Asuka def. Charlotte Flair via Disqualification

Asuka def. Charlotte Flair via Disqualification

Last time Charlotte Flair and Asuka locked horns, it was at WrestleMania, and The Queen escaped with a definitive win that snapped Asuka’s incredible undefeated streak. But that was a long time ago, and much has changed: The Empress of Tomorrow was all over Charlotte in a rematch of their WrestleMania contest that also served as a preview of Sunday, where both women will challenge Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Women’s Title in a Triple Threat TLC Match.

With Becky watching inscrutably from ringside, the preview was almost all Asuka. The former NXT Women’s Champion had been something of a dark horse in the title picture before tonight, but she dismantled The Queen in excruciating fashion, transitioning from submission to submission while the second-generation Superstar attempted to brawl her way back into the running.

Charlotte finally found separation with a sit-out powerbomb and followed up with a targeted assault of Asuka’s knee to tee up the Figure-Eight, though The Empress of Tomorrow kept pace through sheer force of will, eventually trapping her opponent in the Asuka Lock — at which point an overwhelmed Charlotte sent both women tumbling through the ropes and attacked Asuka with a Kendo stick to lose via disqualification. Her attempt to turn the weapon on Becky didn't go quite as well, as it prompted a ruthless retaliatory tattooing from The Man.

Asuka got the last word, however, seizing hold of the stick and pummeling both women with savage abandon, ending the show perched victoriously atop the announce desk with the weapon held above her head. As the last few months have shown, this isn’t the same Becky Lynch we saw during WrestleMania season, nor is it the same Charlotte Flair. But it ain’t the same Asuka either.

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