Asuka’s road to WrestleMania 35 took a massive detour last Tuesday on SmackDown LIVE.
In an impromptu match, Charlotte Flair beat “The Empress of Tomorrow” to capture the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Flair won by forcing Asuka to submit to the Figure-Eight Leglock.
Heading into the show, Carmella, Naomi, Mandy Rose, and Sonya Deville were slated to compete in a Fatal 4-Way Match to determine Asuka’s challenger for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 35. According to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rose was booked to win the Fatal 4-Way Match and have a rematch with Asuka at WrestleMania after losing to her at WWE Fastlane.
Vince McMahon decided in the afternoon to scrap the match in favor of Flair beating Asuka. He felt that WrestleMania was already overloaded with matches, so it would be best to remove a match that had little interest and instead make the main event between Flair, Becky Lynch and Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey even stronger.
According to Tom Colohue, a freelance writer who contributes to the Pro Wrestling Torch, WWE’s original plan for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania was a Triple Threat Match with Asuka, Rose, and Deville. Asuka would have retained the title in what would essentially be a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. Colohue adds that WWE (or Vince McMahon) lost confidence in the proposed match and decided to have Charlotte win the title instead.
Colohue revealed this tidbit in response to a fan venting about Rose supposedly being booked to win the Fatal 4-Way Match.
To my knowledge the plan for #Wrestlemania for the #SDLive women's championship was Asuka vs Rose vs Deville with Asuka retaining.#WWE lost confidence in the match and decided to put the belt on Charlotte instead. https://t.co/9JFD07XHx9
— Tom Colohue (@Colohue) March 28, 2019