Sendai Girls TV taping on April 6, 2017
Watch: Real Hero Archive
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
Mika Shirahime vs. KONAMI ***
Show starts with a first round match in a single-night tournament to decide who’ll be Meiko Satomura’s tag partner in challenging for the Sendai Girls Tag Team Championship. Mika and Konami are both wrestlers known for their kicks and they start the match testing the waters with some light kicks before Konami shoots for a takedown and starts locking on a leg submission before a rope break. After the rope break Konami continues to kick Mika’s left leg while commentary brings up that Konami was Asuka’s (f.k.a. Kana) protege and you can easily pick up on that when Konami is on the ground grappling and kicking opponents. TV editing brings us forward and Konami is still punishing Mika’s leg with kneebars and big kicks, Konami runs off the ropes and is met with a big kick from Mika. Mika tries a northern lights suplex for a two count and she starts to build up momentum with a flurry of kicks for another two count, she goes up top for a splash but Konami rolls out of the way. Konami gets creative and pins Mika in a body scissors for two but Mika gets a roll-up pin and advances through the tournament in a great opening match, Mika’s 2017 continues to be a vast improvement over her 2016 now that she’s out of her rookie slump.
Hana Kimura vs. Mio Momono**3/4
The second first round tournament match is between another promising rookie, Pro Wrestling ACE’s Hana Kimura, and Marvelous’ Mio Momono. These two start the match with a friendly handshake and some wrestling basics of headlocks and dropkicks. Hana puts Mio in a deep Muta locks in the middle of the ring but eventually lets go to put her in a Boston crab but Mio rolls her up twice for two near falls. Later Mio pins Hana but she gets her shoulder up at two and Mio pins her, again and again, each time Hana breaking the pin before three, furtherly frustrating Mio. Mio tries a sunset flip but slips and Hana grabs her in a sleeper hold, luckily Mio is still conscious enough to roll to the ropes to escape. Now it is Hana’s turn to be frustrated and she hits Mio with a missile dropkick for the win and will meet Mika Shirahime in the finals.
Aiger, Big Bang Nicole, & Nyla Rose vs. Alex Lee, Emi Sakura, & KAORU**1/2
After the bell everyone breaks up into pairs and start brawling around the hall with the camera focusing on Nicole hitting Emi’s head onto the bleacher seats. TV edit brings us the Alex and Aiger in the ring and soon everyone runs in and a conga line of sorts is formed, at the front of the line Emi turns around and shrieks at the sight of KAORU. When the confused KAORU turns around everyone else is scared of her face and runs away. KAORU grabs her wooden board but gets powder in the face thanks to Aiger and gets floored by a lariat from Nyla Rose, then Aiger falls from the top with her teammates following her lead and Nyla’s moonsault picking up the win.
Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Meiko Satomura***1/2
These two last met at Sendai Girls’ March 12 show in a tag match where Hiroyo pinned Meiko. The two start out locking up and testing each other’s strength before Meiko finally gains the advantage and slams Hiroyo to the ground and starts grappling. Both get back on their feet and exchange headlocks and Hiroyo gets the early advantage, stomping and chopping Meiko in the corner, but Meiko kicks Hiroyo off of the apron and across the floor of Korakuen Hall. It doesn’t take long for Hiroyo to recover and bodyslam Meiko onto the bare floor before getting her back in the ring, she climbs the top rope but Meiko gets up and starts kicking her into the ring corner and has to be pushed away by the referee. Meiko goes against orders and attacks her opponent again but Hiroyo hits a loud chop in retaliation, Meiko is still able to get the best of Hiroyo and puts her into a headlock on the ground. The crowd starts to rally behind Hiroyo and she gets a rope break before taking another kick, she sees Meiko on the top rope and tries to knock her off but she falls instead. She gets up again and this time is able to superplex her opponent, leading the way for her to start dominating the match with her powerful offense. Meiko starts to make a small comeback before jumping off the top rope and landing on her opponent’s knees, she tries again with a kicking combo but the comeback is cut off again. Third time looks like it may be it with a death valley driver but Hiroyo kicks out and Meiko tries a sleeper hold, Hiroyo tries to reach for the ropes so Meiko grabs her arms and transitions into an armbar. A missed high kick from Meiko turns into costly mistake since it perfectly set her up for Hiroyo’s signature high-angle powerbomb, fortunately for Meiko she manages to kick out after two of them. The two struggle for the dominant hold and Meiko wins by hitting a backdrop on Hiroyo but she bounces back and both women go back and forth hitting some of the heaviest strikes of the match with neither woman seeming to weaken. Hiroyo hits Meiko with a nasty back elbow and amazing lariat to grab another pinfall victory over Meiko in one of my favorite ending stretches in a Joshi match so far this year.
