Event: Kagetsu Retirement Show ~ Many Face
Date: February 24th, 2020
Location: EDION Arena Osaka #2 in Osaka, Japan
Announced Attendance: 733
As is always the case in the world of Joshi, the retirement hits never stop coming. This one is harder to swallow than most as Kagetsu not only is a fantastic wrestler and trainer but is still (at least in the eyes of fans) in her prime. But Kagetsu had a pretty lengthy career for a Joshi wrestler (twelve years) and has openly considered retiring in the past, and at least she is going out on her own terms as she booked her own retirement show. As tends to be the case with wrestler-produced events we will see a fun variety of wrestlers on the show, ending with Kagetsu battling her trainer Meiko Satomura for the first time since 2014 in her final match. I’ll be reviewing the Joshi matches on the event, here is the match line-up:
All wrestlers on the show have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it. Even though we are watching the TV airing of the event I am assuming there will not be any clipping, but if there is I will point it out as we go along.
Leyla Hirsch, Syuri, and Yuu vs. Natsuko Tora and Sumire
We start with… a handicap match! Kagetsu stacks the deck against her Oedo Tai friends to begin the event, but Oedo Tai has some backup support in the recently retired Hazuki so I am sure they will not have any issues. The three person team is certainly a unique one as they don’t normally team together, with the gaijin Leyla Hirsch joining the Freelancers Syuri and Yuu in battle. Natsuko Tora and Natsu Sumire are representing Stardom and are the highest ranking native wrestlers in the current Oedo Tai. A unique way to kick off the show, but anything goes on wrestler-produced events.
Natsu Sumire talked on the mic as the match was starting until Syuri and friends got tired of listening to her and all attack her. Natsuko tries to help but gets tossed out of the ring, Yuu stays in the ring with Natsu and goes off the ropes, but she is tripped from ringside and pulled out to the floor. Oedo Tai takes over, with Hazuki helping to even the numbers, as they fight on the floor and into the crowd. Hazuki throws Yuu back into the ring, Natsu joins her and sets up Yuu in the ropes. Natsuko puts the big rubber band around Yuu’s head, Natsu takes the other end and runs up into the crowd before snapping it back into Yuu’s face. Natsuko punches Yuu and puts her in the ropes again, this time Hazuki grabs the other end of the band and snaps it into Yuu. No idea where Syuri and Leyla ran off to. Natsu throws Yuu into the corner and knocks her down into a seated position, she charges in and delivers her gyrating bronco buster. Natsu tags in Natsuko but Yuu chops her and the two trade blows. Natsuko goes off the ropes but Yuu catches her with a sidewalk slam, running senton by Yuu and she covers Natsuko for two.
Yuu positions Natsuko near the corner and goes up top, but Natsuko recovers and gets Yuu on her shoulders. Yuu slides away and goes off the ropes, Natsuko goes for a Samoan Drop but she accidentally drops her. Headbutt by Natsuko, she manages to pick up Yuu this time and hits the Samoan Drop. Natsuko goes off the ropes but Yuu catches her with a toss and finally makes the tag to Syuri. Syuri kicks Natsuko repeatedly in the chest, running knee by Syuri and she hits a double underhook suplex for a two count. Cross armbreaker by Syuri and she switches it to a seated armbar, but Natsu breaks it up. More kicks by Syuri, she goes off the ropes but Hazuki hits Syuri from ringside. Syuri kicks Natsuko in the head anyway but Natsuko comes back with a spear, and both wrestlers are down on the mat. They crawl to their corners as Leyla and Natsu are tagged in, knee by Natsu and she boots Leyla in the head. Running boot by Natsu but Leyla elbows her back, Irish whip by Natsu but Leyla flips her to the mat and hits a running knee. Olympic Slam by Leyla, but Natsu kicks out of the cover.
Leyla goes for the Triangle Moonsault but Natsu moves out of the way and stomps on her head. Leyla kicks Natsu and tosses her to the mat, giving her time to tag Yuu. Yuu chops Natsu in the chest but Natsu avoids the running senton and whips Yuu. Irish whip by Natsu from the corner but Yuu reverses it, Natsu avoids Yuu’s charge and both Hazuki and Natsuko run in the ring as Yuu is triple teamed. Diving crossbody by Natsu, but it only gets two. Natsu picks up Yuu but Leyla and Syuri both run in to help, Natsu takes care of both of them and picks up Yuu, hitting a double arm DDT. Somato by Natsu, but Yuu gets a hand on the ropes to break up the cover. Yuu dropkicks Natsu into the corner, Syuri comes in and delivers a running knee. Cannonball by Yuu, they pull Natsu out of the corner so that Leyla can hit the Triangle Moonsault. Cover by Yuu, but Natsuko breaks it up. Yuu picks up Natsu and nails a powerbomb, cover by Yuu and she gets the three count! Yuu, Syuri, and Leyla Hirsch are the winners.
