Event: Diana at Shin-Kiba
Date: February 22nd, 2020
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown
Sareee didn’t have many matches left in Japan after this one before joining the WWE, and this will likely be her last Joshi match released to the public. So, obviously I had to watch it as we bid her farewell. Diana cards aren’t very deep, and this one is even less-so as Kyoko Inoue missed the event due to an injury, but there are a lot of little things I am looking forward to on this event. The opener has a shot at being a lot of fun, and Sareee vs. Yoshiko should be amazing. I am really interested in the main event as well, as the super veterans take on a young team from PURE-J. Its great to see Diana events finally ‘making tape’ so I am not going to complain either way. Here is the full card:
As this aired on NicoPro, all matches will be shown in full. As always, all the wrestlers on the show have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it. Onto the matches!
Haruka Umesaki vs. Miyuki Takase
We kick off the event on a match that could be a stealth banger. I haven’t gotten a chance to see much from Haruka but from what I have seen she is a firecracker and has that passion that you hope to see from wrestlers in the first year of their career. Not a fully cooked egg yet, but she makes up for that in spirit. Miyuki Takase is one of the top wrestlers from Actwres girl’Z and holds their main title, she wrestles in a variety of other promotions as well as AgZ is pretty good about allowing their wrestlers to spread their wings. Miyuki is winning here, but hopefully Haruka will look good in defeat.
Haruka and Miyuki tie-up to start, Miyuki pushes Haruka into the ropes and she gives a clean break. Haruka elbows her as she backs off however and they start trading strikes, Miyuki chops Haruka against the ropes and then into the corner. Rapid fire chops by Miyuki and she tries to toss Haruka by the hair, but Haruka cartwheels out of it and dropkicks Miyuki into the corner. Chops by Haruka and she hits a scoop slam, snapmare by Haruka and she applies a bodyscissors. Miyuki quickly gets out of it and puts Haruka in a stretch hold, she picks up Haruka while having her in a headlock but Haruka spins out of it and applies a guillotine. Miyuki reverses that into a wristlock as they trade holds, Miyuki gets Haruka to the mat but Haruka gets into the ropes for the break. Scoop slam by Miyuki and she applies a crab hold, but Haruka gets into the ropes for the break. Stomps by Miyuki, she picks up Haruka and puts her upside down in the corner. Miyuki gets a running start and dropkicks Haruka in the back, she puts Haruka back into the crab hold but Haruka quickly gets to the ropes again. Miyuki puts Haruka in the corner, Irish whip by Miyuki but Haruka reverses it. Miyuki rebounds out of the corner with a missile dropkick, she charges Haruka but Haruka avoids her charge and connects with a series of dropkicks.
Haruka goes for a crossbody but Miyuki catches her and hits a backbreaker, single leg crab hold by Miyuki but Haruka manages to get a break as she crawls to the ropes. Miyuki goes up top but Haruka hits her before she can jump off and tosses Miyuki back to the mat. Haruka gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Haruka but it gets two. Scoop slam by Haruka, she gets on the top turnbuckle and nails the missile dropkick, but Miyuki kicks out of the cover. Haruka goes off the ropes but Miyuki catches her with a lariat, Miyuki gets Haruka on her shoulders and his a rolling fireman’s carry slam. Guillotine leg drop by Miyuki off the second turnbuckle, but Haruka barely gets a shoulder up. Miyuki picks up Haruka but Haruka gets away, she goes off the ropes but Miyuki hits a powerslam. Miyuki goes off the ropes and delivers a lariat, but the cover only gets two. Miyuki picks up Haruka but Haruka sneaks in an inside cradle for two. Haruka tries a few more flash pins with no luck, Haruka goes off the ropes but Miyuki takes off her head with a lariat. Miyuki picks up Haruka and hits the brainbuster, cover by Miyuki and she gets the three count! Miyuki Takase is the winner.
This didn’t reach the level I was hoping it would, but for an opener it was decent enough. Haruka’s hope spots were all well done and helped elevate the match, but Miyuki’s offense was just more repetitive than I’d have liked. Crab holds are a traditional way to beat young wrestlers but she kept going for it with little effort to set up Haruka for it, and by the third one I had had enough of the hold. And then she won with a brainbuster, which has nothing to do with anything a crab hold weakens, rendering the work meaningless. There was really no long-term selling in general as they were going from spot to spot, and there was a tiny botch in the middle. I am still impressed by Haruka’s poise as she has no issue standing up to wrestlers above her in the pecking order, but they didn’t do enough here to make it memorable in any way.
