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donsem43

[2015-06-14-Stardom] Kairi Hojo vs Meiko Satomura

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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

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Yes, this match is awesome. I love the clash of personalities, Meiko being the rough veteran and Kairi the champion who wants to prove herself against an stronger opponent. Like you say, Kairi isn't afraid of Satomura and she brings the stiff offense first, but of course, Meiko isn't allowing that, and hits Hojo with some hard strikes. The action in the match is awesome and the two wrestlers sold really well.

 

But for me, the main part of the match is Kairi achieving the moral victory over Satomura. Yeah, Kairi didn't win, but she resisted 30 minutes with one of the toughest veterans of the promotion and that's a really big thing for Kairi and her reign as champion.

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Looking at cagematch.net, the only really big singles win I see for Hojo before she won the Red Belt was a victory over Nanae Takahashi in the 2014 5-Star Grand Prix Tournament. By becoming champion, she found herself thrust into the position of company ace years earlier than one would have expected. Having landed in the deep end of the proverbial pool, her title reign seems very much about trying to keep her head above water while she figures out how to swim.

 

Satomura is in a different league than Hojo, but Hojo fearlessly tries to prove herself to be Satomura's equal. She succeeds for a long stretch, dishing it out every bit as well as she takes it. But eventually, Satomura gains the upper hand and Hojo is forced to settle for trying to survive. Ultimately, she ekes out a draw, but it's clear that Satomura won't be dispatched unless Hojo can actually beat her. Fighting for a draw will not suffice the next time they meet. Hojo is slowly learning about the price one must pay to be the best. A great match all around.

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I feel quite comfortable in saying this is the best match out of Japan for the 2010s.

When I mentioned that I'd never seen Hojo wrestle before (and embarrassingly got her confused with Io Shirai), Grimmas recommended this to me. Boy, I'm glad he did. This was an absolutely masterclass performance from Meiko Satomura in terms of character work. I loved how as the match wore on she went from quietly confident in herself to this hubris-level asskicker toying with Hojo only to get her (eventual) knock back to earth when the reality of the situation finally hit. There was no way Hojo was going to topple Meiko, she looked like a Chihuahua biting off more than it could chew against the pitbull Meiko, but Satomura slowly started to see there would be no way to beat Hojo, either.

There's this unfortunate consequence of comebacks where the face shrugs off their damage to hit their spots. Honestly, beyond every intricate minutiae to her picture-perfect selling, how Hojo handled this seems like it should be something handed out as required viewing for anyone training to be a wrestler. When it came time to hit her comeback I'll be honest, I winced. I was fully expecting her to shrug off the damage Meiko had done to her so she could fire the crowd up with a move off the top rope. Yet, that never happened. As soon as she started to run for the turnbuckle her body came crashing down in a heap between the ropes. It couldn't support her weight but her adrenaline helped her hold on and climb to the top. What a fucking beautiful touch.

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