Sendai Girls’ on January 9, 2016 Review

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Event: Sendai Girls “Jumonji Shimai Final in Tokyo”
Date: January 9th, 2016
Location: Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 480 (Super No Vacancy Full House)

Welcome to the first review for Sendai Girls’ in 2016! This is a special event, not just for me but hopefully for the millions of other Joshi fans around the world as well.  The big match on this card is the final Jumonji Sisters match in Tokyo, Japan. Sachiko’s actual retirement match isn’t until next week but this will be one of their last matches together so we have to enjoy them while we can. We also get a rare Kellie Skater sighting in Sendai Girls’, plus Hashimoto taking on the monster Aja Kong. Here is the full card:

  • Arisa Nakajima vs. Mika Iwata
  • Alex Lee and Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Cassandra Miyagi and KAORU
  • Chikayo Nagashima and Syuri vs. Kellie Skater and Meiko Satomura
  • Aja Kong vs. Chihiro Hashimoto
  • Command Bolshoi and Kyoko Kimura vs. DASH Chisako and Sendai Sachiko

Only one match I am not particularly looking forward to but everything here has potential, let’s get rolling.

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Arisa Nakajima vs. Mika Iwata

This is my ideal opening match. On one side is Arisa Nakajima, one of the top wrestlers of JWP and holder of three championships coming into the match. On the other side is one of Sendai Girls’ top rookies, as Iwata debuted last year but has shown a lot of ability in a short amount of time. Nakajima is the type of wrestler that won’t squash Iwata, its not going to be a five minute match that
ends in a crab hold, and Iwata will have plenty of chances to show what she can do.

sendai1.9-1Nakajima gets Iwata to the mat at the start and goes for her leg, headlock by Nakajima but Iwata gets out of it, kicks by Nakajima and she delivers a dropkick. Short armbar by Nakajima and she applies a sleeper and footstomps Iwata, but Iwata fires back with a dropkick and they trade elbows. Nakajima boots Iwata but Iwata ducks the next kick and rolls up Nakajima for two. Kicks by Iwata and she puts Nakajima in a cross-legged chinlock, but Nakajima gets to the ropes. Nakajima regains the advantage with a hard elbow before hitting a backdrop suplex, Nakajima gets on the top turnbuckle and she hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Nakajima goes for a suplex but Iwata gets out of it and they trade elbows, Iwata connects with a high kick and she covers Nakajima for two. Iwata goes off the ropes but Nakajima catches her with a bridging fallaway slam. Missile dropkick by Nakajima and she nails the German suplex hold for the three count! Arisa Nakajima wins!

This was a good way to start off the show. Nakajima was obviously going to win but she gave Iwata a certain level of respect as the rookie had a few nearfalls, even though Nakajima controlled much of the action. Usually in Joshi, veterans don’t hold back on rookies and only do basic moves like elbows and crab holds, which generally makes the matches more fun to watch. Nakajima’s bridging suplexes were fire as always and it felt like it went the right amount of time. Iwata continues to come along nicely, if she sticks with it she could be something special in the future.   Mildly Recommended

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Alex Lee and Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Cassandra Miyagi and KAORU

This is the match I mentioned at the top I wasn’t really looking forward to. Lee seems to be on every show I watch now, she is a solid hand in the ring but never goes much beyond that at this stage. Miyagi is a Sendai Girls’ rookie still adapting to her new gimmick, and I like KAORU but she is a bit limited. Matsumoto is the best wrestler in this bunch, so hopefully she controls the action here, but we’ll have to see.

Matsumoto and Miyagi begin for their teams, they try to knock each other with shoulderblocks and Matsumoto wins the battle before tagging in Lee. Miyagi stomps on Lee and throws her down by her hair, she tags in KAORU and KAORU works Lee over. Including biting her hand. KAORU tags Miyagi back in, Lee briefly gets in control but KAORU comes in to help her young teammate. KAORU suplexes Lee as she stays in the ring, but Lee hits a dropkick out of the corner and tags in Matsumoto. Matsomoto puts KAORU in a backbreaker but Miyagi breaks it up, Matsumoto slams before into the corner and she hits a body avalanche. KAORU boots Matsumoto and tags Miyagi, and Miyagi trades elbows with her foe. Miyagi elbows Matsumoto and hits a face crusher for two, but Matsumoto blocks the suplex and hits one of her own.

sendai1.9-2Reverse double knee by Matsumoto out of the corner, but Miyagi gets her shoulder up. She tags Lee and Lee hits a high kick in the corner followed by a double underhook suplex for a two count. Matsumoto comes in  but KAORU trips them both from the floor, Miyagi stomps on Lee’s foot and hits the Airplane Spin. She tags KAORU, KAORU comes in with a piece of table and whacks Matsumoto and Lee with it. Miyagi gets the piece of table and hits Lee also, brainbuster by KAORU onto the table piece but the referee won’t count due to all the cheating. Lee hits a superkick followed by a high kick, but KAORU kicks out of the cover. Michinoku Driver by KAORU, but Matsumoto breaks up the cover. Miyagi suplexes Lee, KAORU goes up top but Lee avoids the senton. Chokebomb by Lee, but Miyagi breaks it up. Miyagi hits KAORU with the piece of board by accident, Lee goes for a powerbomb on KAORU but KAORU reverses it into a hurricanrana for the three count! Miyagi and KAORU are your winners.