Hana Kimura vs. Mika Shirahime**3/4
It’s the tournament final to determine Meiko’s partner to challenge for the tag titles and Hana enters with her new ring gear and entrance outfit jamming to her music. A collar and elbow tie up starts the match and Hana pushes Mika into the ropes and they go back and forth hitting the other with forearms against the ropes until Mika ducks one and lands a dropkick. Mika traps Hana into a head scissors that leads into some back and forth groundwork mostly focused on a single leg until Mika finally reaches the ropes. After the rope break Hana is quick to go back and start kicking and applying more ankle locks onto Mika’s left leg, the same leg that Konami targeted in their match from earlier in the show. Hana tries to lift Mika for a suplex but Mika shifts her weight and brings Hana down into a choke — however, Hana gathers enough strength to sloppily suplex Mika. Mika escapes a sleeper hold with a rope break and gets hit with a missile dropkick causing her to flop onto the ground but she gets out of the pin again, Hana tries another sleeper but Mika dodges it and hits a big kick before both wrestlers collapse to the ground. Before either is standing on her feet Mika crawls over and starts beating her opponent with forearm strikes all while having that crazed look in her eye that she gets when she is fired up. Hana is able to best Mika with multiple head kicks and Mika Shirahime gets her first major singles loss of the year.
Sendai Girls Tag Team Championship: Hikaru Shida & Syuri (c) vs. DASH Chisako & Cassandra Miyagi***3/4
Hikaru and Cassandra start the match with an attempted lock up then Hikaru and Syuri get on the apron and trick Cassandra into falling to the outside, Hikaru and Syuri try to stomp on Cassandra but she rolls away and grabs them so that DASH can dive onto them with a crossbody. DASH attempts to run the ropes but her ankles are hooked by Syuri who swings DASH around on the apron to get her into position for Hikaru’s running knee. Hikaru drags DASH back into the ring and pins her against the ring post while she and Syuri stare down Meiko. Syuri tags in afterward and starts throwing some hard kicks until DASH catches her leg and lashes out. Cassandra gets tagged in and does some headbanging before roughing up Syuri and taking the action outside and hitting a dropkick from the apron. Back in the ring Syuri kicks out of a pin attempt and is getting kicked down by Cassandra, so she trips Cassandra onto the ropes and Hikaru kicks her head and gets tagged in. Hikaru and Cassandra start exchanging forearm strikes until Hikaru pokes Cassandra’s eyes and the two go back and forth with the eye pokes until a big boot floors Hikaru, she kicks out and Syuri runs in to save her from the fireman’s carry but Cassandra ducks causing her to hit Hikaru. DASH and Cassandra start building some momentum and start to dominate their opponents, DASH climbs up the ropes after a foot stomp and is stopped when a kendo stick is thrown at her face. She finally hits a Hormone Splash on Hikaru with a chair but Syuri is able to run in and save her partner. The tide of battle changed once DASH gets superplexed onto Cassandra and Hikaru and Syuri hit a double Tamashi No Three Count. The ending stretch of this match turns everything up to eleven with no one slowing down and it’s hit after hit after hit. Syuri and Hikaru start hitting Tamashi No Three Counts like no tomorrow and DASH keeps getting out of the pin and rolling up Hikaru until she can no longer fight out of it and ends an amazing match after being pinned by Hikaru.
