After ten years, Sendai Girls’ is bringing back the Jaja Uma Tournament! The Jaja Uma Tournament is a single elimination tournament focused on Junior wrestlers from various Joshi promotions. The tournament took place in 2009 and 2010, but has not taken place since until Sendai Girls’ announced its return in 2020. By “Junior” it does not mean size but rather experience, so everyone in the tournament is at about two years of experience or less. Twelve wrestlers from six different promotions are in the tournament, and the tournament will be held over three events. Here is the bracket:
I am going to review each day of the tournament as they take place and update this page, since Sendai Girls’ uploaded the first round to their Youtube page I am sure they will release the rest as well. There may be some delay due to the pandemic, but hopefully the tournament will still be completed at some point. Onto the first round!
Event: Sendai Girls’ Jaja Uma 2020 Day 1
Date: March 28th, 2020
Location: Miyagino Ward Bunka Center in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown
The first day of the tournament features all six first round matches. Here is the card:
All wrestlers have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it. As this aired on their Youtube channel, all matches will be shown in full.
AKARI vs. Mikoto Shindo
We kick off the tournament with PURE-J vs. Marvelous! AKARI is 26 years old but has not yet quite reached one year in wrestling, she hasn’t had much luck moving up the card in PURE-J but did recently challenge unsuccessfully for the Sendai Girls’ Junior Championship. Mikoto Shindo is 18 years old and is in her second year, she is one of the brightest young stars on the Joshi scene. AKARI may have the age advantage but Mikoto is undoubtedly the better wrestler, so hopefully Mikoto can bring AKARI up to her level.
AKARI pushes Mikoto into the ropes to start but she gives a clean break, they trade holds until AKARI applies an ankle hold. Mikoto quickly gets out of it and applies a kneelock of her own but AKARI kicks her off as they trade submission holds. Back up, headlock by Mikoto and she takes AKARI to the mat with it but AKARI reverses it into a headscissors. Mikoto gets out of it and kicks AKARI’s leg, she throws AKARI into the corner and tosses her down by the hair. She throws her by the hair again, dropkick by Mikoto and she covers AKARI for two. Mikoto applies a camel clutch but lets go after a moment, she sets up AKARI in the ropes and dropkicks her in the back for a two count. Mikoto goes off the ropes but AKARI hits a hard shoulderblock followed by a dropkick. Mikoto elbows AKARI and the two trade blows, Mikoto throws AKARI into the corner but AKARI grabs her arm and applies an armbar while sitting on the top rope. She lets go after a moment and hits a missile dropkick, cover by AKARI but it gets two.
Mikoto goes off the ropes and hits a dropkick, another dropkick by Mikoto and she hits a third for a two count. Mounted elbows by Mikoto and she applies a crab hold, but AKARI crawls to the ropes and forces the break. Mikoto puts her back in a crab hold but AKARI gets to the ropes again, Mikoto goes off the ropes but AKARI catches her with a dropkick. AKARI throws Mikoto into the corner but Mikoto pushes her off and hits a dropkick. Running elbow by Mikoto, she trips AKARI in the corner and hits a dropkick. Scoop slam by Mikoto and she hits a few elbows, dropkick by Mikoto and she covers AKARI for two. More elbows by Mikoto and she hits a dropkick. Mikoto goes to the apron and hits a swandive sunset flip, but she can’t get the three count. AKARI takes down Mikoto with a Fujiwara Armbar, but Mikoto is too close to the ropes and gets the break. AKARI gets on the second turnbuckle but Mikoto avoids the missile dropkick, she cradles AKARI but AKARI barely kicks out. Mikoto goes off the ropes and applies a small package for the three count! Mikoto Shindo is the winner.
So many dropkicks. Dropkicks are of course a staple of younger wrestlers but they really laid it in thick here. The nicest thing I can say is AKARI didn’t look out of place, I was concerned Mikoto would out-work her but it was pretty even in that regard. There were a few awkward moments but nothing excessive, the main issue was just that it wasn’t overly interesting. Nothing really wrong with it for an opener, but nothing memorable.
