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  1. 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. ****
  2. They work a 30 minute draw that never drags. While Satomura is terrific, it's Hojo's performance that really makes the match. Early on in the match, Hojo quickly establishes that she not afraid of going toe-to-toe with Meiko. She hits Satomura with a nasty backfist out of the opening collar & elbow, and breaks up a Boston Crab attempt with an even nastier slap. Of course, this doesn't always work out well for Hojo as she running into some nice submission counters and eating some really brutal looking shots. Around the halfway point though, you see Satomura start to get more aggressive. After Hojo rolls out of the ring, Meiko follows her out, drags her to the entrance, and then lands a DVD with a sickening thud. She follows that up great looking backdrop suplex and the best looking sleeper you'll see. Hojo sells all of this beautifully but still manages to keep fighting back. She never just pops up and goes on offense, she seems to slip through a crack in Satomura's attack and get back in control through her own sheer will. Just an amazing must see match. ****1/2
  3. Much better than the Satomura title match with KLR. Stiff veteran vs. up and comer match. At this point I'm convinced anyone can have a quality match with Meiko as long as they are willing to let her call the match and are willing to let her lay in her brutal offense while also being willing to dish it back out. Meiko's early flash armdrags are a thing of beauty as they are rapid and impactful. Her strikes of course are stiff and connect as you can hear the thud of them landing on Aoife. That head kick was particularly quite nasty. Aoife's selling and facial aren't anything to write home about, but she was willing to let Meiko lay them in on her and her overhead kick maybe one of the most stiffest overhead kicks I've ever seen anyone land. Loved her getting overconfident on offense and committing the rookie mistake of going to well one too many times and it eventually backfiring on her. The finish with Meiko hitting the one big axe kick and ending it was a perfect way to call it. Meiko joins Gulak in being the workhorses on WWE TV shows barely anyone watches, but who still manage to put on under the radar quality matches with diverse opponents. I highly doubt either one gets lengthy main roster runs, but I wouldn't mind seeing either of them getting them and seeing them paired up with some of the bigger names there.
  4. Talk about it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv9hlW52Vtc
  5. I had no idea what to expect going into this, since it's Kandori close to her last hurray, this being the finals of a 1 night tournament, and I've never heard of anyone mentioning any great Kandori performances in the 2000s. This ended up being just awesome though and exactly what it should be. It's basically Satomura brutalizing Kandori from the get go with the kind of nothing-held-back kicks you wouldn't expect a 43 year old lady to take. Kandori was damn great here as the aging legend trying to pull out one last trick. She came in with a bandage over her forehead with a cut and bruises underneath and takes some absolutely disgusting kicks to the skull. The spot where she goes for a headbutt only to end up hurting herself was a pretty great "aging warrior is surprised at her lost toughness" moment. This was obviously striker vs. grappler, which can be predictable, but that wasn't the case here as they timed and milked all the submission spots really well. Satomura is basically all kicks here, just trying to put Kandori down for good, basically coming forward constantly until she got trapped, she also he some great selling of her damaged equilibrium after eating some nasty lariats and palm strikes. I'm honestly amazed I haven't ever heard this brought up before (it didn't even come up in Ditchs Best of Japan poll IIRC), I thought this was really both these legendary asskickers working a great 11 minute sprint up there with the best of them in wrestling history.
  6. 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.
  7. The Satomura/Amano sections were pretty kickass. The rest of this was largely a harmless, mindless sprint starring plenty of convoluted ways to get armbars. The finish run was between Satomura and Nagashima and had some funny spots. Something like Satomura spinning Nagashima around in the fireman's carry position to hit her Death Valley Driver anyways can only really make sense in a joshi match.
