STARDOM Vs. Sendai Girls: Joshi Wrestling’s Most Significant Rivalry

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When Meiko Satomura, the reigning World of Stardom Champion, launched Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling in 2005 along with former WWE superstar Jinsei Shinzaki, the idea was to build young talent in Japan. With JWP and OZ Academy being the more established Joshi promotions at the time, Sendai Girls would make an impact with a young core of talent, spearheaded by Satomura of course along with Cassandra Miyagi, Sendai Sachiko and many others. But when the women’s wrestling scene in Japan grew to new levels, another promotion was about to challenge their supremacy.

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STARDOM's talented bunch of whiz kids

STARDOM started out in 2010 with former ARISON promoter Rossy Ogawa, former wrestler Fuka Kakimoto and well-traveled Joshi Nanae Takahashi and it has become an instant success. With an array of talent like Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo, Mayu Iwatani, Act Yasukawa and many other talented ladies, the opportunity was theirs to take their place among the best women’s wrestling promotions in the world. While controversy clouded the promotion earlier in the year, STARDOM rebounded with impressive shows from the world’s best women’s wrestlers in the world, a highly-anticipated US debut that passed with flying colors, and the core ladies; Io, Mayu and Kairi; showed why they belong in the same conversation with the likes of Saraya Knight, Cheerleader Melissa (STARDOM USA’s President), and Madison Eagles.

Yesterday’s STARDOM Vs. Sendai Girls showdown proved why women’s wrestling in Japan matters. While Team Sendai Girls member Chihiro Hashimoto got wins against STARDOM’s young gun Momo Watanabe, Hiromi Mimura and Odeo Tai’s Kris Wolf; the momentum stopped when Io Shirai pulled out all the stops by beating her with a moonsault and the 1-2-3. As Team STARDOM’s momentum kicked in their favor, Io got the pin and win against Mika Iwata later on. But momentum were stopped dead in its tracks as Io and Sendai Sachiko went to a 10 minute Broadway, and both were out of it all. And nest came the rematch from last summer, Kairi Hojo against Meiko Satomura to see which team has the upper hand. Unfortunately that match too ended in a 10 minute draw, and both were automatically eliminated. Mayu Iwatani, Team STARDOM’s last hope, put the kibosh on DASH Chisako and Cassandra Miyagi, giving STARDOM the upper hand and the win. This sets up Mayu Iwatani against Meiko Satomura for the World of Stardom Title match this Sunday in Japan (Saturday night for us in the States).

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STARDOM played a major factor in resurrecting Melissa's career after her SHIMMER Championship loss in 2014.

While STARDOM has seen memorable moments this year, the rise of Kairi Hojo as their champion, Io Shirai being Ms. Highlight-Of-The-Night every time she stepped in the ring, Cheerleader Melissa’s resurrection year when it comes to success, and Meiko becoming world champion helped make STARDOM the one to watch in Japan. With the controversy gone with the wind for now, the opportunity to take the women’s wrestling world by storm is for STARDOM to take, but the talent themselves have to elevate the prestige of the promotion to get to where they are. With an all-star roster and an experienced front office, I say STARDOM will be the most talked about women’s wrestling promotion in the world second only to SHIMMER in 2016.

While I have to say Sendai Girls has a roster of students who learned a lot from Meiko, it has fully become a promotion for Japanese women’s wrestlers learn their craft from someone who has been in the business for a long time. While I applaud the idee of working together with STARDOM is a good thing, the competition will be very intense with the likes of JWP, Pro Wrestling WAVE, Ice Ribbon an d OZ Academy becoming major forces in Joshi wrestling in Japan. With this partnership that revolves around competition, it is good for business and good for us fans who believe in the idea of cross-promotion battles. Now all we need to know is which promotion is the better promotion. While Sendai Girls have a young core of talent, STARDOM’s talent pool is off the charts, and it comes as no surprise that they are the better promotion in talent depth.

These are great times to be a wrestling fan in Japan and in America.

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