Maria vs. Mei Hoshizuki
Meiko Satomura wanted to make sure Marvelous didn’t dominate the tournament, so this match features two Marvelous wrestlers. Mei is the younger of the two at only 17 years old, she is slightly more experienced but just by a month. Maria is 20 years old and has shown sparks of talent, but hasn’t had much of a chance to show it yet as she is frequently overshadowed by Mikoto Shindo and Mei. These two are extremely familar with each other, so it should be a smooth and entertaining match.
Maria charges Mei soon as the match starts and knocks her into the corner, stomps by Maria but Mei fires back with elbows and the two trade blows. Irish whip attempt by Mei but Maria knees her int he stomach, Mei throws down Maria by the hair as both wrestlers go off the ropes, eventually reaching a stalemate. They lock knuckles but Mei stomps on Maria’s feet, Mei tosses Maria down by the hair but Maria fires back with elbows before throwing Mei across the ring by her hair. Maria kicks Mei in the arm but Mei knocks her down and puts her in a crab hold. Maria crawls to the ropes to force the break, Irish whip by Mei to the corner but Maria kicks her back and goes for a scoop slam. Mei blocks it but Maria dropkicks her, Mei dropkicks Maria back however and puts her in a crab hold. Maria gets to the ropes for the break, Mei goes off the ropes but Maria drops her and hits a dropkick.
Footstomp by Maria, and she covers Mei for two. Maria goes off the ropes and hits a dropkick, more dropkicks by Maria and she puts Mei in a Fujiwara Armbar. Maria picks up Mei and throws her into the corner, dropkick by Maria but Mei avoids the next one and stomps her in the back. Maria applies a headscissors with an armbar but lets go after a moment, Maria goes off the ropes but Mei trips her into the drops. Mei goes to the apron and dropkicks Maria, she quickly gets back in the ring and dropkicks Maria in the knee before applying a few quick flash pins for two. Back up they trade elbows, Maria slaps Mei and applies a hanging armbar but Mei gets into the ropes for a break. Maria goes off the ropes but Mei sneaks in a cradle for two. Thy trade quick pins with neither having any luck, Mei goes off the ropes but Maria hits a front dropkick. Mei goes for a jackknife, Maria rolls though it but Mei keeps the momentum going and cradles Maria for the three count! Mei Hoshizuki wins!
As suspected, these two had great chemistry and aside from the more simplistic moves used it didn’t feel like a “rookie vs. rookie” encounter. At close to ten minutes long, it was as smooth as you’d expect from a match between two vets and at their current pace both have a good future in wrestling. I’m looking forward to when Chigusa Nagayo lets them broaden their move sets a bit but both are still really fun to watch. A good match between two promising wrestlers. Recommended
Honori Hana vs. Mei Suruga
Next up, we have Honori from SEAdLINNNG against Mei Suruga from Gatoh Move. Mei Suruga is a favorite of many Western fans, as even though she has been wrestling for under two years she has shown not just a lot of skill but that in-ring charisma that only comes naturally. She is against the young Honori Hana, who just debuted a few months ago and has yet to win a match. Even on the rookie scale this isn’t a particularly even match, but hopefully they can put together something fun.
