Over the past five years, Asuka has become one of the most accomplished women’s wrestlers in WWE history. However, some mainstream wrestling fans may not realize that the second women’s grand slam champion had a prolific 11-year career in Japan before her debut on NXT in 2015. During that time, she had an epic encounter with Meiko Satomura in the main event of her self-promoted event, Kana Pro Mania.
Many WWE fans learned of Satomura in 2018 when she competed in the second Mae Young Classic tournament. The co-founder of Sendai Girls made it to the semi-finals, where she had an excellent match with Toni Storm. Before that, the Japanese legend faced Asuka, billed as Kana at the time, in their fourth and final one-on-one match on February 25th, 2014 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
These two Joshi practitioners have notably clashed several times before. For instance, they fought to a 20-minute time limit draw at Sendai Revolution. However, their match at Kana Pro Mania is possibly their most famous match.
Asuka and Meiko Satomura created a classic match at Korakuen Hall
A year before Asuka took the black and gold brand by storm, Kana already looked like a star in Japan. The future Empress of Tomorrow entered the renowned arena sporting a cape and helmet as a shamisen player added gravitas to this big match.
The Japanese wrestler looked like a Super Sentai villain come to life and her entrance was unforgettable. It helped make Asuka an internet sensation because it has been reproduced as a GIF sense.
The shamisen player continued to play for the entirety of the match and the ring was bathed in blacklight, which created an eerie and unique experience. The audience quickly got an idea of the technical showcase they were in store for as Asuka and Satomura felt each other in a tense exchange of strikes and submission holds. As the bout continued, they delivered a grueling and hard-hitting slugfest.
Satomura took the fight to the mat early on, attempting to wear her opponent down. Asuka then quickly fought her way back. She countered a kick into what looked like a modified stretch muffler and transitioned it into an ankle lock.
Satomura rolled out of it and created some distance before they met in the middle of the ring and came to blows again. Mei eventually gained control with some stiff kicks and a pair of flying forearms in the corner.
The two traded strikes again until Asuka skillfully countered Satomura’s overhead kick into a kneebar. As her opponent tried to escape, she wrenched back on the hold and shifted into an STF. When that wasn’t enough, the former NXT Women’s Champion landed a devastating bridging German suplex to force a two-count.
Not to be deterred, Satomura returned with an impressive display of offense before she attempted a frog splash from the top rope. However, Asuka got her knees up just in time to counter it and rallied with her trademark guttural scream and flying armbar.
Later, she cinched in what would become the Asuka Lock. The Final Boss fought her off and withstood a barrage of kicks before she executed a Death Valley Bomb to force a dramatic near fall.
Then, Mei landed a frog splash for another close call but it wasn’t enough. So, she went for another Death Valley Bomb but Asuka gracefully reversed it into an armbar. Then, she viciously transitioned it into a triangle chokehold to win.
Watching this match, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone that Asuka would then rise to stardom with WWE. As the Empress of Tomorrow celebrates her birthday and fifth year with the company ahead of Clash of Champions, it’s hard to imagine what the Women’s Revolution would be without her.
Asuka has become one of the most consistent performers on the roster and will undoubtedly be a future Hall of Famer. Although they’re highly regarded by a niche crowd, her matches with Meiko Satomura will go down as one of many highlights of her storied career when all is said and done.Published 26 Sep 2020, 23:39 IST