The 2018 Royal Rumble is now only three days away. No other event on the WWE calendar is as contradictory as this one. It offers the most fun in the entire year, but it's also an event that the company has executed poorly in recent years, leaving fans unsatisfied.
The build to this year's event doesn't inspire much confidence that they'll change direction, either. That Stephanie McMahon is set to announce the women's Royal Rumble is just another blow to the hype, making me question whether I want to watch the PPV at all.
Mistakes during the build can be remedied with the right booking, though. Making WrestleMania as exciting as possible should be paramount, and that means elevating all performers leading into its likely matches. That can be done with the following decisions.
There's simply no other performer on the roster better positioned to do so. Asuka comes into the Royal Rumble riding a wave of momentum. She's quickly established herself as the most exciting and over performer in the RAW women's division and she's the natural choice to be its leading player going forward.
The story tells itself, too. Alexa Bliss has been avoiding Asuka at all costs over the last few weeks. A Rumble win means the undefeated empress can be avoided no longer.
"Undefeated" is also the key word here. Sure, technically a battle royal loss doesn't count in WWE record books, but it would be hard for the company to promote Asuka as an undefeated juggernaut should she lose such a high profile match. Perceptions matter, and aside from her opening matches with Emma, WWE has done a fantastic job of fostering that perception of Asuka so far.
Her dominance on the go-home show is a bad sign given WWE's formula, and (still only speculative) rumours of Ronda Rousey abound, but having a wrestling outsider debut and win this historic match would be a terrible call, given the ex-UFC fighter hardly needs it to be elevated in stature.
A win here would solidify Asuka's main roster career and make her legendary. It's the right call to make, so here's hoping WWE bucks its formulaic trends and does the right thing.