Sendai Girls 1/6/19 Live Thoughts

January 6, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan

 

 

Because of the timing of my trips and usually staying in Tokyo I don’t get to see a whole lot of Sendai Girls shows. But I adore several members of the roster and the opportunities I do get to attend live are always great. This is my third show of theirs, after 1/6/18 headlined by a battle of legends and 4/19/18 featuring those two legends in separate singles matches against two of today’s hottest stars. This card looked a bit different than those on paper, but no less interesting.

 

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The show opened with a short match that saw Marvelous’ rookie Mei Hoshizuki against veteran DASH Chisako. Marvelous has a strong track record training up and comers, from Maria Takeda looking good the previous day at Ice Ribbon at only two weeks experience to the absolute star Mio Momono has become, among others. Sixteen year old Mei was at about a month and a half here, and looked decent against the aggressive, dominating veteran. Dash is a favorite of mine and one of the best high flyers in the world, and it’s always a treat to see her wrestle in any capacity.

 

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From a rough welcome for a visiting rookie we go to absolute ridiculousness in a 4-way between Eiger, Sakura Hirota, Hikaru Shida, and KAORU. Exactly the type of match one would expect from a pair of comedy wrestlers in with two weapon wielding opponents, and was quite amusing and held together with some creative spots and the occasional flash of wrestling prowess. Eiger surprisingly won by pinning everyone, including reigning Oz Academy champion Shida. Bonus amusement was had in the form of Eiger going over to the concentrated Chihiro cheering section (more on them later) a few times to spook them.

 

 

Aja Kong, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Alex Lee & Mikoto Shindo vs Meiko Satomura, Cassandra Miyagi, Mika Iwata, & Minami was an exciting 8-woman tag with a solid central story and various nice undercurrents.

 

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Minami was absolutely fed to wolves here, including a point at which she went for a tag and Meiko told her in no uncertain terms to get back to the center of the ring to face her monstrous opponents some more. It didn’t seem like she had been in for too short a time, but Meiko was clearly pushing the rookie (and perhaps teaching some match pacing at the same time). They all also played it up well (Meiko spun to the crowd and see to dare them to defy her judgement in a great moment), and with the specters of Hiroyo and Kong bearing down on the Minami throughout it ending up getting the crowd behind her even more. Which lead to a great finish that saw her eventually getting the win for her team to a strong pop. There was also tension between former partners Alex Lee and Mika Iwata, my last time seeing Cassandra Miyagi in Sendai Girls, and general strong work from all involved.

 

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I was not familiar with rookie Ayame Sasamura prior to this trip, and was impressed with what I saw from her at SEAdLINNNG on 12/28 in a triple threat against Sakura Hirota and Ayame’s own reigning SEAdLINNNG Tag Team Championship partner Arisa Nakajima. That isn’t the only title she held either, and here she defended her Sendai Girls Junior Championship against Millie McKenzie (who I saw at Tokyo Joshi Pro two days prior). Excellent work here from two wrestlers with under a year and half experience each. Both have a lot of potential and bright futures ahead of them (not to dismiss what each has already accomplished of course). Millie scores a bit of an upset and becomes the new SG Jr Champion in a great match.

Since this show Ayame was injured and required foot surgery (forfeiting her SEAdLINNNG tag title as a result). I really hope to see here recover in full and make a return to the ring when able.

 

 

I also tend to get too few opportunities to see DIANA’s Sareee wrestle, so I was really excited for this main event. She was particularly fantastic here, going tooth and nail with the dominant Sendai Girl’s Champion Chihiro Hashimoto in a surprisingly visceral title match. Incredibly impressed with the performances of both wrestlers here, which was no surprise. Chihiro is an incredible wrestler with equally incredible presence, and it’s a joy to hear her dedicated cheering section go wild for her during her matches. Sareee pushed the champs limits, but Chihiro persevered and kept her title. Would love to see a rematch down the line.

 

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Another really fun, engrossing show from Sendai Girls. My next opportunity to see them live can’t come soon enough.

Marvelous and DIANA 12/20/15 Live Thoughts

December 20, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan

It’s been interesting how different the three Joshi shows I’ve seen so far have been from one another. Marvelous has been the biggest surprise so far, because it was also VERY different from their USA shows.

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The Marvelous show featured three matches, and struck me as “a bit of something for everyone.” Before the matches most of the roster came out and all had some time on the mic with Chigusa. Then they each signed a few foam balls and tossed them into the audience as they left the ring. I was lucky enough to be thrown one. Neat keepsake.

