Kairi Hojo (c) vs Meiko Satomura
World of Stardom Championship
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This match, and the match these two had a month later, got rave reviews, and they’re my two favorite joshi wrestlers at the moment, so this should absolutely rule. Hot damn, do I love Hojo’s theme and gimmick. After the bell, both women lock up and Satomura, being larger and stronger, backs Hojo into the ropes and the ref asks for a break. Satomura breaks clean, but Hojo whirls her around into the ropes and gives her probably the best backfist or spinning back chop I’ve seen since the 90’s. It looks like Satomura was meant to duck it, too, but didn’t get out of the way in time. Fuck me, what a way to start this. Satomura gains the advantage with a double knucklelock, just slamming Hojo to the ground with her leverage from that move and a scoop slam. Hojo kips right back up and throws a forearm, but Satomura knocks her right back down with a rolling solebutt and a big series of forearms. She goes for an Irish whip and Hojo reverses it, hitting a series of shoulderblocks in the corner. Satomura tries to fight back with a kick, but Hojo catches it and ducks under her leg, turning Satomura over into a Boston crab. The veteran tries to muscle her way out but can’t quite manage it, so she crawls her way to the ropes and sweeps out Hojo’s legs when she gets back on her feet, locking Hojo in a Boston crab of her own. Hojo works her way out of it, though, fighting a second attempt, and just paintbrushes Satomura across the face to free herself. What a slap. Satomura punishes her with some mean-ass kicks and forearms, catching a strike from Hojo and muscling her down into a single leg crab before Hojo reaches the ropes. The veteran is right on top of the champion, though, bringing her back in a bow and arrow lock before Hojo floats over into a pin for two. Satomura hits some more kicks and a scary double kneedrop for a two count of her own. She tries to follow it up with a backdrop driver but Hojo clamps on with a side headlock to avoid it, hitting a spear when Satomura shoves her off the ropes to break it up. Hojo tries to capitalize by running off the ropes for another move, but Satomura floors her with a roundhouse kick that sends the champ out to the floor, clutching her face. Back in the ring, Hojo tries to get something going but Satomura quickly grabs her in an STF right in the middle before hitting a big back suplex. Stalking her opponent, Satomura follows Hojo over to the corner and hits a rough chest kick and forearm. She goes to whip the champion across the ring and Hojo just collapses halfway across, unable to run. Satomura sends her back into the corner with a dropkick and hits a flying forearm in the corner. She tries to top it off with a splash off the top, but Hojo rolls out of the way and hits a series of loud double chops. Satomura’s not having any of it, though, and fires back with some forearms before charging off the ropes at the champion, but Hojo yanks the top rope down to send Satomura to the apron, spears her off the apron, and hits a big splash off the corner post to turn the tide. Back in the ring, Hojo flies off the top with a forearm, following it up with a spear in the corner and a blockbuster in the middle before locking in a seated double straightjacket. She’s very charismatic here, especially when setting up for the spear. Using her legs, Satomura gets to the ropes to break up the hold, and Hojo simply uses the ropes to double stomp her in the back repeatedly before dragging her back to the middle for a cross crab. The veteran fights her way free with her strength, and they trade strikes in the middle, with Satomura getting the advantage with some choice kicks and a crazy cartwheel double kneedrop. Satomura climbs to the top for another splash, but Hojo meets her with a pair of boots to the midsection to avoid the worst of it. The champ slams Satomura into the corner and locks her in the tree of woe, throwing a series of strikes at her gut before climbing to the top. Satomura sits up in the tree of woe and goes for a fireman’s carry move of some kind, but Hojo avoids it, shoves her back over, and hits a tree of woe double stomp for a nearfall. Hojo angrily kicks away at Satomura’s face and the veteran doesn’t take to it too kindly, firing up and throwing a series of forearms before Hojo puts her down with a double chop. Hojo comes off the ropes for a Sliding D but Satomura cuts her off with a gross boot to the face and locks in a cross armbreaker before the champ gets to