This wasn’t bad, it was just longer than it needed to be and was generally uneventful. There wasn’t much structure or flow to it, no one thing felt meaningful as it didn’t lead to anything, even Miyagi accidentally hitting KAORU with a piece of table immediately meant nothing as KAORU won the match 10 seconds after it. Inoffensive but just filler, I like Miyagi’s gimmick but it may take awhile for her skills to catch up to its potential.

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Chikayo Nagashima and Syuri vs. Kellie Skater and Meiko Satomura

Ah now we are back to the good stuff.  Nagashima is a 20 year veteran who recently became a Freelancer after long being affiliated with Oz Academy. Syuri is from REINA and is not only an amazing wrestler but a legitimate kickboxer as well. On the other side, Satomura is the promoter of Sendai Girls’ and holds the promotion’s championship, and Skater normally wrestles for Stardom but appears to be making a special appearance for my amusement. A quality multi-promotional style match.

Satomura and Syuri start off, kicks to the leg by Syuri and she kicks Satomura in the chest. Satomura catches one and attacks Syuri in the corner, but Syuri hits a jumping knee followed by a suplex. They trade kicks, Syuri gets Satomura back to her corner and tags in Nagashima. A bridging suplex by Nagashima gets two, Satomura pushes Nagashima into her corner and tags Skater. Skater hits a springboard armdrag but Nagashima comes back with a headscissors. Nagashima throws down Skater by her hair but Skater flips Nagashima to the mat and applies a cross armbreaker. Syuri comes in and breaks it up, Skater slams Nagashima but Nagashima boots her when she charges in and hits a face crusher. Nagashima tags Syuri, Syuri trades elbows with Skater, release German suplex by Syuri but Skater comes back with a superkick. Skater tags Satomura, Satomura trips Syuri and nails her with a high kick. Satomura goes off the ropes but Syuri catches her with a high knee.

sendai1.9-3Cartwheel kneedrop by Satomura but Syuri blocks the backdrop suplex attempt. Nagashima runs in and trades shots with Satomura, Satomura goes back to Syuri and nails the backdrop suplex for a two count. Backstabber by Syuri, and she hits a running knee strike for two. Nagashima is tagged in, she goes up top and hits a missile dropkick but Satomura recovers and they trade kicks. Satomura kicks harder and wins the duel, Satomura goes off the ropes but Nagashima catches her with an uranage for a two count. She goes for another one but Satomura elbows out of it and hits the overhead kick. She tags Skater, kick to the chest by Skater but Nagashima kicks out of the cover. DDT by Skater, she goes up top but Syuri runs over and kicks her. Frankensteiner by Nagashima and she drops Skater on her with a suplex. Satomura saves Skater from a Fisherman Buster and hits a suplex, side Russian leg sweep by Skater but Syuri breaks the cover. High kick by Satomura, Skater goes for a PK but Nagashima catches her leg. Syuri kicks Skater, Nagashima then picks her up and nails the Fisherman Buster for the three count! Syuri and Nagashima win!

My main complaint here is that I just wish it was longer. I enjoyed about all of this, the strikes were hard, the suplexes were on point, and they kept the action up from bell to bell. The teams didn’t work great together but that is logical since neither are real tag teams, so mostly it was everyone for themselves aside from the occasional save. The only thing really lacking was a purpose, it was an entertaining mid-card match between four talented wrestlers, but it lacked some emotion since nothing was at stake since these wrestlers aren’t feuding with each other. A fun hard hitting match, and worth a watch for sure, but nothing that will be memorable long term.  Recommended

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Aja Kong vs. Chihiro Hashimoto

This match is for the #1 Contendership to the Sendai’ Girls World Championship.  Which is a bit silly, Hashimoto is a rookie and isn’t beating someone of Aja Kong’s legendary status. Hashimoto has been given a lot of respect as a rookie and is clearly being pushed as a strong wrestler, but this is too much of a jump even for her. But it will be a good test as Kong is known for being a bit hard hitting and unforgiving in her wrestling style, Hashimoto is in for a fight.

sendai1.9-4Hashimoto gets Kong to the mat early on but Kong gets up without much issue, Kong ends up on the mat again but Hashimoto bounces around her as she isn’t able to hurt her. Chops by Kong, she puts Hashimoto in the ropes and chops her some more before hitting a lariat. Kong stays in control until Hashimoto avoids a lariat in the corner and hits a pair of body avalanches. Hashimoto goes for a hip attack but just bounces off of Kong. Hashimoto goes for a slam but Kong reverses that and hits a slam of her own. Kong takes Hashimoto out of the ring and throws her into the crowd before hitting her in the head with a chair. Kong beats Hashimoto around the ring before they return, lariat by Kong back in the ring and she covers Hashimoto for two. Hashimoto suddenly picks up Kong and slams her, before getting Kong up on her shoulder and slamming her again for a two count cover. Kong slaps Hashimoto and hits another lariat, Hashimoto ducks the Uraken but she can’t suplex Kong. Kong gets a metal box and whacks Hashimoto with it, brainbuster by Kong and she picks up the three count! Kong is the new #1 Contender!

