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Sukeban Bursts Onto the Scene

9 months ago Photo c/o @2ndgunn

Photo c/o @2ndgunn

Sukeban Bursts Onto the Scene

Review: Sukeban’s Inaugural Show in New York City

By: Jeff Brown

Sukeban had their inaugural show at Capitale in New York on September 21, 2023. It had the concept of mixing Joshi with anime or manga styling. Larger-than-life fantasy characters are being portrayed by some of the most well-known and in-demand freelancers in the Joshi scene. It is a concept not unlike Lucha Underground, Hustle, WOW, or even Action Ring Girl’Z, mixing outlandish personas with great music and a more theatrical approach. This, much like ARG, felt like a stage production providing a kaleidoscopic representation of Joshi. Familiar faces in new colorful outfits and fun entrances were the theme of the show. Things kicked off with a cool video package explaining that these will be warriors who have mastered the art of combat through rigorous dojo training in Japan and are now ushering in a new dynasty in New York. The East brings its unique style to the West.

While some characters were loners, such as Stray Cat (Tomoka Inaba), there were many factions already in place for this card. The Cherry Bomb Girls consist of Crush Yuu (Yuu), Riko Blondie (Riko Kaiju), and Supersonic (Natsuki Taiyo). The Vandals are Atomic Banshee (Ram Kaichow), BINGO (Hiroyo Matsumoto), Midnight Player (Aoi), and Otaku-chan (Kaori Yoneyama). Dangerous Liaisons is made up of Commander Nakajima (Arisa Nakajima), Countess Saori (Saori Anou), Lady Antoinette (Risa Sera), Queen of Hearts (Miyuki Takase), and, by the end of the show, Konami. The Harajuku Stars have Babyface (Ancham), Maya Mamushi (Maya Yukihi), Saki Bimi (SAKI), and Ichigo Sayaka (Unagi Sayaka).

The music for each faction was real licensed music, with Cherry Bomb Girls using “Cherry Bomb” by the Runaways and the Vandals having “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts to set the tone of the show in the opening tag match. Harajuku Stars used “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow, while Dangerous Liaisons had “Mother” by Danzig. Stray Cat fittingly had “Stray Cat Strut” by Stray Cats, and surprise participant Konami walked out to The Clash’s “Police on My Back.” The Sukeban Commissioner, Bull Nakano, appeared via “Angel of Death” by Slayer to present the Sukeban championship belt.

The overall show had an emphasis on atmosphere and character work. Wrestling was not the calling card, at least for the first show. The arena was mostly dark with bright lighting from overhead; it really resembled Shinjuku Face in that way and felt like a Joshi show many of these wrestlers frequent in Japan.

The opener was a fun multi-person tag that all six, especially Otaku-chan and stablemate Atomic Banshee, excelled at. Crush Yuu got to showcase her size and agility while picking up the win for her Cherry Bomb Girls. The special 3-way match saw Saki Bimi of The Harajuku Stars go against the Queen of Hearts of Dangerous Liaisons and X.

In the big reveal of the night, Konami was the surprise X opponent. Saki and the Queen of Hearts both have a long history in Actwres Girl’Z, which really wasn’t directly referenced, while Konami’s freelance career was more focused on, as opposed to her STARDOM run. This was a fun match, but all 3 are capable of more. Konami gets the win, and the crowd was hyped. This was more about the surprise of Konami and the post-match match that saw Konami align herself with Dangerous Liaisons.

Midnight Player and Stray Cat, both of whom knew each other well in JTO, put on a strong mid-show bout. Considering the time these two have had together, they could wrestle each other in their sleep and steal the show. Afterwards, Midnight Player asked Stray Cat to join the Vandals, but she declined and will continue on her own.

The Harajuku Stars took on Dangerous Liaisons in the semi-main event; the history of Maya Mamushi in Ice Ribbon and Oz Academy was referenced, while her teammate Babyface was treated as a newcomer. At times, a wrestler’s past was addressed, while, for example, in the previous bout, the familiarity of both Stray Cat and Midnight Player being in JTO was ignored. It could be an artistic choice for some of the characters to play off their previous accomplishments, while others want to have a fresh or mysterious background. Maya and Lady Antoinette have a long history in Ice Ribbon as multi-time International Ribbon Tag Team Champions Azure Revolution, but again, that was merely hinted at. This was some very hard-hitting action in the 9 minutes they were given. Dangerous Liaisons pick up the win and keep themselves strong for what’s to come at the end of the night.

The main event, while having a miscommunication near the end, was a strong outing for Ichigo Sayaka and Countess Saori. They brawled to the outside, which, with the dark arena, made it a bit hard to follow. Being the debut, these are not strong sins and can easily be addressed for the next show.

There was a lot of leg work on Sayaka with Saori going for variants of the figure four, but the babyface Sayaka overcame the odds and picked up the victory and got one step closer to the title. It was a good idea to choose to have all the characters introduced on the first show and have them fight towards a title that will be up for grabs on the next show. Winning a brand new title with characters that are also new can be too much for one show to accomplish. After Sayaka won, a brawl between Dangerous Liaisons and Harajuku Stars erupted, with a focus on Nakajima going after Sayaka. Commissioner Nakano came back out to announce that Sayaka will face Nakajima on the next Sukeban show for the championship.

The show originally streamed on TikTok and is now on the Sukeban Youtube channel; when the next show happens and where it takes place have yet to be announced. This was a unique approach for a US-based Joshi promotion and a good way to stand out in a growing field of companies trying to bring Japanese stars to a western audience. Sukeban has many fashion and music influences that have given them a lot of buzz to build on. Whatever is next will surely be bright and different than the usual offerings in American wrestling.

A full rundown of the roster, along with merchandise, is available at Sukeban.com.

Full Results for Sukeban’s Debut Show

Cherry Bomb Girls (Crush Yuu, Riko Blondie & Supersonic) defeat The Vandals (Atomic Banshee, BINGO & Otaku-chan)

Konami defeats Saki Bimi and Queen Of Hearts

Stray Cat defeats Midnight Player

Dangerous Liaisons (Commander Nakajima & Lady Antoinette) defeat The Harajuku Stars (Babyface & Maya Mamushi)

Sukeban World Title Eliminator: Ichigo Sayaka defeats Countess Saori

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