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[2016-04-01-WWE-NXT Takeover: Dallas] Bayley vs Asuka


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Pretty simple story here as the beloved champion takes on the dangerous undefeated challenger. This does get off to a slow and even awkward start, (Asuka stiffs Bayley with a forearm after their first lockup.) Once they they settle down, they do get into a nice groove with each other. I do like that Bayley went right at Asuka and never showed any fear but that does cost her at times as she gets out-struck and outclassed on the mat. She does adjust and learns to pick her spots which leads to some nice counters. Also, I enjoyed the announce team as both Phillips and Graves put over both of the matchup plus point out little stuff like Bayley trying to use submissions that had got her wins in previous title matches. Overall, an incredibly well done title match the is different from the typical fare you get from the WWE. ****1/4

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  • 1 year later...

NXT Womens Champion Bayley vs Asuka - NXT 4/1/16


Asuka is what Shinsuke Nakamura is supposed to be. Asuka has that crazy unique charisma from the Kabuki Theatre inspired entrance, that devilish smile, to playing around the ring. Whereas Nakamura just comes off as a spaz, Asuka comes off as cool. But there is more to it.


What made Nakamura work in New Japan was that he was portrayed as the BEST WRESTLER. He was the BEST STRIKER. He was the BEST SUBMISSION wrestler. He was the one with legit MMA Cred. Not Tanahashi, Not Okada. He was the legit King of the Strong Style, the last of the Inoki's vision of pro wrestling. In such a way, Tanahashi & Okada had to react to Nakamura. Tanahashi it was through body part psychology. He would take out a leg in order to destabilize the balance and ability of Nakamura to set up for his own finish run. For Okada, it was all about using the dropkick to keep Nakamura off balance to set up his finish run. But make mistake about it, Nakamura was portrayed as the best and you can see that through his counterwrestling and how he could takedown his opponents at will. However in the WWE traditional counterwrestling does not exist. WWE is all about spots. Nakamura really does not have a lot of spots to be successful in WWE. What makes Asuka work is twofold.


One is that she presented as the absolute best, which is what made Nakamura work in NJPW. From the outset, WWE positions her not just the best of the women, but anywhere based on how Regal presents her and the announcers her. In this match, she is presented as a bigger challenge than Nia Jax. I think when you first watch Asuka because she is diminutive in stature this does not come across, but watching a lot of Asuka this makes sense. So kudos to WWE! Secondly, Asuka is like the female AJ. She has a lot of really smart, organic, CROWD-PLEASING spots. She is NOT wrestling a million miles per minute with a ton of modified suplexes and flips. She builds her matches to a crescendo. She has a lot of spots she can go back to and fans will like them. She feels like she has the charisma that everyone tells me Nakamura has and the wrestling ability of AJ Styles. Pretty high praise and she deserves it.


I actually watched this match live and was my first Asuka experience. I remember liking this more than the overhyped, overrated Nakamura vs Zayn spotfest. But now that I have sat down a bunch of Asuka, I thought this match is a classic. The thing this match requires you to do is buy into Asuka as an absolute killer. I think if you come in cold and you don't have that belief this match is just good. So I think that one thing the match could have improved is establishing Asuka as a killer in the first two minutes (go for Crossface Chickenwing but have Bayley scramble for the ropes, have her throw a couple more missed roundhouse kicks).


We do see Asuka build momentum first against the larger Bayley (this is why I think establishment of Asuka in the match is necessary). But before the match gets out of hand, Bayley avoids an ass shot and attacks while she is in the ropes. You will notice two things: Bayley is suffocating her always on top of her and always coming off the top rope for extra oomph and Asuka is already countering with submissions (armbar, kneebar, remind you of anybody from NJPW?). Bayley's guillotine choke was a nice touch. The announcers put over that this finished Nia Jax (which I was aware of) and was super important to that move. You can get the feeling that even early on Bayley is throwing everything she has at Asuka and now I believe in Asuka it makes the stakes feel higher and makes every Asuka counter could lead to a tap out.


There are some awkward moment like what they after Bayley's cool rana from the ring to the floor, the general middle is a little all over the place (the symmetrical strikes were nice, but kind of seemed out of place. Asuka's slap was good). But overall the story is established, Bayley is in over he head, but the best defense is a killer offense and Bayley is throwing everything at Asuka. Asuka is just so good that she can still counter. Bayley goes from the bomb throwing strategy to the Tanahashi strategy of taking out Asuka's leg which came out of a catching Asuka's foot on a roundhouse. Bayley playing Asuka's game, nice! Bayley the Counterwrestler. Whats Asuka's answer, but a FLYING CROSS ARMBREAKER, which is exactly in line with her previous counters. I am loving this.


Bayley is just trying to survive and counters an Asuka kick with a small package. Great! Bayley is desperate trying a submission that tapped Sasha nothing doing. Finally goes for Bayley 2 Belly, but Asuka counters and we know it is over now. Bayley, bless your heart. Spin kick, suplex, Asuka Lock and ASUKA RIPS BAYLEY TO THE GROUND! Asuka is God. Bayley passed out. Amazing match. ****1/2

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  • GSR changed the title to [2016-04-01-WWE-NXT Takeover: Dallas] Bayley vs Asuka

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