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  1. Decided to start this thread since both Stardom and Pro Wrestling WAVE now have their own streaming services, plus the Real Hero google drive makes it easier to find shows from other groups. Just finished watching the opening night of the 5*GP. Thought it was a fine show, but nothing memorable. Storm/Bito, Hojo/Wolf, and Iwatani/KLR were all good yet would say that you have to rush out to see any of them. The only bad match was Blanchard/Watanabe, which was a mess. Courtney Stewart looked good having a short, solid match with Jungle Kyona. The show ended with promos from Kay Lee Ray, Toni Storm, and Io Shirai whom I assume they are teasing as being in the finals.
  2. From the outset, this match felt like a fight. Maria scrapped and clawed her way out of holds and took potshots at DASH by scraping her boot across the back of her head. Maria immediately went for the arm, which wouldn’t become a focus until later. DASH responded with forearms that sounded like gunshots, but Maria gave as good as she got. There was a certain combativeness to everything they did. Take, for example, DASH kicking at Maria while she was on the mat. Maria caught DASH’s arm and kicked it while it was in-between the ropes. DASH did well to remind us of her injury, shaking feeling into the bad limb as she peppered Maria with strikes. DASH’s cut-offs were well-timed as well, as she checked Maria with a headbutt for good measure. Maria fought with all her might, but DASH added insult to injury by putting her away with not one but two Michinoku Drivers. A delightful, bite-sized banger full of hatred and spitefulness.
  3. Very few matches during the pandemic have made me feel something the way this match did. Team Marvelous’ strategy was clear from minute one: isolate Sendai Girls’ dominant force, Chihiro Hashimoto. It even worked for a while. In everything they did, the Marvelous crew came off as a cohesive force bound and determined to achieve their goal. Once thrown off their game plan thanks to some chief interference from Iwata and Chisako, they had to rely on a long-term plan to get rid of Chihiro. One of the biggest successes of this match is that they went to the near-fall well early without it ever feeling gratuitous. The match starts at a ridiculous pace and doesn’t let up for its entire 25-minute runtime. Even the weaker points of the match, such as the section between Iwata and Kadokura, are filled to the brim with a sort of energy that most bouts the past few years simply haven’t had. It’s all incredibly mean-spirited and focused. Chihiro’s power eventually comes back to bite Team Marvelous and it allows the Sendai Girls contingent a brief moment of respite, allowing them to eliminate Mei Hoshizuki. Hashimoto’s performance as the vulnerable but stout giant is delightful. Her selling allows you to believe that Team Marvelous might have a chance in this thing yet. Mio eliminates DASH, and from there, the match becomes a handicap match of sorts, with Chihiro having to fend off Mei Hoshizuki and Momono. There’s a wonderful moment where Hashimoto has Hoshizuki on the ropes, both figuratively and literally, but Mio takes a bullet for her team and allows Mei to survive just a bit longer. Unfortunately, the damage had been done at that point, and Mei was eliminated shortly thereafter. The final third is exciting, climactic, and joyful. The tale of Mio Momono’s resilience is told with exciting twists and turns. She nails Hashimoto with headbutts, busts out the Momo Latch, and uses every inch of her power to reverse a powerbomb. Try as she might, Mio succumbed to a power slam and an Albright. Sendai Girls has finally won the battle, but as we’d see with their title match and later tags, the war was far from over. As good as nearly any match you’ll see from 2021, and a stark contrast to the other clap-crowds that marked this year and the one prior. There’s so much to love here, from the synergy of both teams to the trainees and rookies cheering them on from ringside. It all has a sense of camaraderie and vitality that’s been lacking from many big matches recently, making this one of the finest contests of the year.
  4. This was quite the way to end the Stardom/Sendai Girls feud, or at least for now. Story of the match has Io constantly getting drilled by Meiko but still managing to get in some comeback and slowly chip away at Satomura. The strikes here are just nasty, maybe it was the way that the sound was setup but you could hear pretty much every shot the whole match. Wasn't crazy about some of Io's selling on her comebacks, she hit some big stuff a little too easily. Still an awesome way to end the year for Shirai, who is my personal woman wrestler of the year. ****
  5. In some ways this was better than Satomura/Saiki and in some ways worse. The opening exchanges were very good, and the match soon turned into an absolute slaughter with Satomura using her skinny opponent as a kicking bag. Sareee also took some brutal suplexes. Sareee is a fairly generic female worker, but she held her own with some sick crowbar dropkicks that seeked to shatter Meikos face. Satomura basically worked this like a pissed off Jumbo, angrily walloping her opponent around whenever she had enough and landing brutal throws. Meiko also whips out a super fast spinning toe hold and looked like it would dislocated your knee in another great spot. The problem was that whenever Sareee needed to make a comeback she simply no sold her way back into the match. Meiko selling her the head trauma from the constant dropkicks to her face added some depth but this needed some kind of hook for Sareee to outsmart her higher ranked, more skillful, precise and vicious opponent. As a result the finish didn't feel earned. Should add that Satomuras suplex bumps were crazy aswell.
