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    Wednesday, December 19, 2018

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/19/2018): The New King is a Queen

    Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2018 produced for us.

    To call Meiko Satomura a living legend is redundant at this point. In the time it normally takes to get your life together, Satomura has co-established Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling, wrestled in US and Europe, and won almost every women’s title in Japan. Meiko Satomura, in her 23-year career, has become synonymous with the term "living legend."

    2018 was quite a year for the puroresu Final Boss. Aside from her amazing stint at the Mae Young Classic, which we’ll soon get into later in the month, she organized a world tour for herself. Satomura wrestled in various indie promotions in US and UK, and took away some precious loot in the form of titles in the process.

    Making history is now second nature to Satomura; so it was only a matter of time before she became the first woman to win the KO-D or King of DDT Championship in its 18-year history. With her win last August, she joined the likes of Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, El Generico, and Dick Togo in DDT’s hall of champions.

    DDT has always been about pushing the envelope of professional wrestling, a parody of the business itself that made Jim Cornette’s mouth foam in anger more than once. Falls-count-anywhere matches? DDT does them, literally. Hardcore matches? They have fireworks and four-wheeled vehicles for that. A battle royal match inside a moving train? Sure, just another Monday in the office. Name it and most likely DDT has done it. Maybe except fly to the moon and have actual wrestling matches there. Not yet, anyway.

    Amid DDT's novelty and infamy, their talents show off their range and repertoire by churning out five-star classic barnburners from time to time. 

    It is but proper that a trailblazer like Satomura made history in a place like DDT. Unconventional, and groundbreaking.

    Satomura’s match against champion Danshoku Dino—an overly-sexual gay character bordering on offensive at times—wasn’t a classic in itself, quite frankly. DDT has seen more matches fitting of the usual five-star mold. But Dino showed what he is capable of to people who easily dismiss him as an exclusively comedic wrestler because of his gimmick. A DDT main since its early days, Dino is a good example of how the promotion isn’t just all wacky matches with out-of-this-world characters.

    The title match was short compared to what we’re used to, clocking in at almost 12 minutes. Dino starts off on fire, seemingly wanting the match to end soon and retain the title. There was no way he wasn't going to main event Peter Pan, DDT’s biggest event of the year, at the Ryogoku Sumo Hall.

    Meiko, ever the veteran inside the ring, capitalized on his left shoulder previously injured by Shihegiro Irie, the previous champion, days prior to the match.

    Despite Meiko’s offense, Dino was relentless. He powered through the pain and nearly-murdered Meiko with three Danshoku Drivers, and a brutal brainbuster. The second Danshoku Driver looked a lot like a Gotch-style piledriver, the finisher of Meiko's dear friend Minoru Suzuki.

    But Meiko isn’t called the Final Boss for nothing. Seeing an opportunity after a missed moonsault from Dino, she capitalized on his poor judgement and pounced on the champion with a Death Valley Driver and her deadly weapon: Scorpion Rising.

    Meiko Satomura headed her own women's revolution on this side of the planet long before Westerners like Charlotte began theirs. Even then, she walked the foundation long paved by the likes of the Crush Gals, Chigusa Nagayo, Manami Toyota, and other joshi legends. Meiko and the rest of joshi puro continue to prove that sky’s the limit in this business for women.

    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2018.

    Read our previous entries:

    1. Winnipeg Boys Conquer the Tokyo Dome (Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho, No DQ match for IWGP US Heavyweight title, Wrestle Kingdom 12)
    2. Roman Reigns Finally Becomes Universal Champion (Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, SummerSlam 2018)
    3. The Man Is Last Woman Standing (Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch, Last Woman Standing match for SmackDown Women's title, Evolution)
    4. Kenny Omega, Finally IWGP Heavyweight Champion (Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega, 2-out-of-3 Falls match, Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall)
    5. The Resurrection of Daniel Bryan (AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship, WWE SmackDown Live 11/13/18) 
    6. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Unsanctioned match (NXT TakeOver: New Orleans)
    7. The Lightbringer Has Arrived (Ralph Imabayashi vs. Quatro for the PWR Championship, PWR Live: Homefront)
    8. The First Ever Women's Royal Rumble (Royal Rumble 2018)
    9. To Surpass God (Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi, G1 Climax 28 Finals)
    10. Wreck It, Rowdy (Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H, WrestleMania 34)
    11. Pentagon Dark vs. Marty "The Moth" Martinez (Ultima Lucha Cuatro)
    12. King in the North (America) (6-Way Ladder match for NXT North American title, NXT TakeOver: New Orleans)
    13. A Dream Ricochets (Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream, NXT TakeOver: Chicago II)
    14. Of Queens and Empires (Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka for the SmackDown Women's title, WrestleMania 34)
    15. #ALLIN For Ten Pounds of Gold (Nick Aldis vs. Cody for the NWA Heavyweight title, All In)
    16. The Renaissance of 205 Live (Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali, WrestleMania 34)
    17. The Second United Kingdom Championship Tournament
    18. 100 Percent (Robin Sane vs. Fabio Makisig for the MWF Championship, MWF Noche Buena)
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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/19/2018): The New King is a Queen Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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