Last night on Saturday, August 20, the current NXT Women’s Champion, Asuka, further cemented her reign of dominion over the NXT Women’s Division by defeating Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2. With a second championship win over the “Heart and Soul of NXT,” the reign of the “Empress of Tomorrow” is proving that the NXT Women’s Division is currently a very dangerous place for any wrestler wanting to be a part of it.
To understand just how destructive of a force Asuka is, one has to analyze the one year Asuka has been in NXT. Technically, Asuka was first seen at the first NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, a night that Bayley will never forget because she defeated “The Boss” herself, Sasha Banks. Asuka, who’s real name is Kanako Urai, was sitting in the NXT Universe along with other free agents in wrestling. Her appearance caused speculation among wrestling communities that she signed a contract with WWE. Five days later, Asuka confirmed her contract signing and that she would work under the WWE developmental territory, NXT.
Since then, Asuka has carved a path of total destruction and annihilation, something every wrestling fan would experience starting with her debut at NXT TakeOver: Respect. That night, Dana Brooke was humiliated and destroyed at Asuka’s hands. Throughout the rest of the year, other wrestlers in the NXT Women’s Division, including Emma, Aliyah, and Santana Garrett, would fall too. More would be added including Nia Jax and Bayley in which the latter was knocked out locked in the Asuka Lock to lose the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: London.
With the aforementioned facts stated, we ask again: who can stop Asuka? Apparently, there are five wrestlers currently in the NXT at this moment who, by their stripes, have a chance in dethroning the “Empress of Tomorrow.”
1. Peyton Royce
On a much more serious note, Peyton Royce has a lot of wrestling experience to back up her abilities. Despite WWE pompously stating all experience in other wrestling promotions don’t matter until one is in WWE, the fact of the matter is that all experience in any wrestling promotion does matter. Before Peyton Royce was made, the wrestler who’s real name is Cassie McIntosh wrestled under the moniker of KC Cassidy. For almost six years, she wrestled in Pro Wrestling Women’s Alliance (PWWA), Shimmer Women Athletes, Shine Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Alliance Australia, New Horizons Pro Wrestling, Melbourne City Wrestling, and River City Wrestling.
Prior to NXT, Aliyah — whose real name is Nhooph Al-Areebi — wrestled on the independent circuit for three years in both United States and Canada promotions as Jasmin or Jasmin Areebi. She made her debut for Squared Circle Wrestling (SCW), Pure Wrestling Association (PWA), Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), and New England Championship Wrestling (NECW).
3. Nikki Cross
We are now moving away from those who fought Asuka in NXT to those who fought her as Kana in the independent circuit. The first one is Nicola Glencross, who is better known in NXT as either Nikki Cross or Nikki Glencross. As of now, Cross’ experience in NXT is somewhat limited but her independent circuit work is quite decorated.
For starters, Nikki Cross has been wrestling since 2008 and was on the independent circuit for eight years. Going by the moniker of Nikki Storm, she wrestled in Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), Pro-Wrestling: EVE, Shimmer Women Athletes, Shine Wrestling, Women Superstars Uncensored, Global Force Wrestling (GFW), Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), World Wide Wrestling League (W3L), Queens of Combat, and World Xtreme Wrestling.
Nikki Cross has competed in Japan before too. She toured the country with JWP Joshi Puroresu and made appearances in World Wonder Ring Stardom. Also, Cross has some TNA experience in which applied for their boot camp but failed to move forward in it.
Finally, Nikki Cross has wrestled Asuka before when they were both in Shimmer Women Athletes. At SHIMMER Women Athletes Volume 65, both took each other on in a singles match. In the end, Asuka (going by Kana) came out victorious but it was evident that Cross (going as Nikki Storm) could hold her own.
4. Billie Kay
Prior to becoming Billie Kay in NXT, Jessica McKay was known simply by her name or as Jessie on the Independent Circuit since 2007. Her two major runs on said circuit are in Pro Wrestling Alliance Australia from 2007 to 2015 and Shimmer Women Athletes from 2008 to 2015. She also made other appearances in Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Ring of Honor (ROH), Chikara, NCW Femmes Fatales, and Shine Wrestling.
While in Shimmer Women Athletes, Billie Kay faced off against Asuka at SHIMMER Women Athletes Volume 54. It was a singles match in which Asuka came out the victor.
As of now, Billie Kay is one of the wrestlers in the NXT Women’s Division who has some veteran status now. She along with Peyton Royce are somewhat being paired maybe because they are friends outside of the ring. Also, Kay was on a hot win streak and would have been the wrestler fit to defeat Asuka… until she faced the final wrestler on this list who made her debut at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2.
5. Ember Moon
Just like Corey Graves said at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2, Ember Moon is a game changer for the Women’s Revolution of Wrestling. Ember — real name Adrienne Reese — is very dangerous in the ring. Not only that, she is very similar to the Asuka as well.
Ember Moon has competed in the Independent Circuit since 2007 starting with an early career in Anarchy Championship Wrestling. She also wrestled for Shimmer Women Athletes and Women Superstars Uncensored too. Using the moniker Athena, she took on Asuka back in 2012 at SHIMMER Women Athletes Volume 51 in a losing effort. However, their match was very entertaining to watch and they brought their A-games.
Ember Moon just made her debut in NXT but, as mentioned earlier, she has many similarities to Asuka in mannerisms and style. Also, her finisher — which is known as the O-Face while wrestling as Athena — is one of the flashiest, coolest finishers any wrestler in any women’s division has ever created. It is up there with innovation as the Widow’s Peak by Victoria (or Tara) yet has the flash of a Shooting Star Press.
Ultimately, NXT is going to have a hard time trying to end Asuka’s undefeated record while maintaining her dominance in the NXT Women’s Division. An opinion piece by William McCormick for Today’s Knockout sums the situation very well.
“The fact is that building unstoppable characters is a short-term payoff because once they lose, they become just like everyone else and it suddenly isn’t so difficult to beat them, which is the opposite of how it should work.”
Right now, Asuka seems unstoppable and the five wrestlers mentioned above have the qualifications and history to show the NXT Universe she is not. If creative wants to have Asuka lose while having her keep her invincibility intact, she will need to lose by some ridiculous means like a group mugging elimination or a “winning lottery” victory, such as surprise schoolboy pin victories. On the other hand, Asuka can always move up to the main roster (retire from NXT) as an undefeated champion. We haven’t seen that ever happen have we?
[Image via WWE]