The Meiko Satomura Story Pt. V - Queen of Trios
By James Truepenny
Posted On 09-03-2016 18:49 GMT
Tags: Meiko Satomura




Chikara had always been an equal opportunity employer. Under the auspices of Mike Quackenbush whose overarching philosophy has always been “It's more fun if we all play together.”, size, gender, or species were never a barrier. Being a company that had tried to re-imagine pro wrestling in North America, it took an open minded view and indeed two of its biggest stars Daizee Haze and Sara Del Ray had banged heads with the male members of the roster for years, but Quack was not a man to rest on his laurels. Much like the Music Business Impresario of Austin, Texas, Clifford Antone, who built his club Antone’s purely to get the legends of the Chicago Blues scene down to the Lone Star State quite frankly before they were too old to travel, Quack wanted Chikara to be a nodal point in the pro wrestling world. He booked legends from all over wrestling history and geography, and while some of his creations may have been tongue in cheek homages to the legends of the past, Chikara always gave everyone their due.

A fact recognised by former Jumping Bomb Angel Itzuki Yamazaki who had a plan to bring the world of Joshi to America properly. Joshi in all its hard hitting, layered storytelling, back and forth glory. The result was Joshimania, a tour that featured the legends of Joshi like Aja Kong and Mayumi Ozaki as well as the current stars from all over the Joshi world. So important was the tour that a lot of the major Joshi offices closed for the week in Japan. They wanted to get their message out there, to a new and open audience. The only trouble was, there was something missing; Meiko Satomura and The Sendai Girls. Suffering an injury she had to sit the tour out, her place abley taken by Ayako Hamada, but there was unfinished business and at the first opportunity, Anniversario in 2012, Satomura and the Sendai Sisters took the trip to Pennsylvania to show off their brand of Joshi. Facing Sara Del Ray in the annual celebration of all things Chikara, Satomura was an instant hit.

The Sendai sisters worked their magic as well, and as all The Chikarmy know, and look forward to like Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan rolled into one, late summer brings King of Trios, the largest wrestling tournament in the world, and in 2012 for the first time there would be two Joshi companies sending teams; Team JWP and Tema Sendai Girls.    

The opening match of King of Trio's pitted perennial Chikara favourites, The Colony of Green (now Silver) Ant, Fire Ant and the teams recently turned big Blue enforcer AssailANT. Coming out to Satomura's theme of Rock The Night Away, the pop for The Sendai Girls Team was nearly as enthusiastic as that of The Colony. Their reputation preceded them. Dash Chisako & Sendai  were making their first US appearance, but as always, Satomura had that look of calm confident serenity. Showing their respect, The Colony cleared the ring and offered hands before the bell.

Dash would start with Green Ant. Then in a semi disrespectful turn offered a test on strength with the diminutive Sendai Sister, who would answer by kicking him in the gut and hooking up a wristlock. Green Ant smartly took it to the floor, negating Dash's speed. Dash, was more than a match for Green Ant's offence.

Dash won the exchange with a dropkick to finish and rounded off the series with a kneeling Blockbuster. She tagged in her sister Sendai Sachiko who tangled with Fire Ant in a criss cross game of oneupspersonship. Fire Ant went to the floor, letting in AssailANT with a legal tag as Chikara works under Lucha Rules. In turn he sent Sachiko to the floor, again setting up a legal tag, not realising his mistake until he was met with a straight kick to the chest from Meiko Satomura. The two teams big bruisers were about to get it on. In short he was clobbered hard by some of Satomura's biggest shots. He only got ahead by out powering Sendai Sachiko.

As Bryce Rensburg and Jakob Hammermeier called the action, the Colony separated Sachiko. Their crisp triple team offence slowing down the Sendai Sister. Sachiko kept kicking out though, Green Ant's big splash, and Fire Ant's Senton only got two counts. AssailANT went after Sachiko's arm with Hammerlocks, Shoulder Blocks and Headbutts. Sachiko finally escaped with a Foot to the Face and a Hurricanrana from the second rope. The Sendai Sisters space age offence took over for a while before Fire Ant caught Meiko Satomura with a kick to the head and followed up with a Brainbuster. Meiko kicked out and out powered Fire Ant as he tried to dominate delivering a Back Drop Driver with authority and a straight kick to the face to get a two count of her own. AssailANT came into play, as a not yet fully fledged member of the sportsmanlike Colony he had trouble remembering not to break the rules and delivered a Yurinagi Suplex to Satomura before Fire Ant had left the ring. He organised the triple Dropkick on the grounded Sendai Sachiko and Green Ant followed up with a Texas Cloverleaf. The match looked in jeopardy for our heroines, but Dash came into make the save with an Ace Crusher to level things up. Green Ant managed to Double Dropkick the Sendai Sisters and Bodyslam them both, but a cover on Dash only got a two.

