The five best Asuka matches so far

3. Nikki Cross vs. Asuka – NXT June 28, 2017

Over a year before Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch had their critically acclaimed match at WWE Evolution, Nikki Cross challenged Asuka in the first-ever Last Woman Standing match on NXT.

The fight excelled because of the great character work from both competitors. They locked eyes when Asuka entered the ring and never let up. Cross sat in her corner stewing until the bell rang. Then, she slowly rose to her feet and kept her distance until she was able to corner the champion.

Nikki used her wild and unorthodox offense to gain an advantage, trapping her opponent in the ring apron. Then, she pulled a copious number of chairs from under the ring and attempted to suplex her on to them. When she resisted, Cross flung Asuka into the ring steps.

“The Empress of Tomorrow” eventually fended her off and introduced a trash can. She proceeded to put it over the challenger’s head and pelt her with kicks before she connected with a missile dropkick.

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Cross made it to her feet while Asuka went for even more chairs. The two fought outside the ring until Nikki landed a nasty inverted DDT on the apron. She climbed to the top rope but Asuka stunned her with a spinning heel kick and dumped her back first on a pile of steel chairs. Cross returned the favor with a back suplex onto the chairs.

In one of the highlights of the match, Nikki planted the champion with a Fisherman Neckbreaker and begged her to get up. Then, she hit her with three more but Asuka somehow beat the count as Cross tried to claim her prize.

This match was brutal. Asuka eventually put Nikki Cross down for good with a superplex from the top of a ladder through the announce table and narrowly made it to her feet before the ten count.

This was one of her best title defenses while on NXT, but it was also an example of how Asuka elevated her opponents. Cross put on a fantastic performance in this historic match and the loss didn’t cool her off at all.

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