Tonight on Monday Night Raw (January 1st), Asuka went one-on-one with the Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss in a non-title match.

At the start of Raw, Bliss ran into Raw GM Kurt Angle backstage to question why he would award Asuka with a match against her after Asuka interrupted and attacked her last week.

Angle suggested that Bliss settle whatever issues she has with Asuka in the ring, adding that she is lucky that their match isn’t for the Raw Women’s Title.

Shortly after his encounter with Bliss backstage, Angle headed to the ring to reveal that the Women’s Royal Rumble will feature 30 entrants, with traditional rules of eliminations occurring when a Superstar is thrown over the top rope and both feet touch the floor. The winner will get a title opportunity at this year’s WrestleMania.

Throughout the night, Bayley, Sasha Banks and all three members of Absolution announced their entry to Royal Rumble. They join the already announced participants of Asuka, Naomi, Natalya and Ruby Riott.

Just minutes before her match against Asuka, Bliss tried to convince her best friend Nia Jax to be at ringside for her but Jax said she couldn’t as she had plans of visiting a sick Enzo Amore in the ER.

At the start of the match, Bliss avoided early spinning back fists and kicks from Asuka by backing away to the ring ropes. When an opening arrived, Bliss went for a waist lock but Asuka reverse with a hammerlock. She matted Bliss with a full nelson and then applied a face lock submission.

Asuka then went for a knee bar on Bliss, who managed to make a quick escape from the submission. When the two Superstars got back on their feet, Asuka locked in a side headlock and forced Bliss to slip to the outside ring after landing a running hip attack.

Bliss slowly made her way back to the ring but was taken down by Asuka with a snapmare and then a kick to the back. Bliss kept her distance and tried to create some separation with a feint kick as we headed for a break.

When we return, Bliss takes control of the match after avoiding another hip attack from Asuka and countering with a kick to the midsection. She applies a body scissors on Asuka but Asuka turns things around when she gets on her feet to counter with an Ankle Lock.

Bliss managed to break free by driving Asuka to the ropes and then stepping to the outside to use the ring post to target Asuka’s ribs. Bliss won back control after avoiding a kick from Asuka and taking her down with a back breaker.

Bliss reapplied a body scissors hold but Asuka counters with an arm lock. Bliss gets to the ropes to break free and proceeded to corner Asuka with kicks to the ribs. She then slapped Asuka across the face but Asuka responds with a slap of her own.

Asuka followed up with multiple kicks and forced Bliss to tap out to an arm bar.

What did you think of this week’s Raw? Are you excited to see the Women’s Royal Rumble feature 30 entrants? What do you think will happen in the weeks leading up to the Royal Rumble? Let us know in the comments below!