Sareee didn’t only return to Japan this year. She returned to professional wrestling this year. And in that, the 27-year-old has lit a fire in the Joshi independent scene that was sorely missed in her absence. And she returned with a bang via her own produce show Sareee-ISM Chapter I. The excitement wasn’t only in it being Chapter I, but she was walking back into the fire against Sendai Girls ace Chihiro Hashimoto. That match was great as you saw in real-time Sareee shake off the rust of Sarray and become “The Sun Goddess” once again. Sareee-ISM felt like a moment and a beginning for the Joshi scene outside of STARDOM. And by the time we knew it, Sareee-ISM Chapter II pushed that to an entirely different level.
Sareee☀️ISM 〜Chapter Ⅱ〜
— Sareee-ISM official (@Sareee_ISM) June 19, 2023
Sareee held a press conference to announce that she and fellow former WWE competitor KAIRI would be forming a Dream Tag Team and they’d be doing so against Arisa Nakajima and Takumi Iroha. Instantly, the anticipation levels for whatever Chapter II was going to be went from a high level to an ultimate level. And on August 4th, proved that the anticipation was worth it.
As we’ve seen with these two Sareee-ISM cards, Sareee puts together shows that highlight the young talent, the main eventers of today, and the legends of yesterday. This time around was as followed:
- Ibuki Hoshi vs. Chi Chi
- Jaguar Yokota & Kizuna Tanaka vs. Kaoru Ito & Kohaku
- Mio Momono vs. Miyuki Takase
- Sareee & KAIRI vs. Arisa Nakajima & Takumi Iroha
The rest of the card did a good job at highlighting all those measures but the main event — that was Joshi wrestling at its finest. Zenjo.
“I want to show the world my strong style pro wrestling,” Sareee said in my interview with her prior to the event. “Also carry on the All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling (Zenjo) spirit. The Japanese industry has become more entertainment and losing the history of the zenjo spirit wrestlers now. It’s going to become extinct. So I want to help increase the traditional Japanese women’s pro wrestling style again.”
Sareee meant every word of that. You watch this main event from start to finish and you feel that spirit that she wants to reignite in the scene. And so much of that comes in the form of Sareee herself.
I can’t recommend this match enough. The ‘big match feel’ was another level once the pre-match video played and out came each competitor one by one. There are few wrestlers who give that big-time feel like KAIRI. You see the wheel, the pirate hat, and the jacket — it’s perfect. Sareee, however, follows that up with her signature music and confident look as she heads to the ring. It’s a magical moment because it’s surreal these are happening back-to-back to begin with.
Just think about it. At the start of 2022, Sareee was in WWE doing next to nothing on television. KAIRI wasn’t an active wrestler anymore. Takumi Iroha was still figuring things out following her brutal knee injury. The only one who was going normal was Arisa Nakajima, and even she wasn’t at the level that we had grown accustomed to prior. Everything, and I mean everything had to fall into place to make this possible. One way or another it did and this pro wrestling match was the best of Joshi and the best of pro wrestling.
After the introductions and the realization we were seeing Sareee and KAIRI team up, these four allowed everyone to settle in. There was a small feeling-out process before kicking it into high gear and never taking the foot on the gas.
A team of Iroha and Nakajima is legitimately terrifying because they hit harder than most competitors in the sport. Good news for Sareee and KAIRI — they do pretty well at hitting hard too and you FELT that through the screen.
This was the edge-of-your-seat type of wrestling you look for as a fan while almost wanting to shy away from the screen because of the beautiful violence that was happening. Maybe the best moments to highlight — you guessed it — were when Sareee tagged in. Everything picked up from the crowd reaction to the overall action when she stepped into the ring. She received a beating from both Nakajima and Iroha as those two were elbowing, forearming, and kicking the hell out of Sareee but “The Sun Goddess” wouldn’t stop fighting back. Those spurts of forearms and dropkicks are what made Sareee one of the best before she was signed by WWE so seeing her have every bit of that still in her has confirmed one thing — she’s still one of the very best in the world.
— 東スポ 写真部 (@tospophoto) August 4, 2023
So much so that it was her — not KAIRI or Iroha or Nakajioma — that was the CLEAR MVP of the match. She was just sensational. The previews we have seen between her and Nakajima heading into their Beyond The Sea Championship match at the end of August only signal intense, unadulterated violence every single moment. Sareee and Nakajima closed out this match and every time you thought Sareee was down and out, she came right back with her brutal attacks. KAIRI mostly took a back seat, filling in when necessary and hitting her signature Insane Elbow and Spinning Backfist. There was a moment even when KAIRI was down and out that Sareee was getting laid into by both Nakajima and Iroha at the same time but again… she fought back. That’s what made this match special.
I’m not sure if you asked me a year ago if Sareee would be having the best matches in the world of Joshi again I’d believe you. I certainly wouldn’t have believed she was the one running those shows either. Sareee is what Joshi wrestling is all about. Violent but full of heart.
Sareee would ultimately pin Nakajima to win the Sareee-ISM main event but truthfully my words can’t do this match complete justice. They were having so much fun hitting each other as stiff as humanly possible. And everyone watching was too.
It’s insane that this woman spent as long as she did in WWE because she’s the same exact wrestler who went into the company in 2021 — except maybe better. Instead of returning to the scene as someone who was out of WWE, she’s come and given back by simply being the best version of herself. She’s settled into the role of the top freelancer on the scene while also making Sareee-ISM the best show outside of the top dog in Joshi. You’re left wanting more and more.
Sareee is the spark Joshi wrestling needed. She’s the spark that is giving life to the scene that needed it outside of STARDOM. Her goal of bringing back that Zenjo strong style is working. That’s the golden age of Joshi after all.
Watch this show, watch this main event. sareeelive.com has everything you need.
You won’t be sorry.
Sareee is officially back in the best-of-the-world conversation. And she’s making everyone around her better because of it.
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