Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

2020 Ongoing MOTY List: Asuka vs. Natalya

5. Asuka vs. Natalya WWE Raw 2/3

ER: I love surprises like these. You tell me at the beginning of the night that my favorite match of the evening will be a Natalya singles match, and I wouldn't have believed you. But then these two go out and have a fun match that comes off plenty unprofessional, and I'm in. The scrambling is good, with Natalya hitting a fireman's carry and going for the arm, then both fighting over kneebars until Natalya comes up wanting to fight. Natalya asks Asuka if she wants to try shooting on her again in a fun bit of theater. Moments later when Asuka - trained by Yuki Ishikawa - muscles her fairly easily into a nasty crossface, it's pretty clear that Asuka is fine keeping things overly snug. The chippiness Natalya brings to this keeps it all interesting, but Asuka throwing hard kicks to Natalya's chest makes it way better. Natalya powers Asuka up into a really nice sitout powerbomb, and we get great replays of Asuka kicking Natalya right in the mouth. The slo mo of Natalya putting her hand up to block and her reaction when the kick finds jaw anyway, put this over the top for me. Asuka's octopus hold looked really cranked in, and when she locks on a guillotine she looks like she's really smothering Natalya. Natalya powering out of the grounded guillotine to hit a suplex was a great moment. Asuka leaned big into the rolling clothesline and I bought the sharpshooter as the finish (no matter how silly that would have been). The finish was the only blip of the match, with Kairi Sane distracting Natalya to allow Asuka to get the Asuka Lock, but Asuka even made that great by yanking Natalya back by the hair to set up the sub. Awesome, totally unexpected stuff.

PAS: When I saw Eric recommend this, I assumed it would be a miracle Asuka carry job, but Natalya seems like this weird wrestler who will suck 95% of the time, but pull out two or three cool matches a year. She actually brought some stuff to this match, the suplex out of the guillotine was pretty cool, and she seemed perfectly competent in the early grappling section (something which seemed totally out of place on Monday Night Raw). Asuka is really great, and she can really throw heat when she needs to. I have to love anyone who would book shows where she plays the Ishikawa role in a  Daisuke Ikeda match, and she made Ikeda proud with that back kick to the face, which really looked like Natalya would be spitting teeth. Weird that this was so good, but it is a worthy addition to a MOTY list.


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