Sendai Girls’ 4/26/14 Review – Io Shirai vs. Meiko Satomura

Event: Sendai Girls’
Date: April 26th, 2014
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 400

You are probably wondering why I am reviewing a random show from three years ago. Well I’ll tell you. Io Shirai and Meiko Satomura have had four singles matches, three of which we have all seen as they took place on big events in Stardom and Sendai Girls’, respectively. Then there was this match on a smaller show in the Spring of 2014, which did not make TV. They did release the match, but not as a standalone show, but rather on a “Best Of” DVD that had matches from three different events ranging from 2013 to 2014. I didn’t really care too much about the other events, although I’ll watch them later, I just wanted to see the forgotten Meiko Satomura vs. Io Shirai match. And now I will! But there were two other matches on the event that were on the DVD so I am going to watch them also so that this isn’t a really short review, here are the matches:

I realize this review won’t get a lot of “clicks” but I figured I’d review it in case others were curious how the first encounter between Meiko Satomura and Io Shirai went, before Io became the unquestionable Ace of Stardom.

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Kagetsu vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto

While Kagetsu and Hiroyo Matsumoto are household names today, in 2014 they were not quite on the level that they currently are. Kagetsu debuted back in 2008 but had only won one title at this point in career, as while she had risen to being the #2 wrestler in Sendai Girls’ she was having issues getting over the hump (she still couldn’t beat Meiko). She would actually leave Sendai Girls’ at the end of 2014, and her career has blossomed since then. Unlike Kagetsu, Hiroyo had already seen success by early 2014 (mostly in the tag division in OZ Academy), however she had yet to get a big singles title reign as she was mostly a tag team wrestler. Today she is one of the best wrestlers in all of Joshi and held two major singles championships this year, so both of their careers took an upswing since this show took place.

Before the match can even start, Kagetsu dropkicks Hiroyo as she gets into the ring, sending her back out onto the floor. Kagetsu quickly hits a swandive plancha down onto Hiroyo, she slides Hiroyo back into the ring and goes for another swandive but Hiroyo grabs her and tosses Kagetsu to the mat. Hiroyo boots Kagetsu and the two trade elbows, headlock by Kagetsu but Hiroyo reverses it. Kagetsu gets out of the headlock and hits a Samoan Drop, snapmare by Kagetsu and she kicks Hiroyo in the back before applying a sleeper. Grounded front necklock by Kagetsu but Hiroyo muscles up and drives Kagetsu into the corner. Boot by Hiroyo and she throws Kagetsu into the other corner, stomps by Hiroyo and she hits a scoop slam. Neck crank by Hiroyo and she hits a double kneedrop, another one by Hiroyo and she dropkicks Kagetsu in the head for a two count cover. Hiroyo stomps Kagetsu but Kagetsu fires back with an elbow, Hiroyo decks Kagetsu with an elbow of her own and she hits a front suplex. Hiroyo lays Kagetsu across the middle rope in the corner and hits a body avalanche, she goes for a reverse splash but Kagetsu gets her knees up. Kicks to the chest by Kagetsu but Hiroyo slides out to the apron and snaps Kagetsu’s neck on the top rope. Kagetsu dropkicks Hiroyo out of the ring while she is still on the apron, Kagetsu goes up top but Hiroyo elbows her off the top turnbuckle down to the floor. Hiroyo goes out after her and tosses Kagetsu into the front row, she goes for a powerbomb but Kagetsu wiggles out of it. Hiroyo goes to splash Kagetsu against the ring post but Kagetsu moves, she then rams Hiroyo’s arm into the post before dropkicking it.

