With several major names getting inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame from the Japan region in recent years, the ballot is wide open for new candidates to gain major traction and make a run at getting inducted.

In the last several years, performers like Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, and Kota Ibushi, not to mention the addition of the Holy Demon Army to the ballot, have taken up a majority of votes in the region. With all of those acts now inducted, the space is open for the remaining names on the ballot, as well as some newcomers, to break out and potentially get inducted this year.

We asked our staff at Voices of Wrestling to make the case for different names from the Japan region on the ballot, and why they believe they should be getting the nod from voters this year. -Jesse Collings (Gentlemen’s Wrestling Podcast)

I’m not about to tell you that Meiko Satomura is any kind of Hall of Fame draw, and I’m not going to tell you that she’s so influential that she deserves to be in the hall. What I will tell you, is Meiko Satomura’s workrate case stacks up against anyone from the past few decades in the Japan region.

I would argue that for 20 years, Satomura was capable of delivering high-end matches. The kind of matches that would fill your notebook/spreadsheet of choice with her name because she delivered no matter the opponent(s) or setting. Equally adept in tag scenarios as she was in singles action, there was never a time I saw Meiko Satomura on the card and wasn’t excited (except that UK run we try to forget that). If not for the Joshi scene getting less and less attention during her career, she’d easily be regarded as one of the best women’s wrestlers Joshi has produced due to her longevity and consistency.

While I, and others, could argue she first had a bonafide great match in 1998 opposite LCO, her first definitive top performance was against Aja Kong in 1999 for Gaea Japan. A match that received 4.25 stars from Dave Meltzer and currently has a 9.2+ rating on Cagematch, the first of many high-profile matches between the two.

Following the match with Kong, Satomura didn’t look back and became one of the in-ring highlights of GAEA Japan until it closed having an all-time great match with Akira Hokuto in 2001 among other strong outings over the next four years. She rounded out the 10s continuing to run back some of the classics in Sendai Girls with top namelike Kong, Mayumi Ozaki, Ayako Hamada, and more.

Meiko Satomura and Kana had four different singles matches and a few notable tag matches that stand up as some of the best work of the 2010s. Satomura, now a fully fledged final boss figure of the scene, was the perfect match for Kana, and the two delivered every time they stepped into a ring together. After Kana, Meiko found some new enemies to fight in STARDOM’s Threedom. Between 2015 and 2017, she had countless matches with the three in STARDOM that to this day stand up as some of the best matches in STARDOM history.

While she continued to be a great wrestler into her later years, the output did drop off a small bit after the STARDOM run and Chihiro Hashimoto replacing her as Sendai Girls ace. Despite that, Satomura had two absolute instant classics left in her as she first had a MOTY candidate with Sareee in 2019 before what I would consider to be her last excellent match for Kagetsu’s retirement match in 2020.

Between 1998 and 2020, Meiko Satomura was one of the most consistent wrestlers in the world. Despite often dealing with a weak scene she managed to have matches that are still remembered to this day, and will be remembered for many more years to come.

Powered by RedCircle