Event: WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event
Date: August 27th, 2022
Location: MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA
Announced Attendance: Unknown
Broadcast: None (FanCam via YouTube)
I never thought I’d be reviewing a WWE house show match, but here we are. Why am I reviewing this, you ask. Well, the reason is that in all the years Asuka and IYO SKY could have had singles matches against each other while both wrestled in Japan – they never did. Believe it or not, they have had tag matches against each other, but no singles matches in their long careers. Once they started feuding on RAW in early August, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before they finally squared off one on one. Well it didn’t take long to happen, as on August 27th they would have their first ever singles match – on a house show.
The match may still happen at some point on RAW (or maybe a PLE!), but as of early September this is their only singles match to date. Normally, we’d never be able to watch it, but some wonderful person in the crowd did a FANCAM of the ENTIRE MATCH. Watching a FanCam takes me back, as there are some Puroresu shows from the early 90s that only exist (or existed, unsure if they were ever released officially) on a FanCam. But I haven’t watched a FanCam match in years because its not something people really do anymore, as they are too busy taking selfies or TikToks. So once I saw the match not only happened, but was uploaded to YouTube, I grabbed it real quick so I could save it forever and also review it for the site. Needless to say, I will only be watching their match in this review, so here is the match list:
Woot, a one match review! Both Asuka and IYO have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go to it.
Asuka vs. IYO SKY
I already did the intro for why this match is special above, but let’s quickly recap how we got here. At least one person reading this is asking “What, they never wrestled a singles match in Japan?” and the simple answer is no. Their paths crossed many times, as they were in a stable together as Triple Tails (with Mio Shirai, Io’s sister) and wrestled against each other in tag team matches, but never in a singles match. The chances of them wrestling dropped considerably when Io Shirai joined Stardom in 2011, as Kana never wrestled in Stardom likely due to backstage/political issues. When they signed with WWE, it was staggered, so by the time Io reached NXT, Asuka was already on the main roster. So here we are, 15 years (!!!) after Io Shirai debuted, and they are finally wrestling one on one.
As for why they are feuding now, Io Shirai debuted as IYO SKY on the main roster of WWE when she showed up at SummerSlam with Bayley. Showing up as heels to face off against Bianca and Becky, Bayley’s group of IYO and Dakota Kai seemed intent on taking over RAW. Unfortunately, Becky got hurt at SummerSlam and was put on the shelf, so Asuka ended up in the feud. Its unknown of course if it was always the plan, but either way Bianca needed two buddies to even the odds so she got Asuka and Alexa Bliss. Since now they are in feuding factions, that led to this house show match, which hopefully will lead to a singles match on a major show down the road. Now that we got the backstory out of the way, let’s get to the match!
To begin the match, IYO avoids Asuka’s attempts to tie-up, just to solidify their roles as ‘crowd favorite’ and ‘taunting heel.’ Asuka finally gets a hold of IYO’s arm but IYO reverses it, they end up on the mat but reach a stalemate. Back up, hard shoulderblock by Asuka and she stomps at IYO’s head, she goes to run off the ropes but IYO trips her and returns the favor. IYO goes off the ropes but Asuka does as well, IYO goes for a handstand but Asuka kicks her in the stomach. IYO throws Asuka into the corner and charges, but Asuka tosses her onto the apron. IYO goes for a shoulderblock through the ropes but Asuka moves and kicks her, she then goes off the ropes and hip attacks IYO down to the floor. IYO delays returning to the ring while Asuka calls her a chicken, Asuka finally goes after IYO but IYO returns to the ring and taunts her. Asuka gets on the apron and grabs IYO, but IYO snaps her neck over the top rope. She then goes out to the apron and hits a DDT onto it, giving IYO control of the match. IYO returns to the ring, Irish whip to the corner and she hits a running elbow.
IYO trips Asuka and stomps her down in the corner before hitting a double knee strike. Cover by IYO, but it gets two. IYO kicks Asuka in the leg before applying a chinlock, she releases it for a moment only to switch to a stretch hold. Asuka hulks out of it but IYO quickly hits a dropkick, cover by IYO but it gets a two count. IYO slams Asuka’s head into the mat repeatedly, she kicks at Asuka but Asuka fires back with a strike exchange. Sliding head kick by Asuka, and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Asuka is up first, IYO charges her but Asuka knocks her back with an elbow. Jumping lariat by Asuka and she hits a hip attack in the corner, she goes for a German suplex but IYO blocks it. Backfist by Asuka and she now can hit the German suplex, sliding kick by Asuka and she covers IYO for two. Asuka goes for IYO’s arm but IYO quickly grabs the ropes, Asuka charges IYO but IYO drops her head-first into the turnbuckle. Running double knee strike by IYO, she goes to the stop turnbuckle but Asuka recovers before she can jump off and pulls out Io’s leg.
Io ends up dangling on the top turnbuckle, Asuka joins her and goes for a superplex, but IYO headbutts her. IYO goes for the sunset flip powerbomb but Asuka blocks it, IYO slides away and instead German suplexes Asuka off the second turnbuckle to the mat. Cover by IYO, but Asuka barely kicks out. IYO goes for the 619 but Asuka moves, cross armbreaker takedown by Asuka but IYO stops her from locking it in and applies a crossface. Asuka rolls out of it and applies the Asuka Lock, but IYO gets out of it and delivers a palm strike. IYO goes for the double underhook facebuster but Asuka reverses it into a backslide for two. Asuka tosses IYO up and knees her in the face, but her cover only gets two. Asuka picks up IYO but IYO drives her back into the corner, Asuka goes for a kick but IYO ducks it and schoolboys Asuka. IYO puts her legs on the ropes for extra leverage, and she picks up the three count! IYO SKY is the winner!
First, I just have to note that Asuka and IYO did not wrestle this like it was a meaningless midcard house show match. Maybe they are practicing spots for a future match on a bigger event, maybe they just have too much pride, but neither were holding back. I’ve seen wrestlers coast when they were on a small or non-televised event, this wasn’t that. Both were going for it and were hitting some bigger moves, including the German off the second rope and the DDT on the apron. They have really solid chemistry, as one would expect from their years wrestling as a team in Japan, and everything from their rope exchanges to their strike exchanges looked smooth. The ending was a little disappointing but a heel cheating to win isn’t exactly unusual, and was probably the right way to go even on a house show. If they did this same match on RAW (or a PLE with just a couple extra minutes added) it would not look out of place at all, a really entertaining back and forth match between two of the best in the world. Recommended