Diana Debut Show on 4/17/11 Review

Event: World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana Debut Show
Date: April 17th, 2011
Location: Differ Ariake in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 794

World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana is an active Joshi promotion with over 150 events in the last five years, and yet I have never reviewed one of their events. Why is that? Because this debut show is the only solo Diana event to ever be televised (they have had other joint events with other promotions televised but under the other promotion’s slot). Not only are they not televised but I am not sure if they are even always taped, except for a big event once a year which they sell on their website in DVD form (clips from their events sometimes air on Battlemen as well). So Diana is by far the most underground active Joshi promotion, not counting itty bitty promotions like Tokyo Joshi and Actress girl’Z.

Anyway, I wanted to review a Diana event and it was the only one available so here we are! Diana is promoted by Joshi legend Kyoko Inoue, and even though they don’t record their shows they do actually have their own rookies and affiliated wrestlers. On this event, one of their current young stars makes her debut at only 15 years old – Sareee. Beyond that, most of the roster in Diana are wrestlers that made their mark back in the 1990s and 2000s, such as Kaoru Ito and Mariko Yoshida. Here is the full line-up for their debut event:

  • Aya Yuuki vs. Ayako Sato
  • Keiko Aono vs. Mariko Yoshida
  • Nagisa Nozaki vs. Nanae Takahashi
  • Meiko Satomura vs. Sareee
  • Aya Yuuki and Kyoko Inoue vs. Ayako Sato and Kaoru Ito

Let’s get to the fun!

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Aya Yuuki vs. Ayako Sato

Before joining up with Diana, Ayako Sato wrestled in a lot of different promotions since she debuted in 2006, including Ice Ribbon, LLPW, and NEO. Sato left wrestling in the summer of 2011 as she was expecting a child, but hasn’t wrestled since so it is unknown if she will return. Aya Yuuki is better known to recent fans of Joshi as Hatsuhinode Kamen, and she wrestled in Stardom up until last year. I actively don’t like the Kamen gimmick so it will be interesting to see her wrestle without any restrictions.

diana-1After feeling each other out to start, Yuuki tosses Sato to the mat and kicks her hard in the head. Elbow by Yuuki in the corner and she scoop slams Sato, atomic drop by Yuuki but Sato blocks the next one as she lands on top of Yuuki. Yuuki scoops up Sato and hits another atomic drop. Irish whip by Yuuki but Sato hits an armdrag before dropkicking Yuuki in the back of the head. Double underhook suplex by Sato, she picks up Yuuki and the pair trade elbows. Yuuki chokes Sato before tossing her to the mat, cover by Yuuki but Sato gets a shoulder up. Scoop slam by Yuuki, she goes up top but Sato recovers and joins her. Yuuki elbows her back to the mat and goes for a diving elbow drop, but Sato avoids it and hits a series of dropkicks. Sato goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick, she goes up top again and she hits a second one. Cover by Sato, but Yuuki kicks out. Sato charges Yuuki but Yuuki hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, Yuuki picks up Sato but Sato applies a bodyscissors into a front roll for a two count. Sato goes for it again but Yuuki catches her and hits a German suplex. Sato goes for a few quick pins with no luck, she goes up top but Yuuki slugs her and gets Sato on her shoulders. Sato slides away from her and applies a quick roll-up, German suplex hold by Sato but it only gets a two. Sato goes for a dragon suplex but Yuuki gets out of it and hits a German suplex hold of her own for a two count. Sato goes off the ropes but Yuuki hits a big boot, Death Valley Bomb by Yuuki and she gets the three count! Aya Yuuki is the winner!

Not a bad way to start the first ever Diana event. The match was pretty basic in a lot of ways but well worked, they stayed focused and the match was very clean. Sato kept trying to win with cute bridges and roll-ups, which works sometimes but not in this case and once Yuuki planted her with the Death Valley Bomb it was all over. Both of these wrestlers are also in the main event but they didn’t seem to be holding back here which is a plus, overall a pretty solid match even if it wasn’t too original or memorable.

