According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, by way of Sportskeeda, Asuka was reportedly set to defend her Raw Women’s Championship against Shayna Baszler at Night of Champions. However, those plans have changed in recent weeks.
The report stated that Natalya will be the next challenger for “The Empress of Tomorrow’s” title. This is because Baszler is currently involved in a Women’s Tag Team Championship angle with Nia Jax.
Baszler and Jax beat Sasha Banks and Bayley for the titles at Payback. While it’s possible that either one of the team members could still be entered into singles competition, it seems WWE is focused on the strange bedfellows dynamic between her and Jax for the time being.
The duo looks set to enter into a feud with Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan, which will presumably keep “The Queen of Spades” occupied for the foreseeable future. Banks and Bayley recently became enemies as well, which has left the division depleted. The current titleholders will be tasked with bringing some focus to the titles.
As The Inquisitr recently reported, Vince McMahon supposedly isn’t sold on the former NXT star as a main event performer yet. She came up short against Becky Lynch at this year’s WrestleMania, despite the Irish superstar taking a leave of absence shortly after.
Natalya, meanwhile, is currently involved a feud with Mickie James. She’s been teaming with Lana in recent weeks to pick on the veteran, but their rivalry has already teased title connotations.
James is set to compete against Asuka for the title on the next episode of Monday Night Raw. Given that Asuka only won the title back recently, she’s expected to retain her gold in the upcoming match.
However, the pre-existing issues between Natalya and her current nemesis mean that the Canadian superstar will likely get involved in the match and insert herself into the gold hunt. The outcome of this match will presumably shape Asuka’s Night of Champions match.
Asuka also teamed with James to take on Lana and her ally recently. She’s already shown that she has some issues with the duo, which makes Natalya the most likely adversary heading into the next pay-per-view.
WWE has struggled to find a strong opponent for Asuka since she regained the gold at this year’s SummerSlam. Most of the current women’s feuds on the red brand have revolved around other superstars who have issues with each other.