Sendai Girls World Championship: Aja Kong (c) vs. Chihiro Hashimoto***1/2
A video package tells the story of how we’ve gotten to this moment, how Chihiro lost her belt to Aja back in January and got mild redemption by defeating Aja’s team and getting this title shot. The two start off with a feeling out period and Chihiro getting a takedown that’s quickly ended when the referee separates the two after Aja lets go of Chihiro’s hair. They have another quick lock up and Chihiro grabs the leg to bring down Aja and works herself out of the head scissors and tries to gain control of the ground, a task that’s hard to accomplish with a much bigger opponent that’s slapping you in the head and choking you. A third lock up happens and is broken up when Aja bites Chihiro’s shoulder, she then goes to the corner and slaps Chihiro silly and leaves some of her facepaint on her opponent’s shoulder. Another takedown that is broken when Aja refuses to let go of the ropes, fourth lock up flashes by followed by another takedown attempt but Aja is able to get her hips down to counter and grabs a front headlock and lays in some punches to the ribs. Aja applies a nerve hold and kicks Chihiro’s head when she slips out of the nerve hold. Chihiro grabs a front headlock and drives Aja down to hit some hip thrusts and after some running lays down Aja with a lariat for a two count. Something that’s been happening since Chihiro won the title is you hear young female fans cheering for her in organized chants, something that for the most part hasn’t been noticeable since the time of the Crush Gals and the dwindling time of hot AJW acts singing pop songs to crossover into the mainstream. Especially after the dark times of a post-AJW and GAEA, Joshi wrestling scene noticeable groups of high-school and college-aged young women, Joshi by the actual definition of the Japanese word, haven’t been at women’s wrestling shows. It sometimes feels as though all the young women went to see pretty boys and fujoshi fanservice over at a refurbished NJPW and DDT, leaving Joshi to older fans and the men who appreciate the Rossy Ogawa approach of having the talent release gravure photobooks and DVDs. The group of teens at this show are the same group the held up the banners during Chihiro’s entrance and seem enthused whenever their favorite gets the upper hand. Aja tricks Chihiro into running through the ropes and follows her to the outside but she gets picked up and is ran into the ring post and dropped onto the floor mats. Back inside the ring Chihiro tries to continue the damage she did to Aja’s back with a suplex but she gets greeted by Aja’s elbows and a lariat. Aja’s bodyslam is reversed and followed by two sentons but Aja kicks out at two and escapes another German suplex attempt. Action once again spills outside into Aja’s domain and she’s quick to grab Chihiro by the hair and starts throwing her into the audience and hitting her with chairs followed by a brainbuster — she even spits at someone. Another brainbuster back in the ring for a two count followed by a second brainbuster that is also kicked out of, Aja climbs the ropes and signals for an elbow drop. Meiko is at ringside talking to her student while Aja lays in wait, Chihiro ducks from the spinning back fist and grabs on for a German suplex but gets stunned. Aja goes up top again but gets powerbombed, but she’s not defeated yet and keeps escaping Chihiro’s suplex attempts by bringing the fight to the ground with an ankle lock, after a rope break she’s quick to go the ground again and puts on a heel hook. With the crowd rallying behind her, Chihiro fights her way to the ropes, once the two are back standing Aja tries her spinning backfist again but it’s blocked and Chihiro is finally able to hit her German suplex twice! With the crowd behind her and now full of confidence Chihiro goes for a third suplex but gets caught with the spinning back fist and both women are laid out on the mat. Both are back standing and Aja yells at Chihiro before going for the spinning back fist again but Chihiro headbutts it and fires up for a final bridging German suplex for the victory and regains the Sendai Girls World Championship.
Chihiro receives her trophy and title belt while Aja sits on the floor next to the ring. After having her hand raised she gives a speech to the fans when Hiroyo Matsumoto climbs into the ring and puts down a challenge for the title, Syuri and Cassandra quickly follow suit but it’s Hiroyo’s challenge that’s accepted. Chihiro Hashimoto leads the crowd to yell, “Gyun!” and makes her exit backstage. This title match was about struggle and Chihiro conquering another beast in Aja Kong, not even two years into her professional career and she’s defeated Meiko Satomura and Aja Kong for the championship belt. I’m not sure where this second title reign will go but from the looks of it Hiroyo Matsumoto is the next challenger and that should be a banger of a match and another great accolade to add to the still new resume of Chihiro Hashimoto.
SENDAI GIRLS ON APRIL 6, 2017
EXCELLENT - 8.5/10
This show is already in the running for Joshi Show of the Year and had some of my favorite matches of the year so far, men's or women's. Every match on this card is a joy to watch and is worth watching top to bottom. Meiko and company killed it again in their return to Korakuen Hall since their tenth-anniversary show and they show no signs of stopping now. Both title matches delivered according to expectations and future title matches for the tag and world championship belts should be exciting bouts that once again deliver and send the fans home happy. If you haven't already, watch this show now!