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Grimmas

Meiko Satomura

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I liked the Kana match from 2010 a lot, though it was a bit "on the nose" with its transitions. I can see how Meiko's stiff strike-based style appeals, though. Her submission work is good as well and her moves have plenty of impact. Kana was pretty good as well if not wholly organic. Will watch more.

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I like Satomura a lot. She's one of those wrestlers where I get excited every time one of her matches pops up in the last several years because more often than not I enjoy it at least on some level. As recently as last year I thought she was outstanding, had a really good body of work to her name, and had one of the better singles matches of the year. I could be convinced she was a top ten, or maybe even top five wrestler in the World last year, and I doubt I'd rank her any lower than 15 or 20 at worst myself.

 

All of that said, I don't buy the argument that she's a non-traditional Joshi worker, and I think most of her obvious flaws as a worker are flaws you expect to see out of workers of that style. It's interesting that execution, timing, and selling are mentioned as major positives for Satomura, because while I would agree that she laps most of the Joshi field in those categories, I think where she really stands out is pacing. A Satomura match has the pace of something where certain things are allowed to sink in even if the selling really isn't THAT good (and it often isn't) and the execution often feels a bit off at least in comparison to true elites. I suppose you could argue that the pace is a huge part of what makes Joshi what it is, but to my eyes Satomura is very much a Joshi worker in terms of style, approach, and flaws.

 

I agree that she has great offense and her transitions tend to be vastly better than most Joshi workers. Her offense I think is generally very good period, though I don't always like the way she plugs the spots into matches. Her transitions absolutely stand out in a universe filled with people influenced by two speed Manami Toyota, but I'm skeptical of the notion that they would stand out as particularly great comparing across genres.

I am also a bit surprised to see her presence cited here as a major positive, because if I'm being 100% honest with myself I'd argue that is the category where I really find Satomura lacking. It's not really her fault, but aside from the Kong series it is very rare that Satomura match - even if otherwise great - feels like a big deal. While she has an aura of legitimacy about her, she is very much not a Maeda/Choshu/Tenryu/Fujiwara type where there mere existence and charisma makes something feel special. While her presence as a great talent and elder statesman can clearly elevate a match, I don't see her as someone with a real transcendent quality.

 

I tend to think she was good early, where others in this thread seem down on her in the mid 90's period. I wouldn't call her great then, but safely good, and I thought the arm flailing stuff was charming, unique, and oddly honest in a business where a lot of young talent feels phony. It was fun watching her work vets and young talents in this period too, which I also consider a plus.

 

I'm not sure how many excellent matches she has, but she certainly has a lot of good ones, and probably as many singles matches I would call very good or better as an Joshi performer in history. I watched a few of the Kong matches and they hold up as really strong matches, which I do consider a pretty impressive feather in Satomura's cap. She also had a match with Toyota in 2007 that I enjoyed way more than I would have expected going in. I think the Kana matches feel less impressive with time (though the 2010 one is still great), but I do think it's really neat that she sort of serves as the bridge connecting the 90s with the modern era, and has had good matches with pretty much any Joshi worker who was worth a damn over the last fifteen years.

 

One other thing I'd give her credit for is the ability to work long and compelling matches that are probably excessive without feeling excessive. That is admittedly a bizarre thing to say, but Satomura has this ability to throw a ton into her matches, work long, and still keep things compelling. It's rare that I watch a Satomura match and think that it went too long, which is impressive since she's worked some lengthy bouts often against really green or limited talent where spamming "stuff" is almost a requirement to keep her head above water.

 

I'm not sure when her peak really is which makes it a bit tough to think about her in comparison to other Joshi candidates who usually have really strong and clear peaks that can be pointed to. I can't really entertain the idea with a straight face that she has anything as memorable as the best years of a Hokuto or a Kong, though a lot of that has to do with things beyond her control. I'd also note that just because something isn't as memorable, doesn't mean it wasn't as good or even better.

 

The strength of Satomura on the other hand is in her longevity. She's been at minimum a good worker for over twenty years, with at least some years and periods where I would have little problem calling her a great wrestler who was among the top talent on the planet. This is hard to overlook both because it's a long time by any standard, and because it's a really long time by Joshi standards to the point where I'm not sure she has any peers other than maybe Kong who I don't think was as consistent.

 

To my eyes Satomura is like the world's best utility player, who eventually got a chance to become team captain by working hard, staying consistent, and outlasting bigger stars. This sounds like feint praise but it really isn't. In the grand scheme of things she's had a much better career than she should have given where Joshi was when she started and where it has gone during her career.