the ropes. Unrelenting, Satomura simply drags her back to the middle of the ring and locks in the armbar again as the crowd chants for the underdog champion, and Hojo is again able to work her way to the bottom rope. Hojo rolls to the outside and is immediately surrounded by a flock of referees and allies, and Satomura follows her out after a moment, dragging the shoot pirate up to the entrance stage and hitting a death valley driver on the stage. She follows it up with a pretty crazy backdrop driver back in the ring, but Hojo bridges out of the pinfall at the last second to keep the match alive. Looking every bit like her friend Minoru Suzuki, Satomura slaps on a tight sleeper hold in the middle of the ring, and the ref has to raise Hojo’s hand to check if she’s still alive. Before the third hand drops, Satomura turns Hojo over into a lateral press but Hojo kicks out. A frog splash off the top only gets Satomura another two count, and she goes for another death valley driver. Hojo fights it, holding onto the ropes, but Satomura is having none of it and yanks her off the ropes and drives her down to the mat for a two count. She goes for another one to top it off and Hojo slips free, so Satomura hits her with a Pele kick instead, only catching her with the toe of her boot. Hojo fires back with a spinning chop and then a double chop, but Satomura is still up. A big flurry from Hojo still doesn’t put her down, and Satomura absorbs a second flurry and floors the champ with a roundhouse kick. Goddamn, Satomura looks like a crazy person here. She comes off the ropes for a spinning heel kick and Hojo ducks it, connecting with another double chop before hitting an Alabama Slam in front of the corner. Hojo goes up top and hits a picture-perfect diving elbow drop, hurting her arm in the process, but it only gets her a two count. Crowd is all about this match here, which is no surprise. After a double down, Hojo, bent over in pain, again climbs the ropes for another diving elbow drop, but Satomura cuts her off with a kick to the arm and then a murderous Pele kick. She joins Hojo up on the ropes but the champ beats her down to the mat, and Hojo again goes for the diving elbow drop. On the way down, Satomura hits an up kick right to Hojo’s face, locking Hojo in a cross armbreaker and dragging her to the middle of the ring. Probably the grossest thing I’ve ever seen in wrestling. Hojo struggles to get to the ropes and Satomura transitions into a seated armbar, sitting directly on the champ’s shoulder, and Hojo has to forward roll out of it to get to the rope. Satomura lays in a few more kicks and goes for another death valley driver, and Hojo wriggles out of it and into a jackknife pin for two. The veteran is right on top of her after it and locks in another sleeper before Hojo again gets to the ropes. Satomura then climbs to the top but Hojo cuts her off, bringing them both down to the mat with a superplex for another two count. Barely able to stay on her feet, Hojo again climbs to the top and uneasily goes for the diving elbow drop. Seeing it coming, Satomura rolls out of the way and Hojo comes crashing down on her arm, further injuring it. Satomura brings her right back up again for a death valley driver and transitions into a cross armbreaker for the kill. Hojo struggles and flails around, trying to put her boot in Satomura’s face to escape, but Satomura simply grabs the boot and cranks back on it as well, transitioning into a kneeling and then grounded armbar and kneebar combo, which is so scary. Hojo has to simply roll over and try to pin Satomura to escape, which she does. Firing up from her knees, Hojo screams and absorbs a few chest kicks and goes down to a ghastly roundhouse. Satomura brings her up for another death valley driver, but Hojo scrambles her way into a guillotine choke. Muscling her way to her feet, Satomura picks Hojo up while still in the guillotine and slams her down to the mat for a two count, floating into a cross armbreaker when Hojo kicks out. Hojo manages to keep her hands together to avoid the worst of it, so Satomura brings her up for another death valley driver and connects with it, but the bell rings for the time limit draw before she can get the pin. Wow wow wow wow wow. What a fucking match. I knew these two were great. I knew this match was said, almost universally, to be great. Didn’t know it was like this. Emotional, action-packed, chock full of moments that made me scream out loud at my computer, this was incredible. Definitely, definitely, definitely go out of your way to see this.