Asuka is in the midst of trying to find her way in the spotlight of WWE Raw after making her main roster debut a few weeks ago. Previously a long-running champion and undefeated performer as a part of their NXT brand, there is a lot of pressure on her to find a similar level of success now that more people are paying attention. However, she isn’t the only one that has to be concerned about whether or not she reaches the level that so many wrestling fans think she is destined for. No, the powers that be in the WWE must also be worried about putting her in the right position. As such, they would also be interested in protecting her image which is why they would want to control the things prospective fans find out about her or see this talented wrestler doing. Realizing that is what inspired us to put together this list of 15 pictures of Asuka the WWE doesn’t want you to see.
In order for an image to be considered for inclusion here, it needs to relate to Asuka in an obvious way. As a result, any picture of hers could be in the running, including those taken at events, photo shoots or anywhere else she may appear. On top of that, any screengrab of her taken from any of her media appearances, including the wrestling events, interviews, and similar things she was included in could find their way here. Each image doesn’t necessarily need to have her in it to be included here as long as it seems as though the WWE would rather people forget it exists. The only other thing to keep in mind is that we could only go off of our instincts and educated guesses since we can’t say for certain how they feel about anything as we don’t know the WWE bosses personally.
15 Crazy Face Paint
There are many people that are WWE detractors for a variety of reasons and one of the most common points cited is that they are unwilling to push the envelope. Because WWE is a company that more often than not plays things safe, they don’t allow their wrestlers to take the same kind of chances they can on the indie scene.
In some cases that is most pronounced when it comes to the moves they perform in the ring, for instance, we can only imagine the aerial maneuvers the 205 Live roster would like to be pulling off. In other instances, however, it plays out in the way that wrestlers present themselves. In some cases, we totally get it, as fans could turn on a performer for any number of reasons but some of the time we wish we could see their talent express themselves more freely. In this picture of Asuka looking much more freaky than the WWE would allow her to appear in the PG era, we’re guessing they don’t want anyone knowing she looked like this at an event in the past.
14 Hopefully Forgotten Raw Match
A wrestler who spent months in NXT kicking the butt of virtually every woman she came across, most people assumed that when Asuka made the jump to the main roster she would do the same. However, to the surprise of most observers, her first two matches against Emma, the second of which happened on RAW, were much more competitive than anyone was likely to see coming.
An extremely talented performer in her own right, there was part of us that was happy to see that Emma wasn’t completely trounced in their matches, but we didn’t understand the way these matches went. After all, for several months Emma hadn’t been used in any meaningful way but perhaps there were big things in store for her. Instead, they would release her from her contract prior to the next week’s RAW. As millions of people saw that as a really dubious decision, we’re betting that the WWE hopes that most forget that the recently-released Emma held her own with Asuka on national television.
13 General Underwear
WWE is a company with a strong undercurrent of patriotism to it. You can point out that the WWE exploits charity sometimes, but it seems clear that the company really cares about those that wear the uniform. For instance, we think that is why they have put on the Tribute to the Troops during the holiday season so many times in the past. Additionally, the man they have built their company around for so long, John Cena, has saluted the crowd and shown his respect to those that serve over and over.
Then you have a picture like this one of Asuka that shows her partially in military regalia but mostly seems like an excuse for her to have her photo taken while barely clothed. It's an attractive image to be sure, it still seems obvious that the WWE wouldn’t support her co-opting the look of those that put themselves at risk for their country so blatantly. At least, not while also being so salacious.
12 Intergender Match
WWE is a company with an interesting history when it comes to the way they present their female wrestlers, and there have been several distinct eras when it comes to the women’s roster in the WWE. During the height of the Attitude Era, for instance, they used their female competitors as eye candy a lot of the time but also presented them as butt-kickers regularly as well. One way in which that could be seen is that there were a number of times that female performers grappled with their male counterparts in the ring.
These days, WWE is much more interested in making sure they are seen as safe programming for the masses, meaning they no longer allow inter-gender matches to happen often. When they do take place as they have recently with James Ellsworth, the man doesn’t get in any real offense and is left to take a beating. For that reason, it seems obvious that the powers that be in the company wouldn’t want you to know Asuka has wrestled men a great deal over her years in the squared circle.