Ayako Sato, Yokota, and Madeline vs. HIROe, Nanami, and Yumi Ohka
What a fun collection of wrestlers. One one hand, we have the super veterans with Ayako Sato, Jaguar Yokota, and Yumi Ohka who all have been wrestling for 15+ years and have plenty of title reigns between them. Spread around them are a bunch of much less experienced wrestlers, with WAVE’s young wrestler HIROe joining Diana wrestlers Madeline and the literal child Nanami. I am sure we will see some veteran beat-down segments against the babies, but this trio is pretty giving to the younger generation and with the teams split it should be an even match.
Yokota and friends attack before the match starts as the action quickly spills outside the ring, with Yokota and HIROe closest to the camera as the legend pummels the young WAVE wrestler. Yokota and HIROe return to the ring, elbow by Yokota and she rakes HIROe’s face over the top rope. She tags in Sato, Sato tosses HIROe down by the hair and boots her in the corner. Back bodydrop by Sato and she covers HIROe for a two count. She throws HIROe into the corner so that Madeline can help, Sato tags in Madeline and Madeline puts HIROe in a Fujiwara Armbar. HIROe quickly gets to the ropes for the break, Irish whip by Madeline to the corner but HIROe rebounds out of it with a crossbody. Madeline and HIROe trade elbows, hard shoulderblock by HIROe and she tags Ohka. Ohka throws Madeline into the corner and delivers a big boot, she pushes her boot into Madeline’s face while taunting Madeline’s teammates. More boots by Ohka and she stands on Madeline’s back, cover by Ohka but it gets two. Ohka tags Nanami as HIROe comes in too, as all three attack Madeline in the corner. Dropkick by Nanami, she snapmares Madeline and applies a bodyscissors. Nanami rolls Madeline around the ring while maintaining the hold, she stops to hold down Madeline for the cover but it gets two.
Madeline finally fights back against the kid and hits a scoop slam, but Nanami elbows her and the two trade strikes. Nanami connects with a series of dropkicks, cover by Nanami but it gets two. Nanami goes off the ropes again but Madeline catches her with an elbow, kick by Nanami and she scoop slams Madeline for a two count. Nanami tags HIROe, HIROe throws Madeline into the corner but Madeline avoids her charge and connects with some elbows. Dropkick by Madeline and she goes for the armbar, but HIROe rolls out of it. Madeline stays in a dominate position as she goes for a choke, but HIROe wiggles to the ropes to force the break. Irish whip by Madeline but HIROe hits a hard shoulderblock, shoulder tackles by HIROe in the corner and she hits a vertical suplex for two. HIROe picks up Madeline but Madeline gets away and rolls up HIROe for two. Irish whip by HIROe but Madeline cartwheels out of the way and hits a crossbody. This gives her time to tag in Sato, dropkick by Sato and she hits a jumping kick in the corner. HIROe retorts with a shoulder tackle, she goes off the ropes and delivers a spear for a two count. HIROe goes up top but Sato recovers and joins her, HIROe jumps back to the mat and hits a German suplex. HIROe picks up Sato but Sato snaps off a double wrist armsault for a two count. Sato goes off the ropes but HIROe hits a quick suplex, she goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick. Northern Lights Suplex Hold by HIROe, but Sato gets a shoulder up. HIROe tags in Ohka, running boot by Ohka and she hits a backdrop suplex. Ohka picks up Sato and boots her, she goes off the ropes but Sato hits her with a trash can lid.
Dropkick with the lid by Sato, she covers Ohka but it gets two. Sato goes off the ropes and goes for a bodyscissors, but Ohka catches her and hits a German suplex. Big boot by Ohka, but Sato kicks out of the cover. Ohka goes for the Tiger Suplex but Sato blocks it, Madeline comes in and they hit a double vertical suplex on Ohka followed by a double dropkick. Sato goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Sato but it gets two. Yokota comes in with a chair and hits the child Nanami with it, she stays in as the legal wrestler and hits Ohka in the head with the chair. Sato gets her trash can lid and hits Ohka as well, Yokota sits down Ohka in the chair while Madeline hits her with a metal stick. Yokota gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a somersault kick, cover by Yokota but the pin is broken up. Yokota goes off the ropes but HIROe stops her with a shoulder tackle, DDT by Ohka to Yokota and she hits a heel drop. Ohka goes off the ropes and delivers the big boot, cover by Ohka but Yokota gets a shoulder up. Yokota tags Nanami, Nanami gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving body press for two. Nanami goes off the ropes but Sato kicks her from the apron, HIROe does the same to Yokota and Nanami cradles Yokota for two. Swinging neckbreaker by Nanami, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Yokota recovers and joins her. Superplex by Yokota, but Ohka breaks up the cover. Yokota picks up Nanami but HIROe runs in and elbows her, Ohka clears the ring and hits a chokebomb on Yokota. Nanami goes for another swinging neckbreaker but Yokota reverses it into a Backslide for the three count! Jaguar Yokota, Madeline, and Ayako Sato win!
