May 12, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
It’d been a long time since my only previous DIANA show, but I’ve certainly been aware of their rising star. I had the privilege of seeing Sareee in person at Sendai Girls’ shows against Chihiro in January and against DASH Chisako just a couple weeks prior to this in a pair of fantastic matches, and anticipation for her vs Kong III was through the roof.
Beyond the general awesomeness of being at Korakuen and the huge main event, there were a number of interesting aspects to the undercard that had me particularly excited for this show.
1) Ayako Sato vs Madeline
I was really impressed with Madeline here. In fact, I was about to write “this was my first time seeing Madeline,” momentarily forgetting it had to be as it was in fact her DEBUT.
Sato’s assault was spot on for letting the rookie shine and get a good amount of offense while keeping things reasonable. Madeline has a distinct style already, with an expressiveness that really draws the audience into her match and strong fundamentals. Fantastic first impression made.
2) Emi Sakura vs Haruka Umesaki
As a huge fan of Sakura and her promotion Gatoh Move, this match seeing her face a former student from DareJyo (who I was previously unfamiliar with) was another big reason I made a point of attending this show.
This was really fun. Every little detail was on point, from even before the match started and Emi took issue to Haruka being presented with a gift before the match and her not. Emi’s a master, Haruka rose to the challenge, they got a decent amount of time to play with, and this was an extremely good match.
3) Queen Elizabeth Championship: Jaguar Yokota (c) vs Sakura Hirota vs Yumi Ohka
Fine 3-way with Hirota being Hirota, Ohka holding everything together with liberal application of kicks, and Yokota picking her spots to capitalize and retain her title.
4) DIANA Tag Team Championship: Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe (c) defeat Double Inoue (Kyoko Inoue & Takako Inoue)
It was a treat to see Double Inoue, and in a title match to boot. Absolutely brutal at points, and admittedly got excessive at the end. Watching Kyoko take FIVE top rope doublestomps to the stomach from Ito was cringe inducing, and that many wasn’t needed to get the point across. That small criticism aside though, this was great.
5) DIANA World Championship: Aja Kong (c) vs Sareee
I’d heard a lot about their previous encounters and have become a huge fan of Sareee in general, so as mentioned above the expectations were high for this one.
It was A LOT more lopsided than I expected at first, with Kong largely wiping the mat with Sareee for the first third to half of the match. Then Sareee found a weakness to capitalize on when Kong missed a charge and “injured” her arm, and Sareee showed she could give as good as she got.
The back and forth battle raged on, with Sareee weathering the storm long enough to shock the monster with a rollup for the win and the title. This built to a moment, and was pretty excellent along the way. Chihiro Hashimoto comes out afterwards and appears to challenge Sareee to a double title match.
Sareee is wrestling’s next big star, and everyone clearly knows it. She recently won said double title match so is currently a reigning double singles champion across two companies. On her way to the Sendai title she pinned their legendary owner Meiko Satomura, as well as DASH Chisako and other top competitors. And of course any sort of victory over Kong is a huge deal, let alone a singles pinfall. The important part of course is Sareee’s completely believable and natural in this role, with both the technical skills and charisma/mannerisms to pull it all off.
Wonderful show from top to bottom, with a variety of match styles and points of interest. DIANA delivered big time here.