After a successful stint in NXT that saw her win the inaugural Mae Young Classic and capture the NXT Women's Championship, Kairi Sane was announced as the latest addition to WWE's SmackDown Live women's roster on April 16.
She didn't make her main roster debut alone, however. Former SmackDown general manager Paige made it known the week prior that she would be bringing an elite tag team to the blue brand, and when she introduced Asuka, it was fairly obvious that Sane would be her partner.
It's natural for fans to have mixed feelings about the alliance of Asuka and Sane from the get-go, but the pairing should prove to be beneficial for everyone involved over time. These are five reasons WWE made the right call to put the two of them together on the Tuesday night program.
Kairi Sane Is Immediately Established as Credible
Far too often WWE calls up stars from NXT without a plan, causing them to flounder and fall by the wayside. WWE has a tendency to promote NXT talent simply for the sake of doing so, but thankfully, Sane appears to have a purpose right out of the gate.
Not only that, she is aligned with two notable names in Asuka and Paige. Like her, they are former NXT women's champions and are pretty popular as babyfaces.
Therefore, Sane being closely associated with them as she kicks off her main roster run will only help her long-term. If fans weren't familiar with her before, they are now following her strong showing on SmackDown in the eight-woman tag team match.
Alongside Asuka, Sane will have many more opportunities to shine and establish herself as a credible competitor in the process.
Paige Can Serve as Their Mouthpiece
Paige was perfectly cast as the babyface authority figure on SmackDown for the better part of 2018. When the McMahons did away with the general manager position in December, the former Divas champion disappeared from programming for a while to promote her documentary Fighting with My Family.
Managing a tag team is perhaps the best use of Paige at this point, especially since she still has the gift of gab. She was never particularly strong at doing commentary, but she was a solid manager for Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville during their Absolution days.
It can be argued that Asuka and Sane let their wrestling do the talking for them, but when the time comes for them to cut promos, Paige will be very valuable. Sane has yet to speak on SmackDown, but Asuka's mic skills have been sorely lacking over the last year, largely because of what WWE has scripted for her to say.
Having Paige serve as their mouthpiece will eliminate that issue altogether and ensure that they always have a leg up on the competition.
Asuka Desperately Needed Direction
WWE did a solid job of booking Asuka as a dominant force when she first arrived on the scene in late 2017. She remained undefeated one-on-one until WrestleMania 34, where she lost to then-SmackDown women's champion Charlotte Flair in clean fashion.
Unfortunately, it was all downhill for The Empress of Tomorrow from there.
Asuka did briefly rebound when she won the SmackDown Women's Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2018, but her reign was not the least bit memorable because of infrequent appearances on WWE TV. She went on to lose the belt shortly before WrestleMania 35, and she has been spinning her wheels ever since.
Therefore, joining the tag team ranks was the smartest thing she could have done to further her career. She and Sane will undoubtedly have great chemistry together, so hopefully this pairing gives Asuka the motivation she needs to get back on track and return to the heights she was once at.
The Women's Tag Team Division Is Strengthened
WWE's women's tag team division is off to a bit of a shaky start. Sasha Banks and Bayley became the first-ever champs at Elimination Chamber in February but lost the belts before they could do anything of note with them.
Currently, The IIconics are in possession of the twin titles, but there aren't too many teams waiting in the wings to challenge them. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville can contend for the straps at any point, but Nia Jax was recently sidelined with an injury, and The Riott Squad members went their separate ways in the Shake-up.
Plus, The Boss 'n' Hug Connection is no more with Bayley now on SmackDown, meaning there is a major void to fill on the babyface side of the division. Asuka and Sane couldn't have come together at a better time and are primed to take those titles sooner rather than later.
The matches they can have with The IIconics, Rose and Deville, and any other new tandems from Raw will strengthen the women's tag team scene that much more.
The Inevitable Feud
Almost every friendship in wrestling comes to an end eventually, and Asuka and Sane likely won't be any different. The only thing better than them aligning would be a feud between them.
Once they accomplish everything imaginable as a team, Asuka and Sane must go up against each other, if only because their matches would be nothing short of stellar. It would also allow fans to finally see what made Asuka such an outstanding heel in NXT.
Sane shined on the black-and-gold brand during her long-running rivalry with Shayna Baszler, who was the quintessential bully. Asuka played a similar character before leaving NXT two years ago, and if she were to bring that back, she'd be a fantastic foil for the lovable Sane.
The tag team division will be a fine place for Sane to start out, but when she and Asuka are inevitably broken up, a rivalry with The Empress of Tomorrow would surely cement her as one of SmackDown's fastest-rising stars.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.