sendai2014-1Kagetsu slides Hiroyo back in, swandive footstomp to Hiroyo’s arm by Kagetsu and she hits a deadlift vertical suplex. Running knees by Kagetsu in the corner and she puts Hiroyo in an arm submission. Hiroyo gets into the ropes to force a break, Kagetsu picks up Hiroyo but Hiroyo slides away and applies a waistlock. Kagetsu gets out of it with an armbreaker, she goes to run off the ropes but Hiroyo grabs her from behind and hits a backdrop suplex. Hiroyo goes for a roaring elbow but Kagetsu blocks it, elbows by Kagetsu but Hiroyo elbows her back. Hiroyo goes for a lariat but Kagetsu kicks her arm and applies a short armbar. Hiroyo muscles out of it and hits a gutbuster, reverse double kneedrop by Hiroyo out of the corner and she covers Kagetsu for two. Hiroyo goes up top but Kagetsu joins her, elbows by Kagetsu but Hiroyo slides through her legs and goes for a powerbomb. Kagetsu reverses the powerbomb with a sunset flip, she rolls Hiroyo to the mat and cradles her for two. Head kick by Kagetsu, but Hiroyo kicks out of the cover. Kagetsu picks up Hiroyo but Hiroyo snaps off a backdrop driver, she picks up Kagetsu and goes for a powerbomb, but Kagetsu reverses it into an Ebisu Drop for two. Kagetsu goes for a high kick but Hiroyo ducks it, they trade elbows until Kagetsu delivers a dropkick. Another Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu, but it only gets a two count. Kagetsu charges Hiroyo but Hiroyo nails her with a back elbow, sit-down powerbomb by Hiroyo and she gets the three count! Hiroyo Matsumoto wins the match.

For an untelevised midcard match, these two went all out. There is very little to find fault of here, I loved Kagetsu’s arm work and that she went back it several times, and the story of her trying to take down the stronger Hiroyo that was always one big move away from winning was well done. Kagetsu kept reversing Hiroyo’s signature moves since any of them may lead to defeat, and once Hiroyo hit two in a row you knew the match was over. Kagetsu showed a lot of heart though, and they have fantastic chemistry. I was expecting a good match but not one this entertaining, just a really fun match from bell to bell with no time wasted. Track it down if you can.  Highly Recommended

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DASH Chisako and KAORU vs. Natsuki Taiyo and Yoshiko

With the next match in mind as well, this card really had a Sendai Girls’ vs. Stardom focus. At the time of the match, KAORU had recently returned from a three year break from wrestling, she was a Freelancer and wasn’t a regular in Sendai Girls at the time. Her teaming with Chisako is interesting since they were not a regular tag team, as normally Chisako teamed with her sister Sendai Sachiko. On the other side were two Stardom wrestlers, Natsuki was the High Speed Champion at the time of the match while Yoshiko had most recently held the Goddesses of Stardom Championship with Natsuki in 2013. Yoshiko and Natsuki had the experience edge as a tag team, but the crowd is behind their opponents and KAORU has been wrestling a long time so she is never easy to beat.

The Stardom team attacks before the match starts, Chisako is quickly isolated and double teamed by Natsuki and Yoshiko. Yoshiko tosses Chisako down by the hair and gives her bootscrapes in the corner, but Chisako avoids her running boot and delivers a dropkick. Another dropkick by Chisako and she tags in KAORU, KAORU and Yoshiko circle each other before they start trading strikes. KAORU goes off the ropes and hits a hurricanrana, but Yoshiko kicks out at two. KAORU tags Chisako, running boots by Chisako and she dropkicks Yoshiko against the ropes. Irish whip by Chisako but Yoshiko hits a hard shoulderblock, she tags in Natsuki and Natsuki immediately goes to work on Chisako. Dropkick by Natsuki and she works on Chisako’s arm, Chisako gets away and elbows her but Natsuki kicks her arm and tags Yoshiko. Yoshiko picks up where Natsuki left off as she twists Chisako’s arm in the top rope, Natsuki comes back in and they double team Chisako. Natsuki returns as the legal wrestler, kicks by Natsuki but Chisako knees her and hits a couple running footstomps. Chisako makes the tag to KAORU, KAORU picks up Natsuki and KAORU boots Natsuki in the head. KAORU gets her board and hits Natsuki in the head with it, another strike by KAORU and she hits a vertical suplex onto the board. Cover by KAORU, but the referee won’t count due to the shenanigans.

