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.