This match was quite a combination of good, bad, and ugly. Yokota was great in this match. She didn’t do much but she uses weapons, which I like, and she gave quite a bit of offense to a 13 year old which is admirable. Unfortunately, the 13 year old isn’t good. I know, she’s a child, but she’s a child I have to watch wrestle and bad is bad. Her strikes are laughable, she is sometimes out of position and she doesn’t show the fire that we just saw from Haruka in the match before. I was surprised Madeline was the Ricky Morton in this match, she’s a new-ish wrestler but to see her getting thrown around by Nanami of all wrestlers was quite something. The match dragged at times in the middle, and the few fun parts were too spread out to get a good run going. A watchable midcard tag match, but nothing here I could really recommend.
Sareee vs. Yoshiko
As Sareee has her last televised match in Japan, she sure is going out with a bang as she faces off against one of the few Joshi wrestlers that may hit even harder than she does. Yoshiko needs no introduction – a former champion in Stardom turned Joshi pariah, she is currently the young Ace of SEAdLINNNG and frequently invades other promotions to challenge their top wrestlers. This match is another example of that as she challenges Sareee, the best trainee to ever come out of Diana. These two have had singles matches before but not since 2017, with Yoshiko leading the overall series 3-1.
They tie-up to start, Sareee gets Yoshiko into the ropes and gives her a hard elbow. Yoshiko returns fire as they trade shots, Yoshiko throws down Sareee by the hair but Sareee returns the favor. They trade strikes again before ending up in the ropes, with the referee finally getting them to separate. Sareee asks for a knuckle lock and Yoshiko obliges, they go into a Test of Strength which Yoshiko gets the better of, but Sareee hits an armdrag. Yoshiko swats away the dropkick and kicks Sareee in the ribs, Sareee goes for another armdrag but Yoshiko blocks it and hits one of her hard. Hard shoulderblock by Yoshiko, she snapmares Sareee and puts her in a chinlock. Yoshiko lets go before Sareee gets to the ropes and kicks her, but Sareee returns the favor and kicks Yoshiko in the back repeatedly. Irish whip by Sareee but Yoshiko hits a hard elbow, Sareee goes for a crossbody but Yoshiko catches her and slams Sareee to the mat. Cover by Yoshiko, but Sareee bridges out of it and dropkicks Yoshiko. Irish whip by Sareee but Yoshiko hits a hard shoulderblock and puts Sareee in a stretch hold. She lets go after a moment and kick Sareee out of the ring, she goes out after her and throws Sareee into the chairs at ringside. Yoshiko takes Sareee up high in the bleachers and slams her into the wall, which we can at least somewhat see since they are on the hard cam side.
They return to the ring after a couple minutes as Yoshiko sits down on Sareee for a two count. She quickly applies a choke hold but Sareee gets a toe on the ropes to force the break. Sareee rolls out of the ring but Yoshiko goes out to the apron and jumps down onto Sareee with what I assume was a footstomp. Slightly off camera. Yoshiko returns to the ring with Sareee following, Yoshiko goes back to the choke but Sareee quickly rolls to the ropes for the break. Yoshiko picks up Sareee, Sareee chargers her in the corner but Yoshiko moves and smacks her over the ropes. Yoshiko sets up Sareee in the ropes and kicks her in the head repeatedly, but Sareee avoids one and elbows Yoshiko in the chest. Sareee elbows Yoshiko off the apron to the floor, she goes out to the apron and hits a crossbody down to the floor. Sareee throws Yoshiko into the chairs at ringside and fights her up into the crowd, she gets back in the ring after a moment and goes up top as Yoshiko returns as well, hitting a missile dropkick for two. Sareee picks up Yoshiko and hits a fisherman suplex hold, but that gets a two as well. Sareee trips Yoshiko and puts her in the STF, but Yoshiko gets to the ropes for the break. Sareee knees Yoshiko in the back and goes for a German suplex, but Yoshiko blocks it. Roll-up by Sareee into a double footstomp, she goes off the ropes and goes for a dropkick but Yoshiko moves and kicks her in the head.
