NXT Women's champion Asuka gave a telephone interview to Japanese journalists recently.
In the interview, reported by Enuhito.com, Asuka discusses what adaptations she's needed to make since arriving in the US women's division earlier this year and how she feels about returning to the country of her birth with NXT for the WWE Japan live event in early July.
On the subject of adapting to life in the USA Asuka said there was a language barrier to start with which made life difficult, but that she was now able to do things like go out shopping alone which makes things easier.
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She said that one of the main issues was the food. She misses traditional Japanese cooking and finds it hard to find authentic Japanese cuisine in Orlando. Her first aim when visiting Japan next month is to eat real sushi.
Asuka was also asked about her interactions with other Japanese superstars since her arrival and gave an insight into life in NXT. She said she is in the same promo class as Hideo (Itami), where they practice their promos in front of other superstars, but that it always turns into a comedy show.
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She also talked about Shinsuke Nakamura, telling the interviewer that he had, along with other superstars, taken her to the beach, and that he watches her matches and offers her advice.
She was asked to describe the experience of training at the WWE performance centre. Despite being an experienced and accomplished athlete, Asuka told journalists she is learning a lot citing stylistic differences as a major factor.
She added that a lot of the techniques are similar to the way she worked in Japan but timing or rhythm is different in the WWE way of working.
One of the things she discussed was mixing Japanese and American techniques to hone her unique style.
Asuka has brought a different kind of intensity to the NXT women's division and this mixture of technique and culture has been key to developing that. She points out that in her first match she was very quiet, trying to avoid using Japanese which wouldn't be understood, but since then she has started screaming in Japanese during matches as it helps her portray the right emotional expression.
There are also huge differences in the US and Japanese fan reactions according to Asuka. Japanese fans are quieter and more reserved, preferring to watch and wait for the match to build, whereas US fans are more interactive from the start of the match.
Asuka said she thinks about the best way to satisfy the WWE fans before every match, adding that there is much more pressure to perform now she is NXT Women's champion.
That pressure to perform is a great motivator for Asuka, she says she performs better under pressure and welcomes the extra which comes with being the champion.
She's looking forward to returning to Japan with NXT and hopes her fans will compare the WWE matches to her Japanese work to see how she's evolved. Considering how she's taken the NXT women's division by storm since her arrival, her fans should be very proud.
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