Date and location

Sunday, Jan 27 | 7 PMET/4 PMPT


Where to watch

Get the WWE Network

When to watch

Sunday, Jan 27 | 7 PMET/4 PMPT

SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka def. Becky Lynch

SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka def. Becky Lynch

PHOENIX — Becky Lynch was ready for the moment, but not for the woman she had to beat. The two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion confidently walked into Chase Field, but Asuka whittled down her dreams of reign No. 3, proving The Empress is the immovable object who is looking more and more unbeatable with each passing day she holds the blue jewel of SmackDown LIVE.

Success, of course, breeds confidence — and Becky has had a lot of both lately, which explained why she all but preened around the ring in the match’s opening moments, while Asuka struggled somewhat to find her footing. The turning point for The Empress of Tomorrow came when she caught Lynch in the Asuka Lock while entangled in the ropes. It was a bit of vicious ingenuity that Becky quickly countered with a Dis-Arm-Her threaded through the turnbuckle, but the move nonetheless provided an important boost to the champion: Becky was vulnerable.

Asuka connects with a punishing hip attack to Becky Lynch's face: Royal Rumble 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

SmackDown Women's Champion Asuka sets the tone for a physical clash against Becky Lynch: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Becky was still dangerous, too. The harder the challenger hit, though, the more comfortable Asuka became. As each of Becky’s pinfall attempts came up short, doubt visibly crept across The Man’s face while Asuka rallied again and again with a smile that expanded by the second.

Still, for all the kicks to the face The Irish Lass Kicker absorbed (it was a lot of them), she proved difficult to put away. Champion and challenger attempted to turn each other’s moves against them — Asuka attempted a Dis-Arm-Her and Lynch plied an Asuka Lock — but The Empress had a little more energy, and cruelty, in the tank than Becky. After The Empress finally cinched in her signature hold on The Man, Asuka bridged over Becky to torque the lock as hard as possible, forcing a stunning tapout from a Superstar who long since lost any semblance of quit she ever had.

The post-match images were worlds apart. In the ring stood Asuka, overjoyed at the result and seemingly validated by the long, hard road she had traveled to turn away her challenger. On the apron stood Becky, wordless, downcast and with more questions than answers as The Road to WrestleMania began without her ... at least, until it didn't.

PHOENIX — Becky Lynch was ready for the moment, but not for the woman she had to beat. The two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion confidently walked into Chase Field, but Asuka whittled down her dreams of reign No. 3, proving The Empress is the immovable object who is looking more and more unbeatable with each passing day she holds the blue jewel of SmackDown LIVE.

Success, of course, breeds confidence — and Becky has had a lot of both lately, which explained why she all but preened around the ring in the match’s opening moments, while Asuka struggled somewhat to find her footing. The turning point for The Empress of Tomorrow came when she caught Lynch in the Asuka Lock while entangled in the ropes. It was a bit of vicious ingenuity that Becky quickly countered with a Dis-Arm-Her threaded through the turnbuckle, but the move nonetheless provided an important boost to the champion: Becky was vulnerable.

Asuka connects with a punishing hip attack to Becky Lynch's face: Royal Rumble 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

SmackDown Women's Champion Asuka sets the tone for a physical clash against Becky Lynch: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Becky was still dangerous, too. The harder the challenger hit, though, the more comfortable Asuka became. As each of Becky’s pinfall attempts came up short, doubt visibly crept across The Man’s face while Asuka rallied again and again with a smile that expanded by the second.

Still, for all the kicks to the face The Irish Lass Kicker absorbed (it was a lot of them), she proved difficult to put away. Champion and challenger attempted to turn each other’s moves against them — Asuka attempted a Dis-Arm-Her and Lynch plied an Asuka Lock — but The Empress had a little more energy, and cruelty, in the tank than Becky. After The Empress finally cinched in her signature hold on The Man, Asuka bridged over Becky to torque the lock as hard as possible, forcing a stunning tapout from a Superstar who long since lost any semblance of quit she ever had.

The post-match images were worlds apart. In the ring stood Asuka, overjoyed at the result and seemingly validated by the long, hard road she had traveled to turn away her challenger. On the apron stood Becky, wordless, downcast and with more questions than answers as The Road to WrestleMania began without her ... at least, until it didn't.