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Keiko Aono vs. Mariko Yoshida

Not that they knew it at the time, this would end up being one of the last televised matches of Yoshida’s career. Yoshida had a successful career in AJW, however she may be best remembered for her run in ARSION, where she was the head trainer and was one of the biggest stars in the promotion. Keiko Aono is still active in Diana, where she has wrestled consistently since 2011. She wrestled in a lot of different promotions in her career but only had title success in JWP, where she won the tag team championship with Yumiko Hotta in 2009 (she also had a tag title run again with Hotta in Diana in 2013). Aono is slightly younger than Yoshida but Yoshida has had far more success in her career, leading to an interesting match-up in just their second ever singles match that I could find on record.

diana-2Soon after the bell rings they end up on the mat, Yoshida applies a keylock but Aono get into the ropes. Yoshida goes off the ropes but Aono boots her in the chest, head kick by Aono and Yoshida is out on the mat. Aono picks up Yoshida and hits a Falcon Arrow, and she covers Yoshida for two. Yoshida quickly puts Aono in the Spider Twist, Aono almost goes out but she inches to the ropes and manages a break. Double underhook facebuster by Yoshida, but the cover gets a two. Aono blocks the next one and kicks Yoshida in the head, PK by Aono and she gets a two count cover. Cross armbreaker by Yoshida and then she applies an ankle hold, but Aono gets a hand on the ropes. Heel drop by Aono, she picks up Yoshida and she kicks her in the head again. Shining Kick by Aono, but Yoshida kicks out of the cover. Kicks to the chest by Aono and she knees Yoshida right in the head, another kick by Aono and she gets a two count. She goes off the ropes but Yoshida catches her with a boot, she charges Aono again but Aono hits a heel kick. Two more kicks to the head by Aono, and she covers Yoshida for the three count! The winner is Keiko Aono.

I loved some parts of this match. Yoshida’s submissions were really tight (that is her specialty) and some of Aono’s kicks really delivered. Not everything Aono did connected well however, whether it was age or not being as familiar with each other some of the strikes just looked a bit off. Yoshida was so smooth I am inclined to say it is worth watching, especially since it was one of her last matches, but don’t go in with too high of expectations.  Mildly Recommended

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Nagisa Nozaki vs. Nanae Takahashi

If Nagisa Nozaki is not someone you are familar with, don’t feel bad, as even though she had pretty long career she never really did anything of note. She spent the first chunk of her career in NEO before wrestling some in Ice Ribbon; she eventually ended her career wrestling in WNC. She never won any titles however and generally stayed around the midcard, her biggest match was perhaps reaching the finals of the WNC Women’s Title Tournament in 2013 before losing to Syuri. Takahashi doesn’t need much of an introduction, she was repping Stardom in this match and all the little Stardom babies were there to provide emotional support. A lopsided match, hopefully Nozaki shows something against the accomplished veteran.

diana-3Nozaki kicks Takahashi against the ropes early and stomps her down, Takahashi fights back with elbows and works a headlock before shoulderblocking Nozaki to the mat. Takahashi applies a backbreaker and rams Nozaki into the corner, body avalanche by Takahashi and she hits a missile dropkick off the second turnbuckle. Takahashi slowly works over Nozaki’s arm, they then trade wristlocks before Nozaki gets a sleeper applied. Knees by Nozaki but Takahashi hits a vertical suplex, Takahashi goes for a lariat but Nozaki avoids it and applies a Cobra Twist. Takahashi gets to the ropes, boots by Nozaki and she dropkicks Takahashi in the head. High knee by Nozaki in the corner but Takahashi catches her leg when she goes for a PK. High kick by Takahashi, and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Takahashi recovers first and hits a lariat followed by a backdrop suplex for two. Takahashi goes up top but Nozaki boots her before she can jump off and tosses her to the mat. Running boot by Nozaki, but Takahashi shoulderblocks her to the mat and covers her for two. Another boot by Nozaki, she goes off the ropes and… you guessed it, hits four more boots to the head for a tow count cover. Takahashi gets Nozaki to the mat and applies an arm trap crossface, but Nozaki gets out of it and applies a sleeper. Takahashi gets a hand on the ropes to break the hold, knee to the head by Nozaki and she covers Takahashi for two. Nozaki goes for a boot but Takahashi avoids it and hits a missile dropkick off the top turnbuckle. Back up, slaps by Takahashi and she connects with a jumping kick to the head. She goes up top again, Takahashi delivers the Refrigerator Bomb and she picks up the three count! Nanae Takahashi is the winner.

