Co-Authored by Leslie. Photos by Nami.
Meiko Satomura is one of the world’s most dedicated and respected Professional Wrestlers. Her career has spanned 17 years, across which she has held multiple titles and constantly set the standard of excellence for in-ring competition. As both a wrestler and a trainer she has been one of the most influential forces in Joshi for more than a decade.
Born November 17, 1979, in Nishi-Ku, Niigata, Japan, Satomura was gifted at combat sports from a young age. She grew up studying Judo and was prefectural champion for three straight years in junior high school. One day her sister took her to a New Japan Pro Wrestling show, and it was there that Meiko fell in love with pro wrestling.
She dropped out of school early to apply for an audition with a new Joshi Puroresu company, GAEA Japan. She was trained by Chigusa Nagayo, and at the age of 15, made her debut on April 15, 1995 at GAEA’s inaugural show. She defeated Sonoko Kato [13. See Meiko’s debut match vs Sonoko Kato here.] via submission with a juji gatame. Satomura showed fire rarely seen in young wrestlers, and unleashed vicious strikes and blood-curdling screams on her fellow rookie. Satomura was immediately labeled as a future ace. She was given the color red for her singlet, to symbolize her being heir apparent to Crush Gal and GAEA head, Chigusa Nagayo (Kato was given blue, the color of Lioness Asuka).
She teamed with Sonoko Kato to become the first AAAW Tag Team Champions by defeating Sugar Sato and Chikayo Nagashima on November 2, 1996 in Singapore. They held the belts for sixteen months. In 1997 Meiko spent some time wrestling in the US, competing the Women’s Cruiserweight title against some other GAEA stars.
Satomura spent years climbing the singles ranks in GAEA and pulled off a string of impressive singles victories against joshi legends like Devil Masami, Dynamite Kansai, and Mayumi Ozaki, earning her the chance to face AAAW Champion Aja Kong. Their first title match was epic, but ended with Meiko unable to win the title. [2. See Meiko’s first title match against Aja Kong here.]
It was during this time the BBC documentary GAEA Girls was filmed. It offered a revealing look at the rigorous training of joshi wrestlers, and featured Satomura prominently as head trainer and rising star.
As Meiko worked her way back into contention, she had what was the last great match of Joshi legend Akira Hokuto on April 19th, 2001. On December 12, 2001, Meiko’s dream came true, as she became the 7th AAAW Heavyweight Champion by pinning Aja Kong. [9. See Meiko defeat Aja for the AAAW title here.] This would be the first of many times the two would trade wins and titles, and their feud continues to this day.
Satomura went on to form a highly successful tag team with former ARSION ace Ayako Hamada. They defeated the leather wearing, chain-smoking bad girl team D-Fix (Mayumi Ozaki and KAORU) on April 7, 2002 for the AAAW Tag Team Titles. They held the belts for six months. Satomura held the AAAW Tag Team titles a final time, with Chikayo Nagashima as they defeated Aja Kong and Devil Masami on September 23, 2003, and kept the titles for five months.
On April 30th, 2004, Satomura regained the AAAW Heavyweight Title by defeating Ayako Hamada, and reigned for the next year before eventually losing to Aja Kong. Just a week later would be the last GAEA show. Meiko faced her mentor Chigusa Nagayo in Chigusa’s retirement match and the final match in GAEA’s history.
In 2006, Satomura, along with Michinoku Pro’s Jinsei Shinzaki, founded Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling. The stark red color scheme, Sendai home base, and the heavy focus on trainees all made Sendai a refreshing change in the then stagnant Joshi Puroresu world. The debut show was highly anticipated, and Satomura rose to the occasion to have one of the best Joshi matches in years, defeating Aja Kong in the main event. [3. See Meiko vs Aja at the Sendai Girls debut here.] More, Satomura proved her skills as a trainer yet again as the young women she took under her wing made have an an increasingly significant impact on Joshi Puroresu.