Yoshiko picks up Sareee but Sareee elbows her and they trade shots. Dropkick by Sareee, she goes off the ropes and dropkicks Yoshiko again while she is leaning against the ropes. She goes for the Uranage but Yoshiko blocks it, she goes off the ropes but Yoshiko hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker before applying a sleeper hold. She lets go after a moment and picks up Sareee, but Sareee cradles her for two. Sareee goes off the ropes and applies a tilt-a-whirl roll-up, but that gets a two as well. She goes off the ropes yet again but this time eats a lariat, they trade headbutts and Yoshiko hits another lariat for two. Sliding lariat by Yoshiko, but Sareee kicks out of the cover. Yoshiko gets up on the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving senton, but Sareee gets a shoulder up. Yoshiko picks up Sareee but Sareee nails her with a jumping back kick, she goes off the ropes and delivers a hurricanrana for two. Uranage by Sareee, but Yoshiko kicks out of the cover. Back up, headbutt by Sareee and she hits another Uranage, but Yoshiko lands too close to the ropes and gets a foot on the bottom one. Wrist-clutch Uranage by Sareee, she crawls to Yoshiko and covers her, but Yoshiko gets a shoulder up. Sareee picks up Yoshiko and goes for another one, but Yoshiko elbows her off. Big lariat by Yoshiko, she goes off the ropes and hits a sliding lariat for a two count. The bell rings before she can do anything else, as time has expired. The match is a Draw.
A pretty fitting final televised match for Sareee. I really loved the first portion and final portion of the match. They came out on fire with the hard strikes and passion, which you’d expect from these two, and it had that rough style that has been a staple of Yoshiko’s matches since soon after she debuted. The middle portion lost me a bit as they did a lot of crowd brawling, which not only was hard to see with the single cam setup but felt more like wasting time to reach the time limit. Once they returned to the ring though I went back to loving it, with both just throwing bombs to try to pick up the win before time expired. Overall I really enjoyed it, a few adjustments here and there would have made it a true MOTYC, but even as it is its a pretty damn good match. Recommended
(c) Kaoru Ito and Tomoko Watanabe vs. Katsu and Mari Manji
World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana Tag Team Championship
I am not sure when the last time a Diana championship match was shown in full so we are in for a special treat, as Ito and Watanabe defend their tag team titles. Ito and Watanabe won the titles way back in April of 2019, as they defeated Ayako Sato and Jaguar Yokota for the belts. They have not been horribly active champions, as this is only their third title defense since. They battle a young team from PURE-J, with the slightly more experienced Manami Katsu teaming with the older but less experienced Mari Manji, who is in her second year. Ito and Watanabe are still a lot of fun to watch even though they are well past their prime as they understand the philosophy of wrestling so well, so I fully expect them to get the most out of their younger challengers.
The PURE-J team attacks before the bell rings as they kick the champions out of the ring. The veterans take control on the floor before Watanabe and Mari return to the ring, vertical suplex by Watanabe and she hits a scoop slam followed by an elbow drop off the ropes. She tags in Ito, Ito throws Mari in the corner and hits a lariat. Single leg crab hold by Ito but Mari makes it to the ropes to force the break. Watanabe strolls in and they double team Mari, cover by Ito but it gets a two count. Watanabe throws Mari into the corner, Mari elbows her but Watanabe lariats Mari to the mat. Scorpion Deathlock by Watanabe, Manami tries to break it up but Watanabe just ignores her kicks and keeps the hold applied. Mari eventually makes it to the ropes for the break, Watanabe tags in Ito and hits a footstomp on Mari’s leg. Ito applies a single leg crab hold, Manami has the same lack of luck in getting the hold broken but Mari makes the ropes again. Ito applies a Camel Clutch while taunting Manami, she lets go just so she can put Mari in a crab hold. Mari gets to the ropes again, Watanabe comes in and Ito tries to catapult Mari to her, but Mari splats to the mat instead. Watanabe picks up Mari and hits a lariat anyway, Ito tags in Watanabe as Mari fights back with elbows. Watanabe absorbs the blows, Mari schoolboys Watanabe but they land in the rope. Watanabe grabs Mari by the leg and applies a STF, but Mari gets a foot on the ropes for the break.
