Hail to the Queen: Charlotte Flair and Asuka as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions

Asuka Charlotte Flair WWE RAW

When Lana was injured and unable to compete in Sunday, December 20’s WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, speculation began about who would be Asuka’s tag team partner at the event. The answer came: Charlotte Flair returned to WWE after a six-month leave of absence, and she came to slay. The Queen and the Empress worked together seamlessly for a resounding victory, claiming the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship from Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. On the December 21 broadcast of Monday Night RAW, the thirteen-time champion took a well-deserved victory lap, addressing the Thunderdome with her partner Asuka. They were interrupted by Baszler and Jax, but as Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke stormed the ramp addressing the former champions, Flair took control and wrangled a referee to cut the smack talk and begin the two teams’ match, which was scheduled for later in the program.

The Queen was calling the shots, but there were challengers for the throne: Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce. Although Lacey bragged that the two were not content to wait for “handouts” and were seizing the opportunity to make a bid for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship, Royce made it clear that she was the one who had arranged the match. The lack of cohesion was apparent early on between this new team.

Asuka and Royce began the brawl, scrambling to get hold of one another. Royce seemed motivated, but her admirable efforts were ended by a clothesline from Asuka. She tagged in Evans, but this went unnoticed by Asuka, who continued her attack, putting Royce into an Asuka Lock. Royce broke free, and Evans entered the fray, sweeping Asuka’s feet out from under her in a kick. Evans, finding herself on the other side of the ropes, clinging to the apron, leaped back into the ring in an impressive show of athleticism, and she and Royce traded tags in a frantic pursuit to pin the Empress of Tomorrow.

However, they also seemed to be out to steal one another’s thunder, and Royce finally called Evans out on her attempts to sabotage her; they were, after all, supposed to be a team. Asuka and Charlotte Flair had no such communication breakdowns. Asuka tagged in Flair, who was a livewire of energy and power, taking the offense and quickly getting in a backbreaker and a kick to Royce, and foiling an attack by Evans with a mighty throw. When Royce targeted Flairs’ leg, and held her in a painfully contorted lock, Asuka wasted no time to slide in and liberate her partner.

Charlotte Flair’s momentum never flagged as she took on Evans and Royce in turn, and she captured the match for her team by locking Royce in submission in a figure-eight.

Asuka and Charlotte Flair are set to defend their title on Friday’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown, where they face a roster stacked with some heavy hitters: veterans Natalya and Tamina, former Women’s SmackDown champion Bayley, current champion Sasha Banks, Carmella, who, like Flair, has recently returned from a leave of absence, and the brand’s current front burner babyface Bianca Belair. Any configuration of these talented athletes may align for the opportunity to claim the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship, but twice now the Queen and the Empress have proven themselves a formidable team.  Time away has clearly only refined the prowess of Flair, who dominated with a smile; the Queen is back, and long may she reign.

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