REINA "Women's Championship Tournament #1"
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: September 4th, 2015
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 158 Fans

This is a small show, but a special one. After Kana announced her hiatus earlier in the summer (which turned out to be her leaving for WWE), she started planning her 'final' events at all the various promotions that she wrestled in. Kana won the REINA Women's Championship back in December, and successfully defended it three times in late Spring. Since no one was able to beat Kana, it was decided she would forfeit the title before her final appearance in the promotion. This show has the first round of the tournament to crown the new champion, as well as Kana's final match in the promotion as she teams with her arch nemesis and friend Syuri. Here is the full card: 

- REINA Women's Championship 1st Round: Hanako Nakamori vs. Konami 
- REINA Women's Championship 1st Round: Hamuko Hoshi vs. Syuri
- REINA Women's Championship 1st Round: Makoto vs. Rina Yamashita
- REINA Women's Championship 1st Round: Maki Narumiya vs. Yako Fujigasaki
- Kana and Syuri vs. Konami and Makoto

Hanako Nakamori vs. Konami

This match is in the first round of the tournament to crown the new REINA Women's Championship. Konami is Kana's young protege, and I hope she continues wrestling as in only six months she has already shown a ton of potential. Nakamori is a nine year veteran but she has never really made it to that next level, with no singles championships. So this is her chance to step up and win a major singles title, although she will have some stiff competition to get there. Nakamori has also teamed with Kana during the summer, so there is a connection there as well.

They begin with arm work, Nakamori avoids Konami's dropkick and she hits a dropkick of her own. Nakamori throws down Konami by her hair but Konami comes back with a dropkick. Konami throws Nakamori into the corner and hits another dropkick, Konami applies a sleeper and rolls up Nakamori for a two count. Kicks by Konami but Nakamori hits a big boot, Nakamori goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick. Another missile dropkick by Nakamori and she hits a boot in the corner for a two count. Konami slaps Nakamori and hits a high kick, she applies a rolling leglock but Nakamori reverses it into a cross armbreaker. Konami gets into the ropes to force the break and sneaks in a schoolboy for two. Konami tries a few more quick pins with no luck, head kick by Konami and she covers Nakamori for two. Nakamori blocks the fisherman suplex but Konami hits an enzuigiri. Nakamori quickly gets back in control with a big boot, and she hits a capture suplex for two. Shining Wizard by Nakamori and she puts Konami in the Victory A Clutch, getting the submission victory! Nakamori gets the win and moves on in the tournament.

This was a pretty short and basic match. I like Konami quite a bit but there was nothing here to get excited about, and I have never been really impressed with Nakamori. A pretty lackluster match, even though I like the finishing submission hold.

Hamuko Hoshi vs. Syuri

This match is in the first round of the tournament to crown the new REINA Women's Championship. Syuri is one of the biggest stars in REINA, and was the last person to have the championship before losing it to Kana. Hoshi is affiliated with Ice Ribbon but does wrestle elsewhere from time to time, which isn't uncommon. This is actually her first match in REINA since 2014 however so she is definitely not a regular participate in the promotion. Hoshi also wrestles a more comedic style but can get serious when she needs to.

I spoke too soon as not only is Hoshi being silly but so is Syuri. They finally get to it and trade holds but they end up posing again. They trade pushes until Syuri kicks Hoshi in the chest, Syuri knees Hoshi into the corner and she hits a jumping knee. Syuri goes for the armbreaker but Hoshi gets quickly to the ropes to force a break. Syuri twists Hoshi in the ropes as she continues to stay in control until Hoshi knocks her down with a shoulderblock. Body avalanche by Hoshi and she hits a bulldog, covering Syuri for two. Hoshi applies a crab hold but Syuri gets out of it and hits a release German suplex. PK by Syuri, and she covers Hoshi for two. Belly bump by Hoshi, she gets Syuri up and hits a Samoan Drop. Hoshi goes to the top turnbuckle but Syuri avoids the diving bodypress, and she nails Hoshi with a running knee for a two count. Kicks to the chest by Syuri, she picks up Hoshi but Hoshi hits a lariat for two. Hoshi goes off the ropes but Syuri kicks her hard in the head, German suplex hold by Syuri and she gets the three count! Syuri wins the match and moves on in the tournament.

Syuri is fantastic but this wasn't much more than a decent match. Syuri's strikes and submissions as always were on point, and while Hoshi is limited she didn't hold the match back too much. She still had to get in her silly spots and poses, I don't mind comedic matches but to me a tournament to crown the new champion isn't really the place for that. Some high points but it started slow and by the time it kicked into gear it was soon over.