  6. This is one of the main events for Jinsei Shinzaki's 25th Anniversary show. It is also for the Sendai Girls title that was vacated by Ayako Hamada following her arrest back in May. The basic storyline of the match is a contrast in styles between the matwork/power moves of Chihiro and the brawling/highspots of DASH. The finishing run has DASH throwing everything at Chihiro till she runs out of big moves and then has to rely on hitting rollups for all kinds of angles. Eventually though, Chihiro's strength and resolve is too much and she regains the title. I didn't like this as much as their more frenetic match from the previous month but it's still a very solid title match. ***1/2
  7. This is Io Shirai's last match in Sendai Girls. She's teaming with DASH Chisako, who she had a tag team rivalry with (each woman teamed with their sister) early on in their careers. These Senjo/Stardom tags are almost always great and this is no exception. The first half of the match has some really good back and forth between both teams before focusing on Chihiro/DASH. I wish DASH had gotten in a few nearfalls during the finishing stretch to set up her and Chihiro's upcoming title match better. Still, great stuff despite the bit of a flat ending. ****
  8. No real build for this match but these two just match up so well naturally I don't think anyone will complain. This opens up with some very nice matwork that both of them use to set up each of their main offense. The main body of the match has a tremendous flow to it. There is a fair bit of back and forth but the transitions are done so well that it never comes off as spotty. The finish worked because they were just in the middle of a finishing run so the draw felt natural. Just a phenomenal match. ****1/2
  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R709wVwzcsE&t=24s This was the replacement main event for the show where Ayako Hamada vacated the Sendai Girls title. Personally, I think this was DASH's best performance since she started her hardcore gimmick a couple of years ago. Chihiro gives another strong main event performance. Despite this match being relatively short, they still manage to keep it action packed with a strong transitions to give it a nice flow throughout. ****
  10. Ayako Hamada vs. Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai 4/19) was a really fun match between two thickly built wrestlers. I really liked the opening exchanges, nice matwork and shoulderblocks, with Hamada's snappy lucha armdrags looking credible against Hashimoto's amateur stuff. I loved how well they worked stuff like abdominal stretch reversals and with Hashimoto moves like a hip toss or senton look brutal because she's so thick. The match didn't have great direction but there was some sense of build (e.g. building to Hashimoto hitting the 2nd rope senton, building to the first german suplex, building to first big Hashimoto nearfall with the short arm clotheslines etc). Ayako Hamada has been one of the sharpest wrestlers in the world for years and her picking apart Hashimoto with kicks looked great.
  11. I'm really enjoying how different joshi group are doing odes to early 90's AJW comm tape main-events. No one in particular has a stand out performance, what makes the match really work is just how well everybody works together with one another. Meiko and Chihiro continuing their feud was a highlight. This match also makes you wish that Stardom would get their head out of their butt and final book a Io/Hiroyo singles match. This is another match in the recent run of very good/great random main-eventer tag matches. ****
  12. One thing you can always rely on Sendai Girls for are tag matches that have an interesting mix of big names. Chihiro was the stand out here, primarily with her outstanding selling. A lot of it is the result of both Meiko and Aja really taking it to Chihiro in this match. Ayako is solid here but her performance gets kinda lost with the other three. A pretty good match, which is what you would expect from the talent involved. ***3/4
  13. Peak Nicopro here as the camera falls off the tripod during wrestler intros. This match is better than their title match from last year mainly due to the improvement of Chihiro has made. Cassandra has an awesome character but her control segments are boring and her overall ringwork is still clunky. Still Chihiro's performance carried this as she keeps getting better at adding drama to her to her big matches. A nice, solid, main event title match. ***1/2
  14. Sendai Girls World Championship: Chihiro Hashimoto © vs. Meiko Satomura I don't think this came anywhere close to their match last year, but it was still a great match. Satomura was trying everything to suppress the thigh-monster, and Chihiro's comebacks had amazing displays of strength and athleticism. There was a distinct lack of hip attacks that I was not a fan of, but Chihiro's powerbomb is terrifying, and this match does its job in establishing it as another move her opponents need to watch out for. The flipping senton from the top rope was also fucking nuts. ***3/4
  15. Hana Kimura vs. Mika Shirahime When I read this only went 4-minutes, I was psyched. They were making all of their offense count, there's hard slaps and head-sweeping kicks and boots, and a shoot headbutt from Hana that sounded disgusting. Hana showed some barbarism in this, she tries to take Shirahime's face off with a Bakatare Sliding Kick, and ends the match with a rough-looking knee strike. ***1/4
