The AEW Women's World Championship Eliminator kicked off the bracket's Japan side with four exciting first-round matches in the AEW tournament.
Thunder Rosa has already qualified for the semifinals of the AEW tournament's American bracket. In case you didn't know, the winners of the American and Japanese brackets will face each other in the grand finals of the AEW Women's title eliminator.
Let's not waste any time and get to some classic Joshi action. The AEW matches were taped at Emi Sakura's Ice Ribbon Dojo in a closed set in Japan.
#1. Mei Suruga vs. "The Magical Girl" Yuka Sakazaki (AEW Women's Title Eliminator first-round match)
Both women began the AEW tournament match with some good sportswomanship before the gong went off. Yuka had wrist control early on, but Suruga escaped with a series of rolls. Suruga executed an arm drag before taking Sakazaki on a ride with the Oklahoma roll. The pin got her a 2-count.
Sakazaki fought back by sending Suruga face-first into the turnbuckle. Yuka took Suruga down with a shoulder tackle. Both women put together a fast-paced sequence that ended with Sakazaki landing a scoop suplex.
The Magical Girl began wearing her opponent down with precise body strikes. Yuka wrenched back on Suruga before going up to the top. Sakazaki avoided contact with a cartwheel across the ropes.
She then transitioned to an STF after evading a few incoming strikes. Suruga pulled Sakazaki across the ring to reach out for the ropes.
Yuka applied the straightjacket, but Surugu valiantly caught the bottom rope. Suruga fired back with a kick, followed by an unorthodox leg sweep before sending Sakazaki into the corner with the hammer throw. Suruga then dropped her opponent with a body slam in the middle of the ring.
Suruga stretched Sakazaki's neck before coming back up. She then focussed on Sakazaki's knees. She arched back to lock in the inverted double underhooks. Incredible sequence! The technical skills involved here were exemplary.
Sakazaki made it to the bottom rope, and ref Tommy called for the break. Suruga elevated herself to the middle rope and connected with a diving double ax handle.
Sakazaki got back with a kick and followed it with a diving back elbow from the top rope. She was back in the driving seat. Yuka held Suruga up high in the vertical suplex position before dropping her down with the brainbuster.
Yuka looked for the Magical Girl Splash, but Suruga had her scouted. Yuka went over the top and got caught in a crossbody. Yuka used her opponent's momentum to get a near fall.
Back on their feet, both women battled in a back-and-forth exchange that ended with another near fall. Suruga got a very near fall, too, with a body scissors pin. She used great bridging techniques to continue the submission onslaught.
Yuka rolled through and connected with a kick to the face, followed by a sliding lariat and near fall. Yuka finally laid out Suruga with a Northern Lights bomb. She climbed up to the top rope and connected with the Magical Girl 450 splash. 1...2...3! Phenomenal opening match.
Result: "The Magical Girl" Yuka Sakazaki def. Mei Suruga to the next round of the AEW Women's Title Eliminator tournament