“The Empress of Tomorrow” Asuka made a name for herself long before getting signed to the WWE in 2014. A Japanese wrestling starlet known for her lethal strikes and unforgiving in-ring style, Asuka has not seized to raise the bar upon her arrival in NXT. She quickly ascended her way to the NXT Women’s Championship, remaining undefeated on the brand for over two years, and becoming the longest reigning champion in the history of modern wrestling. She left NXT as the champ, willfully relinquishing the title when she got signed to Monday Night Raw, where she continues to remain undefeated.
Outside of WWE Asuka has explored many other career choices. She used to write for Xbox Magazine, designed graphics for the Nintendo DS and owns as a hair salon. What many may not know, is that Asuka was also a provocative gravure model. As beautiful as she is strong, the Empress has a steamy side as fiery as her in ring-persona. These photos will have your eyes popping out of your skull like an Asuka-kick to the back of the head. You may not have expected these from the Empress of Tomorrow, and you likely won't be seeing any photos like this during her WWE run.
15 NO-ONE IS READY FOR ASUKA
You are not ready for what’s about to come. Just to ease you into this article, here is a pre-match photo that shows Asuka in full-attire ready to grace the WWE Universe with her presence. Letting her gradient of pinks and purples flow flawlessly into an aquatic blue, her worn down hair fits nicely with the colour scheme of her top and presumably bottoms. Asuka’s somewhat superheroic attire is encapsulated with a seductive undertone that has been a staple in the Empress of Tomorrow’s character.
As you will find out, Asuka is no stranger to being photographed. Or videographed, for that matter. This selfie proves that you don’t always need someone behind the camera, and sometimes being your own photographer can showcase a side of yourself that only you know how to capture.
14 LETHAL FISHNETS
Asuka is known for her thunderous strikes and lethal kicks. In fact, when debuting in NXT, her kicks were a selling point to garnering the attention of the WWE Universe as they built up to her first match. There was even a segment where female superstars watched old Asuka matches, jolting at the snappy echo of the Empress’ legs assaulting her opponents.
Here, Asuka opts to turn her walking machine guns from killers to classy. She decorates her legs in these thigh-high fishnet stockings while sporting a silky white shirt and black skirt. Her orange hair is braided on one side, adding an edge to her business exterior. Why is she in the bathroom? I don’t know, but this photo needs no further explanation.
13 ASUKA's Match With LIN BYRON
When we say match, we’re not sure if we mean “fight.” But things would definitely be physical. While working for SMASH wrestling in Japan as Kana, Asuka was pitted against her rival Lin Byron in a first-round tournament match to become the inaugural Smash Diva Champion. While the two were in the ring, Asuka tried to strip Lin Byron, eventually getting the opponent into her bra. In this steamy picture, Asuka sensually licks Lin’s face and seems to like it. The Empress’ left hand also seems to be caressing Lin. Asuka ended up winning this bout and moved on to eventually win the Smash Diva Championship. If the tongue on the cheek isn’t enough, you’ll be interested to find out that this was not the most provocative move during the match. But more on that in a little while...
12 THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN
In this voluptuous piece, Captain Asuka takes flight straight into your dreams. She is sporting a pilot’s hat and jacket over purple lingerie while sitting on a velvety red chair. This chair adds a stain of first class in this otherwise grim setting. The hanging chains and prisoner’s balls beneath.
It’s hard to say what Asuka’s position is in this photo. Is she a high-ranking officer coming down to seduce her prisoner? Or perhaps she is the one who has been captured, doing what she can to escape? There is an endless sky of possibilities. The only thing we know for sure is that no matter how different two opposing forces can be, this war-like image will surely have everyone in both parties agreeing that they all want to join Asuka’s mile-high club.
11 COVER GIRL
As mentioned earlier, Asuka is what the Japanese call a gravure model. Gravure is essentially a clothed version of rated R material. The behaviours, poses, and camera placements are often similar to that in-which you would see in Playboy Magazine or "soft" films a lot of the time, but in Gravure, the models are in lingerie. As you can see, Asuka was a bit of a genre-icon and was featured in many pictures and videos, gracing their covers.
Wrapping herself in red silk, this cover sees Asuka with her signature short hair. The other pictures on this cover speculate that audiences will also see the Empress of Tomorrow getting steamy in bedroom and outdoor settings, making it a perfect pick-up for any mood.
Many can argue that Asuka has a cat-like quickness in her wrestling style and aggressive strikes. The WWE is a jungle, and it’s survival of the fittest. Like the leopard, Asuka is a strong, fast, and fierce competitor, ready to pounce on her prey at any given moment. She stalks her opponents with calm and strikes with focus and precision, going for the kill in every attack. Asuka has climbed the WWE food-chain at a rapid pace, and shows no signs of losing her alpha status. These leopard print garments are a seductive personification of her jungle-cat wrestling approach. We may never want to encounter Asuka in a survival of the fittest battle, but this image can make you imagine where else we might want to see her inner animal unleashed.
