In a career that has spanned over a quarter of a century, Meiko Satomura has continued to inspire and elevate all around her. However, in order to appreciate where she is today, it is crucial to reflect on her career, where it began up until where she is today. For a decade, Satomura carved a path for herself in Gaea, Japan. The all-female company is based out of Japan. It began with a win and has certainly set the tone for her career. More than a year later, she captured her first title as she teamed alongside Sonoko Kato to become the first-ever AAAW Tag Team Champions. It was a championship she was all too familiar with as she co-held these titles three times over her tenure in Gaea, Japan.
People who had not seen me wrestle before were probably surprised with each move I made. Although I lost eventually, I still felt that I had something to show and impress fans around the globe. This is not the end. …I want to see women shine more. Seeing people from various countries compete and shine in that tournament, I thought pro-wrestling is not just for the Japanese, but something where people around the world can compete and enjoy.
Satomura on what she brings to the ring and what she hopes to see for women’s wrestling
Satomura was easily the most decorated champion in Gaea Japan’s history. She would also capture the AAAW Championship on two separate occasions. A week after losing the title for a second time, the promotion would close its doors. What was remarkable about Satomura’s career early on was that as a seventeen-year-old would compete for World Championship Wrestling. During the promotions’ rise to prominence, Satomura would compete as Gaea Japan’s cross-promotional relationship with WCW. To be so young and have the foresight to want to help women’s wrestling both foreign and domestically.
I do, but apprenticeship is not something you can impose on others. It is something where the apprentice-to-be should seek out and grab the heart of her master even if she is rejected. As an apprentice, I served Nagayo for seven years, during which I was taken off the post seven times for making mistakes, and I still sought out her advice. After visiting the U.S., I came to realize an apprenticeship or education at a dojo is a culture unique to Japan. … Still, I believe what we teach in Joshi-puroresu in Japan will draw attention overseas.”
Satomura on the relationship with her trainer Nagayo
Meiko Satomura was part of an eight-woman tournament to determine the WCW Women’s Champion. Her time with the promotion was tied to the working relationship with her home promotion in Japan. The opportunity west certainly lent itself to some exposure to North American audiences. However, once the relationship with Gaea Japan came to an end, so did her appearances in World Championship Wrestling.
Once Gaea Japan was no more, Satomura created a new all-Joshi promotion in Sendai Girls. With Jinsei Shinzaki as her partner, ten years after the working relationship with World Championship Wrestling came to an end, Satomura’s new wrestling venture was born. A few years later, she took part in Splash J & Running G tournament. She along with Hikari Fukuoka, Sonoko Kato and Kanako Motoya in the finals of the tournament. The promotion is still in operation today. Sendai Girls has housed some of the most notable women in wrestling today.
I think there are. When we launched our women’s wrestling organization 13 years ago, there were few fans. Even when we cast wrestlers from other organizations, we could host three shows a year at the most. Now, we hold about five shows a month. Sendai Girls’ compete in shows of other organizations too. That probably plays a part in boosting the number. ’Strong style’ is associated with very intense pro-wrestling…Those heated fights motivated me to become a pro-wrestler. I wanted to be part of contests where truly strong people collide. So, I started building up my body, as I dreamed of having ripped muscles.
Satomura on the creation of Sendai Girls
While Sendai Girls was thriving in her native of Japan, Meiko Satumora would travel west, coming to the US and competing in the King of Trios tournament, for now, defunct promotion Chikara. This experience lent her the exposure once again to North American audiences that may not be familiar with her. From this tournament, Satomura is competing as part of the inaugural Mae Young Classic in 2018. She made it to the semifinals of the tournament, ultimately losing to Toni Storm. However, her commitment to elevating the exposure of Joshi wrestling was as prevalent as it ever was.
“Senjo has been in business for 15 years and has been in danger of survival due to the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake for 10 years. For the last 10 years, I have poured everything I have into the organization. And now I’m in the best condition as a wrestler. Then I decided I’d leave the organization to the younger generation and do what I wanted to do until I turned 50.”
A couple of years after competing in the MYC, Meiko Satomura would sign with the WWE’s NXT UK brand. In the process, one of the most sought-after international stars was added to the companies ever-growing women’s division. She has captured championships in Progress, Stardom, DDT Pro-Wrestling, Gaea Japan, wXw, & Sendai Girls. One of her greatest rivalries was with Io Shirai, earning her the best match award in 2015. For all that she has achieved, Satomura is as committed to giving back as she is wanting to succeed on an international stage. A veteran of over two decades, Satomura is no longer the seventeen-year-old competing in front of North American audiences in for WCW. She is as technically sound a businesswoman who is thinking beyond the ring for herself. The opportunity with NXT UK opens the door for not only herself but likely others within her training and tutelage.
“I’m trying to do something the Joshi wrestling industry in Japan will benefit from in 10 years. The seeds we are sowing now will definitely bear great fruits in Japan in 10 years. I’m confident that by then, Japan will be attracting female wrestlers from all over the world”.
Satomura on joining NXT UK
Although she has recently joined the WWE’s NXT UK brand, it is a longtime rival looking to rekindle a rivalry that was forged with Satomura during their time in Stardom. While aspirations of fighting Io Shirai may or may not happen at the showcase of the immortals, that isn’t to say that if or when that match does take place that those watching six years later may be just as fortunate as those that saw them compete years ago.
No question about it. WrestleMania is the grandest stage we have in this business and I have always wanted to compete under that spotlight. A match with Meiko Satomura is another dream match for me. Fortunately, she has joined NXT UK, making it a real possibility now. I am so excited.
Io Shirai on the possibility of facing Meiko Satomura at WrestleMania 37
Satomura’s story in the ring is far from finished being told. She still has a great deal to achieve. Several new opportunities lend themselves to exciting possibilities, and one’s fans now will see as part of the NXT UK brand. Her influence is felt today by the likes of Sasha Banks as she continues to blaze her trail forward in an industry she so aspires to make better than it was when she first became a part of it.