Ito is tagged back in and she goes back to the crab hold (this match isn’t very interesting so far), but once again Mari makes it to the ropes. Watanabe returns and they drop Mari with a double vertical suplex, Watanabe applies a crab hold over by her own corner this time while Ito steps on her hands. Mari gets to the ropes, Watanabe picks her up but Mari sneaks in a schoolboy for two. Mari finally makes the tag to Manami, Ito comes in as well but Manami hits a face crusher on both of them. Knees by Manami to Watanabe and she throws her into the corner, Mari returns and elbows Watanabe but Manami hits a superkick. They continue to double team Watanabe before Mari leaves the ring, Manami picks up Watanabe but Watanabe hits a back bodydrop. They take turns trying to lariat each other over until Manami finally sends Watanabe to the mat, Watanabe returns the favor however and tags in Ito. Running footstomp by Ito and she hits a senton, cover by Ito but Manami kicks out. Ito grabs Manami but Manami gets into the ropes, Mari comes in and they both attack Ito while she is against the ropes. Running boots by Manami and she delivers a sliding kick to Ito, Manami gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a reverse splash for two. Manami tags Mari, Mari tries to shoulderblock Ito over but Ito doesn’t budge. Hard elbow by Ito and she sends Mari to the mat with a lariat, but Manami kicks Ito from the apron and Mari finally manages to shoulderblock Ito down. Mari hits a side Russian leg sweep and puts Ito in a submission hold. Cover by Mari but Ito can reach the ropes for the break.
Mari goes for a backdrop suplex but Ito blocks it, Uranage by Ito and she tags in Watanabe. Watanabe picks up Mari but Manami comes in, Watanabe goes for a springboard move but Mari and Manami push her out of the ring. Ito takes the opportunity to hit a crossbody on both of them, Manami and Mari both fall out of the ring and Ito sends them down to the floor with a baseball slide. Mari is brought back into the ring and is hit with a double lariat, Watanabe slams Mari in front of the corner but Manami runs in as Watanabe gets on the second turnbuckle. Watanabe hits a diving body press anyway, but Manami breaks up the cover. Watanabe goes all the way up top but Mari elbows her before she can jump off. Mari joins Watanabe but Ito grabs Mari from behind to help Watanabe hit a seated senton. Cover by Watanabe, but Mari barely gets a shoulder up. Manami runs in but she lariats Mari by accident, Ito comes in but she hits Watanabe by mistake, allowing Mari to put Watanabe in a modified Dragon Sleeper. Ito breaks it up, she goes to pick up Mari but Manami lariats her. Watanabe had gone up top but Manami joins her and hits a superplex, Mari puts Watanabe in the modified Dragon Sleeper while Manami goes up top. Mari lets go so that Manami can hit a diving elbow drop, cover by Mari but Ito breaks it up. Mari goes for another quick pin, but Watanabe kicks out. Ito comes off the second turnbuckle with a diving footstomp to Mari, Screwdriver by Watanabe to Mari, but Manami breaks up the cover. Watanabe picks up Mari and nails the Cannonball Buster, cover by Watanabe and she picks up the three count! Tomoko Watanabe and Kaoru Ito win and retain the championship.
I really wanted to enjoy this match, but I could not. While it is logical that Watanabe and Ito go at a slower pace than they did in their heyday, the first half of the match just wasn’t fun to watch. It needed someone super sympathetic or charismatic to be taking the beating and Mari is neither of those things, so it was just dull. Manami tried to be the veteran of her team but was overwhelmed by Watanabe and Ito, so it just came across as a mismatch with the PURE-J team never being a believable force against their seniors. The end stretch was better, almost by default, but didn’t last long enough to justify the wait to get there. I still love Ito but this wasn’t the best performance from any of them, and ultimately it was just disappointing.
While a low bar, this was a better show than the last Diana event I reviewed. Having Sareee on the show certainly helped that as she is the best wrestler in the promotion, which just makes it all the sadder that she is leaving. Her match against Yoshiko wasn’t perfect but was hard hitting and entertaining, exactly what you’d expect from them. For the rest of the card, the opener was decent but not memorable and both tag matches had their good parts but dragged overall. Not a must-see event by any stretch, but Sareee vs. Yoshiko is worth a watch for sure.