If you thought getting left off the Elimination Chamber card on Sunday - the latest example of how Asuka’s been treated as an afterthought for much of her Raw Women’s title reign - was bad, wait until you see how the Empress’ Monday night went.
We’re not talking about being booked to lose, although after she & Charlotte Flair lost to Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler on the Feb. 22 Raw, her 2021 record is now 1 - 5 with two no contests. We’re not even talking about the way she was again overshadowed by Charlotte’s drama with her father, Ric (and hopefully that’s wrapping up now that Lacey Evans is pregnant and Naitch isn’t the baby’s kayfabe daddy).
No, it was physically a bad night for Asuka. A stiff kick from Baszler late in the match appeared to knock a tooth out:
The tip of Shayna’s boot look to catch her in the arm, but the heel appears to knock something out of her mouth. Worse than the possible dental trauma, the kick appeared to leave Asuka woozy. And while she was going through the motions of putting her submission finisher on Baszler with her eyes closed, the next spot was Flair delivering a boot to her head.
As we were reminded last week after NXT, diagnosing injuries from the outside is a bad idea. Also not going to get into the blame game. Pro wrestling is a risky profession where these things can happen even when everything goes right. Baszler and the referee seem to check on Asuka immediately after the first kick. I don’t know if someone should have overruled Asuka presumably telling them she was okay and changed up the plans, but I’m sure someone online will start pointing fingers soon... if they haven’t already.
We’ll just hope that Asuka is okay, and that at least some of her behavior for the remainder of her time onscreen (holding her hand over her mouth and struggling to get to her feet) was selling.
And maybe when she’s been checked out, gone to the dentist, and has a clean bill of health, WWE can actually book her like one of the best wrestlers in the world. At least for a little while.