  8. I've watched extremely little pro wrestling in the year of 2018. Probably less than any other year in wrestling history where there's footage. Rediscovering SWS undercard and Wrestle Yume Factory matches was just more exciting I guess. I know recently most of my writing has been musing about defunct japanese wrestling promotions and handheld matches and whining about how miserable wrestling these days is so I decided to try and bring something to the table and accentuate both the positives and the negatives. In this thread I'm gonna try to catch up with all the pimped MOTYCs and workers, watch some in-between stuff and try to form a complete picture of what's wrong and right. In the end (when I get bored) I'd like to have, like, 20 or so matches that I like, so hopefully that's achievable. Feel free to drop in your thoughts and recommendations 2018 MOTY List (ongoing): 1. Darby Allin vs. WALTER, EVOLVE 6/23 2. Chihiro Hashimoto vs. Meiko Satomura, Sendai Girls 11/17 3. Slim J vs. Corey Hollis (Anarchy Wrestling 7/28/2018) 4. Teddy Hart vs. Harry Smith (WOW 8/11/2018) 5. Slim J vs. Corey Hollis (Anarchy Wrestling 5/12/2018) 6. Tajiri vs. TAKA Michinoku (K-Dojo 4/22/2018) 7. WALTER vs. Timothy Thatcher (wXw 11/17) 8. Pete Dunne vs. WALTER (wXw 7/22/2018) 9. Tom Lawlor & Simon Grimm vs. King Khash & Mike Santiago (Prestige 10/12/2018) 10. Tom Lawlor vs. CW Anderson (BLP 8/18/2018) 11. Negro Casas vs. Aramis (Lucha Memes 3/11/2018)
  9. JIP match built around Satomura trying to cut down the higher ranked KAORU and Ishii trying to cut down the higher ranked Satomura. Some really good exchanges here especially between Satomura/KAORU aswell as a few neat team spots and great Death Valley Bomb teases. I would've liked the Satomura/Ishii pairing to go a little deeper considering how good their singles match early in the year was but I guess it was not that kind of night. Or they clipped it out. Ishii hits a reall great senton bomb for her troubles.
  10. GAEA youngster matches can have a weird pace where it's kinda like a heated BattlARTS tag where it randomly breaks into mat exchanges and stiff shots. Especially when you have Satomura in there who will mix up amateur style holds and kicks. I have no idea how the average fan will like this kind of stuff as there is always a ton of neat stuff but also structure and selling are somewhat wonky. Still this had an actual dynamic with Uematsu & Hirota working together to topple their higher ranked opponents and they were quiet vicious doing so. Whenever one caught Satomura or Kato in a half crab the other would run in to stomp on their had. Some neat spots and they didnt overstay their welcome.
  11. KAORU is the good joshi worker that was lost to time. No matter who you put her in the ring with she would usually give a good match despite her limitations. Put her against someone insanely talented like 1998 Meiko Satomura and you get something that breaks the mold. You get some nice snug strikes, KAORU stretching her opponent, some big, big bumps, really vicious arm attack from Meiko and KAORU selling it very well etc. I thought the whole thing was slightly rushed so it didn't get quite as epic as what they seemed to go for as it felt like a collection of highlights. But those highlights were really high end stuff.
  12. Stiff match with plenty of neat moments. Unfortunately the structure was kind of a mess. Kato was wearing a bandage from her match against LCO and got bloodied again, but simply refused to be face in peril and no-sold through the attacks against her. Ozaki & Sato looked good when they got to work the cut and Satomura and Sato have really nice chemistry together. The nearfall section was good when it was Satomura and Kato trying their darndest to pin that witch Ozaki but I thought it went too long. Ozaki is hit or miss but she looked got kicking a bloody Kato in the face here and she threw a rotten backfist at one point. I'm all for experimentation in wrestling but this would've been really great with a traditional structure.