The only good thing about this match was seeing Hazuki again, love her and she seemed to be having so much fun. Everything else was rough though. Natsuko’s lack of chemistry with Yuu was clear and distracting, with several spots not looking right. Syuri did virtually nothing and wasn’t needed in the match, matches having extra wrestlers just for the sake of it will always be a pet peeve of mine. Wrestlers disappeared for long stretches and for a short match it took awhile to get going. So a very skippable opener, with the lone reason to watch being Hazuki, who obviously wasn’t even in the match.
AZM vs. Kaho Kobayashi vs. Mei Suruga
Mei Suruga pops up a lot in retirement/farewell/etc. type events and I love it, as it shows that veteran wrestlers see her potential. This is a classic “wrestler produce” match, with three seemingly random wrestlers thrown together. AZM of course is Kagetsu’s friend and former teammate in Stardom, she faces off against popular Freelancer Kaho Kobayashi and Mei Suruga, a young wrestler from Gatoh Move. The match isn’t technically under “High Speed” rules but I imagine the match will still go in that direction.
AZM is slow to shake Mei’s hand before the match but finally does so, Mei and AZM both try to get the crowd’s support while Kaho looks on. All three engage in a double headlock before going into a fast paced exchange, AZM and Mei force Kaho to run the ropes until she collapses on the mat. AZM covers her but Mei breaks it up, Mei and AZM get into it until they all miss a dropkick and face off again. Kaho collapses due to still being tired from running the ropes but recovers as AZM is double teamed. Mei rolls AZM round the mat before posing as she pins AZM down, Kaho poses next to Mei but AZM kicks out. Mei tells Kaho to go on the top turnbuckle so she does, but Mei rolls up AZM real quick for a two count. She tries a few more times before Kaho jumps down and kicks her, Irish whip by Kaho and both she and AZM dropkick Mei. Double Irish whip to Mei to the corner and they take turns dropkicking her, with AZM encouraging Kaho to dropkick her more. Senton by Kaho to Mei and AZM kicks Mei in the back, AZM puts Mei in a camel clutch and Kaho bounces off the ropes a bunch of times before dropkicking Mei. They switch places with Kaho holding Mei for AZM, AZM goes off the ropes but she kicks Kaho instead. Dropkick by AZM to Kaho, she goes to Mei but Mei grabs her wrist and jumps off the ropes before hitting an armdrag.
Mei charges AZM but AZM boots her back, Mei catches her next boot and rakes her face until the referee gets her to stop. Mei tosses the referee to the mat and catapults off his back with a dropkick, cover by Mei but AZM kicks out. Back up, AZM hits a suplex followed by a head kick, cover by AZM but Kaho breaks it up. Irish whip by Kaho but AZM hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors into an armbar. Kaho rolls out of it but AZM kicks her in the head, she goes up top and nails the diving footstomp but Kaho barely kicks out of the cover. Fujiwara Armbar by AZM but Kaho gets into the ropes for the break, AZM picks up Kaho but Kaho schoolboys her for two. AZM elbows Kaho but Kaho elbows her back as they trade shots, Kaho kicks AZM in the shin and delivers a DDT. Step-up kick by Kaho, she covers AZM but it gets two. Kaho goes to the top turnbuckle but Mei reemerges and schoolboys AZM for two. Kaho comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick to Mei, she then dropkicks AZM and AZM falls out of the ring. Kaho goes for a tope suicida but AZM and Mei both move, so she splats head-first into the floor. AZM and Mei return to the ring, they trade flash pins but neither can get the three count. Head kick by AZM, she knocks Kaho off the apron but Mei cradles AZM for two. They trade quick covers again until AZM puts Mei in the Azumi Sushi and picks up the three count! AZM is the winner.