Makoto vs. Rina Yamashita

This match is in the first round of the tournament to crown the new REINA Women's Championship. Like the last match, this one features a REINA affiliated wrestler (Makoto) against a wrestler that is affiliated with a different promotion but wrestles in REINA as well (Yamashita). These two are actually the REINA World Tag Team Champions, winning them from Shida and Syuri back in June, but friendships will be put aside for pursuit of the REINA Women's Championship.

Yamashita shoulderblocks Makoto to kick things off and elbows her into the corner, Irish whip by Yamashita but Makoto hits a face crusher. Cattle Mutilation by Makoto and she then applies a crossface, but Yamashita rolls out of it and elbows Makoto to the mat. Running double chop by Yamashita but Makoto applies a short armbar. Makoto goes for a cross armbreaker and gets it locked on, but Yamashita makes it to the ropes. Back up, Yamashita goes for a sleeper but Makoto rams her back into the corner. Elbow by Yamashita and she hits a shoulderblock, big kick to the chest by Yamashita but the cover gets two. Lariat by Yamashita in the corner and she hits another one, she covers Makoto but Makoto gets a shoulder up. Yamashita applies a sleeper but Makoto hits a jawbreaker to get out of it. Makoto kicks Yamashita to the mat but Yamashita blocks the spear and hits a vertical suplex. Yamashita applies the sleeper but Makoto gets into the ropes, Yamashita charges Makoto and she hits a lariat. Another lariat by Yamashita, and she covers Makoto for two. Yamashita goes off the ropes but Makoto drops her with a spear, back up they trade elbows until Makoto rolls up Yamashita for two. Backdrop suplex by Yamashita and she hits the Rainmaker, but Makoto barely gets a shoulder up. Another big lariat by Yamashita, and she picks up the three count! Yamashita wins the match and moves on in the tournament.

This was solid but never really went much beyond that, even though I enjoyed it. Yamashita doesn't have a big moveset but is good at what she does, but for whatever reason Makoto was just along for the ride in this match. Nothing she did stood out, it was pretty much the Yamashita show. They kept the action flowing well though and everything worked well, which is about all you can ask for from a ten minute midcard match. Mildly Recommended

Maki Narumiya vs. Yako Fujigasaki

This match is in the first round of the tournament to crown the new REINA Women's Championship. Narumiya is an established veteran, coming over from Ice Ribbon, and she holds the REINA-CMLL International Championship. She has also held both the Ice Ribbon singles and tag team championships so she is well accomplished. Fujigasaki on the other hand is only 18 years old and hasn't won any titles, so she is definitely the underdog going in.

Narumiya cutely poses before the match, so she may not be taking the young Fujigasaki seriously. Fujigasaki promptly dropkicks her and applies an inside cradle for two. Armdrag by Narumiya and she applies a camel clutch, Narumiya knocks Fujigasaki into the corner and throws Fujigasaki down by her hair. Narumiya goes for a lariat but Fujigasaki ducks it and hits a double chop, dropkick by Fujigasaki but Narumiya blocks the slam. Scoop slam by Narumiya and she hits a leg drop for a two count. Narumiya goes off the ropes but Fujigasaki hits a dropkick, cover by Fujigasaki but she also gets a two. Quick spear by Narumiya, she picks up Fujigasaki and hits a vertical suplex. Narumiya goes to run but Fujigasaki trips her and gives Narumiya the Oil Check. Schoolboy by Fujigasaki, and she picks up the three count! Fujigasaki wins the match and moves on in the tournament.

The story they were going for here worked well, with Narumiya not taking Fujigasaki seriously at all and being.... caught by surprise with the good 'ol Oil Check. It was too short to recommend but from bell to bell it stayed on track so at least there was no wasted time. A logical match for a tournament and everyone loves upsets, but not a lot to the match itself.

Kana and Syuri vs. Konami and Makoto

There is definitely a lot of backstory to this match. Kana and Syuri have been feuding for many years, dating back to their days in SMASH, and Syuri was the wrestler that Kana beat to win the REINA Women's Championship. But since this is their last event they are no longer acting like enemies but acknowledging the respect and love they really do have for each other by teaming for Kana's last match in the promotion. As I mentioned earlier, Makoto is affiliated with REINA and is one of their young stars, and Konami is Kana's protege. Both teams are happy before and after the match together, but during the match they are all business.