sendai2014-2KAORU gets on the second turnbuckle with her board but the referee takes it from her, Chisako hands her another board but Natsuki kicks it into KAORU’s chest. Kick combination by Natsuki and she tags in Yoshiko, running senton by Yoshiko and she covers KAORU for two. Cobra Twist by Yoshiko but Chisako breaks it up, scoop slam by Yoshiko to KAORU and she hits a body press. Yoshiko bridges out of the cover and hits Yoshiko with her board, Michinoku Driver by KAORU but Yoshiko gets a shoulder up. KAORU tags Chisako, missile dropkick by Chisako and she dropkicks Yoshiko in the corner. Yoshiko picks up Chisako but Chisako slides away, she goes off the ropes but Yoshiko catches her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. She goes for a running senton but Chisako rolls out of the way, Chisako and Yoshiko trade elbows but Natsuki comes in to help Yoshiko get the advantage. Assisted body press by Yoshiko, but the pin gets a two count. Samoan Drop by Yoshiko, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Chisako avoids the diving senton. Flipping neckbreaker by Chisako, she mounts Yoshiko in the corner and dropkicks her in the chest. Cutter by Chisako, and she covers Yoshiko for two.

Chisako gets on the top turnbuckle but Yoshiko gets her feet up on the Hormone Splash, Yoshiko picks up Chisako and hits a short range lariat for two. Yoshiko tags Natsuki, Iguchi Bomb by Natsuki and she hits a second one. Thrust kick by Natsuki, but the cover gets two. Natsuki goes up top but Chisako avoids the footstomp and dropkicks Natsuki in the knee. Back up, Chisako and Natsuki trade elbows until Chisako dropkicks Natsuki out of the ring. Natsuki skins the cat and hits a release German on Chisako, she picks her up and goes for the Taiyo-chan Bomb, but KAORU hits her in the head with the board as she is in the middle of the move. KAORU grabs Chisako and tosses her onto Natsuki, she puts the board on Natsuki and Chisako hits a couple running footstomps. Double vertical suplex to Natsuki, KAORU goes up top and nails the Valkyrie Splash. Hormone Splash by Chisako, but Yoshiko breaks up the pin. Chisako goes off the ropes but Yoshiko intercepts her, KAORU hits Yoshiko with her board and positions Natsuki, but Yoshiko kicks her from behind. Natsuki joins Chisako up top, KAORU comes in with the board but Yoshiko takes it from her. Chisako headbutts Natsuki off the top turnbuckle but Yoshiko catches her and tosses Natsuki back up, avalanche armdrag by Natsuki and she hits a missile dropkick to a downed Chisako, but KAORU breaks up the cover. Natsuki picks up Chisako and with Yoshiko they drop her with an assisted Codebreaker, but Chisako gets a shoulder up. Natsuki drags up Chisako and nails a leg clutch German Suplex Hold, and she picks up the three count! Natsuki Taiyo and Yoshiko win!

While the match was far from perfect, it was certainly exciting and fast paced. My only complaint is the arm work on Chisako, it just went a bit longer than your traditional “intro” limb work but was very quickly forgotten, I don’t mind limb targeting but if it lasts more than a few minutes I’d like some type of callback to it later. Still, all four of these wrestlers are great and every time I watch Natsuki Taiyo I just remember how much I miss her. Both teams showed flawless teamwork as they felt like units and not individuals thrown together, and the ending stretch was fantastic. An entertaining match.  Recommended

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Io Shirai vs. Meiko Satomura

Now we have reached the reason I imported the DVD from Japan – the forgotten Io vs. Meiko match. I call it the “forgotten” match simply because it never made tape (a lot of Sendai Girls’ events don’t but that was especially true a few years ago) and this was their first encounter before their feud had really gotten started. Meiko Satomura had wrestled in Stardom in 2012 and 2013, and even got a title challenge against Nanae Takahashi, but this match was prior to her title run in Stardom which didn’t take place until 2015. Io Shirai was starting to show some Ace-like qualities at this stage of her career but she wasn’t quite there yet, she came into this match holding the World of Stardom Championship, however this was not a title match.

