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What Happened to Asuka In WWE?

The WWE Superstar has been sidelined. When, if ever, will she be back?

Asuka is one of the most beloved WWE wrestlers of the last two decades. She may not have the crossover appeal of some of her peers, but her unique persona and incredible moves have made her a veritable fan favorite.

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This reputation is what’s made Asuka’s 2024 so difficult to parse. The WWE veteran was removed from WWE live events in March, and then formally announced that she was stepping away from the ring a few months later. Fans were shocked, saddened, and a little confused as to why. We’re here to provide a remedy to the confusion.

What kind of injury did Asuka suffer?

Asuka has been wrestling professionally since 2004. She’s gotten her fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, but things took a more dire turn on March 15, 2024. The beloved wrestler suffered a knee injury during a SmackDown match against Bayley, and was seen limping through the end of the episode. The Sportster posited that the injury occurred when Asuka fell off of the ring’s apronand misjudged the landing.

There wasn’t much fanfare surrounding the injury, but WWE soon took Asuka off the fight card for WrestleMania 40. She was originally set to compete, but it was decided that it wasn’t worth risking greater damage to her knee. Asuka was also supposed to participate in the Queen of the Ring tournament, but Dakota Kai ultimately took her place.

Asuka actually praised Kai in a video she uploaded to YouTube in May. The video shed light on the severity of Asuka’s knee, and assured fans that she was taking the proper steps necessary to heal. “My partners Kairi [Sane] and Dakota [Kai] helped me a lot during this tour,” she revealed. “I could not move at my best. I am very grateful to both of them.” Asuka also revealed that she had suffered from knee pain months before posting the video:

After the Backlash of the European tour, I had to take a break to treat my knee that I had been hurting for a while.

Is Asuka going to return to WWE?

Asuka ended her aforementioned YouTube video with the text “see you again,” which was both reassuring and frightening. Reassuring in that she has plans to return to the ring, but frightening in that it suggests the road to recovery could be a long one. Asuka has been at it for a long time, like we said at the onset, so time off will not be as easy to bounce back from as it would have been, say a decade ago.

Still, Asuka is optimistic. The WWE Superstar posted another YouTube video on June 17, where she revealed that she had undergone surgery on her knee. “The doctor told me that the surgery was a success,” she told viewers. “My knee hurts, but I can take painkillers and I’m fine.” She also announced plans to move to a rehabilitation center to begin her recovery process.

We wish Asuka a speedy recovery. She has not yet announced when she will return to WWE.

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Danilo Castro
Danilo Castro is an entertainment writer based in San Diego. He's contributed to publications like Screen Rant, PopMatters and FanSided. When he's not covering the latest film news, he's the managing editor for Noir City Magazine.