This type of comedy wrestling, or a wrestling match with comedy elements, is the type that hits better with me. It was playful throughout but when it got down to it they all were trying to win, all three wrestlers have ‘flash’ style methods of pinning their opponent so everything going on fit within their characters. Kaho being the ‘old’ one they tried to tire out was a fun touch and anytime I get to see Mei I don’t complain. An easy watch and entertaining match. Mildly Recommended
Saya Iida vs. Kagetsu
Saya Iida’s mystery opponent is…. Kagetsu! To be honest everyone had already figured this out but it is still a nice way for Kagetsu to give one of her young former trainees a chance in the spotlight. This may seem like an unusual match to have as one of Kagetsu’s last ones as they could have done this on a different show previously, but Kagetsu wanted to highlight one of her students on the way out so no one is really going to complain. This won’t be a high end match but still could be an entertaining one, past and present members of Oedo Tai are at ringside (Nao Yamaguchi, Natsu Sumire, Natsuko Tora, and Hazuki) so expect them to get involved at some point as well.
Kagetsu won’t shake Saya’s hand before the match but as soon as the bell rings, Saya charges her and dropkicks Kagetsu into the corner. More dropkicks by Saya but Kagetsu doesn’t fall to the mat, finally Saya dropkicks her in the knee and again in the chest to knock her over. Saya picks up Kagetsu but Kagetsu blocks the scoop slam, chops by Saya but Kagetsu ducks one and rakes her in the eyes. Kagetsu goes off the ropes but Saya chops her to the mat, she picks up Kagetsu and delivers a scoop slam for a two count. Saya goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, she goes to the top turnbuckle again and hits a second one. A third time she goes up and delivers a third missile dropkick which she follows with a fourth one for a two count cover. With Kagetsu down, Saya goes to the top turnbuckle but Natsuko and Natsu grab her from the apron. They let go after a moment, Saya goes for a missile dropkick but Kagetsu moves out of the way and throws Saya out of the ring. Natsuko finds a weapon (Utami) and throws her at Saya before sliding Saya back into the ring, vertical suplex by Kagetsu and she covers Saya for two. Kagetsu picks up Saya and hits a Samoan Drop, but again Saya kicks out of the pin. Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu, but Saya barely gets a shoulder up. Kagetsu picks up Saya but Saya slides away and cradles her for two. Iida Bridge by Saya, but Kagetsu kicks out of that as well. Saya goes off the ropes but Kagetsu catches her with a cross armbreaker takedown. Kagetsu switches the hold to an arm lock and Saya has no choice but to submit! Kagetsu is the winner.
Its important to remember that a wrestler’s retirement show is for them, not for us. They let us watch, but each match the retiring wrestler is in is one that personally makes them happy or satisfied, they aren’t necessarily concerned with putting on high end matches. This match is what you would expect in an opener between a trainer and a student. Saya got in some hope spots so that it wasn’t a squash, but Kagetsu pretty thoroughly beat her down and won with a random submission hold that isn’t even one of her finishers. A pretty emotional match for Saya and one that likely meant a lot to Kagetsu (even if she didn’t show it), but a pretty average match in the grand scheme of things through the eyes of a viewer.
Kagetsu vs. Meiko Satomura
And finally, we have reached the final match of Kagetsu’s career. I mentioned in the review for the last match that a wrestler’s final matches are ones that make them happy, not necessarily make us happy. This is the rare match that fits both criteria, as clearly it means a lot to Kagetsu but the chances are pretty good that this will be a really great match. Kagetsu was trained by Meiko Satomura in Sendai Girls’ and that was her home promotion for the first seven years of her career. Kagetsu eventually left, becoming a Freelancer in 2014 before eventually joining Stardom in 2017. In carving her own path, Kagetsu put Sendai Girls’ behind her as this is her first match against her former trainer since they had a singles match in 2014. Kagetsu has never defeated Satomura in a singles match but she gets one more shot here in the final match of her career.
Kagetsu is in her “traditional” wrestling attire for this match, going back to her roots for her final match. Satomura pushes Kagetsu into the ropes to start and kicks her in the leg instead of giving a clean break, they end up on the mat but roll into the ropes. Back on their feet they lock knuckles, Satomura gets Kagetsu to the mat again and puts her in a side headlock. Kagetsu returns to her feet and gets out of the hold, she tries to shoulderblock Satomura over but Satomura stays on her feet. A dropkick does the trick, Kagetsu picks Satomura up and hits a side headlock takedown, keeping the hold applied on the mat. Satomura quickly reverses it into a headscissors but Kagetsu reverses it back as they trade submissions. Satomura gets the advantage and kicks Kagetsu, uppercut by Satomura and she elbows Kagetsu into the corner. Wristlock by Satomura and she kicks Kagetsu repeatedly in the chest, double kneedrop by Satomura and she covers Kagetsu for two. Satomura goes up top but Kagetsu springboards up and kicks her down to the floor, Kagetsu goes off the ropes and hits a tope suicida. She quickly gets back in the ring and she hits a second tope suicida followed by a third. Kagetsu throws Satomura into the chairs at ringside, she takes her into the crowd and chokes her with a chair. Kagetsu slides Satomura back in the ring and hits a swandive missile dropkick, she puts Satomura in a submission hold but Satomura gets into the ropes for the break.