The Colony's disfunction began to show, as AssailANT came in against Green Ant's wishes. Green Ant Head Butted his own partner in frustration, Meiko seized her chance with perhaps the most perfect Pele Kick of her career and The Sendai Sisters finished off Green Ant with a Moonsault/Frog Splash combination as Satomura blocked off the interference. With big smiles they headed to the back and awaited their next opponents.

As it turned out their night two opponents would also be a dysfunctional family of sorts. Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw & Manami Toyota had been the stand out non victors in 2011, an emotional night were Jig and Quack had paid tribute to their friend "Sweet and Sour" Larry Sweeney, with backup from, in my opinion and as she was announced by Gavin Loudspeaker, "The Greatest Pro Wrestler who ever lived" Manami Toyota. Could they go all the way one year later? After surviving The Swarm in Round One, they looked good to go, but Quack had taken on a very bizarre attitude. 

The King of Sportsmanlike Conduct actively seemed to be out to hurt his opponents. This did not sit well with Jigsaw who implored his friend to keep his eyes on the prize for the sake of himself and Toyota. Quack was unrepentant, The Swarm were a force that must be stopped at all costs, and any opportunity to end their reign of terror must be taken. The second round beckoned, and with it the growing in popularity Sendai Girls.

The pop on night two grew in thunderous rapture. It was more like a homecoming at K Hall rather than a match at The Easton Funplex, a rapturous chant of “Sendai, Sendai” went through the hall. This was a match about Joshi Royalty and Chikara Loyalty as Jigsaw admonished his old friend all the way up the ramp. Streamers flew for both teams, and there was a loud chant of "Toyota, Toyota" this was a highly anticipated second round match, and just as Satomura had faced Takahashi in the previous year, she took on Quackenbush, the Chikara Ace, in the opening exchanges.

Quack took it to the mat, lacing the legs, but then got caught in a Satomura Headlock he couldn't power out of. The back and forth slowed the pace and matched up to his name "The Master of a Thousand Holds" so Satomura went to her A Game and swung a kick at Mike's head that only just missed and made him exude a large "Woahhh" and give and appreciative round of applause.

Mike showed his dominance on the mat, but Meiko was thinking hard. Quack chained into a Boston Crab, but Satomura muscled her way out and took hold of Mike's head spinning into a leg trip then a Grovit that was so beautiful a chant of "Satomura clap, clap" came from the crowd. Quack tried to dominate with armlock variations but got Arm Dragged to the floor and took a heavy Kick to the leg and backed off as Toyota looked at him as if to say "What the hell do you think you are doing?".

Jigsaw took over to face Sendai Sachiko in a battle of the speed merchants. He then had to deal with both Sendai Sisters until The Japanese Flying Angel made the save with her patented Missile Dropkick on Dash and Sachiko. Toyota took out all three of her opponents with a flying crossbody from the top rope to the floor, followed by a Quack Moonsault. The veterans set about a triple team with a Double Palm Thrust, Michinoku Driver, Moonsault combo on Dash, but Sachiko made the save for her sister. Dash managed to break free of the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex and recovered with stunning Frankensteiner. Toyota looked for The Queen Bee Bomb, but could only get a German Suplex. Dash then had to suffer a Mike Quackenbush series of unique submissions. As Leonard F. Chikarason pointed out that if he was refereeing the match he'd have a hard time telling a living legend like Toyota to stop cheating, Dash managed to get an Ace Crusher on Quack and got a two count. Sachiko came in and delivered a crushing DDT and Senton for another two.

