SEAdLINNNG Beyond The Sea Tag Team Title Match
Sareee & Yoshiko (c) vs. Arisa Nakajima & Nanae Takahashi 
January 22, 2021
Shin-Kiba 1st RING
Tokyo, Japan

I do not think this match has really made a blip on anyone’s radar but a few dozen people who follow the SEAdLINNNG promotion in the West. And even for those, this maybe wasn’t anything special. But it was important and interesting. A lot of the dream matches and fantasy booked combinations are matches that require impossible events to come to pass, like all the NJPWxWWE dream cards and so on.

And this match is similar. I do not think this match could have happened at any other time, at any other place in any other promotion. There is something very special about all the circumstances that had to happen for this match to become possible. And why is that?

For that, I need to go back half a decade into the past. On February 22, 2015 Act Yasukawa vs. Yoshiko title match in Stardom has turned bloody, which led to departures from Stardom. Later that year, Nanae Takahashi—who was one of the founders of Stardom— a veteran wrestler who was on top during the twilight years of AJW and one of the principal people who has left in the aftermath announces the start of the new promotion, SEAdLINNNG. The promotion didn’t take shape until its third show on January 11, 2016, in Korakuen Hall.

After the main event in which Nanae Takahashi lost to Masato Tanaka, disgraced Yoshiko came out and asked for a chance to change her destiny, to get her dream and to come back to pro-wrestling. On March 7th, Yoshiko beats Nanae Takahashi in the main event of a show appropriately called Let’s get a d!!! in Korakuen Hall.

SEAdLINNNING was Nanae Takahashi, Yoshiko, Arisa Nakajima, Sareee and player referee Natsuki Taiyo. Sareee left soon after to DIANA, because SEAdLINNNG didn’t allow her to try to get into Mae Young Classic, which was a gateway to her dream job in WWE. She got that lined up in June 2019, taking finger-pointing pictures with Paul Levesque, but she was to stay in Japan until February 2020, because of the visa application. That was postponed once more with pandemic. She was stuck in Japan, but already left her previous home promotion, DIANA. She appeared at the SEAdLINNNG 5th Anniversary show, after the main event between Best Friends (Tsukasa Fujimoto and Arisa Nakajima) and Hiroyo Matsumoto/Yoshiko team went to 30 minutes time limit draw, to congratulate Yoshiko and challenge her for her title. They later became tag team and won the promotion’s tag title. But their run was limited, because Sareee’s time in Japan was coming to a close.

Nanae Takahashi and Arisa Nakajima were two veterans that were anchoring the promotion for most of its run, they were rivals and met often across the ring, not on the one side. But at the end of 2020, they started to team up and formed a duo Citrus Wind. And that leads us to the meeting of four wrestlers, who all started in different promotions, who all came together to create SEAdLINNNG as something new and something that was theirs, but never stood in the same ring together. They did on January 22, 2021. For the first time and last time—because this was the last Sareee’s match in Japan before she finally departed to WWE—they met and they fought.

The match opens with five minutes of Sareee wrestling Takahashi and Nakajima, who exchange tags once, while Takahashi tries limb targeting, to take power from Saree’s strikes, Nakajima is just smashmouth violence. Putting contrast between two veteran wrestlers, champions have to beat to keep their belts.

Fortunes changed when Yoshiko tags in against Takahashi. She pummels through anything Takahashi can throw at her quickly. And this sets up part of the match in which younger wrestlers show us why they are called Onis. They bully Takahashi until Sareee, unfortunately, decided to compare seated kicks to the back. This popular spot allowed Takahashi to escape and tag in Nakajima, who came in fresh and rushed through Yoshiko to get to the Sareee in the corner. Sareee fends her off and allows Yoshiko to catch Nakajima unaware, but that still leads to a suplex which Yoshiko no-sells and charges Nakajima. But she was ready for that and sent Yoshiko over the top rope to the floor, then directed Takahashi to pull in Sareee and dive on the champions from the corner.

She prances in the ring, making fun of the champions, asking if they really are ogres (Oni = Ogre), which makes Yoshiko crawl back in the ring just to get beaten by Nakajima. With the backbreaker to counter Nakajima’s high speed, Yoshiko frees herself and allows for stereo octopus stretches with signature poses. After that Sareee goes back to the ring and resets back to the positions at the start of the match, comparing strikes and wrestling moves with Nakajima.

This is a running theme of the match, Sareee trying to show to her mentors that she is as strong as they are. Yoshiko tries at every point win the match, but Sareee throws it all away in misguided attempts to show off and conquer Citrus Wind at their game. This flaw at her approach towards the challengers comes to full power just before the twentieth minute. She had the match won, but did one too many backdrops and it backfires. She saves herself by tagging out to do the quickfire barrage of tag moves with Yoshiko in their last outing as a tag team. They are thwarted before delivering the finishing blow. What follows is a signature of main event tag matches in the promotion, quickfire series of bombs from all involved. A violent chaos.

All four women end up on the mat, Sareee and Yoshiko clasp hands and Sareee pulls her friend back on her feet, to fight for their titles. Takahashi and Yoshiko charge at each other with lariats, both unwilling to go down, the younger wrestler has advantage until Takahashi rolls out of her senton finish. That leads to the stretch of finishing moves by Citrus Wind on already beaten down Yoshiko. The match ends with Takahashi pinning Yoshiko with her singles finisher, after Nakajima gets rid of Sareee on the apron.

The match ends, Citrus Wind are the new champions, Sareee and Yoshiko are crying out of exhaustion, pain (in Yoshiko’s case, she was going into the ring already with a lower back injury and exasperated it in the match) and sorrow, because they are saying goodbye. Sareee will be on the plane in 36 hours and flying to Florida to go into WWE’s Performance Center. The tearful goodbye from her tag partner Yoshiko is as a part of the match as any of the hard-hitting moves she got hit with.

I wrote about the match not because it is a match of the year contender, but because it is a match that was special. It was a younger student showing her teachers that she is as strong as them. And ending this part of her career. It was also two wrestlers wrestling their lives out with their broken bodies. Yoshiko takes a little break after this match to take care of her back and to prepare for her match in Budokan against Mayu Iwatani after which she announces hiatus until (probably) December 29. Nanae Takashi will run SEAdLINNNG for the rest of the year, but in December she announced that she is stepping down as a president of the promotion, citing depression and long-term leg injury.

This match will never be replicated.

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