The Horror Show at Extreme Rules is almost upon us. The WWE Extreme PPV has taken on a new layer as it adopts horror gimmicks and further embraces the cinematic flavour. One of the matches on the card will see current RAW Women’s Champion Asuka taking on Sasha Banks for that belt. This one has the potential to be a dream match, and WWE allowed media to question the Empress of Tomorrow ahead of her big PPV defence. With Funaki at her side to translate, we got questions on being crowned by Becky Lynch, her opponent for Extreme Rules, a potential match with Kairi Sane, and much much more.
How did it feel to have that magical moment where you were crowned RAW Women’s Champion?
“It was definitely a magical moment to be crowned champion, but I was also surprised and happy for her pregnancy.”
When Becky Lynch comes back, does she deserve a title shot or will she have to earn it like everyone else?
“She will definitely be my first opponent when she comes back, but by that time, I’ll have defended the title a lot, so when she comes back from vacation, I do not know if she’ll be a tough opponent.”
What was it like taking part in the Money in the Bank match at WWE Headquarters and what was your favourite moment besides winning?
“Everything was so different. Since they used WWE Headquarters, there were so many changes and different stuff. We had funny things, tough things. I was so happy to take part in the ladder match and even happier to win.”
You’re facing Sasha Banks this weekend, one of the most successful women in WWE. She will become Banks Two Belts if she beats you as she has been saying, but what do you think viewers can expect from such a big match?
“Everyone knows I’m the monster. So, I will teach her a lesson and put her to shame. She has been mean to me, Bayley, too, right?”
If you could set up your own Extreme Rules horror match, what would it look like?
“No matter what, no horror style or stipulation, I don’t care. I just want to beat Sasha Banks and defend the title. I am the horror. She might be good and have good skills, but I am better.”
Are you scared of Sasha Banks or is Sasha Banks scared of you? Why should Sasha Banks be scared of you?
“She might be a horror, but I will scare her.”
You have fought almost every woman in the WWE Women’s division, who has been your toughest opponent?
“Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax. Jax, especially because she is so tall and heavy, she is like a monster.”
We’ve seen Sasha, Charlotte, and Bayley all make returns to NXT, would you like to return to the black and gold brand?
“Yes, I want to be there. I want to have many matches with NXT superstars. NXT equals Asuka, so of course, I’ll be there and want to be. I want to fight Rhea Ripley. She looks incredibly good and tough, so I want to face her.”
What does it mean on a personal level to fight Kairi Sane?
“It would be the first-ever match in history. It’s not been done in Japan or the WWE. So, I’m not hesitating. I would just be defending my title again.”
How do you feel about the possibility that Kairi Sane leaving WWE as there seems to be so much you could still do with her?
“Kairi is a very important person to me. I’d have fun pairing up with Kairi for a match. We have helped and encouraged each other, so after I beat Sasha, I am looking forward to facing Kairi.”
I wanted to ask about Shayna Baszler, who returned on RAW and called out all the champions. You’ve faced her before, so after you’ve beaten Sasha, would you consider facing her at SummerSlam?
“I know Shayna is a tough wrestler. She has good skill. I think me and Shayna are a similar type of wrestler, very submission type. I think she would be a tough competition, so I’m thinking about her for a big event like SummerSlam.”
What made you travel across the world to WWE and did you have a moment where you realised, you’d made the right choice?
“It was a great decision for me because WWE is a worldwide and global company that reaches 186 countries. I have been a grand slam champion as I have had the RAW, SmackDown, and NXT Championship. I have also won the Royal Rumble, been Miss Money in the Bank, Tag champ, and been a Survivor Series survivor. I have done everything, so I feel I made the right decision. So, I feel proud to fight in the Extreme Rules title match as the first Japanese RAW Women’s champion in WWE history. I’m really excited that my performance will be seen worldwide.”
How has the lack of an audience affected you and are you jealous of the fact shows in your home country have started running shows with fans?
“This is a unique experience for me since there’s no WWE Universe in attendance. I want the WWE Universe to see my matches when they come back. Also, just for now, please watch my dancing in the ring.”
WWE is currently celebrating the Women’s Evolution. I would like to know, in your own words, what role you played in these 5 years of Evolution?
“We helped change WWE. Before the Evolution PPV, they didn’t have female main events, so after that everything changed. Women can now get main event matches, and I just want to keep them at the top. I think when I came in, I changed the whole women’s division. I’m very proud of that.”
WWE has celebrated the 5-year anniversary since the start of the Women’s Evolution. You were 100% a part of that, what is your comment?
“When I came into WWE, I changed the women’s division. Other women in the division had to be like, “oh my gosh, she’s entered the division” and had to change. I caused the division to change.”
WWE is apparently thinking of running another all-women show later in the year, what do you think of such a show, and who would you like to fight?
“I am waiting for the second stage of Evolution, so yes, please. There’s been a lot of change in the last 5 years ago to now, so WWE could show the WWE Universe all the change in the women’s division. Also, I want to face Rhea Ripley.”
You mentioned your dancing in the ring earlier. I wanted to ask where this and the more comedic elements that you have shown recently came from as you’ve been a most serious character over the years?
“I can do everything. The cool-type things. The comedy-type things. I like doing comedy things, and the time has come to show off more Asuka to the WWE Universe.”
Which title has been the most important to you?
“I think it’s the NXT Title, but even then, the RAW Women’s Title is big because it had that magical moment happen with Becky Lynch. When you get a title like that, it changed my whole world. It’s made me so busy, and I’m now the face of the company. So, I’m proud of the title, and it’s an honour to be a RAW Women’s Champion.”
What WWE moment have you been the proudest of?
“I would say the Royal Rumble win or RAW Title. The Royal Rumble because I was first to win the Women’s Rumble.”
What is the most important thing to focus on as a professional wrestler, physical, mental, or intellectual work, and what do you focus on the most?
“I focus a lot on physical and mental as well as wrestling sense. There’s also a lot of luck, so I try to focus on everything.”
WWE has a lot of Japanese stars right now. Do they plan on building a new brand out in Japan and would you like to be a part of it?
“Yes, I would like to be a part of it. If they do make NXT Japan, I will be there. I will help them. Even as a valet, the matches don’t matter, I just want to be there.”
Where do you want to visit once WWE can start touring once again?
“I will show my matches to all the WWE Universe all over the world.”
Now you have a title again, you appear to be invincible once again. Is there any woman on the division you consider a threat?
“Nope, nobody. Nobody is ready for Asuka.”
Special thanks to DS Communication – All images courtesy of WWE, Video courtesy of WWE YouTube