A series of Knees got Quack free, and Sachiko landed a Missile Dropkick, but if you were looking for missile dropkicks in this match it could only come from the person who was best at them and sees solid thunk signaled the arrival of Manami Toyota's feet between Sachiko's shoulder blades. Toyota loves Chikara, and Chikara and the fans lover her back, the crowd instantly rallied behind her. Sachiko wasn't about to let the old warrior off easily though and hammered her with forearms only to receive a boot to the face that had the crowd collectively gasp in awe. Toyota was on a roll, and delivered another series of Missile Dropkicks to crowd's approval. But the business is about winning and they only garnered a two.

Jigsaw took over and gave a series of hard kicks ended up taking a huge Tornado DDT that had the crowd gasping for air. Sachiko had the separation she needed, but Quack took over with a Black Tornado Slam. She fired up to slam Quack as he was going to the top rope, Quack missed with a Forearm and Jigsaw ate a Superkick from Sachiko, an Ace Crusher from Dash, a Tornado DDT from Sachiko, a Missile Dropkick from Dash, a Pele from Meiko, a Roundhouse from Meiko, and as The Sendai Sisters cleared house with duelling Cross bodies on Jig and Toyota, Meiko Satomura nailed a Death Valley Driver on Lightning Mike Quackenbush and the collective that is the Chikarmy were on their feet in adulation, their heroes had been beaten, but they had new heroines to cheer, "Sendai, Sendai, Sendai." A standing ovation ensued. As Jigsaw walked off in disgust Toyota and Quack looked baffled as they shook hands with their victors. Now there was the semi finals and who would await them but Team Ring of Honor.

The ROH entrants for that year were the Young Bucks and Mike Bennett accompanied by Maria Kanellis. A Quadrangle of disrespect that had run roughshod over the competition in this tournament. They were quite simply the most hated people in Pennsylvania by the end of the weekend. To add salt to the wounds, the Bucks were the Campeones De Parejas; Chikara's tag team champions.

The Chikarmy were not happy that this pair of disrespectful brothers were their champs. It was the perfect semi final match. The underdog Sendai Girls versus the cocky heels. On paper though it also offered the best possibilities. The Sendai Sisters and The Young Bucks arguably the best two tag teams in the world. Showing how far they had come in two days, the pop was huge and preceded by a "Sendai,Sendai, Sendai. " chant. The moment their music died down the ROH team were met with a quiet but brooding chant of "Sendai's Gonna Kill You.". Maybe Sendai weren't the underdogs after all.

Matt Jackson started off with Dash Chisako. With no respect shown from the Young Buck. What goes around comes around though and he was soon taking a boot to the gut, forearms to the face and a sunset flip,  as Dash out wrestled Jackson. Sachiko took over as did Nick Jackson out speeding the Buck and sending him flying to the floor with a head scissors. That left Mike Bennett and Satomura.

The Prodigy entered the ring to a chant of "overrated" and showing his disrespect dropped to his knees and posed his Young Bucks double guns show. After watching bemused for a few seconds, Satomura didn't look a gift horse in the mouth and kicked Bennett as hard as she could in the chest. With each thunk of kick pad on skin, the crowd roared it's approval. A straight slap dropped Satomura who came back with a low dropkick. The Sendai Sisters then showed The Young Bucks how tag team wrestling is supposed to work before Bennett took all six feet of The Sendai Girls to the face.

Finally getting an opening, Matt Jackson started to get serious. The crowd got behind The Sendai Girls with duelling chants against the small but determined ROH fans. Nick Jackson took things back to the mat, with arm locks. Bennett brought in the power. They got a little too cocky for their own good as they went for a triple Suplex; it was reversed. The momentum didn't shift to the Sendai team though and Bennett went back to hammering Sachiko with heavy shots. Going on step too far again they lost momentum as they tried to turn Sachiko into a drum riser for the in ring Wrestling Rock Band, but a Missile Dropkick from Meiko levelled the playing field. Air Sendai took out Bennett and Matt Jackson, leaving Satomura alone with Nick Jackson in a blistering exchange of speed.

Satomura took a slap, she hit a Pele kick in return. She landed the DVD, but only got a two count. Dash and Sachiko then both got Octopus Holds on Bennett and Jackson who both tapped out, but referee Jonathan Barber was distracted by Maria Kanellis, a Superkick Party broke up the submission attempts and Nick Jackson cleared the ring. Satomura was alone and took on the whole team of ROH valiantly, but a triple Superkick lead to More Bang For Your Buck. The Sendai Girls run in the tournament was over, there was a backhanded compliment to camera from Matt Jackson after the bout as he proclaimed "Those Broads can work.". The fans said it all; "Please come back." Another company and another town taken over by the sheer ferocity of effort from the Sendai Girls.

