On the latest edition of AEW Dark Elevation, Hikaru Shida defended her newly won Regina Di WAVE Championship from the Pro Wrestling WAVE Promotion against her mentor Emi Sakura.
Their history goes back to the year 2009 when Shida was cast in a film titled “Three Count”, set in the world of Pro Wrestling. For the role, Shida started to train in the Ice Ribbon dojo under Emi Sakura and after the tapings, decided to start wrestling for Ice Ribbon afterwards. Their first Match against each other happened just 3 months after Shida’s debut, and it ended with a victory for Emi.
Since then, they faced each other numerous times in Japan, all won by Emi Sakura. Fast-forward to August 2022. AEW announced that Shida and Emi will face off for the first time in the States at a Dark Elevation Special episode, in which Shida won with the Katana to gain her first singles victory over Emi Sakura.
After that Match, Hikaru Shida had a title challenge upcoming in Japan for the Joshi Promotion “Pro Wrestling WAVE” against one of the best young Wrestlers in the World, Suzu Suzuki. After a hard-fought battle, Shida was able to defeat Suzuki in a great match to crown herself the new Regina Di WAVE Champion for the second time in her career after holding the belt once in 2014. She announced after her match that she will defend the title overseas till she comes back to WAVE in November for the Korakuen Hall Show. WAVE uploaded highlights of the title match on their YouTube Channel.
It was only a matter of time till the first female Wrestler of the hungry Women’s Roster who all want an opportunity go out and challenge Shida for the belt. After a Tag Match between Shida & Skye Blue and Maki Itoh & Emi Sakura. The Promoter of Gatoh Move instantly showed interest in the newly won Belt of Hikaru and let her know that she wants to challenge for the belt. It’s the first time in 5 years that the Regina Di WAVE Title gets defended outside of WAVE and the first time ever that the belt gets defended on American soil. The Title Match was set for the Elevation Tapings the week after.
Alone in their entrances, it was seen how big that match is for both. Shida wanted to defend the belt and bring it back to WAVE like promised, while Emi Sakura was as focused as ever before to win her biggest Match ever in AEW against her student. Before Bryce Remsburg was able to ring Emi Sakura attacked Shida with the crown and goes for the “We will Chop you” Chops in the corner. When Emi was hyping up the crowd, the reigning Champion was able to punish her mentor for that mistake with a Running Knee. From then on it was a back and forth. Every little mistake was used by the other to get their offense in. After a Crossbody from Emi, both landed on the outside and Shida set up the chair to hit her assisted Jumping Knee but Emi knew it coming, doges and suplexes Shida onto the chair.
Emi throws Shida back into the ring and hit the Tiger Driver for a two-count. She instantly positioned her student and went to the top rope for a Moonsault that totally connected but Shida kicks out as well! Emi tries to go for the Double Underhook backbreaker but Shida reverses the attempt and goes for the Venus Shoot which Sakura saw coming and instantly stops it. Emi goes for the running Powerbomb but Shida was able to reverse it into a Hurricanerana at the last moment.
The former AEW Women’s Champion fires up, rips open her shirt and dare Sakura to chop her. As her former Mentor chops her, she strikes back with brutal forearms. After a back and forth, Shida’s strikes are too strong for Sakura. Emi goes down on her knees and Shida continues to give her forearm after forearm to the back of her head and instantly goes for a sliding elbow strike and the Meteora from the top rope for a close two count.
Shida attempts the Tamashi but Emi pulls Bryce in front of her and in a moment where the referee was distracted by Baliyan Akki the veteran instantly goes for the eyes of Shida and goes for the Queen’s Gambit which Shida instantly reverses into the Falcon Arrow before Shida was able to pin her, Emi already countered it into a roll-up for a two count and instantly goes for the La Magistral for the closest near fall of the Match yet. The crowd totally ate this one for a second. Shida counters the Queen’s Gambit again with a backdrop and hits the Venus Shoot as a homage to her Muscle Venus Tag Team Partner Tsukasa Fujimoto. Shida went for the Falcon Arrow again but this time Emi was able to block Shida’s move for the last time. Shida with a big elbow and the Tamashi for another close near fall. Shida hits the Katana to end the match and not only make her first defense for her newly won Regina Di WAVE Title but also defeat her former mentor and trainer.
A fantastic Elevation Main Event between two of the best talents the AEW Women’s Division has to offer for the Regina Di WAVE Title. They showed how good a match can be in just a bit over 6 minutes and the perfect example to see how to get the best out of the time they got. I need to point out the commentary here too. Excalibur did an amazing job to provide information for the Fans who don’t know much about their history with each other & WAVE. The Match itself made the Regina Di WAVE Title look really important for both of them since from the first moment on you saw how much both wanted to win here. This is the biggest platform WAVE ever had and we will see more matches like this for the Title on Dark moving forward till she comes back to WAVE in November.