Mei immediately goes for a schoolboy but it only gets two, dropkick by Honori but Mei blocks the scoop slam attempt. They trade elbows, Honori goes off the ropes but Mei grabs her wrist and springboards off the ropes before schoolboying Honori again for two. Dropkick by Mei while Honori is against the ropes, kicks to the leg by Mei but she can’t pull Honori away from the ropes. She finally gets her to let go of them so she can apply a crab hold, but Honori quickly gets out of it and applies a crab hold of her own. Mei crawls to the ropes to force the break, Honori picks her up and hits a scoop slam for two. Honori goes off the ropes but Mei trips her and runs over her back. Mei gets on Honori’s back but Honori pushes her off, snapmare by Mei and she applies a bodyscissors. Mei rolls Honori around the ring while maintaining the bodyscissors, and she holds down Honori for a two count. Mei rams Honori head-first into the turnbuckles, Irish whip by Mei but Honori avoids her charge and applies a schoolboy for two. Backslide by Honori, but that gets a two as well. They trade flash pins with neither having any luck, Honori goes off the ropes and she hits a shoulderblock. More shoulderblocks by Honori and she goes for the cover, but it gets two. Honori picks up Mei but Mei blocks the scoop slam, schoolboy by Mei but it gets two. Propeller Clutch by Mei, and she picks up the three count! Mei Suruga wins and advances!
For someone that just debuted in December, Honori seems pretty solid. No mistakes or awkward transitions, which is sometimes all you can ask for early in someone’s career. Mei was her usual self, although slightly dumbed down since she was wrestling someone with significantly less experience. Lots of quick pins, as to be expected, and the right person won. Mei Suruga has been in better matches, but for a rookie tournament this was still a perfectly fine match.
Kurea vs. Natsuho Kaneko
If you don’t know who Natsuho Kaneko is, don’t feel bad, as this is her debut match! Kaneko is debuting for Sendai Girls’, and even though she is the second oldest wrestler in the tournament she has a really uphill battle if she is going to advance just due to her lack of experience. Its a tough draw for Natsuho, as usually a wrestler’s first match is against someone they have practiced against, but here she is against an inexperienced wrestler from a different promotion as Kurea hails from PURE-J. I have really low expectations for this one but hopefully Natsuho can surprise me.
Natsuho immediately tries to shoulderblock Kurea over but is unable to do so, Natsuho elbows Kurea into the corner and hits a running elbow. Another running elbow by Natsuho, she picks up Kurea but Kurea blocks the scoop slam. Irish whip by Natsuho but Kurea hits a dropkick, scoop slam by Kurea and she covers Natsuho for two. Headscissors by Kurea, but Natsuho inches to the ropes and gets there to force the break. Back up, elbows by Kurea but Natsuho elbows her back. Kurea elbows Natsuho to the mat but Natsuho gets back up, Kurea elbows her to the mat again but again Natsuho returns to her feet. More elbows by Kurea but Natsuho connects with a back elbow, another elbow by Natsuho but Kurea stays up. Dropkick by Kurea and she hits another one, she connects with two more dropkicks before covering Natsuho, but Natsuho bridges out of the pin. Kurea goes for the double wrist armsault but Natsuho blocks it and cradles Kurea for two. Natsuho goes for a schoolboy but that gets a two as well, back elbows by Natsuho but Kurea remains on her feet. Natsuho goes off the ropes and the two collide, with Natsuho crashing to the mat. Kurea gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Kurea but it gets two. Double wrist armsault by Kurea, and she picks up the three count! Kurea wins and advances.
Its kinda wild to see Kurea, who just debuted herself last August, dominate a match like this. Natsuho didn’t knock her over all match, it was like a seasoned veteran vs. rookie match. Its hard to get a real feel of Natsuho just from this but there was only one miscommunication so that feels like a win, even if Kurea didn’t give her a lot to work with. A decent enough debut, we’ll have to see where Natsuho’s career goes from here.
Haruka Umesaki vs. Yurika Oka
The fifth match of the tournament features Diana’s Haruka Umesaki vs. Yurika Oka from Sendai Girls’. Haruka debuted in March of 2019, but since she wrestles primarily in Diana we don’t see a whole lot of her. From the matches I have seen, she has a lot of fire in her but still has a little ways to go in the skills department. She is against Yurika from Sendai Girls’, who just debuted in September and is only 16 years old. Haruka has both the age and experience advantage over Yurika, but the match is on Yurika’s turf so hopefully she’ll put on a good performance.