Kana and Konami kick things off (pun intended), they end up on the mat but Kana getting an early advantage. Konami gets into the ropes to force a break but Kana gets Konami back to the mat again. Kana tags in Syuri, Syuri gets Konami in a headlock before driving Konami into the ground. Syuri goes for a cross armbreaker and gets it applied, but Konami gets a toe on the ropes. Konami tags in Makoto and Makoto knocks down Syuri with a shoulderblock. Armdrag by Syuri and she dropkicks Makoto in the head to pick up a two count. Syuri tags in Kana and Kana knocks down Makoto with a hip attack. Makoto gets away and tags in Konami, kicks by Konami and they trade elbows until Kana snapmares Konami and kicks her in the back. Kana tags in Syuri and Syuri kicks Konami in the back as well, she slaps the cross armbreaker back on before reverting it into a seated armbar, but Konami gets to the ropes. Syuri tags in Kana, Konami elbows Kana but Kana kicks her to the mat. Crab hold by Kana but Makoto breaks it up. Kana takes care of Makoto and she tags in Syuri. Syuri stomps Konami in the corner and applies a sleeper before tagging Kana back in. Double Irish whip to Konami and Kana nails a sliding kick. Makoto runs in the ring and she helps Konami dropkick both of their opponents, Kana goes off the ropes but Konami dropkicks her again and tags in Makoto. Syuri cuts off Makoto but Makoto drops Syuri onto Kana. Footstomp by Makoto to Kana and she hits a cartwheel double knee for a two count.

Konami comes in but Kana dropkicks Konami and puts Makoto in an Octopus Hold. Syuri comes in and puts Konami in a hold as well, but Makoto gets to the ropes. Kana goes off the ropes but Makoto catches her with a double underhook suplex hold for a two count. Makoto goes for a spear but Kana catches her with a short armbar. Kana tags in Syuri, knees by Syuri and she suplexes Makoto to the mat. Makoto and Syuri trade elbows, knee by Syuri and she drops Makoto with a release German suplex. Irish whip by Syuri but Makoto rebounds out of the corner with a crossbody before connecting with a big boot for a two count cover. Makoto tags in Konami, Konami kicks Syuri in the chest but Syuri snapmares her and kicks Konami in the back. Konami gets back up and returns the favor, PK by Konami and she gets a two count. Short armbar by Konami and she then applies a cross armbreaker, but Syuri gets a foot on the ropes. Syuri throws Konami into the corner and she hits a half hatch suplex hold for two. Cross armbreaker by Syuri and she applies a seated armbar, but Makoto breaks it up. Kana comes in and Konami is attacked by both in the corner, reverse DDT by Kana and Syuri hits a PK, but Konami gets a shoulder up on the cover. Syuri tags in Kana, Kana kicks Konami in the chest and she hits a neckbreaker. Konami slaps and kicks Kana and applies a sleeper, but Kana reverses it into a cross kneelock. Konami gets into the ropes, stomps by Kana but Makoto runs in and elbows her. Tiger feint kick by Konami to Kana and Makoto hits a half hatch suplex. Konami picks up Kana and she hits a fisherman suplex hold for two. Enzuigiri by Konami to Syuri but she is double teamed by Kana and Syuri. Konami and Kana trade holds, Konami gets the cross armbreaker applied but Kana rolls out of it. Syuri comes in and kicks Konami in the head, buzzsaw kick by Kana but Makoto breaks up the cover. Spinning kick by Kana, she slaps Konami in the Dojime Chickenwing Facelock and Konami has no choice but to submit! Kana and Syuri win the match.

I set a high bar for Kana and Syuri matches so while this match was very good it never quite reached my expectations. Everything was hit crisply, it was just a bit more one-sided than I'd have preferred. Konami is young but has hung with Kana before, and Makoto as I mentioned earlier is a tag team champion so she is no pushover. I am not sure if they were playing off the fact that both had already wrestled, but to say that Syuri and Kana controlled the action is an understatement and I never got the feeling that Konami or Makoto were on the cusp of winning. The action was solid and Kana and Syuri showed great teamwork, and it was never boring or dragged, it just didn't quite get to where I was hoping even though it was still enjoyable. Recommended

After the event ended, Kana got her official farewell since this was her final match in REINA. One last dance and some flowers, and Kana was gone, leaving the REINA ring for the last time.

Final Thoughts:

REINA cards are generally below average experiences overall for a few reasons. First of all they are generally short shows, this one only had about 50 minutes of in-ring action which I'd be annoyed about if I was there in person (I still am annoyed, but far less so than if I paid for a ticket). Second of all they have an incredibly thin roster with only a few top tier wrestlers, so they don't have a great 'full card' experience. I mean this was a five match card and three wrestlers did double duty. The first four matches were all a bit short, even though the action was fine. The main event was really good but I've seen better tag matches this year involving some combination of Syuri/Konami/Kana so I was expecting it to be even better. The stuff with Kana helped (the dancing and celebrating) but overall still not an event I can recommend except for diehard Kana fanatics (which I am, but I try not to let that influence me too much when reviewing).

Grade: D

review completed on 9/23/15