In October, 2007 Satomura faced Azumi Hyuga and was injured when Hyuga delivered a running knee to the face that fractured her right orbital socket, which required three different surgeries. Satomura was out for all of 2008, focusing on rehabilitation, and training her students. Satomura returned to the ring on October 26, 2008 at Zepp Sendai in Osaka, again facing Aja Kong. [11. Meiko vs Aja from 2008 here.]
On April 30, 2009 Satomura won the Yes We Can one day tournament with victories over Sonoko Kato [12. Meiko vs Kato at Yes We Can here.] and Chikayo Nagashima, and earned the right to go to wrestle in Mexico for AAA in June. However, she reaggravivated a prior back injury, and was forced to have surgery and miss eight months of competition.
This unfortunate period of injury never diminished Meiko’s value as a top wrestler. She returned on December 20, 2009 in a showcase match, facing Azumi Hyuga [14. See Meiko vs Azumi Hyuga here.] in one of Hyuga’s final bouts before retirement. For years Meiko has been the go-to headline guest in Joshi Puroresu. In the past few years, Meiko’s been called on by Emi Sakura, Fuka, Manami Toyota [8. See Meiko vs Manami here.], Sonoko Kato [10. See Meiko vs Kato here.], Gami, Syuri [5. See Meiko vs Syuri here.], Yoshiko Tamura [14. See the Meiko vs Tamura NEO Title Dream Match here.], Kana [13. See Meiko vs Kana here, highly recommended.], and more to deliver hard-hitting, main event superfights.
Following the earthquake and Tsunami that devastated the Sendai area, Satomura stated her hopes to branch Sendai Girls out across Japan. On October 27th of last year, Sendai Girls hosted a massive tournament featuring over 40 wrestlers from several promotions. The show packed Korakuen Hall and produced several great inter-promotional matches. The Sendai Girls team was ultimately victorious[7. See the finals of the Sendai Girls Flash Tournament here.] in the tournament.
However, injury struck Meiko again. With a broken bone in her leg she had to sit out until late December, which forced her out of her matches for CHIKARA’s Joshimania. However, Meiko returned on Christmas Day for an Ice Ribbon Tag Title match. Since then she appeared in the Semi-Final match [15. See the six woman tag from Bull’s retirement show here.] for Bull Nakano’s huge retirement show,and challenged for the STARDOM red belt against Nanae Takahashi[6. See Meiko’s amazing match with Nanae here.] in what has been called an early Match of the Year candidate.
This weekend, however, Meiko will finally make her in-ring return to the US at CHIKARA’s Aniversario events. Satomura is also bringing along her students Dash Chisako, Sendai Sachiko, and Kagetsu. She’s scheduled for a Sendai showcase tag bout on Saturday in Easton, PA, and a one on one match with Sara Del Rey on Sunday in Manhattan.
If you’re anywhere near the area, Meiko Satomura is an amazing wrestler that you must see live. She’s had a long and spectacular career already, but she is still one of the very best wrestlers in the world. Give her our love! For anyone who can’t make CHIKARA, enjoy several hours of custom compiled Meiko greatness below!
Meiko Satomura: New Red Breeze 1
1. Meiko Satomura vs Mayumi Ozaki – 2004.02.29
2. Meiko Satomura & Ayako Hamada vs Aja Kong & Manami Toyota – 2002.09.20
3. Meiko Satomura vs Aja Kong – 2001.12.15
4. Meiko Satomura & Kayo Noumi vs Nanae Takahishi &a Chikayo Nagashima – 2003.07.05
5. Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima vs Ran Yu Yu & Toshi Uematsu – 2004.02.07
Meiko Satomura: New Red Breeze 2
1. Meiko Satomura vs Akira Hokuto – 2001.04.29
2. Meiko Satomura & Akira Hokuto vs Ayako Hamada & Chigusa Nagayo – 2002.04.07
3. Meiko Satomura vs Aja Kong – 2005.04.03
4. Meiko Satomura vs Chigusa Nagayo – 2005.04.10
5. Meiko Satomura vs Sonoko Kato – 1995.04.15
6. Meiko Satomura vs Manami Toyota – 2003.04.06
7. Meiko Satomura vs Aja Kong – 2003.06.14