Yurika pretends to go for the handshake but kicks Haruka instead, dropkick by Yurika but Haruka pulls down Yurika by the hair. Yurika fires back with another dropkick, Yurika picks up Haruka but Haruka elbows her and the two trade blows. Irish whip attempt by Yurika but Haruka blocks it and slaps her, dropkick by Haruka but Yurika hits mounted punches. Haruka returns the favor, she picks up Yurika and throws her down by the hair. Haruka tosses Yurika by the hair again but Yurika schoolboys her for a two count. Haruka puts Yurika in a crab hold but Yurika gets to the ropes to force the break. Haruka stomps Yurika but Yurika connects with a dropkick, more dropkicks by Yurika until she knocks Haruka over for a two count cover. Yurika goes for a scoop slam but Haruka blocks it, she finally manages to slam Haruka and covers her for two. Yurika goes off the ropes but Haruka delivers a dropkick, mounted elbows by Haruka and she hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Haruka goes up top but Yurika avoids the missile dropkick and cradles her for two. Yurika goes off the ropes and rolls up Haruka for two, as the two trade flash pins. Dropkick by Yurika and she applies La Magistral, but Haruka gets a shoulder up. Haruka returns the favor with a La Magistral of her own, and she picks up the three count! Haruka Umesaki wins and advances.
My second favorite match of the show so far. Even though the match was short, they kept the pace up and both showed some of that passion that you always want to see out of younger wrestlers. Their strikes were harder than we’ve seen in most of the matches so far and neither came across as wrestlers with so little experience. For a rookie match, a solid match between two wrestlers that we probably should keep an eye on. Mildly Recommended
Manami vs. Nanami
To finish the first round, Nanami from Diana takes on Manami from Sendai Girls’. Of all the rookies on this show, Nanami has struggled the most so far in her career. True, she is 13, but she doesn’t appear to be a natural on any level. She is against Manami, who is 15 years old and is in her third year of wrestling. Sendai Girls’ has struggled in this tournament so far, but Manami is well set to end the first day of tournament matches with a win for the home promotion.
Nanami dropkicks Manami right off the start but Manami dropkicks her back, elbows by Nanami and she schoolboys Manami for two. Kick by Manami and she snapmares Nanami before applying a bodyscissors. Nanami gets to the ropes to force a break, Manami stomps down Nanami and tosses her to the mat by her arm. Manami goes for a cross armbreaker and gets it locked in, but Nanami quickly gets to the ropes. Wristlock by Manami and she twists Nanami’s arm in the ropes, Irish whip by Manami but Nanami hits a jumping crossbody. Two more crossbodies by Nanami, and she covers Manami for two. Dropkick by Nanami and she stomps on Manami, crab hold by Nanami but Manami gets to the ropes for the break. Nanami picks up Manami but Manami elbows her to the mat, Irish whip by Manami but Nanami reverses it and applies a Backslide for two. Scoop slam attempt by Nanami but Manami blocks it, swinging neckbreaker by Nanami but her covers gets a two count. Nanami positions Manami and gets on the second turnbuckle, hitting a diving body press for two. Nanami picks up Manami but Manami elbows her, Nanami elbows her back and the two trade shots. Nanami sneaks in a small package for two, Manami responds by kicking Nanami into the corner and after a back-and-forth exchange Manami applies the Butterfly Lock for the three count! Manami wins the match and advances in the tournament!
Nanami didn’t look out of place, which is the greatest compliment that I can give to this match. Its clear from watching this that Manami is more experienced as she led the match, but Nanami kept up fine and her strikes looking better than I’ve seen on past shows. The offense was generally basic, of course, but was smooth and the match felt pretty even. I wouldn’t have minded if the ‘final’ tournament match on the show was a bit longer or had a more conclusive ending, but otherwise this was perfectly watchable considering their levels.
A solid start to the rookie tournament. The better wrestler advanced in each match, so assuming the tournament actually does continue at some point we should see some fire matches down the road. While nothing here is “must see,” the Marvelous vs. Marvelous match is worth watching for sure if you want to see what the future of Joshi may look like.