 

She's one of the few Joshi wrestlers I feel fairly certain I'll have on my ballot.

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What's so awesome is that Satomura added to her case over the last 5 years and kind of seems undeniable at this point.

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I think Satomura is probably closer to the #1 candidate as discussed on the launch pod than not making the list. She was really good right away, kept getting better and from what I can tell seems to have stayed that way the whole time. Definitely someone who deserves a serious look. 

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2 hours ago, Grimmas said:

What's so awesome is that Satomura added to her case over the last 5 years and kind of seems undeniable at this point.

She's still got 5 years to go too, and though not many people watch NXT UK, she's now going to be having matches on a show that is easily accessible. She's already had the best match of Isla Dawn's career, and there's a bunch of good/ great women on that roster. 

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She looks damn great in GAEA. Which is insane, because she was like a 17-18 year old girl at the time. Her intensity matches anyone in pro wrestling history. In some ways it's more intrigueing than her "prime" work, because her prime is mostly just her carrying lesser wrestlers, and in at that period she had settled less into a "routine". I've not really seen much talk about it and it's a crying shame. I can't remember where I had her last time but Meiko is cruising comfortably into my #1 spot for women wrestlers if I keep finding gems.

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I find her to be the ultimate attrition candidate. She doesn't have as many classics as you might expect from someone of her reputation, but the amount of really good matches over a 25+ year period now is colossal, and she's still adding more having just started an NXT run. Plus she seems to somehow never get injured. By 2026 she may have had more good matches than anyone in wrestling history. I have seen her live a few times in the UK, since 2016 she's really added to her case by touring the European indies fairly regularly. I'm going to try watch as many of those matches as there's a lot of fresh opponents in there.

Also as we seem to have just missed it last time around, her match against Io Shirai on 12/23/15 was (along with the Kairi matches) important to introducing her to a new generation of fans.

 

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Can anyone recommend some matches where Satomura puts it all together and looks like a GWE? I am only really familiar with her from her GAEA work and that's not a compelling case on its own. 

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I just watched this: 
where Sekimoto and Kana have a Ikeda-Ishikawa match and it's right up there on that level. Sekimoto is so unreal in every match I watch of hers.
 

 

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On 4/15/2021 at 1:54 PM, ohtani's jacket said:

Can anyone recommend some matches where Satomura puts it all together and looks like a GWE? I am only really familiar with her from her GAEA work and that's not a compelling case on its own. 

Two of my favourites:

vs Io Shirai, Sendai Girls 19/4/2018

vs Mercedes Martinez, WWE Mae Young Classic 2019

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4 minutes ago, Tetsujin said:

Two of my favourites:

vs Io Shirai, Sendai Girls 19/4/2018

vs Mercedes Martinez, WWE Mae Young Classic 2019

the second Kairi Hojo match too! All time classic.

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In 2016, Santo and Casas were the main reason I took a deeper dive in lucha, because they were so obviously great they had to be on my list, but the idea that my list would be suggesting there were only 2 good luchadors felt ridiculous, so it inspired me to take a longer look. Satomura is the same for me in 2026 with joshi. All the Satomura I've seen - which I imagine is only scratching the surface - has convinced me she's a lock for my list, but to have her and possibly Asuka as the only joshi workers on my list would suggest the only good joshi workers were in the WWE, which is patently absurd. So she's been the catalyst for at least one aspect of my viewing this time around.

I'd also think she's a wrestler with an incredible aura when you see her live. Considering she's not a very big lady, she absolutely controls a room and feels like a big deal. This isn't going to be a key factor in my voting, but it could be a tiebreaker, the ability to feel bigger than your surroundings.

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On 5/12/2021 at 9:17 PM, Grimmas said:

the second Kairi Hojo match too! All time classic.

Just watched this. Fuck, you were god damn right.

Satomura is a top 25 contender to me (just like others, idk, 40? or some others wrestlers, duh), and the more I watch of her, the more I'm convinced she's AT LEAST top 3 joshi ever. Right now I have her in my top 5 (Aja, Hokuto, Kandori and Devil are the other ones, and I think Meiko has a strong chance to, at least, surpass the last two), and she's totally one of the best workers of the 10s. Male and female. One of the absolute best offensive wrestlers ever, and her consistency is almost unmatched (from what I've watched thus far). Pretty hyped to see where I'm finally putting her after five more years watching her work.

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