Paige vs Asuka needs to happen at Survivor Series; here's how they could get there
Asuka's debut on the main roster has been literally, "fine". She's beaten Emma on two occasions (Emma has since been released) and she looked good in the ring, but the matches with Emma didn't really paint Asuka as the kind of wrestler that would maintain a 510-day title reign.
The Japanese superstar needs something great before the fan goodwill dries up. If only there was a female superstar waiting in the wings to make a long-promised return; a superstar who can bring similar levels of aggression, an outsider akin to Asuka but different enough that the two won't cancel each other out....
Who better than Paige?
Paige has had a difficult year or two between injuries and various "other" issues that aren't connected to wrestling.
She recently started to prepare for her in-ring return, and that return needs to matter and remind the fans of why she's still great.
Paige and Asuka are both in need of a match that really stands out.
Survivor Series is the obvious battleground, and at the time of this writing, Asuka is not on the card. It would seem a waste to put her into the women's elimination match, even as the last woman standing. There are already two women's matches on the card, but there's no reason why one of WWE's top PPVs can't have three.
So, how do we get that started and get a decent, quick build out of it?
From now, we have three episodes of Raw and three episodes of Smackdown Live before the Survivor Series in Houston.
The perfect date for return?
Paige's return shouldn't happen on either October 30 or October 31 and here's why:
Raw will broadcast from Manchester, England, on November 6. England is, of course, Paige's home country, with her hometown of Norwich only a four-hour drive away (or one hour if you're Michael Cole). Even if Paige doesn't face Asuka, I would bet all the money that Paige will return on WWE's flagship show in her home country. The pop will be enormous.
Will it be a return to the SmackDown?
It makes sense for Paige to join the SmackDown brand. Having a match with Asuka would be a great jump-start, but joining the same brand as her could mean that Paige's impact could lessen very quickly.
Additionally, if you have Paige debut on Raw while making it clear that she is, in fact, a member of the blue brand, then you can have Paige on Raw in Manchester on the first night, and followed by her arrival at SmackDown which will also be filmed in Manchester. Two home-town pops for Paige, which sells the idea that she's still a big deal (short-term gain) and adding some more star-power to Smackdown Live (long-term gain).
So, Manchester. The Raw women's team of Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks and Bayley are in the ring, with Raw t-shirts on. Alicia talks about how they're currently out-numbered and need a fourth member for the elimination match. Alicia invites Asuka to the ring.
Out comes Asuka to a pop (hopefully).
She gets in the ring and stands in front of Alicia. Alicia invites Asuka to the team. Asuka smiles and says "no". Alicia flares up and demands why not. Asuka says she doesn't play well with teams, especially if that team is led by Alicia.
Asuka goes to leave the ring and, at that point, the Smackdown Live women's team appears on the stage. Smackdown team captain, Becky Lynch, gets on the mic and mocks Alicia Fox (Alicia is heel and Becky is face, so this still works), about how she can't get her team together, and perhaps Raw needs a lesson in teamwork.
Becky advises Asuka this is nothing to do with her, so she should leave the ring. Asuka accepts and walks up the ramp as the Smackdown women storm the ring, and start beating up the Raw women, who are out-numbered. Asuka stops at the top of the ramp and turns to look back at the ring. The crowd SHOULD be begging for Asuka to get involved at this point and that's when she should sprint down to the ring to a big pop.
The Smackdown women should be on the tail end of beating up the Raw women, and Alicia, Bayley and Sasha should be out of the ring at this point. Asuka is going to carve through the Smackdown women by herself, showing her as the badass we've seen on NXT that everyone SHOULD fear (Think Stone Cold coming to save WWE during the Invasion angle. Just bodies flying everywhere).
Asuka clears the ring convincingly. She stands there, soaking in the crowd reaction as her music plays and the other women leave.
THEN Paige's music hits.
Home crowd goes nuts.
Paige enters the ring and faces off with Asuka. And then do nothing. Let the crowd soak this in, let them lose their minds (think Rock vs Hogan at Wrestlemania 18).
Then end the show.
That's right, it's the closing segment. When's the last time you had Raw end on a real cliffhanger? When the show goes dark, they can go at each other for the live crowd but, as far as the television audience is concerned, this was just the beginning.
The next night
Smackdown, also in Manchester. Opening segment: Daniel Bryan introduces the newest member of the blue brand. Paige's music hits. Paige comes out and cuts a heartfelt promo about her home country, how she's happy to be back etc. Then she issues a challenge to Asuka for Survivor Series.
The next episodes of Raw and Smackdown come from Atlanta and Charlotte respectively. Asuka needs a match with a jobber on that episode of Raw and needs to absolutely demolish her, before simply saying "Paige is next" into a microphone, to make the match official. Paige shouldn't wrestle on the episode Smackdown at all so that Survivor Series can be sold on the basis that you're seeing Paige's first match in a long time and it's against Asuka.
There should, however, be a contract signing between the two, and that contract signing should be advertised on the previous night's episode of Raw. It would be awesome if there wasn't any fighting during that segment, but the idea is teased if only to whet the appetite for Survivor Series.
And that's the plan for the road to Survivor Series. Who do you think would/should win that match between Paige and Asuka? Let us know in the comments!
Send us news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org