TLC: The Woman, The Man, & The Empress

LaToya Ferguson
Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Asuka (source: WWE)

This year’s TLC pay-per-view technically marks Asuka’s one-year anniversary on the WWE’s main roster. (Well, year-ish. TLC 2017 was actually an October pay-per-view.) And what better way to spend that anniversary-ish than in the main event of the pay-per-view. Of course, going into this match—WWE’s first-ever women’s TLC match—this was also Asuka first time wrestling in a match with ladders of any sort.

Asuka def. Becky Lynch (c) & Charlotte Flair, in a Triple Threat TLC match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship (SmackDown)

Definitely not bad for a first-time outing.

During the entrances, Corey Graves said that Becky Lynch “believing her own hype,” would only lead to her downfall. While he said that due to his own personal biases against the SmackDown Women’s Champion, he definitely had a point in one form: This is Becky Lynch’s first match in over a month, something that could be a big problem.

Unsurprisingly, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch started the whole match off jaw-jacking—with Charlotte funnily enough saying all Becky does is talk—which allowed Asuka to get an early advantage by just letting her hands and feet (and hip) do the talking for her. But because Becky Lynch is “The freakin’ Man,” she was able to bring the fight back to “The Empress of Tomorrow.” She didn’t fare as well when she tried to do the same to “The Queen,“ but it was still early in the match. In fact, weapons hadn’t even gotten involved yet, but once they did—ouch. Charlotte got things started, as she was all for having a ladder and table inside the ring with her, but she also made sure to keep her opponents on the outside while she set both weapons up. Asuka even came up behind Charlotte and ended up eating some table for her trouble… as then Becky, when she tried to set it up, instead got the ladder kicked into her face by Charlotte.

Like this past week on SmackDown, Charlotte’s attempt at spearing Asuka—this time through a table—led to her getting rocked with a Codebreaker. And then Becky’s attempt to kill Asuka with a ladder led to Asuka throwing Becky from the turnbuckle into that same ladder. Finally, Asuka had the chance to climb the ladder toward the championship, but Charlotte came to stop her… and ended up getting powerbombed through the table she ironically set up in the corner of the ring. As Asuka then continued to try to climb the ladder, she was then stopped by a top rope dropkick from Becky out of nowhere.

In terms of momentum, even when it looked like Asuka got some—like when she hip attacked Becky to the outside—that was put to a complete halt by something like Charlotte hitting her with a chair and then taking out both herself and Becky with a moonsault to the outside. After that, Becky got the chair Charlotte had used on Asuka and just started going to town on both of her challengers. But she got too focused on Asuka, which gave Charlotte the opening to kick her and then toss her into a barricade littered with chairs. (Don’t worry—“The Man” eventually got her revenge for that one.)

Again, Charlotte set up a table for use—this time, the German announce table for Asuka—but before she could do anything else, Becky was back with the chair on her. Becky then took Charlotte’s idea and went bigger with it, setting both Asuka and Charlotte up on the announce table before climbing a big ass ladder and hitting a leg drop… only onto Charlotte though, as Asuka rolled away at the very last second. With that, the San Jose crowd naturally could only chant one thing: “THIS IS AWESOME!”

As Asuka suffered the least punishment after that big moment, she was able to get back to the ring to climb the ladder, but Becky was hot on her heels, cliimbing onto the ladder herself to fight Asuka off. But neither woman fell—until Charlotte came at them both with her new best friend, the kendo stick. Seriously, the things this woman can do with a kendo stick and a deranged look, even after all this damage. And it only got worse as Asuka refused to stay down, prompting Charlotte to attack her while screaming, “GIVE UP! IT’S MY TITLE!  IT’S MINE!” Becky Lynch had something to say about that though, as she hit a Bexploder on Charlotte to a table against the barricade (her revenge). But that gave Asuka some time to get her hands on the kendo stick herself and use it on Becky Lynch… and then get absolutely wrecked by Charlotte with a massive spear into a barricade.

That became Becky Lynch’s new opening to climb the in-ring ladder, but Charlotte stopped her—and then it was finally one-on-one, as the two former best friends fought over this championship, over being the best in their division, over being the best in the company. Becky was able to eventually get Charlotte face-first into the ladder, but that didn’t keep her down. So Becky jumped her and started raining down punches… but still, Charlotte got up and came back at her with chops. Then as the only one standing, Charlotte put Becky onto another table, telling her, “‘The Man’ always bows down to ‘The Queen’” and letting the WWE Universe know the reason why: “‘Cause I’m ‘The Woman’!” And with that, “The Woman” hit a front senton from the top rope to the outside to put “The Man” through a table.

But when it looked like Charlotte was finally going to get the title, climbing the ladder once more, Asuka was also there to climb the ladder and stop her. Charlotte got the better of this exchange, but, then Becky got another ladder, placed it next to the first ladder, and climbed it. Then it became Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair on this second ladder, with Asuka seemingly out of the equation…

Until the RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey came out to the ring, presumably with “payback” still on her mind. And it definitely was, as she entered the ring, pushed down that second ladder, and sent both Charlotte and Becky crashing to the outside. And then she walked right back to the backstage area.

Moments later, Asuka took this opportunity to climb the ladder and win the SmackDown Women’s Championship, celebrating atop the ladder to close out the pay-per-view, as Charlotte and Becky were left steaming on the outside of the ring. Payback really is a bitch.

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