Back in Japan, Satomura’s next role in Stardom became clear. After being her epic title clash with Ace Nanae Takahashi she would go on to be the key pointer in development of others. One of her tasks in this role was to build some legacy for one of Stardom’s Star Attractions since the start, the former model Yuzuki Aikawa. In March of 2013, Aikawa was winding down her short career, and despite being quiet young and green she had put some backbone into Stardom’s mid card. Her celebrity status before she joined Stardom had given the company a boost, and she had paid her dues. For her debut she faced Nanae Takahashi who for want of a better phrase, beat the living hell out of her, she won plaudits for taking her beating with aplomb and humbling asking for help. one of Takahashi’s personal projects when she decided to retire it was a major blow for the company.

She was stripped of her Wonder of Stardom Championship and the Goddess of Stardom Championship that she held with Yoko Bito. She was given a countdown to her departure and final match with long time rival World Tiger Yoshiko. On her way out the Stardom door though, she would have to face Meiko Satomura at Stardom’s premier event; The Highest in Korakuen Hall Tokyo on March 17th 2013.

Yuzuki Aikawa looked pensive as she passed Korukean’s hallowed hallways, this was a big match for her. It would mean some closure on her career that would end a few weeks later. Satomura was the standard now, if she could live up to her billing she would go a long way to giving Stardom a sound footing when it came to their training regime legacy. Satomura looked her usual self, and a lot more respectful that the marauding interloper she had been the year before.

This was an important match for her too, another step on the ladder in Stardom, which wasn't her major concern, but the story surely was. The long term narrative of the match was to build up Aikawa, to get the most out of her draw before she retired. Satomura was well placed to help her along the way.

The Stardom faithful received Aikawa well enough, booked as the underdog a lot of the time, her look and her relentless effort and will had made her popular, the previously accrued fame as a Gravure model did have its appeal, but Stardom had promoted her as a determined and skilled young warrior despite her small stature and ballet like grace. She looked genuinely moved by the response she got when she came to the ring and actually on the verge of tears. She wiped her face and then this was it game time. The Japanese press were on hand for this match, Aikawa had become quiet the cross media sensation, which not only helped Stardom, but Satomura and by extension Sendai Girls as well. The public response for Satomura was gratifying too, red ribbons flew signifying her popularity and the importance of the match, the fans knew this was a big deal as well. Aikawa Yellow rained down on the both of them setting the scene for an anticipated match of respect for two women with polar opposite backgrounds.

The pair shook hands and the bell rang, Meiko's opening gambit was a stiff kick to the thigh which troubled Aikawa, known for some stiff kicks herself, she was now in there with supreme kick offence wrestler and the opening exchange looked more like a Muay Thai match than a wrestling bout. They swapped to a test of strength, Aikawa'a facial expressions telling the story as she struggled to get a foothold against her taller and heavier opponent. Satomura took advantage and went for strikes, but missed an elbow drop and Aikawa went back on the offensive with some heavy duty kicks. She applied a Hammerlock and Bar, but Satomura proved to be too strong powering her way out with a slam. Then Satomura went to work with her feet, laying in thick heavy kicks both in a Muay Thai manner and using the ropes to sling shot herself onto the opponent.

From there she floated through her mat work repertoire, headlock to leg trip to Grovit and held on tight. Aikawa managed to find a rope as she was rolled around the ring and the ref called for a break. Satomura would follow up with a Forearm Lifter and a series of Irish Whip attacks that Aikawa reversed only to eat a Big Boot after taking a second to give her signature pose. After another series of kicks, Satomura rolled Aikawa into a Cross Arm Lock, her own finisher that Satomura had been the master of applying from any angle for years.

