CLEVELAND — In 2018, Mandy Rose was the first elimination in the Women’s Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber Matches, and she seemed to be struggling to find her legs in the wake of Absolution’s breakup. Asuka, meanwhile, still hadn’t lost a match and was on the cusp of what looked like an inevitable march to the SmackDown Women’s Title at WrestleMania.Fast-forward to now and Asuka has the title, though she’s proven somewhat vulnerable to the odd fluke or ill-gotten loss — one of which was dealt out by Mandy, who earned a title opportunity as a result.

Clearly a lot can change in a year — even EC3 seemed to identify Mandy as a prospect on the rise in a backstage confrontation during which The Top One Percent finally broke his silence. But could Cleveland, the city of underdogs, play host to perhaps the most unlikely championship victory in recent memory?

Asuka brutally pummels Mandy Rose: WWE Fastlane 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Mandy Rose is left reeling after a hard-hitting attack from SmackDown Women's Champion Asuka: Courtesy of WWE Network.

It could not. Though Sonya Deville boasted about how Mandy held the “mental edge” against The Empress of Tomorrow, Rose typically only gained the advantage when Deville got involved, either by climbing up on the apron to distract Asuka or rooting around under the ring in search of an equalizer. If The Jersey Devil gave Mandy her best chance to accomplish the impossible, however, she also inadvertently dashed her hopes: When Sonya produced a Kendo stick from beneath the ring, she made the mistake of leaving the ring apron bunched up on the canvas. Mandy slipped as she ricocheted off the ropes, Asuka capitalized with straight kick to the jaw that put Mandy down for three, and the would-be champion was not in a forgiving mood in the wake of her stunning defeat. As Deville pleaded for understanding from her friend, Mandy instead stormed off, leaving "Fire and Desire" with more questions than answers as they try to find their way forward.

CLEVELAND — In 2018, Mandy Rose was the first elimination in the Women’s Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber Matches, and she seemed to be struggling to find her legs in the wake of Absolution’s breakup. Asuka, meanwhile, still hadn’t lost a match and was on the cusp of what looked like an inevitable march to the SmackDown Women’s Title at WrestleMania.Fast-forward to now and Asuka has the title, though she’s proven somewhat vulnerable to the odd fluke or ill-gotten loss — one of which was dealt out by Mandy, who earned a title opportunity as a result.

Clearly a lot can change in a year — even EC3 seemed to identify Mandy as a prospect on the rise in a backstage confrontation during which The Top One Percent finally broke his silence. But could Cleveland, the city of underdogs, play host to perhaps the most unlikely championship victory in recent memory?

Asuka brutally pummels Mandy Rose: WWE Fastlane 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Mandy Rose is left reeling after a hard-hitting attack from SmackDown Women's Champion Asuka: Courtesy of WWE Network.

It could not. Though Sonya Deville boasted about how Mandy held the “mental edge” against The Empress of Tomorrow, Rose typically only gained the advantage when Deville got involved, either by climbing up on the apron to distract Asuka or rooting around under the ring in search of an equalizer. If The Jersey Devil gave Mandy her best chance to accomplish the impossible, however, she also inadvertently dashed her hopes: When Sonya produced a Kendo stick from beneath the ring, she made the mistake of leaving the ring apron bunched up on the canvas. Mandy slipped as she ricocheted off the ropes, Asuka capitalized with straight kick to the jaw that put Mandy down for three, and the would-be champion was not in a forgiving mood in the wake of her stunning defeat. As Deville pleaded for understanding from her friend, Mandy instead stormed off, leaving "Fire and Desire" with more questions than answers as they try to find their way forward.