January 13 2018
We’re in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan at the Miyagino Culture Center. This is a somewhat late review but the show only just dropped on NicoNico. The show starts with all the competitors being introduced. It’s a very small roster.
Manami vs. Mio Momono
Manami is young and nervous. I think she has a name tag on. Mio is only 19 years old so expectations are fairly low here. Both girls are very determined and it becomes clear that Mio is going to lead the match extensively. She’s had around 120 matches so that experience is vital. She opts for slowing the pace and making Manami work for her underdog pops. Manami gives a decent account of herself and I like her ring gear.
It looks like she can’t afford something good yet but this is pretty nifty until she can. Whereas Mio wears this pink thing that looks like she made it herself. Manami gets strapped in a few submissions but fights her way out and Mio has to resort to a cheeky roll up. This was very solid but perhaps a little long. As I said Manami looked very accomplished for someone so obviously new to the business.
Final Rating: **1/4
Alex Lee vs. KAORU
Alex Lee has had an interesting career already. Bosnian, trained by Lance Storm, spent a year in WWE developmental just before NXT started and then moved to Japan instead. She’s now a 7-year pro but doesn’t have a great reputation. KAORU is a veteran, almost 50 years old now, and has been consistently good throughout her career without ever threatening to be great. She’s content to let Alex do her thing here and doesn’t seem bothered if the match isn’t up to much. When you’ve been a wrestler fir 30 years it’s easy to not give a toss about a match if you think your opponent is no great shakes. The match can’t be that good because the cameraman nods off and doesn’t notice them moving out of shot. KAORU’s level of not caring is quite astonishing. Rules are bent, then broken with little care given to why. She still takes bumps and such but clearly doesn’t care whether the match delivers. Or she’s too old now. KAORU uses weapons throughout, with the referee unable to control the situation. Alex has the match won with a shitty running knee strike but KAORU simply reverses the pin for the three count. Oh dear, this was fucking terrible. A shower of shit.
Final Rating: ½*
Cassandra Miyagi vs. Heidi Katrina
Miyagi made my 2017 short-list for ‘Most Improved’. I was very impressed with how she’d gone for gangly and uncontrollable to a smooth worker in 12 months. She’s also a total nutball, who insists on checking the referee for hidden weapons before the match.
I keep forgetting Heidi is English. She’s the British Amazon. She’s completely overshadowed here by the antics of Miyagi. Our Cassandra has gone off the deep end. She’s mad as eggs. Katrina comes across as very basic by comparison, both in terms of her character and her moveset. There’s not a lot of effort involved. The result is some really loose action and overselling from both. Katrina is at her best when she’s throwing Miyagi around and she benefits from being bigger than everyone else. Her moves are cold and calculated and the finish, a legdrop off the top involves her slamming Cassandra, then repositioning her, and still not landing the legdrop how she wants. Just slam her where she needs to be for the finish! It’s such a simple spot and with six years experience you’d think she’d be able to do that.
Final Rating: *1/2
Meiko Satomura, DASH Chisako & Ami Sato vs. Chihiro Hashimoto, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Manami
Manami is doing double duty so each team can have a junior wrestler on it (replacing the injured Mika Shirahime). Hashimoto is the Sendai Girls champion. She actually beat her tag team partner for it last July.
The assembled talent here means this is easily the best match on the show. It’s not even close. It’s a bit sad that Meiko’s promotion isn’t turning out bangers every month as she could position herself as the Ace of Joshi Puroresu. Instead that’s probably Io Shirai. Just because Stardom book better matches. They get the two rookies to beat each other up here. It’s like some futuristic battle world where only the strong survive to adulthood. It’s also a really bad sequence. Better is Meiko putting Manami in her place by ignoring all her offence.
— Arn @16 Carat (8-11 March) (@ArnoldFurious) March 3, 2018
When it’s Meiko vs. Chihiro the action is far more intense. At one point Meiko hits a backdrop driver and Chihiro holds on to a headlock like her life depends on it. Chihiro is downright beefy. She has thick thighs and a powerful body that allows her to plough through opponents. The normally cocky DASH finds herself repeatedly in trouble and resorts to desperation roll ups. Hiroyo is really good too, dropping her knees on anything that will stay down for long enough. With the two rookies out of the match it’s a fantastic bout. All the other four girls going full pelt and not fucking around. Ami Sato tags in and Hiroyo just kills her. If it wasn’t for Meiko making a bunch of saves it would be over. Instead she just prolongs the suffering the Hiroyo finishes with her backdrop driver. Easily the best match on the show. A nice mixture of inexperienced talent, mostly getting slaughtered, and established talent putting each other to the test.
Final Rating: ***1/2
At least this show is pretty short. Main event has good structure and some fine performances. Everything else is a pass.