Aikawa struggled for the ropes, the only defence she had once her grip had been broken. It looked like Satomura was picking her apart at every opportunity, but Aikawa found an opening and came up with a desperation stunner. She managed to get her Lariat Corner Attack right this time and followed up with some heavy kicks but came undone when coming off the ropes and was down hard by a heavy duty Round House to the head. After a struggle on the top rope, Aikawa managed to get her feet up as Satomura went for her Frog Splash, ending her momentum for now, the pair exchanged strikes this time with Aikawa coming out on top after a stiff shot to the stomach. She applied an STF and ground down on Meiko hard. Unable to power out, Satomura had to go for the ropes. The pair went for kicks again, which turned out to be Aikawa’s undoing, Satomura caught her leg on a Reverse Heel Round House and turned it into a Back Drop Driver. It gained a two, the first real cover attempt of the match and signified the beginning of the end.

Aikawa managed to get a Tiger Suplex onto Meiko but only garnered a two count, and as her second cheered on her on to follow up, it became clear that Satomura was rallying hard. She screamed out defiantly at every kick Aikawa gave her refusing to go down. Coming off the ropes Aikawa actually bounced off of her opponent at one point. Satomura then went in for the kill with her heavy duty strikes and rounding of the series of big hits with a DDT. The Backflip Knee Attack only garnered a two, but Aikawa's kick out had no authority. Her limp body made Meiko smell blood, her body language screamed “time to finish this”. Aikawa came too in time to defend against the Death Valley Driver, but took a Pele kick squarely between the eyes. She started to show signs of life and moved out of the way of a Spinning Leg Lariat, delivering a Shining Wizard that downed Satomura.

A series of Roundhouse and Ax kicks showed how much fight Aikawa had in her, lining up Satomura for the Tiger Suplex, but Meiko got her shoulder up at two. A Majistral Cradle had another two count, it was reversed into a Fujiwara Armbar. Aikawa crawled to the ropes again refusing to give in, clearly blowing hard at this point. Yes Aikawa was good, with a strong heart, but Satomura was just relentless, hitting pin point precision kicks and forearms. Pointing to all of Aikawa's seconds who were cheering her on, she run her finger over her throat to indicate it was over, lifted her opponent for a Death Valley Bomb, nailed it hard and then applied a sleeper to ensure Aikawa wouldn't come back. The referee lifted Aikawa's arm three times and three times it dropped. The bell rang and it was over. The K Hall crowd were stunned, but Aikawa had given a great performance for such a big match going toe to toe with women with twelve times the experience who could genuinely claim to be the best wrestler in the world. It was a loss, but the story it told did wonders for Aikawa, not least after the match where Satomura helped her up and showed her respect, raising Aikawa's hand.

Enhancement of young talent was a prime reason for Satomura's appearances in Stardom. The following month she beat the incredibly talented Takumi Iroha in another match to establish Iroha has a worthy adversary for the best wrestlers in the world. That is how the rest of 2013 went through the summer, including an appearance at the Michinoku Pro 20th Anniversary Show of Jinsei Shinzaki, Sendai Girls co-owner, in Sendai and Tokushima. She wrestled for Oz Academy, and Diamond Ring's Anniversary show tagging with Manami Toyota. However two stories where on the horizon, which I will look at in the next episode.

On August 17th she would team with Kagetsu, her protégé and Sendai number two to defeat The Sendai Sisters, after that match Kagetsu would try and walk out of her leaders shadow in spectacular fashion. Meanwhile, in another main event two weeks later in Tokyo at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, she would battle Kana to a twenty minute draw, revitalising a feud that would bring one of the biggest houses of Kana's promotional career and be presented in unique manner that only Kana could dream up.

This portion of Meiko's career has been full twists and turns, more trips to the United States, nearly twenty years after she made her name there. It also showed the difference in the US wrestling industry as well as the growth of her own story. When she first went to the US she was a sixteen year old rookie, looking to make a name for herself. Her character was an enthusiastic kid. She was miscast wildly, that brooding electric mannerism of hers grew only after her time in GAEA had seasoned her to be faster, better, and tougher than everyone else. She had become a leader, a promoter and a trainer, understanding the business from the inside out. Alongside her protégés she brought the whole Chikarmy with her, and went home to develop more talent not just for her own company but for the good of Joshi. It can't stop you thinking about the words she spoke in the GAEA Girls film; "It is important to represent wrestling in the best way possible." There is no finer exponent of that philosophy than Meiko Satomura.

Next time: The Meiko Satomura Story Part VI - Generation Battle


Tags: Meiko Satomura



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