4. Becky Lynch vs. Asuka – Royal Rumble 2019
In the opening match of this year’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Asuka defended the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch.
“The Man” came into the event as the hottest superstar in the company. On the other hand, Asuka had everything to prove in her first title defense after she won the championship with the help of Ronda Rousey at TLC in December.
It showed as she got off to a defiant start after an initial collar and elbow lock up. Lynch wouldn’t back down, returning with some fire of her own. The two fought outside the ring until Becky hit the champion with a Bexploder Suplex onto the barricade.
Back in the ring, she kept her foot on the pedal, working Asuka’s arm. “The Empress of Tomorrow” clawed her way back into the match as she locked in her finisher while hanging on the ropes. Then, she erupted out of the corner with a dropkick from the middle rope, followed by a series of strikes and a German suplex.
Frustration started to set in when Lynch couldn’t put the champion away. She started to pull out all of her big moves after Asuka landed a grizzly-looking swinging neckbreaker off the apron onto the floor below. Becky connected with a Super Bexploder but it still wasn’t enough.
In the best sequence of the match, “The Man” went for a diving leg drop but the champion dodged it and put her in the Asuka Lock and followed it up with a Dis-arm-her. Then, Becky answered with an Asuka Lock of her own.
After another excellent exchange, Asuka executed a graceful takedown and effortlessly transitioned into a final finishing maneuver. Then, she delved deep into her arsenal and used Daniel Bryan’s trademark Cattle Mutilation to force Lynch to tap.
At the time, this was a shocking outcome. However, Lynch went on to win the women’s Royal Rumble match and headline WrestleMania 35. Asuka ended up on the kick-off show after an abrupt, and rather disappointing, end to her reign two weeks prior.
Nevertheless, this was a great title defense that reminded fans just how good she is.