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Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka (WWE Raw 1/1)

Alexa Bliss Asuka WWE Raw

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#1 Isae Arreola

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 06:02 PM

After their confrontation last week, a non-title match between Alexa Bliss and Asuka was made for Raw. Alexa wasn't too happy about this and asked Kurt Angle why is he rewarding Asuka for her actions. Angle said if Alexa had a problem with Asuka, they can settle it in the ring. Later on, Alexa tells Nia Jax that she needs her by her side for the match, but Nia leaves as she had to attend to a sick Enzo Amore, much to Alexa's dismay. A nice way to build up the match and Alexa's growing fear of facing Asuka.


Alexa's facial expressions were on point. Before the match, she showed a great sense of dread, knowing what's in store for her and putting over Asuka as a big threat. Asuka came out with her usual confidence and swagger. She got in the champ's head last week and looked to pick up momentum before the women's Royal Rumble match. Alexa kept her distance from Asuka, avoiding some strikes and staying near the ropes. Asuka got in a few shots on Alexa before she retreated to the outside. The crowd booed because they wanted to see Asuka beat up the champ. During the break, Alexa managed to avoid a hip attack and connect with a big kick to Asuka's midsection. Alexa targeted Asuka's ribs with some punches and by applying bodyscissors. Asuka's selling during this was quite good. Alexa got too confident by slapping Asuka in the face, which only fired her up. Alexa tried to fight back, but Asuka was too much and forced Alexa to tap out to her armbar.


This was a good first meeting between Alexa and Asuka. I very much enjoyed the beginning with Alexa avoiding Asuka at nearly ever turn, not allowing Asuka to get too much offense off. The way the match played out also did a good job putting over Asuka as a threat to Alexa's reign as the work on her ribs wasn't enough to keep Asuka down and she countered a few of Alexa's offense (such as the sunset flip powerbomb in the corner). This is just a small taste of what these two can do together and I'm looking forward to the rematch.

#2 KawadaSmile

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 06:09 PM

Tricky, cowardly heel and badass shoot-style-y face is probably one of my favorite combinations, and those two have good chemistry. Hope they have a PPV match down the road.

#3 DMJ

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 07:34 PM

I had a paragraph written about this match and then edited it down to just 2-3 sentences because I thought I was being crazy to write so much about a "throw-away" match.


The crowd is pretty dead, which was the most notable thing for me. Still, I just love Alexa Bliss right now and Asuka, who hasn't received quite the criticism that her fellow countryman Shinsuke Nakamura has, has still been the butt of some criticism by many who "don't get the hype." With Nakamura, I think you can say that he hasn't quite shown what is so special - but with Asuka, her NXT run was tremendous and this match shows that she still has enough "it" to be a huge star on the main roster. 


Loved Alexa's coward act and her facial expressions, if they aren't registering with the live audience, work wonders on the TV screen. I read someone criticize her for being unwilling to take Asuka's strikes and while this is a somewhat valid criticism, doesn't the fact that she doesn't want to get hit in the face full force make more sense than just "taking" the hit? Anyway, Asuka's taunting was equally great in the early going - really fun and endearing. Part of the audience (I'm thinking mostly older male fan demographic) wants her to be the Terminator all the time, but not me - I like that she smiles and prances around a little and has the colorful garb and all that. In this instance, it made Alexa's fear of her even more of a juxtaposition in character and approach. That sort of juxtaposition is a truly untapped resource for good action (for another example, compare Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Black to super serious Seth Rollins vs. super serious Kevin Owens).


A commercial break kept us from getting the full match but when we came back, they were in another gear and getting really physical and intense. I loved Alexa smacking the taste of Asuka's mouth only to realize *duh* that she had now just thrown hands with a legendary hand-thrower. From here to the finish the crowd was a tad more into things, but not quite at the level they'd be if this was Sasha Banks or Charlotte, who are obviously more established in 2017. Its important to remember, though, that Banks and Charlotte and Lynch weren't necessarily mega-over upon their debut and it took time (and a total reboot of the storyline by jettisoning the stable war storyline they were involved in) to help them be seen as more than a bathroom break. Alexa Bliss will get there too. So will Asuka. The work in this match is just too good to go ignored for long, IMO.


I liked the finish too. This was Chapter 1 of what will hopefully be a somewhat long story and, in that sense, it worked. I do think that the commentators have done a real disservice to the "B-story," though, by not mentioning Nia's role in all of this. Has Bliss not been trying to get Nia to be her back-up for the past two weeks? I mentioned in last week and it deserves mention again here that you could really broaden this entire angle by being more clear about the fact that Nia, who is now a borderline face, has been letting down her BFF by not being in Alexa's corner. I know we often criticize the WWE for being hamfisted with things, but in this instance, they should really be doing a better job of driving home the idea that Nia has been MIA for two weeks when Alexa's been in trouble. 


If I gave this a star rating, I'd give it 3-stars, which is above-average on my scale (2.5 is average). 

#4 King Sabsabi

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 10:43 PM

I don't understand the praise this match has been getting in this  forum. Everywhere else, it's been largely ignored. I thought this match was flat out bad. Alexa did a terrible job of selling in this match (ranging between over-exaggeration with her facial expressions to no selling certain moves) and she failed to take multiple moves altogether. This went longer than it needed to like most other matches on the show and neither woman was able to get the crowd interested. This match gets a *¾ from me because it wasn't horrible, but I don't understand how so many are calling it good.

#5 WingedEagle

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 10:51 AM

I was also less than overwhelmed by this match.  I usually enjoy Asuka's fire and offense, but thought there was too much schtick here and found her game a poor match with Alexa's size and style.  One of those matches that reads better than it watches.

#6 Loss

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 11:16 PM

I don't think I'd argue this as a match worth being overwhelmed by. It's a triumph of layout more than a triumph of quality. It was cool as a novelty that they worked a 1980s-style match. I'd go *** at most, and I'm not even sure I'd go that high, mainly because Alexa's performance lacked aggression. But I liked what they were going for here, and I appreciated the attempt to do something different.

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