I can’t say this was a good match. Takahashi didn’t seem very interested during the middle portion of the match, doing somewhat lazy submissions and winning exchanges in not overly exciting fashion. Nozaki seemed to be trying but did not have a very captivating moveset, with way too many running boots. Her knees were generally on point, but that is about the only thing she did offensively that looked impressive. Maybe it was just a chemistry issue, but the match just felt flat overall.

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Meiko Satomura vs. Sareee

Imagine being a 15 year old, nervous, about to wrestle in your first ever wrestling match. Then imagine that your first wrestling match is against one of the more feared wrestlers in recent memory. That is how Sareee felt on April 17th, 2011, except for her it was about to become a reality. In a way it is a compliment, if a promotion sees a lot of potential in a new wrestler they sometimes start them off against a seasoned veteran to help ‘show them the ropes’ so to speak, and to see if they have the heart to bounce back. I am not sure if Sareee was seeing that side of it on this day though, as she knew she was going to get her ass kicked.

diana-4Satomura works the headlock to start the match until Sareee gets to the ropes, kicks by Sareee but Satomura kicks Sareee repeatedly in the leg. Armlock by Satomura, she picks up Sareee and delivers a scoop slam. Crab hold by Satomura, Sareee makes it to the ropes and she reverses Satomura’s backdrop suplex attempt. Sareee now puts Satomura in a crab hold but Satomura gets out of it, she picks up Sareee but Sareee sneaks in an inside cradle for two. Dropkicks by Sareee but Satomura stays on her feet, Irish whip by Sareee and she dropkicks Satomura in the corner. Satomura finally avoids a dropkick and she kicks Sareee hard in the chest, more hard strikes by Satomura and she kicks Sareee in the stomach. Jumping crossbody by Sareee but Satomura immediately rolls her over and applies an armtrap headlock. Satomura picks up Sareee and hits a hard elbow in the corner, she goes up top but Sareee recovers and tosses her off. Dropkicks by Sareee and she goes for a schoolboy, but Satomura grabs her arm and applies an armbreaker. Sareee gets to the ropes, Satomura charges her and destroys her with a cartwheel kneedrop. Cover by Satomura and she gets the three count! Meiko Satomura wins the match.

I hope that Sareee learned something from this as it hurt me just watching. Some of the kicks from Satomura were super stiff, which is what you’d expect from her, and she really cranked in a few of the submission holds. But it wasn’t a squash through and through, as Sareee did have a handful of successful moves and Satomura was respectful after the match. Sareee’s dropkicks were pretty weak, if they were filming a documentary for GAEA she may have been in trouble, but Satomura didn’t punish her for it. Overall I enjoyed it, maybe not for everyone but entertaining nonetheless.  Mildly Recommended

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Aya Yuuki and Kyoko Inoue vs. Ayako Sato and Kaoru Ito

Main event time! This is a Two out of Three Falls Match. Kyoko Inoue is a legendary wrestler from back in the AJW days, and has had 27 total title reigns in her career in many different promotions. She also happens to be the owner of Diana so naturally she is going to be in the big spotlight. Kaoru Ito also is a well known wrestler from AJW’s heyday, she won the AJW Championship twice and also twice won the JWP Tag Team Championship. Ito and Inoue were both around 40 at the time of this match and well past their prime, but both were still game to put on a good show. Yuuki and Sato we saw in the opening match, so they are pulling double duty tonight.

Sato immediately dropkicks Yuuki repeatedly as soon as the match starts, Ito tries to help by holding Yuuki but it backfires and Sato dropkicks Ito by accident. Inoue comes in but Ito trips both her opponents from the floor and pull them both out of the ring. Sato goes out top and dives out onto both her opponents, Ito then gets in the ring and hits a double baseball slide. We clip ahead to Sato and Inoue in the ring, and Sato hits a dropkick. Sato tags in Ito and the former AJW superstars trade lariat attempts until they both knock each other down. The action spills to the floor again and they battle around the floor with the older wrestlers trading elbows with each other. Sato hits a suplex on Yuuki on the floor while Ito hits Inoue with a chair until Inoue and Ito finally return to the ring. Running footstomps by Ito and she hits an elbow drop for a two count. Inoue regains the advantage and goes for a powerbomb, but Ito back bodydrops out of it. Ito goes up top but Inoue avoids the diving footstomp, missile dropkick from Sato to Inoue and she hits another after Ito puts Inoue on her shoulders. Cover by Ito, but Inoue kicks out.