  16. Aasa Maika, Emi Sakura & Hana Kimura vs. Aja Kong, Cassandra Miyagi & Hikaru Shida Super enjoyable trios match once it gets past the awkward opening (it was cute, but still...). The action flowed well; fun spots and match-ups. Aasa's charisma really shines in these big venue Senjo matches. ***1/2
  17. Sendai Girls World Championship: Hiroyo Matsumoto © vs. Chihiro Hashimoto Chihiro is something else. She's like a sturdy wall of meat. This was definitely the weaker of the Chihiro matches from this year. It didn't have the sense of danger that her previous big matches did, and boiled down to an exchange of moves and the two using one another's finisher, and while all of this looked great, there wasn't much else going on here. ***1/4
  18. Aja Kong, Meiko Satomura & Nanae Takahashi vs. Mika Shirahime, Mio Momono & Rin Kadokura The segments between Satomura and Hime were fantastic, especially the one in the finishing stretch. Mika is just a god of body language and emoting. All of the rookie desperation spots and the veteran punishes were great too. Kong DEVASTATES Mio with this backdrop. Good generation struggle match. ***3/4
  19. Sendai Girls World Championship: Chihiro Hashimoto © vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto Hiroyo works over Chihiro's neck throughout, hitting a gruesome Gin and Tonic, and it leads to an amazing finishing stretch where the champion can't maintain the bridge of her German suplex due to the damage done to her neck. The selling was good; the pacing of the match feels smooth with an organic escalation, and Chihiro is just a sight to behold! This was an awesome clash of titans! ****1/2
  20. Sendai Girls Tag Team Championship: Hikaru Shida & Syuri © vs. Cassandra Miyagi & DASH Chisako Good match; felt like it went longer than it needed to be, but the action never slowed down. This mini Shida-Miyagi rivalry is great, and I enjoy how Shida sells Miyagi's fuckery. Chisako spent most of the match getting bumped around and worked over, but she makes a surly comeback. Syuri had just signed dat UFC contract so the finish protected her a bit. ***1/2
  21. Chihiro Hashimoto & DASH Chisako vs. Hikaru Shida & Rina Yamashita Shida-sama & Yamashita have a parejas increíbles-esque dynamic in this match, and that made things very interesting. They're attacking each other, making aggressive tags, Shida tries to use Yamashita as a weapon; but, they still prove to be a cohesive, well-oiled duo. The hard-hitting segments between Hash and Rina were awesome, and there's a shinai spot here that was topnotch slapstick. DASH reprises her role as Chihiro's designated FIP, but she gets the fall this time! And so continues the endless Shida/DASH feud. ***3/4
  22. Alex Lee vs. Yako Fujigasaki I don't know how this happened, but I liked an Alex Lee singles match! I mean, she is still boring as a personality (at least until she debuts in her Ozaki-gun gear!), but this was solid. I dig these types of short yet 'focused' singles matches. Lee connected a couple of snug kicks and knees, and generally put on a good show, and Yako gets better every time I see her. It has taken years, but Lee is showing signs of improvement! She should stick to joshi forever and become Bosnia's Debbie Malenko. ***1/4
  23. Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Meiko Satomura Breakneck sprint where they throw bombs all the way. ****
  24. Sendai Girls World Championship: Aja Kong © vs. Chihiro Hashimoto Aja is chewing gum while wrestling in a main event title match, I already want her to lose. She is a mammoth who can adsorb all damage, including wheel barrel slams to the floor and hip attacks from 635mm thighs. The German suplex is the key to victory and C-Hash can't hit it. This was structured like their first encounter this year, but on a much grander and epic scale. Aja has to use her craftiness because she cannot beat C-Hash's matwork, no matter how hard she tries. Outside of the ring is the danger zone, it is where Aja feels most at home, where she batters C-Hash with chair shots to the head and back. This is the worst beating Chihiro has ever taken. This builds so well into that first German suplex. When Aja is broken down, she senses it coming and shifts her strategy to targeting the leg, which is sold tremendously, but this desperation proves futile. An Aja this vulnerable is just not something you see very often, and it puts Chihiro over HUGE. Phenomenal match in front of hot Korakuen crowd. ****3/4
  25. Tag Team Championship Challenger Decision Tournament, Final: Hana Kimura vs. Mika Shirahime This was an even stronger version of the match they had last month, I felt like they worked harder. Shirahime gets this scary death stare and her wacky hair is all over the place as she hammers into Hana with elbow strikes. She has an excellent understanding of escalation and building towards a heated finish. Hana-chan has already established her signature stuff and where to place them and when, and I can't say enough about her new attire (!) and high-impact missile dropkick. She sends Shirahime bouncing inside out! This was a great clash between underdog rookie and (justifiably) super-pushed super rookie. ****
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