wrestling / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction Wrestling: Will Asuka Win at WWE TLC?

December 15, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Asuke WWE Asuka's WWE Smackdown

Welcome back to 411 Fact or Fiction, Wrestling Edition! Stuff happened, people loved/hated it and let everyone else know. I pick through the interesting/not so interesting tidbits and then make 411 staff members discuss them for your pleasure. Battling this week are 411’s Rob Stewart & Tony Acero.

  • Questions were sent out Tuesday.
  • Participants were told to expect wrestling-related content, as well as possible statements on quantum physics, homemade pharmaceuticals, the Turtle Total Trip Theorem, pizza and hydroponics.

    1. Asuka will win the Smackdown Women’s Championship at TLC.

    Rob Stewart: FACT – Probably, and that’s for the best. Becky and Charlotte are bulletproof right now; Becky is the biggest thing WWE has going, and Charlotte has been set up as the star of the division ever since being called up. Asuka is the one who most “needs” a win here (and yes, given the reactions she still gets, “needs” is a strong word, but she really could use the reminder to everyone of how deadly she can be). Asuka winning has all the built-in storylines: Becky is free to win the Rumble next month, and Charlotte can have an extended feud with Asuka for the rest of the winter over the title while Becky switches brands. It’s the safest call that does the most for the maximum number of ladies, so it will probably happen. Though, give me one more question, and I’ll explain why it might not…

    Tony Acero: FICTION – While I appreciate the fact that Asuka is added to the match because it alters the somewhat banal pairing of Charlotte v Becky, I don’t think Asuka is there to win the title. Becky is on a hot streak that cannot be matched or touched. Seriously, Becky is a Godsend, and I have to also give credit to whoever is a) working with her or b) allowing her to really flesh her character out. This is the type of character work that is heavily missing on RAW. Anyways, I really don’t see Asuka winning the title, and that’s ok. Asuka has lost a lot of her luster since losing to Charlotte at WrestleMania, but she at least looks like she’s having a lot of fun, and with her in the title picture – at least for now – it means she’s essentially a part of the main event picture for the time being, and likely moving forward. While Asuka with the title may be a beautiful sight to behold, I don’t think her current face mode would be the most opportune alignment as far as the title goes. Perhaps a turn mid-match could help that, but I don’t think this would be the route they are taking. Was that a long winded way of just saying I disagree? Yeah, probably, but aren’t most of these?

    2. Nia Jax defeating Ronda Rousey at TLC would be a horrible booking decision.

    Rob Stewart: FICTION – I mean… there are things they could do with it. The assumption/hope we all have is that Becky loses her Smackdown championship at TLC, wins the Royal Rumble, and then moves to Raw to face Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania. But what if Ronda drops HER belt instead and Becky retains? Then Ronda wins the Rumble, goes to the blue side of the aisle, and we STILL get Becky/Ronda, except it’s more the story that you know WWE wants to tell (plucky Ronda wins a belt at ‘Mania rather than just retains one). Sure, that leaves Nia to run annoyingly roughshod over a depleted Raw women’s division for the next forever (the sticky wicket here being that Smackdown could stomach the loss of Becky a lot more than Raw could stand to lose Rousey), but besides that, we still all ultimately get the showdown we want. So it’s not inherently horrible, no.

    Tony Acero: FACT – Nia Jax defeating anyone would be a horrible booking decision, and I felt this way long before she broke someone’s face by being unsafe. Her character is stale and inconsistent, her stature is not great in any way, her abilities are lacking heavily, her promos are stilted and do that stupid tail-off-at-the-end-of-every-sentence thing that Nikki Bella and Charlotte do a lot. She hasn’t gotten any better, she isn’t entertaining as a heel or a wrestler. I’m sure she is a nice person, a great advocate for plus sized women, and a beautiful human being, but none of these make her any better at her job. The job that she was hired for. The job that she is getting paid for. She is not good. If someone was not good at, let’s say, selling cars…they’d be fired. I only say this because I don’t want my critique to be looked at as a personal judgment of physicality and gender. Simply put, Nia Jax is not good at what she is getting paid to be good at, and for this reason alone, it would be a horrible booking decision. We can couple this with the fact that Ronda is actually doing quite alright outside of her Julia Stiles’ angry face she does from time to time. No, I don’t want Nia anywhere near the title, the ring, or even the ramp.

    3. Baron Corbin will “defeat” Braun Strowman at TLC.

    Rob Stewart: FICTION – I mean, god… I hope not. Even putting aside the awfulness of Baron Corbin (which is hard to do!), there is no earthly way Strowman should lose to that guy. I haven’t been following updates on the Monster Among Men’s legitimate injury on purpose because I do enjoy being surprised by stuff, but I’m assuming Braun will be cleared enough to have some kind of match (or even some kind of “match”) at TLC, and if he is, he should decimate Corbin. I could never, ever even begin to explain why WWE has felt the need to get Braun so terribly wrong in 2018, but… a loss to Baron Corbin? The mind reels. Surely not that, right? Right?!