An above average match, and Kong was pretty cooperative, but something with the transitions just felt off for most of the match. For example, Hashimoto was hit with chairs and hit with two lariats, but sprung back on offense and hit several moves like nothing happened. A few times literally nothing happened at all, it was as if they didn’t know the plan so they weren’t doing anything until someone made a move. The last few minutes were solid though, as Kong started giving Hashimoto some real offense and Hashimoto returned with some slams to show she wasn’t completely over-matched.  More good than bad, but not great either.

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Command Bolshoi and Kyoko Kimura vs. DASH Chisako and Sendai Sachiko

This match was billed as Sachiko’s last match in Tokyo. The Jumonji Sisters (also known as the Cross Sisters) are the greatest sister tag team in wrestling history. Together they won five championships and battled the best teams in Japan, fighting in Stardom, JWP, Diana, Oz Academy, Ice Ribbon, CHIKARA, and of course Sendai Girls over an eight year span. Sachiko announced last summer that she was engaged and would be retiring in January, so this is a happy retirement and not a sad one. Still, she will be missed. Their opponents are a bit more random, as Bolshoi is one of the top wrestlers in JWP and Kimura is a Freelancer, however they did team off and on in JWP throughout 2015.  The Jumonji Sisters’ tag titles are not on the line here, as their final title match takes place next week.

Sachiko and Kimura are the first two in the ring but they come to a stalemate and both tag out. Sachiko immediately comes back in to help Chisako, and Bolshoi is double teamed. Chisako and Bolshoi trade elbows and Chisako tags Sachiko back in, but Bolshoi pushes her to the mat and applies a crab hold. Bolshoi tags Kimura and Kimura throws Sachiko around by her hair, Bolshoi comes back in and pinches Sachiko’s cheek. They are mostly just messing with Sachiko as Sachiko is the clear Face in Peril as her career winds down. Sachiko superkicks Bolshoi but Kimura runs in to help keep Sachiko down. Sachiko hits a double face crusher and tags in Chisako, and Chisako hits a missile dropkick on Bolshoi. Another dropkick by Chisako but Bolshoi avoids the double footstomp. The Jumonji Sisters double team Bolshoi and Kimura in the corner, Chisako slams Bolshoi and this time hits the diving footstomp. Cutter by Chisako but Kimura kicks her from the apron. Tiger Feint Kick by Bolshoi and she hits a tiger suplex hold for a two count. Bolshoi tags in Kimura and Kimura kicks Chisako around the ring. Slaps by Kimura to Chisako and she knees Chisako, but Chisako dropkicks her in the knee. Dropkick to the head by Chisako to Kimura and she tags in Sachiko.

sendai1.9-5Elevated DDT by Sachiko and she hits a somersault senton, but Kimura hits a quick backbreaker. Footstomps by Kimura, she puts Sachiko hanging on the top rope and hits a footstomp to her back. Kimura puts Sachiko in a crab hold but Sachiko gets to the ropes, Kimura drags Sachiko away and puts her in the hold again but Chisako breaks it up. Superkick by Sachiko and Chisako elbows Kimura, tornado DDT by Sachiko and Chisako hits a diving body press. Suplex hold by Sachiko, but Bolshoi breaks it up. Sachiko and Chisako both go for diving body presses, but Bolshoi and Kimura both roll out of the way. Chokebomb by Kimura to Sachiko, but Chisako breaks up the cover. Chisako hits a cutter on Bolshoi, and all four wrestlers are out on the ground. Kimura elbows Sachiko while Sachiko fights back, superkicks by Sachiko (lots of them) and Kimura covers her for two. Assisted Shiranui by the Jumonji Sisters, and both hit diving body presses. Sachiko goes up top again but Bolshoi joins her and hits an avalanche Uranage. Big boot by Kimura but Chisako breaks up the pin. Elbow by Kimura and she goes for a powerbomb, but Sachiko rolls down her back and hits a sunset flip for two. Big boot by Kimura but Sachiko rolls her up for two again. Chisako comes back in and gets on Kimura’s back, superkick by Sachiko while Chisako slams Kimura to the mat, and Sachiko jackknifes Kimura for the three count! The Jumonji Sisters are your winners.

This was just good wholesome fun. The Jumonji Sisters work so well together that they are just a pleasure to watch, they are always on the same page and everything they do is so fluid. Kimura and Bolshoi were both fine as well, and its rare to get a match this long that feels so natural. The match started a bit slow so you have to get through that, but the last ten minutes or so were really entertaining. A fitting match as one of the last of Sachiko’s career and certainly worthy of the main event slot.  Recommended