  13. 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. ****
  14. A nice touch here as they added Mio Shirai as the ref for this match after Io announced that she was leaving Stardom. This is pretty much a standard three way although they did there best to minimize the typical drawbacks that this type of match. All three of them worked really stiff, especially Meiko, and busted out a few neat, different spots. At the same time though, they don't try to take the match to a level that it would be something special. Just solid performances all around. ***1/2
  15. 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
  16. Leave it to a pair of 18 year old girls to have an excellent lengthy match in 1998. The cool thing about the mat stuff they did here was that it wasn't shootstyle stuff, but closer to NWA-ish legbars and kneedrops, executed in really vicious fashion. Sugar doesn't have the high end offense of Satomura, but I thought she did well enough to mix it up and keep the match going. Everything made sense and built really well to their respective finishers (Death Valley Driver vs. Liger Bomb), and while there wasn't any super-focussed extended selling they worked hard to put eachother's offense over as devastating. Plenty of neat spots, including Sato finding ways to counter Satomura's arm attack stuff. Best GAEA match of 1998?
  17. Kay Lee Ray recently defeated Dash Chisako at a Sendai Girls event, now Meiko Satomura has come all the way to London to avenge her protege's loss. Some really good facial expressions at the start selling that this isn't quite a grudge match, but a lot of professional pride is on the line here. The opening of the match is mainly technical wrestling which Meiko mostly wins out on. Meiko gets a bit too over-confident going for a top rope move when KLR's not been that beaten down yet. Kay Lee pulls her off the top and goes for a Gory Bomb which Meiko escapes from, but KLR trips her and then drags her to the outside. The commentary reminds us that Kay Lee Ray is the hardcore daredevil and outside the ring is her favoured battleground. Before you know it she's slammed Mieko straight into the ring apron! Kay Lee's on top now and starts to drag Meiko back into the ring and attempts a Gory Bomb on the apron but Meiko blocks it on the ropes and counters her into a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Meiko's winning all the striking exchanges as they're both back in the ring. Meiko's looking so intense with her fiery face throwing forearms and kicks. KLR manages to block the odd one but she's not really getting any meaningful offense. That is until she catches one of Meiko's kicks, spins her round and hits her with the Gory Bomb, the move which beat Dash Chisako, and attempts the flash win. 1, 2 Kickout! Kay Lee's goes to finish off Meiko from the top rope probably going for her swanton, but Meiko charges up at her before she can do anything, hoists her up and hits the Death Valley Bomb. Another kick out at two that really shocks the crowd. Meiko's just fired up even more and hoists KLR up to hit another one, only to be countered into roll up. 1, 2, THREE! Kay Lee Ray gets a slightly flukey win and gives Meiko her first ever loss in Pro-Wrestling Eve. This was mostly a great match but it lost me a bit with that finishing stretch getting a bit excessive with the finisher trading, crowd didn't seem to care the slightest though. ***1/2
  18. Yeah, I'm pimping a Hirota match now. What are you gonna do about it? This was a cool sprint that WORKED and told a STORY due to Hirota being Hirota. This was before she was a total clown act, so she actually tried to be competitive with Meiko by rushing her with hip attacks and rollups, and Meiko putting her in place with arm-snapping flash submissions and general viciousness. Hirota's Hip Attacks work because she has a variety of them – hip attack to the shoulder, hip attacke to the side of the head, avalanche hip attack etc. Match a few neat moments (including Hirota reversing the armbreaker in a great sequence) and Hirota's partial sloppiness actually added to the match. Also, badass finish where Hirota keeps blocking Satomura's finisher so Satomura does like a modified judo throw into her DVB. Never seen that anywhere.
  19. Heavily BattlARTS inspired girl wrestling with plenty of brutal kicks, suplexes and flash submissions to entertain you. Yamada looked excellent and her exchanges with Satomura were probably some of the most violent of the year. Kato does not sell on the level of the other women and there were some weak moments, but nothing to detract from the bout in a major way. There was also some fun games around the young girls refusing to tag out which would or would not backfire on them. KAORU held up her end and the finishing run between Satomura & Kato was loaded with cool exciting counters.
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