11 A Little Too Revealing
For many longtime viewers of the WWE’s content, the way that they treat the women’s roster seriously these days is a very welcome change as many of them are fantastic in the ring. On the other hand, the way they seem to fear showing off the bodies of these same performers seems silly based on the way they used to take full advantage of them in the past.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not supporting the WWE pushing their performers to take photos that they are uncomfortable with so they can sell them to the masses. However, if these women want to pose for photo shoots that are focused on their figures the WWE shouldn’t stand in the way. However, it seems clear they do. As such, it is pretty obvious that they would be displeased that this shot of Asuka sliding her bra off exists, and would prefer their fans not find out about it.
10 Suggestive Match Pose
The internet has made a lot of things clear since it came into existence but one of the most notable is this; if you scour a video frame by frame you most likely will find a still image of someone that looks odd. We say that because there are so many single moments from films, shows, or instances of stars walking down the street that have become the thing of legend online – we’re looking at you, sad Keanu. Perhaps an example of just that fact, this image of Asuka in the ring with a man is something else.
This photo featuring this awesome competitor with one of her male counterpart’s heads firmly entrenched in between her powerful leg can cause the brain to picture something specific. As it also shows that she is accomplished at wrestling men, this image also doesn’t fit their PG presentation in another way, which makes it doubly bad.
9 Hugs For Everyone!
Asuka is someone the WWE has worked very hard to create a distinct image for. Fans of the main roster are just getting to know the Empress of Tomorrow, but NXT followers understand how she is presented quite well already. A violent woman that is prone to vicious attacks and is a proponent of the so-called strong style, she unleashes torrents of blows to her foes that they struggle to withstand.
As the polar opposite of Bayley, even when Asuka has a congenial relationship with one of her peers you can expect a handshake or arm raise at best, or more likely she simply won’t kick them into oblivion. Yet, here we have a photo of her embracing not one but two other ladies and while it seems like it captured an emotional moment fans loved, it still goes against the character as we know her. Someday in the future humanizing Asuka may make a lot of sense but it is far too early in her main roster run for them to be happy this image is out there today.
8 Lingerie Photoshoot
This shot of Asuka that was taken when she was still competing under the name Kana in Japan reminds us of those years she played on her physical appeal quite a lot. That's not at all a bad thing in our opinion, as long as it was a choice she made and not something she felt forced to do. Regardless, we can say without compunction that we enjoy checking out the results of her efforts.
At this point, we think any WWE fan worth their salt will have picked up on the fact that they don’t want their performers posing for professional images that show them in a salacious light. Worse than that, however, this image of Asuka in her underwear is more revealing than the most of them out there so it would especially get their ire up.
7 Rival Embrace
For those of you that are not supporters of NXT, let us introduce you to a performer that goes by the name Ember Moon. She is someone that has all the potential in the world, and in our opinion, it only seems like a matter of time before she will find herself on the main roster just as Asuka is today. As such, it seems clear that somewhere down the road she will find herself across the ring from the wrestler this list is based on while performing on RAW, SmackDown, or a Network Special.
Asuka and Moon were a duo that extensively feuded for the last few months that Asuka was still a part of the NXT roster, and at times they could be pretty vicious with one another. It could be said that during that time they still showed one another a degree of respect as they both seemed to relish the opportunity to grapple but they were far from friendly on screen. Then you have this image that Asuka posted on social media where they seem like the closest of friends. It was uploaded despite the fact that fans hadn’t seen them work out their differences in the ring, going up before Asuka made the leap to RAW and arguably spat in the face of their characters.
6 Silliness All Around
Because she is a person that comes off like someone that you should never trifle with when she is in the ring, the Asuka character as we’ve come to know her is a warrior that anyone should fear angering. She systematically rips the defenses of her foes apart one blow at a time, only too happy to beat up anyone that is unlucky enough to find themselves in her crosshairs.
If there is one thing that the Asuka character definitely isn’t, it is funny, at least not in any intentional way. You may see her laughing from time to time but that almost always means that she is delighting in her belief that she is about to dismantle her opponent overwhelmingly. In this shot of her in a mask with someone that looks like he is played for comedic effect, we see her trying to elicit laughs, and it totally flies in the face of the buttkicker the WWE is building each week.
