Asuka: Where Did It All Go Wrong?

No Tomorrows for the Empress.

Sable, Diva
WWE.com

Asuka is Japanese.

When the former Kana was filmed ringside at the original TakeOver: Brooklyn, in 2015, it signalled a stark shift in WWE’s recruitment policy. While the old WWF had promoted female Japanese talent in the past, much had changed since Bull Nakano was brought into the fold to put Alundra Blayze over.

The Attitude Era honed in on the new, thirsty teenage fanbase with one hand in its own trousers. Sable—the WWF’s answer to Pamela Anderson—“challenged” for the revived Women’s Championship in Evening Gown matches and informal “best breasts” affairs that, at the very least, did not masquerade as anything other than the cheap titillation mechanisms they were.

It was Trish Stratus who defined the blueprint of the Divas Era. Stratus was a bombshell blonde, with superb athletic conditioning, who acclimatised quite brilliantly to the squared circle after a dismal and regressive start to her career. From barking like a dog to performing like a pro, WWE subsequently did what WWE tends to do: where every male Vince McMahon creation was some form of Hulk Hogan disciple, post-1993 (as opposed to those men who built their own brand), Trish became the literal model around which her Diva successors were patterned.

In parallel with the rise of Stratusfaction, John Laurinaitis, then Head of Talent Relations, used self-satisfaction as a recruitment policy. This, sadly, is not a joke, but the grim reality that was women’s “wrestling” as dictated by horny old men: Laurinaitis scouted swimsuit magazines in Hooters restaurants, tapped the models for a sports entertainment career, and those recruited were transformed into wrestlers, of a fashion, although the wrestling itself was incidental. For years, we were conditioned to pay little mind to the women’s wrestlers in the p*ss break slot, nor did the Divas pay little mind to one another; they succumbed to roll-up pins time and time again.

They were depicted as airheads.

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Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!