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The opener, featuring Kyoko Kimura vs. Megumi Yabushita, had heavy comedic overtones and was decent for what it was. A mostly straight up tag match was next as Takako Inoue and KAORU faced Alex Lee and Ray. All four had slightly different styles but it meshed well and this was quite good. Big fan of Ray from her time in Shimmer so was nice to see her here. Sad I didn’t get to see her cartwhell bomb, but she’ll be at other shows. Alex Lee kept up well and I’d like to see more of her. Amusing side note for me was that she came out to one of my favorite songs, which I had recently remarked would make great entrance music for someone.

Takako and KAORU made a good heel team and were both about what I expected from their reputations. After the match Takako stayed behind and sang for the crowd.

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Greco-Roman top-rope wooden board drop.

Intermission was a nice little break. Not many of the wrestler were out (that was after the show) but I did get to talk to Ray for a minute and it was great to watch Alex Lee and some other bring a bunch of the kids from the audience into the ring, let them run around a little, and do some simple “drills” with them.

After intermission was the main event, a 6 on 2 handicap match featuring Chigusa and 5 teammates against Dump Matusmoto and Yumiko Hotta. Yes, I’m glossing over the faces, but they were just there to be cannon fodder for Dump to hit with a kendo stick and other objects over and over. The only one who did anything noteworthy was the one who turned on Chigusa late in the match (whose name I don’t know). Hotta came to the ring with numerous pairs of handcuffs hanging off her gear, so it was obvious where things were eventually going. This was an ECW style weapons brawl that went all over the arena.

On the one hand this was disappointing because I saw Takumi Iroha wrestle in NY for Marvelous’ US show and she’s amazing. Was really hoping to see her in a traditional match where she could show what she could do. Instead I saw her handcuffed to the ropes and periodically beaten with a kendo stick. And these type of brawls aren’t exactly my cup of tea. On the other hand this was great for what it was. The heat coming from sections of fans for both Dump and Chigusa was incredible, and the mid-match surprise of legend Manami Toyota coming out to help Chigusa was fantastic.

All the wrestlers came out to meet fans and sell merch after the show, and the lines for both Dump and Chigusa were INSANE. Really glad I caught this, as it’s their only show while I’m here.

At night I went to DIANA. Cool venue on the 5th floor of a giant open shopping center.  I was seriously jetlagged by this point and had to walk around during intermission to try to shake it off, but still enjoyed the show.

The opener was already my third time seeing Hamuko Hoshi wrestle, here against Yuiga. Honestly I didn’t enjoy this match. Hoshi’s character doesn’t click with me and she did not sell pain AT ALL while in Yuiga’s submission holds. Totally killed the match for me. Really hope this was an anomaly, as I’ll be seeing a lot more of her on this trip.

In a great bit of luck I was able to see Jenny Rose vs Kagetsu in Jenny’s last match of her current tour of Japan before she heads back to the states. Both looked good here and Jenny is clearly making the most of her time spent in Japan. She recognized me and my friend from Shimmer shows and it was great to get to chat with her during intermission. I was excited to hear about the Aspire promotion she setting up in the PA / NJ area.

She was back out immediately seconding her CRYSIS seniors Jaguar Yokota and Yumiko Hotta vs Megumi Yabushita and Mima Shimoda. This was more of the one sided illegal tactics from the heels I’m still getting used to over here. Everyone looked good though, and watching veterans who are clearly masters of their craft against younger wrestlers is always a treat.

After intermission was the main event: Kyoko Inoue, Kaoru Ito and Meiko Tanaka vs. Chikayo Nagashima, Keiko Aono and Mask De Sun. Mask De Sun’s hair looks very familiar from earlier in the day. This was a high energy, chaotic main event with the heels doing everything they could to triple team and gain momentary advantages over the powerhouses that are Inoue and Ito. Kudos to setting up a countout finish that actually felt main event worthy, as the veterans trusted their 16 year old rookie teammate to get back into the ring after everyone was brawling through the crowd and concentrated on keeping the other team occupied. So with a single second left Meiko dives into the ring and wins for her team. Kyoko sells this as being a huge accomplishment and being extremely pround of Meiko, which made the moment effective.

Another fun pair of shows, and I’m thrilled to be starting my trip out with a good variety of match types, wrestlers, and promotions (except for too much Hammy).