Professional wrestling is an industry that thrives on the unexpected. Wrestlers dedicate their lives to putting on an experience that shocks and excites the audience. They put their bodies on the line and tell stories that connect with people on an emotional level.
Women’s wrestling has never been more popular, with companies like Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling stepping up to push boundaries and ignite the crowd. On 27th July 2019, it was a historic night for Sendai because they brought the show to the UK for the first time. Held in Manchester, the Japanese organisation pulled out all the stops to ensure it would be a show that UK audiences would remember for years to come.
A big fight feel throughout the night
At the start of the night, there was an incredible sense of anticipation from the fans who had come to Manchester Academy One to witness history in the making. Sendai founder, Meiko Satomura, could feel it too as she stepped into the ring alongside women she’d trained like DASH Chisako and Chihiro Hashimoto. Satomura thanked the fans for coming and promised a memorable experience.
Match 1: Isla Dawn vs Viper vs Jody Threat vs Gisele Shaw
The opening contest consisted of a fatal four-way match between Isla Dawn, Viper, Jody Threat and Gisele Shaw. All four women brought their own unique style to the match, with there being a bunch of great spots, such as Shaw diving from the top turnbuckle onto her opponents outside the ring, and Viper performing a rolling senton off the apron.
I thought all the competitors got to showcase their talents and there was some awesome back and forth action between them. Viper getting the win was well deserved and no one was made to look weak throughout the match. Great opener.
Match 2: Session Moth Martina vs Aiger
The best wrestling shows have a good mixture of comedy and athleticism and the second contest fell into the former category. Pitting a party animal like Martina against a horror character like Aiger made for a fun contrast. The early portions of the match relied heavily on storytelling, with Martina being too scared to go near the ghostly Aiger.
This led to a hilarious spot where Aiger chased Martina around the arena. To level the playing field, Martina returned to the ring with a home-made Ghost Busters kit and put the fear of God into her adversary. The distraction earned the Session Moth a two count, but it wasn’t enough to put Aiger away.
Eventually, Aiger got the better of Martina by spewing smoke into her face and pinning her. This was a smart booking decision because it made Aiger look strong and showcased her ghost gimmick in greater detail.
Match 3: DASH Chisako vs Kay Lee Ray
As soon as this match was announced as no disqualification, the fans knew they were in for something special. Dash came out with a steel chair and smashed Kay Lee Ray with it as soon as she got into the ring. This set up a series of hardcore spots that saw both women fight through the crowd and all over the arena.
Memorable moments included Kay Lee Ray slamming Dash onto two steel chairs and Dash getting her own back by throwing a chair into her opponent’s face in midair. But even that paled in comparison to the crazy spot that saw Dash powerbomb Kay Lee Ray through a table from the ring apron. The match finished with Dash performing a frog splash and getting the three count.
This was my favourite match on the card for the risks both women took to entertain the crowd. They earned a standing ovation and it wasn’t hard to see why.
Match 4: Valkyrie vs Chris Brookes (w/Kid Lykos and Kyle Fletcher)
After the intermission, fan favourite Valkyrie came to the ring to announce that she’d been scheduled to wrestle Killer Kelly, but it wouldn’t be going ahead because her opponent was injured. Valkyrie laid down a challenge that she would fight anyone, and she was interrupted by ‘The King of Japan’ Chris Brookes and his minions Kid Lykos and Kyle Fletcher.
It led to an intergender match that saw Brookes get plenty of heel heat from the crowd. In the early stages of the bout, Brookes dominated Valkyrie, but she fired back and got the fans behind her. At one point, Lykos tried to get involved and distract Valkyrie, though it didn’t stop her from overcoming the odds and defeating Brookes.
Giving Valkyrie the win was the right move and Brookes didn’t lose any credibility in defeat. It was an ideal skit to help promote the Sendai roster and demonstrate how badass all the competitors are.
Match 5: The Medusa Complex (Charli Evans and Millie McKenzie) vs Chihiro Hashimoto and Yuu for the Sendai Girls Tag Team Championship
This match for the tag team championships was a great clash of styles between the smash mouth offense of Evans and McKenzie and the power of Hashimoto and Yuu.
Within the psychology of the match, it was great to see Hashimoto and Yuu look like genuine threats to the champions. Hashimoto came across like a beast, tossing the Medusa Complex around and getting the chance to showcase her skills. McKenzie stood out as well for her selling ability. She continues to get better with each match, and she comes off like a natural heel.
After a powerful looking spear from McKenzie, The Medusa Complex retained their titles, capping off an entertaining fight.
Main Event: Meiko Satomura vs NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm
When you pit a ring general like Meiko Satomura against a versatile performer like Toni Storm, there is going to be magic in the ring. I’d describe the main event as a technical masterpiece that saw Satomura and Storm build a story from the ground up.
At the beginning, they engaged in chain style wrestling, trading submissions and pinfall attempts that got the crowd excited. Satomura displayed a lot of intensity, cracking the NXT UK Women’s Champion with stiff kicks. Storm weathered the blows and came back with chops and punches.
A key turning point in the match happened when Storm scored a release German suplex and then followed up with two dangerous looking piledrivers. The champion finished Satomura off with Storm Zero for the win.
The match was an incredible showcase for both women. Having Storm go over was the right decision because it helped to drive her forward as the face of the UK women’s wrestling division. But Satomura showed a lot of heart and resiliency, with the fans being on her side throughout the contest.
All the Sendai girls put on a hell of a performance in Manchester. Not only did the show highlight what Japanese women wrestlers are capable of, it gave the UK crowd a taste of how entertaining female wrestling is in general.
Whether you’re a hardcore or casual wrestling fan, Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling is a company that you need to keep your eye on. Without a doubt, it’s filled with world class performers.