They lock knuckles to start as they feel each other out, armdrag by Io and she takes Meiko down, but Meiko quickly gets out of it and applies a side headlock. Front necklock by Meiko but Io gets out of the hold and dropkicks Meiko, leading to both wrestlers returning to their feet. Camel Clutch by Io and she then applies a bodyscissors, Meiko gets out of it and Io elbows Meiko into the corner. Double knee by Io, she charges Meiko and hits the Space Rolling Elbow. Face crusher by Io, she picks up Meiko but Meiko elbows her into the corner.  Jumping elbow by Meiko, she armdrags Io to the mat and puts her in a crab hold. She reverts the hold into a STF but Io gets to the ropes to force a break. Wristlock by Meiko and she elbows Io in the arm, Io goes off the ropes and does a backflip before elbowing Meiko out of the ring. Io goes to do a dive but Meiko meets her at the ropes with an elbow, slingshot footstomp by Meiko and she knocks Io to the floor. Meiko kicks Io from the apron before tosses Io back in, Meiko slams Io to the mat before hitting a snap vertical suplex. Meiko and Io trade elbows until Meiko kicks Io to the mat, Meiko goes off the ropes but Io bridges down to avoid her elbow. Meiko kicks her leg out from under her and puts her in a modified STF, but again Io gets to the ropes. Meiko goes off the ropes but Io drop toeholds her and delivers the Tiger Feint Kick. Swandive dropkick by Io, and she puts Meiko in an armtrap crossface. Meiko struggles and and gets a foot on the bottom rope for the break, Io charges Meiko in the corner and hits the double knee for a two count. Meiko goes for a suplex but Io lands on her feet, high kick by Meiko and she hits the cartwheel kneedrop.

sendai2014-3Seated armbar by Meiko, but Io quickly gets a hand on the ropes. Kicks by Meiko but Io gets back to her feet and they trade elbows until Meiko knocks down Io with an uppercut. Meiko goes up top but Io recovers and dropkicks her off the turnbuckle down to the floor. Io goes up top and dives down onto Meiko with a moonsault, Io picks up Meiko and slides her back into the ring. Io goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick, cover by Io but it gets a two count. Standing moonsault by Io, she then hits moonsaults from the second turnbuckle and top turnbuckle, but Meiko gets a shoulder up on the cover. Io picks up Meiko and goes for the package German, but Meiko gets out of it and drops Io on her head with a backdrop suplex. Thrust kick by Meiko, she goes off the ropes but Io catches her with a hurricanrana for two. Buzzsaw kick by Io, she goes up top but Meiko recovers and kicks her into a hanging position. Pele Kick by Meiko, she picks up Io but Io blocks the Death Valley Bomb. She goes for Magica de Io but Meiko blocks it and kicks Io in the head, sleeper by Meiko but Io gets a foot on the bottom rope. She goes for the sleeper again but Io spins out of it, palm strike by Io but Meiko nails her with a Pele Kick. Io again gets out of the Death Valley Bomb, she drops Meiko with a package German but Meiko kicks out. Both wrestlers slowly get up, Io goes for a hurricanrana but Meiko blocks it and hits a Death Valley Bomb. Meiko quickly puts Io in a sleeper, cover by Meiko but it only gets a two count. Meiko drags Io up and nails another Death Valley Bomb, cover by Meiko and she gets the three count! Meiko Satomura is your winner!

To the shock of no one reading this, I really enjoyed this match. This is the first time they had ever faced off but they already had great chemistry. Part of that is because Meiko Satomura in 2014 was one of the top wrestlers in the world (she still is), she can mesh well with just about anyone, and even the few times something looked slightly off she quickly got the match back on track. Io tried a few times going for her flashy moves with no luck, as Meiko doesn’t play around, but she did eventually have success and she almost had Meiko beaten on several occasions. A very tight, hard hitting, and entertaining match, and an early sign that these two worked together extremely well which lead to perhaps even better matches down the road.  Highly Recommended