Although Asuka has reigned as SmackDown Women’s Champion since she won the title from Becky Lynch at WWE’s TLC pay-per-view in December, the “Empress of Tomorrow” has arguably played a secondary role to Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, as far as the company’s women’s divisions are concerned. Additionally, many fans have observed that the Japanese superstar hasn’t been booked as strongly as she was on NXT, where she had reigned as the developmental brand’s Women’s Champion for well over a year, per WrestlingNews.co. All this, according to WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, points to Asuka not getting a fair shake in WWE ever since her record-breaking undefeated streak was snapped by Flair at WrestleMania 34.
On the latest edition of The Jim Ross Report, the legendary announcer discussed the topic of Asuka’s main roster run in WWE, as he looked back on how she had been booked by the company since her winning streak was broken. According to Ross, it all boils down to how the company “mismanaged” Asuka from that point onward.
“The ball was dropped last year at WrestleMania after she lost her undefeated streak to Charlotte,” Ross said, as quoted by WrestlingNews.co. “They had a great match. Anybody that watches that match and tells me it wasn’t any good doesn’t know anything about [pro] wrestling. I think the ball was dropped there. It [has] been hard to get the momentum back going.”
Ross added that the increased focus of WWE on women’s wrestling on both Raw and SmackDown Live means that there’s room for “another major star” to step up. He posited that Asuka should be that top female star, expressing hope that things would change after she had been “grossly underutilized” in the 11 months since her loss to Flair at WrestleMania 34.
Jim Ross’ comments about Asuka could be among the last he would be making about WWE’s personnel while still employed by the company. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Ross had previously decided not to renew his contract with WWE once it expires on March 29 and is rumored to be headed to All Elite Wrestling, as the newly-founded promotion has reportedly offered a multi-year contract that would pay him close to $1 million per year.
Although WWE has been giving Asuka substantial exposure on television and pay-per-view in recent weeks, Ross’ observation that the company isn’t utilizing her in the way they should is nothing new. Last month, Wrestling Inc. contributor Michael Wiseman penned an op-ed that described the 37-year-old wrestler’s title reign as the “result of a random number generator gone awry,” as it had come eight months after the last time she was booked strongly enough to deserve a run with the SmackDown Women’s Championship.