    Tony Acero: FICTION – The Corbin experiment needs to end. I hope to all that is holy that Corbin loses in two minutes and we end this tiresome portrayal of “evil GM” that the WWE continuously thinks is the right thing to do. From Johnny Ace to the Anon GM to Corbin, these things are not hated to the point where we want them to get a comeuppance of sorts. No, they are despised to the point of complete apathy. I see it weekly in the comment section, no one wants to see Corbin get his ass handed to him; they simply want him to go away. I don’t understand why they think this is good heat. If we treat RAW as a TV Show that it touts itself to be, then we must demand that their characters be consistent, without glaring character motivation plot-holes, and to have a semblance of realism that we can latch onto; especially the villains. We have to want to see our heroes win while at the same time deny the villain their devious successes. What the WWE has forgotten (or seemingly never knew) is that it’s 2018, and fans across all genres are smarter and expect more from their entertainment. We no longer want just basic, standard, paper-cutter evil villains. We want depth, reason, motivation (hell, some people even want an origin). The WWE has done none of this, and Corbin is a result of that. Truly, what is his motivation? What makes him dislike those that he dislikes? Why does he want the power? As for TLC, the hope is that their plan this entire time was to make the audience hate Corbin so much that when he is flattened by Braun, it’ll cause a huge uproar of support and love. But I truly, truly worry…


    4. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Champion Becky Lynch SHOULD main event TLC on Sunday.

    Tony Acero: FICTION – The idea of the main event of a PPV being the main event of the show has long since died within me, so I truly don’t get bothered by what or who closes the show. Typically, the WWE wants to leave the audience with a particular feeling, which causes a shift in the dynamic of most cards. Would it be nice to see Becky close the show with the title in the air atop a ladder? Of course. We’d all love it. Would it not mean as much if it happened in the middle or at the beginning? Not to me, really. I also don’t need anymore “historical” moments for the ladies that seem forced and pressured as opposed to a natural progression or ending to a beautiful story. Having them main event doesn’t add much to the tenacity and vitriol that they’ve spewed over the past few weeks. It doesn’t make the match that much more anticipated. They are not doing this for the main event, they are doing this for the title. The only thing they have their eyes set on is that, not the main event. Not history. Not accolades of granduer. Just the title….and I fucking love it.

    Rob Stewart: FACT – I’m not saying it’s definitively going to be the best match. I’m not saying it is necessarily the highest profile match. But for all the work WWE has done at building the women’s division, it still feels “special” when they do something like main event a show or have a big gimmick match. WWE needs to start moving towards women main events just being a thing that happens. While Asuka/Charlotte/Becky wouldn’t be the first match to main event a Network special, it would still feel like a big deal for it to do so… but it shouldn’t. I’m not saying every show has to have a female main event, but aren’t we at the point where it could happen four or five times a year and not feel like it’s a ground-breaking event? Especially when Becky Lynch is likely the hottest, most over act in the company? So yes, it should main event, and it should start a trend of just being an accepted thing that happens. Sorry to Bryan/Styles for shuffling them aside, but come on… Styles should be used to wrestling for the world title on the undercard by now.

    5. You’re excited for a possible AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton WrestleMania match.

    Tony Acero: FACT – Sure. Randy has been on a little bit of an upswing of performance and character. He’s known to have little spurts of laziness, but this year hasn’t been one of those, and an AJ vs. Orton match feels fresh enough to matter. With Orton trying to kill all of our heroes, it works and wouldn’t be hard to produce. Aside from the ready made story, there’s also a lot of good wrestling to be had here from these two. As I said, Orton has been a great performer this year in my opinion, and has done some solid character work. AJ is AJ. The dude can do no wrong. He’s amazing in and out of the ring, and just like Orton, has focused on establishing a well-defined (albeit minimal in depth) character. With Daniel moving sights to someone else like The Miz (fingers crossed), AJ would be better served facing Orton on the big stage.

    Rob Stewart: FICTION – I’m not going to completely crap on the idea because it would be a fresh program, and Smackdown’s creative could give them some fun material… but am I EXCITED for it? No, I am not. I have never been “excited” for anything with Randy Orton attached in my life. Not saying that he is completely worthless, but he is a guy I have a long history of not caring about. Even now when he is as good of a character as he has ever been, I just can’t get much energy for him. Putting him in there with arguably the best wrestler on the planet only mitigates that slightly. So while I would not say I am dreading such an encounter, I would absolutely be lying if I said I was excited for it.

    6. What is your excitement level for WWE TLC?

    Tony Acero: 4 out of 10 – Unfortunately for me, the WWE hasn’t gotten me excited for a PPV since the Rumble. True, there is always at least one to three solid matches I want to enjoy and see, but there is no sense of urgency and that has a lot to do with the lack of urgency set forth by the WWE. There is very rarely a must-see match because they either pound it into the ground with “variations of,” on regular TV, or speed up a story for the sake of a match that means very little in the grand scheme of things. PPVs are no longer looked forward to because they are no longer looked at as PPVs. They are simply Network Specials that may or may not conclude a month long battle of wits between two men. There is no sense of finality and there is no sense of expected closure. Because of this, and Nia Jax, I am at a 4.

    Rob Stewart: 8 out of 10 – I started at a 5, and then backspaced it out and went 6. Then 7. And I think I’ll settle at 8. I remain hopelessly optimistic with WWE Network specials, probably because I watch minimal weekly WWE programming, so I don’t have the burnout a lot of folks might. I’m always at least excited to some degree to watch them. And this is a pretty good card! Assuming Balor/McIntyre makes it to the show, that should be a great contest. Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles have given us two very good television matches and now get a big show to kick it into another gear. Becky vs. Charlotte vs. Asuka has all the potential in the world. The Smackdown tag title match could border on tremendous with the talent involved. And we’re getting another bout between Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander on top of it all. The card certainly looks to have rough patches, but by-and-large, this has potential out the wazoo. The more I think about this show, the more hyped I get. Somebody stop me before I give this a 9…