5 Suggestive Video Still
Longtime fans of the WWE would know that at one time the company put out a series of videos that showed their female talent in outfits and situations meant to arouse their fans. Marketing them heavily, they would promote them on their shows weekly and often times put out magazines featuring stills taken during the same sessions. However, they were never willing to go any further than featuring their performers in lingerie or bikinis.
When it comes to the content put out by wrestlers in Japan they were more than happy to push things further than mainstream wrestlers in North America ever would. An example of that, this image is a screengrab from a video that featured Asuka back when she went by the name Kana, and another grappler named Mio Shirai. Both appearing in lingerie, at first, it seemed in line with what the WWE did in the past. However, when the two of them lightly wrestle, partially undress one another and massage each other’s barely covered bottoms things were upped significantly in a way the WWE wouldn't approve.
4 Plain Jane
Say what you will about the WWE, but there is one thing they don't tend to do, present their talent as people that are unremarkable in any way. For instance, even in the case of James Ellsworth, who is supposed to be seen as an everyday type of person that managed to make his way in the outrageous world of the WWE, things changed. As he was unusual due to a distinctive look that is highlighted by his utter lack of a chin, they heavily focused on that early on, and when he became a bad guy he dressed in crazy fashion.
When it comes to Asuka, the one thing the WWE would likely never want you to think is that she is just like you or me. A colorful woman that comes to the ring holding a mask to her face, she also wears multicolored clothes and has a robe that is similarly vibrant. Then you have this image of her looking like she would be at home in any office, aside from the sword which is something many people have on their walls.
3 Silly Head Gear
Another shot of Asuka from her days in Japan, it seems to show that she was more than happy to play with her image back then and tried a number of things. Previously on this list, we looked at another example of that as there was an image of her with interesting face paint on that we see as something the WWE would not be willing to embrace at all. This photo is even more experimental in our view, as it features her wearing a head mask that brings to mind something we’d be more likely to see on an episode of Power Rangers than on WWE television.
WWE is a company that has a number of competitors that perform in masks currently, but the problem here is that she can’t wrestle in this as that seems unsafe for her as well as limiting the strikes of her opponents. On top of that, if she does takes it off before taking part in a match it just serves to confuse fans as to the importance of keeping their masks on her peers feel. We say that because the mask she currently wears to the ring is entirely different as she simply holds it to her face. Because this is something the WWE has invested heavily in teaching their fans, this image flies in the face of it and that makes it clear they would dislike it.
2 Hanging With Her Rival
Earlier in this list, we looked at an image that Asuka uploaded to social media that saw her smiling beside her rival Ember Moon, and everything that is wrong with her posting it. However, it could be argued that it showed the two of them making nice backstage at a WWE event and only served as a precursor to them coming to blows in the ring once they are amped up.
Another image that Asuka posted online, this time around we see that not only can she co-exist with a woman her character had issues with backstage, but they hang out in their off time. Furthermore, they go shopping together in the toy section and make funny faces as they find items they enjoy. Seriously, we know Asuka was on her way out of NXT at the time but when this went up the pair were still rivals and this is a ridiculous thing to put out there.
1 In-Ring Assault
We think it should be very clear at this point that the WWE is a great deal more prudish than the companies that exist in Japan in a number of ways. A lot of the time we think that is a pretty crappy thing as we would love to see them take a few chances and be a lot less formulaic. On the other hand, there are definitely times where it makes all the sense in the world to us and this image is taken from a moment of Asuka in the ring we can understand would offend many.
In this screengrab that was taken from footage of a match she had while in Japan, she was grappling with a woman that goes by the name Lin Bairon. Taken from a moment just before her opponent in the ring was supposed to be knocked unconscious, Asuka would then take off the top part of her foe’s clothes revealing the bra beneath. Already an assault on its own, she went even further and began to take off her bra while also feeling her opponent's body in a provocative way. As that's something the WWE would never allow their talent to do, they also wouldn’t want you to know any of them had done so in the past either.