As noted last week, it was a late decision to take the SmackDown Women’s Championship off of Asuka with the idea being that putting the belt on Charlotte Flair would make the WrestleMania main event stronger with more stakes on the line.
At one point, the original plan was for Mandy Rose to challenge Asuka for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. However, as noted in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, there was a second plan.
Dave Meltzer noted that someone who saw the complete planned WrestleMania card two weeks ago noted that the SmackDown Women’s Championship match was listed as Asuka defending against Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. That makes sense because they were teasing trouble between Rose and Deville.
By 3/19, the match changed to just Asuka vs. Rose and then the match was scrapped after Vince McMahon decided to put the title on Flair.
I was told on Tuesday that Asuka is the heavy favorite to win the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal. I’ve been told more than once that Asuka is liked by everyone backstage and by management but Vince McMahon doesn’t quite “get” her or see her as a star on the level of someone like Becky Lynch or Charlotte Flair.