Asuka Retains SmackDown Women's Championship Against Mandy Rose

Asuka successfully retained her SmackDown Women's Championship at Fastlane on Sunday, defeating Mandy Rose following a mishap involving Rose's partner, Sonya Deville.

Thw two had a brief, back and forth match where it looked as if Deville was going to help Rose win the title. Deville pulled back the ring apron on the outside and pulled out a Kendo Stick. As she waited for Rose to slingshot Asuka toward her, Rose was sent that direction instead and she slipped on the ring apron (which was laying on the canvas). This allowed Asuka to hit a kick and gain the pinfall.

After the match, Rose and Deville had a tense standoff that ended with Rose walking away, by herself, shaking her head.

So now Asuka will make her way toward WrestleMania 35 next month as the SmackDown Women's Champion. Asuka first captured the title at TLC back in December during a triple threat Tables, Ladders and Chairs match against then-champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Lynch called out Asuka in the weeks the followed, saying that she never truly beat "The Man" for the championship. As a result a match was set for the Royal Rumble — which Asuka won in surprising fashion by forcing Lynch to tap out to an inverted Asuka Lock.

Between Lynch winning the Women's Royal Rumble match later in the evening and Charlotte Flair being inserted into the Raw Women's Championship title picture for WrestleMania 35, Asuka was left without a legitimate opponent for several weeks.

On the Feb. 19 episode of SmackDown Live, Rose successfully pinned Asuka thanks to a distraction from Lacey Evans. A week later she was granted a title shot.


The bout appeared to be in jeopardy on Monday when a match between the two had to be called off after Rose accidentally dropped Asuka on her head while attempting her finisher. The champ had to be helped to the back, but tweeted out an update shortly afterwards that she was all right.

"I'm sorry for worrying you," Asuka wrote. "Hit my back but That's fine. It is neither a concussion nor a neck (injury)."