Meiko Satomura vs. Akira Hokuto
April 29, 2001
GAEA Limit Break 2001

This is a true story.

We had a Secret Santa at work this week. I declined to take part, saying that I was already doing a Secret Santa with some friends and I simply didn’t have the time. They were very understanding, and asked me what I received as a gift. I told them it was a 23-minute video of two Japanese women beating seven shades of shit out of each other. 

“Oh,” replied my line manager, “was one of them Meiko Satomura?” I said yes, a bit surprised that a non-wrestling fan knew who she was, let alone guessed that she was one half of my Secret Santa gift.

“How do you know who Meiko Satomura is?” I asked. 

“Come on Joel, everyone knows who she is. She was the greatest WWE NXT UK Women’s Champion in history. My hairdresser and I were just talking last month about what a banger she had with Roxanne Perez at WWE NXT 2.0 #645 at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, USA while I was getting my highlights done.” I was quite taken aback. The Twitter echo chamber had led me to believe otherwise, but it is known that haircare professionals have their fingers on the pulse of sports entertainment more than most. “Did you like it?” she asked. 

“What, the Roxanne Perez match? I haven’t seen it,” I replied. 

“No, you idiot. Your Secret Santa match,” said my teaching assistant. 

“Oh right, yes I did. It was amazing. It was one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. Quite unlike any other professional wrestling match I’ve seen. I actually can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this match before.”

“I think that speaks more to your ignorance than the legacy of the match,” said an old cleaning lady who was listening in on our conversation while mopping the floor. 

“Sorry, who are you?” I asked. 

“Doesn’t matter who I am, what matters is the historical significance of Meiko Satomura, especially when viewed through the lens of this match, which you’ve just acknowledged as a watershed moment in your admittedly feeble understanding of joshi wrestling,” she said while she mopped the floor by my feet in a way that I thought was a bit aggressive.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right,” I conceded. “I can imagine this match was hugely influential.” The cleaner was now splishing mucky water all over my trouser leg. 

“Oh really? Then why didn’t you vote for her in the WON HOF?” I couldn’t believe I’d been ambushed like this. My coworkers were smirking at me unkindly from the other side of the room, and I’m fairly certain I saw one of them mouth the word “prick”. My face turned bright red. 

“Well, Holy Demon Army was a no-brainer,” I muttered.

“I’ll give you that one,” she said, lighting up a cigarette and staring a hole through me. An uncomfortable silence lingered.

“I thought Ibushi and Naito also were fairly easy picks.” A derisive laugh went up from my colleagues.

“You Naito stans,” sneered the cleaning lady, shaking her head. “Go on. Keep talking.”

“Well, I think CIMA was pretty influential and did good business…” my voice trailed off weakly. 

“And your fifth vote in the Japan region?” She took a long drag of her cigarette. 

“…I didn’t have a fifth vote. I used up my last vote on Big Daddy.” I felt hot shame burning my face, my eyes beginning to sting with tears. She took a step towards me and blew a lungful of cigarette smoke right into my face. I coughed, fat tears rolling down my cheeks.

“You useless twat,” she hissed. “You just watched one of the greatest wrestling matches of your life. A classic veteran vs. rookie story with psychology only matched by the raw brutality of the wrestling itself. A superlative performance of emoting from the initially disdainful but increasingly desperate Hokuto-”

“Wait, how did you know it was against Akira Hokuto?”

“OF COURSE IT WAS THE HOKUTO MATCH, IT WASN’T GOING TO BE THE FUCKING JAPANESE STREET FIGHT AGAINST BLAIR DAVENPORT FROM THE BT STUDIOS, WAS IT?”, she bellowed in my face, flecks of spit hitting my cheeks. I let out an involuntary yelp of fear and shame. “Although that’s probably the sort of match you deserve.”

My colleagues were openly laughing and pointing at me, making ‘wanker’ gestures. The cleaning lady continued: “This was one of the all-time underdog babyface performances in history. A match that rejected all previous tropes and conventions. A finish shocking but elegant in its simplicity. One of the pinnacles of joshi wrestling. Something you have such pitiful knowledge in that you have to recruit perverts from your shitty Discord server to talk about as you are dragged kicking and screaming to acknowledge its mere existence. No wonder you’d never heard of it, you piece of shit.” She spat full in my face. I felt it was no less than I deserved.

The cleaning lady whispered in my ear in a voice dripping with pure contempt, “You watching Akira Hokuto vs. Meiko Satomura is like a dog listening to classical music. Write your fucking review that nobody will read, then stay in your fucking lane and go and read out some more Will Ospreay Cagematch ratings. Now fuck off.” I felt a warmth spreading across my crotch. I had pissed myself.

She stubbed out her cigarette on my shirt, but by now I was too broken to feel anything. I turned and shuffled away in utter humiliation, urine trickling down my leg, the jeers of my coworkers ringing in my ears.

“And your audio quality is shite!” she yelled. “Merry fucking Christmas!”