler, but people seem to be confused about something: Emma is not Dolph Ziggler. Emma is arguably in her prime, not past her prime. She does not have a veteran career to look back on and find instant success should she choose not to renew her contract (whenever that expires). It is simply not fair and inaccurate to compare Emma with The Show-Off.

To play devil’s advocate for a moment, I somewhat understand the reasoning for some people hoping to see Emma get her beautiful ass handed to her by Asuka in less than five minutes at TLC. Asuka has never been defeated since joining the company; although several opponents – including Emma – have taken Asuka to her limit since her debut, the former NXT Women’s Champion has won 99% of her matches in convincing fashion. She also surpassed Goldberg’s streak not that long ago. In other words, Asuka has been a big deal since her first day in NXT and WWE apparently plans on continuing to present her in such a fashion as of her main roster debut. Being booked to go over an established name like Emma – and convincingly – is a sure-fire way to debut Asuka in front of a much larger audience with a bang.

Obviously Emma will lose on Sunday – and I never thought or said she shouldn’t – but why does she have to get squashed? How many squash matches did Asuka really have in NXT? Except for no-name talent or rookies like Aliyah, Asuka had competitive matches with nearly everyone – even Eva Marie! I want to take you back for a second back to TLC 2016 (which I re-watched yesterday after work). I actually had mixed emotions watching that Pay-Per-View back, as it reminded me of a time when SmackDown was the hottest brand (by far), everyone but tag teams was being booked brilliantly, and SmackDown could fill out an entire arena. The top three matches from that show were unquestionably Ambrose vs. Styles, Ziggler vs. The Miz and…Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin in a Chairs Match (which arguably stole the show).

In some ways, Asuka vs. Emma reminds me of Corbin vs. Kalisto. Even though Kalisto had been drafted to SmackDown five months earlier, the former Lucha Dragon had been a ghost on the blue brand. Almost out of nowhere, he started feuding with Corbin and they had a Chairs match booked for the SmackDown-exclusive PPV. Going into their match, everyone – including JBL at commentary – assumed it would be nothing more than an extended squash for The Lone Wolf. After all, Corbin was being positioned as a breakthrough talent for 2017 and Kalisto was just Kalisto. Instead, they were given fifteen minutes to go out and have a great performance, which they did. Corbin ended up winning, but he won in a way that elevated both himself and his opponent. Rather than going down in history as a skippable, five-minute squash on a two-match show, Kalisto vs. Corbin ended up being a match that breathed new life into a longtime unpopular gimmick.

I WANT Asuka vs Emma to be booked the exact same way. Give those two women moderate time to work with, with Asuka dominating but Emma being on the verge of pulling off an upset more than once, and it still ends with Asuka’s hand being raised. Another major reason why I’m comparing their upcoming match with Kalisto vs. Corbin is because of when both these matches are taking/have taken place. For those who don’t remember, John Cena wasn’t around for TLC 2016 and the brand’s other top stars – Orton and Wyatt – were booked in the curtain-jerker. That’s why WWE booked two women matches on the same card (starting to sound familiar?) to help fill time. And I guarantee you that’s another reason why the aforementioned Chairs match was NOT a five-minute squash.

That brings me to this Sunday, with history about to repeat itself. Void of star power, TLC 2017 is essentially a two-match show (depending on your excitement level for Balor vs. Wyatt). They have two women and two cruiserweight matches booked on Sunday to help fill the three hours. As a result, can Asuka vs. Emma afford to be five-minutes – or less – of nothing? Especially if Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss fails to meet three-star expectations, or The Demon vs. Sister Abigail is similar to the theatrics of WrestleMania 33 or The House of Horrors? I think not. The main-event will be a Match of the Year candidate – that I’m sure of – but the fans need something else to sink their teeth into prior to the 10pm hour. If Asuka was debuting on nearly any other PPV card, I’d agree with the masses who believe this won’t last long. But on a show that has plenty of time to fill – don’t be surprised if they’re given over ten minutes to work with. As long as they don’t have Charlotte vs. Nattie syndrome – where they can only have good matches if facing each other in NXT – we could legit be looking at a second MOTY candidate, folks. And that don’t suck.

Speaking of having time to fill, I don’t know if you’ve heard the rumours – and as of this writing, LOP is yet to report said rumours – but several of Sunday’s matches are actually in jeopardy of happening. That’s because there’s a reason why Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt and JoJo have all been absent from WWE television and live events as of late. Apparently, the three of them have contacted viral meningitis, and they may not be the only ones. More names are rumored to be sick, and those names aren’t limited to the Raw roster. Tom Philips missed SmackDown this week “due to an assignment” and news broke this afternoon that Kevin Owens was being sent home early from the overseas tour “because of personal reasons”. As someone who does not believe in coincidences, the timing of all these absences is rather suspect.

If you believe these rumours, then you’ll be interested to know that there is more talent who are sick, including those who are booked for TLC. The timing could not be worse for the company, as TLC’s card is already lacking as it is. No one knows what’s going to happen - especially since Bray is booked for the sole other ‘big’ match on Sunday – but it certainly is an interesting story to keep track of. WWE has limited options to work with since it just so happens that the NXT roster is booked for non-Florida live events this weekend. So even if WWE wanted to prematurely debut several names from NXT, or feature a special NXT bonus match or something, they can’t do that either. I know there’s no way Vince would ever cancel a Pay-Per-View, so I’m intrigued to see what happens (although I do empathize with the live crowd).

Hopefully these rumours are either incorrect or everyone who caught something sinister will be good and ready to go for TLC. Assuming they are and the card remains the same, here are my quick predictions:

Sasha Banks over Alicia Fox
Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann over The Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher
Alexa Bliss retains over Mickie James
Enzo Amore defeats Kalisto for the Cruiserweight Championship in a last-minute Chairs or Ladder match
Asuka defeats Emma
The Demon overcomes Sister Abigail, setting up Balor as Brock’s next title defense
The Shield defeats The Miz, Kane, Braun Strowman & The Bar after one or more of Miz’s teammates turns on the Intercontinental Champion

Don’t sleep on TLC just yet, folks. Provided the card goes on as planned we should be in for at least one or two four-star or better matches on Sunday with some entertaining filler in-between. I’m not ready to call this the worst-looking card of all-time, that’s for sure: did we already forget the atrocity that was Battleground two months ago?


YOUR Two Centsss: What's your excitement level going into TLC?

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