diana-5Ito tags in Sato, lots of dropkicks by Sato but Inoue eventually catches her and hits a German suplex. She tags in Yuuki, fireman’s carry slam by Yuuki and she hits a vertical suplex. Yuuki goes up top and delivers a diving elbow drop, Inoue then goes up top and she hits a diving elbow drop as well. Death Valley Bomb by Yuuki, but Ito breaks up the cover. Sato snaps off a German suplex and tags in Ito, chokeslam by Ito to Yuuki but Yuuki quickly recovers and throws Ito to the mat. Saito Suplex by Ito, Yuuki slowly gets back up however and she boots Ito before hitting a quick suplex. Yuuki goes up top but Ito hits her, Sato comes in but so does Inoue. Ito is on the top turnbuckle but Inoue joins her and hits a big superplex. Diving elbow drop by Yuuki to Ito, but Sato breaks up the cover. Yuuki gets Ito on her shoulders and hits a Death Valley Bomb, cover by Yuuki but Sato barely breaks it up. Yuuki picks up Ito but Ito applies a short armbar, but Inoue stomps her so she releases the hold. Yuuki goes up top but Ito joins her and hits an avalanche Fisherman Buster, cover by Ito but Inoue breaks it up. Ito goes up top, Inoue tries to join her but Sato throws Inoue on top of Yuuki. Ito then hits a diving footstomp onto Inoue, she goes back up top and delivers one to Yuuki to pick up the three count pinfall. Ito and Sato win the first fall.

Yuuki and Ito stay in as the legal wrestlers as Ito hits a quick lariat, she goes for a powerbomb but Inoue lariats Ito. Inoue tosses Sato and Ito onto the ramp, Inoue fights off both of them and hits a double lariat. Ito returns to the ring after a moment, Yuuki boots her until Ito falls down to the mat. Yuuki eventually manages to get Ito on her shoulders, she hits the Death Valley Bomb but Sato breaks up the cover. Sato drops Yuuki with a release German suplex but Inoue comes in and hits a suplex on her. Ito had climbed on the top turnbuckle but Yuuki grabs her and gets Ito on her shoulders. Death Valley Bomb by Yuuki to Ito, and she gets a three count cover! Yuuki and Inoue win the second fall.

Yuuki and Sato remain in the ring, dropkicks by Sato to Yuuki and she hits a missile dropkick off the second turnbuckle for a two count. Sato and Yuuki trade elbows, shoulderblock by Yuuki but Sato applies a sunset flip for two. Release German by Sato and she rolls up Yuuki with a bridge for another two count. Missile dropkick by Sato and she tags in Ito, Ito goes for a powerbomb but Yuuki drives her back into the corner. Lariat by Ito but Inoue hits her from the apron, Yuuki tags in Inoue but Ito plants Inoue with a lariat. Inoue goes for a powerbomb but Sato breaks it up with a missile dropkick, quick roll-up by Inoue but Sato breaks that up too. Inoue and Ito trade punches as they ascend to the top turnbuckle, Ito flips over Inoue’s back and she hits a powerbomb for a two count. Ito tags in Sato, double Irish whip to Inoue but Inoue knocks them both down with a lariat. Inoue goes for a powerbomb but Sato wiggles away, she goes off the ropes but Inoue flips her inside out with a lariat. Inoue goes for a powerbomb but Ito breaks it up with a lariat, Sato goes up top but Inoue gets her feet up when Sato dives off. Folding Powerbomb by Inoue, but Ito breaks up the cover. She goes for another one but Sato rolls flips behind her back and applies a sunset flip for the three count! Ito and Sato win the final fall and the match!

This was definitely a spectacle. It wasn’t always worked smartly, wrestlers would go up to the top turnbuckle for no reason, wrestlers no sold randomly for no reason, just all kinds of things that aren’t ideal in most matches. Still, I couldn’t help but be hooked into it, watching two aging former major stars still giving it everything they have and probably doing moves they shouldn’t be doing just to put on a good show. Ito put over the ‘younger’ wrestler better than Inoue did, but Inoue did get pinned which is a statement in of itself. Not the most logical match so you can’t go into it expecting a traditional back and forth, but not bad and a good example of what Diana would go on to be with the main story being older stars still looking for their turn in the spotlight.  Mildly Recommended