Kagetsu elbows Satomura into the corner, Irish whip by Kagetsu and she hits a jumping elbow smash. Running boot to the face by Kagetsu, she picks up Satomura and spits water in her face. Satomura doesn’t like that and slaps her, dropkick by Kagetsu but Satomura delivers a heel kick. Satomura goes for a backdrop suplex but Kagetsu lands on her feet and hits a pair of kicks. Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu, and she covers Satomura for two. Kagetsu gets Satomura on her shoulders and hits another Ebisu Drop, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Satomura recovers and joins her. Superplex by Satomura but Kagetsu returns to her feet and nails a sliding knee, so both wrestlers are down on the mat. They slowly get up, Kagetsu goes for a cross armbreaker and gets it applied, but Satomura rolls out of it. Kagetsu switches it to an armlock but Satomura gets a foot on the ropes for the break. Snapmare by Kagetsu, she goes up top but Satomura nails her with a Pele Kick. Back in the middle of the ring, kicks to the chest by Satomura and she hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Satomura goes for another one but Kagetsu elbows out of it, kicks by Satomura and she drives Kagetsu into the corner. Satomura goes up top and hits a diving body press, but Kagetsu gets out of the cover. Sleeper hold by Satomura, but Kagetsu gets to the ropes.
Satomura kicks Kagetsu before picking her up and goes for a Death Valley Bomb, but Kagetsu gets out of it and spits blue mist in her face. Death Valley Bomb by Kagetsu but Satomura gets back up and and hits a backdrop suplex. Kagetsu quickly returns to her feet as well and the two trade elbows, high kick by Satomura but Kagetsu kips up and hits her own head kick. Death Valley Bomb by Kagetsu but Satomura avoids the Buzzsaw Kick and hits a leg sweep. Head kick by Satomura and she hits a Death Valley Bomb, cover by Satomura but Kagetsu barely kicks out. Satomura hits a second one, but again Kagetsu kicks out of the cover. Cartwheel kneedrop by Satomura, she picks up Kagetsu but Kagetsu pushes the referee down and spits mist in her face again. Ebisu Drop in front of the corner by Kagetsu, she goes up top and nails the Oedo Coaster before hitting a Death Valley Bomb. Kagetsu picks Satomura back up and hits a second Death Valley Bomb before hitting a third. Cover by Kagetsu, but Satomura manages to get a shoulder up. Kagetsu goes to pick up Satomura but Satomura kicks her off, they trade strikes until Satomura hits a Pele Kick. Head kick by Satomura and she hits a Death Valley Bomb, but the cover gets two. Scorpio Rising by Satomura, and she covers Kagetsu for the three count! Meiko Satomura is your winner.
If you enjoy excess in wrestling, this is the match for you. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be a big fan of them spamming their finishing moves, but this being simultaneously a retirement match and a trainer/student match I am willing to let it slide. Kagetsu slipping back into her Oedo Tai roots when her normal tricks weren’t working was a nice touch and showed her progression since she left Satomura’s tutelage, but in the end it didn’t matter as she still couldn’t take down her former master. Satomura was also smart enough to still end the match with a different finisher then one they were doing over and over earlier in the match. As you’d expect, the strikes were all on-point as Satomura legitimately hasn’t lost a step, and both were going all-out for Kagetsu’s final match. In any situation I’d probably love this match, but with the backstory and everything else involved it was an emotional and perfect ending to Kagetsu’s successful career. Highly Recommended
After the final match, they had the retirement ceremony for Kagetsu. Different wrestlers came down to give her a gift and say farewell, including Queen’s Quest, Jinsei Shinzaki, Meiko Satomura, and of course Hazuki. Then the bell tolled, the streamers were thrown, and Kagetsu was carried out of the wrestling ring for the last time.
Its hard to ‘rate’ retirement shows in the traditional way, as the event probably won’t do much for fans that don’t have some sort of connection to the wrestler. Kagetsu’s retirement show is better than most as there was one great in-ring match, which isn’t always a lock on these types of events. Just based on Kagetsu/Meiko Satomura I can recommend the show, but if you are a fan of Kagetsu or just enjoy overly emotional wrestling finales, this event is definitely worth tracking down. Kagetsu’s retirement will leave a hole in Joshi that will be difficult to fill, but at least she went out on a high note and on her own terms. Farewell, Kagetsu!