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Charlotte on her WM34 match with Asuka: “I want this match to go down on history”

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WWE kept fans guessing who Asuka would face at WrestleMania 34 from the moment she won the first women’s Royal Rumble.

The Japanese star was joined in the ring by both Raw and SmackDown’s women’s champions following her historic triumph in January.

To complicate matters even further, UFC icon Ronda Rousey emerged to confront the victorious superstar, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair.

Six weeks later at the Fastlane pay-per-view, Asuka finally made clear which champion she would challenge in New Orleans on April 8.

After Charlotte retained the SmackDown women’s title against Ruby Riott, the Empress of Tomorrow stared down The Queen of WWE.

Asuka will now put her undefeated streak on the line against the most successful performer of WWE’s ‘Women’s Evolution’ in Louisiana.

Mirror Sport caught up with Flair, 31, from Charlotte, North Carolina, to gauge her thoughts on their blockbuster first encounter.

Your first WrestleMania match was a triple threat victory over Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 32. Then at WrestleMania 33, you were in a fatal four-way with Banks, Bayley and Nia Jax, which was won by Bayley. Those are all women you had faced countless times previously, whom you came up through NXT with. How much of a challenge is it working a singles match at WrestleMania with a woman you have never encountered before? Does more thought have to go into it beforehand?

Oh there’s so many challenges, but that’s what makes this so exciting. I don’t think I have ever been this excited… I’m always excited but just having the opportunity to face someone like Asuka, with her mystique, her look, her undefeated streak and her style… and like you said, we’ve never even been in the same ring together, not once, other than a promo on SmackDown and when she came out [at Fastlane] to pick me at Mania. So, I’m just as nervous as I am excited.

It has a unique feel to it – like a special attraction match – which is perfect for WrestleMania.

You are both known for submission-based wrestling and relying on submission holds to gain victory. Do you think this match could have a different flavour to the rest of the card because of that?

Oh totally and that’s what I’m already thinking about. Not that I’m going to change anything that I do, but definitely adding some new things to my arsenal, due to her ability, technically. And I think because we are both so established, with our styles like you said, it makes for unique viewing. Everyone knows what Asuka does, everyone knows what I do, so just to have that back and forth, it’s going to be… I don’t have words for it. I’m so excited.

WWE legend Mick Foley commented that he thought it was a match which could steal the show.

No pressure!

Ha ha. Is that a target you set for yourself? Do you feel the pressure of expectation?

No, I’m demanding that from myself. I want this match to go down in history. I mean, just even for me, on the outside, just hearing ‘The Empress versus The Queen’, I hate to use the cliche because it’s lame, but it’s magical. It is magical. Especially in the world of sports entertainment with what we do, with her style and my style, and then my dad’s history and legacy over in Japan, so having the opportunity to wrestle a Japanese female star, that means a lot to me.

She is the one challenging you and thereby trying to take your spot – the spot you have earned as the superstar on top of WWE women’s division – yet she is the one with the undefeated streak. That makes for an interesting dynamic too.

That might be, but I just have so much respect for her as a performer, that I’m also honoured to have the opportunity to face someone like her. Even though she has never faced anyone like me, I have never faced anyone like her.

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