Welcome back! This is the third and last part of the Asuka mini-series. I’ll be covering three different aspects of Asuka in this piece.
So the first thing we’re going to look into is, how well does she work with others? Is she a loner? Is she a monster who doesn’t need help? Or has she forged a few alliances over the years? Let’s have a look and see if she made any friends.
Does She Play Well With Others?
Much like a Goldberg, or a Brock Lesnar, you’re not going to see them in a stable as it can possibly look like they need the extra backup when they don’t. Is Asuka the same way? Is she too strong to forge alliances with other women?
No, it’s not the case at all. In 2010, Asuka (aka Kana) formed a stable known as Triple Tails with Io & Mio, the Shirai sisters. They often worked in tag matches together, and even produced some of their own wrestling shows. They were not shy in doing sexy photo shoots together, and the trio saw a good deal of success.
After Io left the group in 2011, Kana & Mio continued to work together as a tag team. In 2012, they added Kurihara, Mika Iida and Shuu Shibutani to the group and renamed it Triple Tails.S. She was also part of Hajime Ohara’s DQN stable, to counter her long-time rival Syuri who had turned heel and joined a stable of her own.
Following a string of success for Triple Tails S, the group decided to disband at the end of 2013. In 2015, Kana decided to form her own group called Kana-Gun, which was later renamed to Piero-Gun (Clown Army) as her stablemates adopted the same clown makeup in tribute to Heath Ledger’s Joker from the Batman movie. After abandoning her Clown Army, Kana turned face again before being given farewell tributes by her fellow joshis.
Needless to say, Asuka is not afraid to share the spotlight with others, and has encouraged it by forming her own stables of not just women, but with men too. The fact she can team with the guys, and wrestle them in singles competition, tells us she likes to show the world that while she isn’t the strongest, she’s certainly one of the toughest no matter what the gender.
The Sexy Section.
One thing which Asuka is definitely not afraid of, is showing some skin. She’s comfortable doing photo shoots with very little clothing, and the results are amazing. I couldn’t do this section on my own, so I called upon our loyal Disqus resident Jonathan AKA Harley Race to give some expert feedback on which pictures I should include. I’ll add the one below, the front cover of the Sadistic Tails DVD featuring Kana and Mio Shirai.
If you don’t like half-naked women, this isn’t for you, and you should probably skip ahead very quickly. She’s not just about wrestling, she can use her sexiness to get over, too, and the guys love it. And perhaps some of the women do, too? Either way, enjoy!
Having been born in Japan, it feels more natural for her to speak in her native tongue. She started wrestling in America at least six years ago, so she’s able to speak English to some degree. However, as an Englishman, I don’t feel it would be right to judge her on promo ability alone.
It’s difficult for Japanese people to speak English fluently unless they picked it up from a young age, and a lot don’t. They always speak with an accent too, much like how some Germans struggle to pronounce words beginning with ‘th’. This is because the language is very different to their own, so the way you move your mouth tends to be the biggest obstacle to overcome. Intelligence, and experience, play a part as well. For example, Cesaro learned English, German, Italian, and French to go with his native Swiss. So it’s not impossible for her to become fluent in English, but it may take a few years living in America to master it.
While WWE’s main audience expect the talent to speak English, the company is worldwide and it would be foolish not to sign talented wrestlers who have qualities other than cutting epic promos. I guess it depends what you’re looking for as a viewer? Fans of the Attitude Era were spoiled with the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, and it’s hard enough for English-speaking wrestlers to match them, nevermind a Japanese star who’s learning. I’d like to include a few of her promos/interviews below.
For what she’s lacking in English, she makes up for with intensity and facial expressions. When she speaks in Japanese, it’s easy to imagine it being highly rated by her fans at home. With that said, I believe she knows more than anyone that English is holding her back from connecting with the worldwide audience, and I’m sure she’ll get better as time passes by.
It’s the same for her counterparts Shinsuke Nakamura, Hideo Itami, and Akira Tozawa, all of them are having to work extra hard to be accepted. They have to be careful with what they say, and until they become confident enough to speak the language without making mistakes, they will be restricted to short, yet sweet promos which do enough to keep the show rolling. They’ll make up for it in other ways; like doing their talking in the ring.
Is Asuka Overrated?
Oh boy, I’m finally here. I’m glad I split this up as it would’ve taken days to put all three parts together. We’ve looked at her NXT career. We’ve looked at her career in Japan. We’ve looked at her character, how she does business, the friends she’s made along the way, and the bitter rivalries which will go down in legend.
We’ve looked at her sex appeal, and her struggles with the English language. And we’ve seen her on Raw getting the Ryback treatment, booking which powers her up by feeding jobber after jobber. It’s a slow road, but it’s one which worked wonders for Braun Strowman, and it could work for her too. It’s a matter of time til the WWE universe gets used to who, and what The Empress Of Tomorrow is. She’s a monster with a pretty face. She can be funny, yet scary, all at the same time. She can tell the story without having to say a word, and not many people can do that.
When I think of wrestlers who are overrated, I think of Garrett Bischoff. This guy .. wow, got to lead a team in the main event of a TNA PPV simply because Eric needed to feud with his son on television. He was worthless, barely capable of working a match, yet he was leading established guys in to a cage. I think of The Great Khali beating The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship. I think of Kevin Nash in the late WCW days when he’d book himself to go over half the roster in one night.
Either way, I see an overrated performer as 1) someone who is completely useless in the ring, 2) they (or a relative/friend) book themselves to become champion over more deserving talent, and 3) someone who has outstayed their success; either through a lack of reaction (silent crowds), or the talent being too old to maintain the same level of performances.
I do not believe an overrated performer is someone I’ve only seen a few times, or someone I cannot understand because they are trying to speak a language they’re still learning. I would call them fresh, someone who I have yet to judge because I need more time to come to a conclusion. Whether that be I love them, hate them, or just don’t care if I ever see them again. Let’s go through a final checklist, shall we?
- Can go in the ring? Thumbs Up.
- Has lots of experience in the ring? Thumbs Up.
- Plays well with others? Thumbs Up.
- Has had a career outside of wrestling? Thumbs Up.
- Has produced her own wrestling shows? Thumbs Up.
- Got sex appeal? Thumbs Up.
- Able to mentor others? Thumbs Up.
- Is well-liked by WWE management? Thumbs Up.
- Is respected by her peers? Thumbs Up.
- Can be unpredictable? Thumbs Up.
- Can play face, heel, or a bit of both? Thumbs Up.
- Can speak fluent English? Thumbs Down.
- The NXT Universe liked her undefeated streak? Thumbs Up.
I see the word ‘overrated’ get thrown around a lot, usually by fans who have yet to understand what makes the talent special. Either that, or they want to seem cool by trying too hard to hate someone who is obviously talented. Some will say she is to provoke an angry response, but all it does is spread the love and respect a good chunk of the WWE universe already has for her. Whether you love or hate her, you’re talking about Asuka .. and WWE will use it to their advantage.
No, she is definitely not overrated, unless she hosted an English-speaking talk show, then I would be inclined to say she isn’t the best person for the job. But in a wrestling ring? Who cares if she can’t electrify on the mic. At least she can always fall back on the ever true catchphrase of “Nobody Is Ready for Asuka!”.