9 OFFENDING OFFICERS
Officer Asuka has been a naughty cop and her partner is looking to lock the Empress behind bars. In this steamy girl-on-girl fantasy scene from “Sadistic Tails 5,” Asuka is taken into some kind of grungy industrial shack by her partner, performed by fellow Japanese wrestling starlet Mio Shirai. Inside, Asuka, who has a chain-link attached to a collar on her neck, is placed against the wall. Sharai starts playing with the chain and unzips Asuka’s uniform, exposing her bra. Mio gravitates her face towards Asuka’s chest, but the two never make any physical contact. It’s a slow-paced video made entirely of build up. It may never happen in the ring, so this could be the only time you’ll ever see Asuka submit while getting locked up.
The WWE doesn't really do a lot of swimsuit photo shoots anymore involving their ladies. Back in the day it used to be a norm, as the WWE wanted to brand their Divas as basically being models who could actually wrestle. Today, it's female wrestlers who happen to look good while wrestling.
Asuka proves in this picture that if WWE was in a time where they would allow their women to pose for risque magazines and if they would be engineering these types of photo shoots themselves, that Asuka would more than hold her own. Asuka is almost billed as somewhat of an unstoppable force in the WWE and this side of her really isn't on display anymore. But, this photo's proof that it's definitely still there.
7 ALL RED ASUKA
In this vibrantly red setting would put Total Diva star Eva Marie to shame. Asuka displays a Christmas Day gift for the world. Asuka actually seems like a very bubbly personality in real life as her Instagram feed is filled with fun, as she's often interacting with other WWE Superstars and even though she's adjusting to life in a new country, she seems to be fitting right in.
Regardless, this elegant mantle-piece is sure to capture the eyes of yourself and your visitors. The red is popping and its blend of classiness, lust, and romance makes it a perfect reference to show your girlfriend for a Valentine’s Day or Christmas photo shoot. We sure wish the WWE would let us see this side of Asuka more often.
This isn't exactly the typical WWE photoshoot you'd see nowadays, but it just shows you how things still work a little differently in other promotions. While Asuka's native Japan yields a style of wrestling that calls for brutal physicality, bordering on full contact, a lot of female wrestlers are still encouraged to achieve fame by flaunting what they have and certainly Asuka is doing that in this photoshoot. She's still in her ring attire here, but she's lying in a rather casual fashion on the bed. Back in Japan, Asuka was known as Kana, and often went the extra mile in not only beating her opponents, but grabbing attention from suggestive poses in the process. We certainly won't be seeing that in the PG-era WWE!
5 Is That A Sword?
This really looks like a picture that's straight out of Japan with Asuka offering a suggestive pose as she takes a sword out and has it draped over her lips. Asuka was seen in many photos like this back in Japan and obviously the marketing techniques are a little different in Japan. When Asuka first went to WWE, she began training at the Performance Center and admitted she had some adjustments to make: "Coaches here are teaching me a lot of things I didn’t know in Japan. Basics to advance techniques. Some of it is similar to what I was doing in Japan but rhythm or timing is little different in the States, so how I mix Japanese and American techniques to my style is what I need to work on."
4 The Back
Asuka partook in many steamy photo shoots back in Japan and like many others you've seen on this list, Asuka stripped down to the bare essentials here. Asuka hasn't spoken much on her past photo shoots in Japan. Obviously there's still somewhat of a language barrier with her and it's very unlikely WWE will let her talk about these past photo shoots in interviews. The focus now will mostly be on her in-ring career. Asuka has spoken on how she's adjusted to wrestling in the United States though: "How to get the fans in the match is different in Japan and in the States. In Japan fans are quite at beginning of match, just watching the all the small details in the match, the US fans are on their feet from the start. Although fans were on their feet on my debut match, I still think how I can satisfy WWE universe before every match, I’m still learning."
3 What Better Place To Practice Kicks?
Asuka had many photoshoots back in Japan where she'd be found in swimsuits, lingerie, or in some cases barely wearing anything at all. Here is a perfect instance of her wrestling style mixing with her glamour style, as she delivers a picture perfect kick while on the beach in a swimsuit. Asuka moved to Orlando to train at the WWE Performance Center after making her move from Japan, so it's good to see that at least she was used to the beach setting. We wonder if eventually WWE would allow Asuka to recreate a photoshoot such as this, as it's not quite as risque as some of her other photos circulating the Internet. With WWE's production values, they could surely improve on some of these shots.
2 The Champ
This is Asuka a little closer to her wrestling element, as she's proudly holding her NXT Women's Championship after what was yet another successful title defense. Asuka went undefeated throughout her run in NXT and only vacated her NXT Women's Championship due to a four-month injury and subsequent call up to the main roster. It seems like it's only a matter of time before Asuka wins gold on RAW and takes her first WWE Women's Championship. Her against Alexa Bliss at WrestleMania would surely be an enticing main event because we can all agree that Asuka just looks perfect with a big belt... oops sorry Vince, we mean TITLE around her waist, or shoulder. Hopefully we don't have to wait much longer to see it again.
1 By The Fountain
Asuka, as we said before, has embraced her new country, as she moved to the United States a few years ago after getting signed to NXT. With her hectic WWE schedule, she doesn't get much time to simply sit back and enjoy some relaxing moments, but here, she managed to find some time by a fountain. Asuka looks very approachable here and if fnas were to walk by her, they'd likely be seeking an autograph. They'd also be very surprised to discover how friendly Asuka looks and how different she could be from her in-ring persona, which is full of intensity and ferocity. It sort of makes you wonder if WWE would ever ask her to be on Total Divas, as that would surely pull the curtain off her TV persona.