SUKEBAN Report: Debut show includes Bull Nakano as commissioner

Ichigo Sayaka & Countess Saori Main Event in NYC. Bull Nakano revealed as SUKEBAN's Commissioner; unveiled Sukeban Championship

Photo Courtesy: Sukeban

Earlier this month, SUKEBAN launched with a cryptic Japanese animation-style trailer, which really caught the attention of the international joshi fanbase. With a two-hour sell-out, fans eagerly awaited any scraps of information related to this new mysterious fusion of Japanese women’s wrestling and animation with a throwback feeling to the girl gangs of the 1970s and 1980s. From the start, SUKEBAN reminds me of Lucha Underground meets WOW Superheroes with colorful character design concepts. 

SUKEBAN premiered at the Capitale in New York City, NY while streaming live on SUKEBAN’s TikTok account, with the outstanding combo of Veda Scott and Sam Laterna on commentary. (I love hearing diverse voices on commentary, especially when it comes to calling women’s wrestling!!!!)

With just over 24 hours until the premiere, the match card was released in conjunction with a press release. The details along with a short primer on the roster of SUKEBAN were released earlier today here at POST!

Spoiler-Free Synopsis

  • 6-Woman Tag  – Recommended
  • Special Attraction Three-way Match – Highly Recommended
  • Special Singles Match – Recommended
  • Tag Match – Recommended
  • Main Event Title Eliminator – Highly Recommended

Cherry Bomb Girls (Crush Yuu, Supersonic, Riko Blondie) defeated The Vandals (Atomic Banshee, Otaku-chan, BINGO) – Crush Yuu pinned Otaku-chan after a Splash

I love that The Vandals restored the sanctity of Joan Jett’s & The Blackhearts’ “Bad Reputation,” and that The Cherry Bomb Girls picked “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways (Naturally). The match opens with a high-speed showcase between Supersonic and Otaku-chan with both veterans reminding everyone why they are two of the best. BINGO and Riko Blondie were a surprise personality change for both wrestlers and of course, Atomic Banshee and Crush Yuu definitely presented themselves as the faction leaders. 

BINGO did have a fair amount of fun with some pantomime, especially with Yuu. The Vandals got creative and had the advantage with Midnight Player seconding at ringside. The Cherry Bomb Girls rallied with Supersonic and Riko Blondie assisting Crush Yuu. This was definitely a fun opener, with several seasoned veterans from the independent scene and some fresh faces as well. 

Special Attraction Three-way Match: Konami defeated Saki Bimi (Harajuku Stars) vs. Queen Takase (Dangerous Liaisons) – Sunset Flip into a pin on Saki Bimi

I did not have Queen Takase selecting” Mother” by Danzig on my 2023 bingo card. Saki Bimi’s choice of “I Want Candy” is quite the anthem for the Harajuku Star. I did love Saki Bimi’s harajuku Gyaru makeup (overly tanned with lots of white accents and glitter). My jaw dropped when Konami revealed X as her powder blue ruffled blouse and matching bloomers are a far FAR departure from her usual God’s Eye and former OedoTai sartorial choices. Very much like the opening match, the special attraction three-way was definitely fast-paced and fun.

Both Saki Bimi and Queen Takase extended a welcome to Konami to join their groups, and Konami seemingly accepted the invitation to join Dangerous Liaisons by attacking Saki. Maya Mamushi came to  Saki’s rescue while Takase and Konami escaped. 

Special Singles Match: Stray Cat (Unaffiliated) defeated Midnight Player (The Vandals)

Despite being two newer faces on the wrestling scene, Midnight Player and Stray Cat know one another rather well. I love how much they have both grown over the last few years. In another time and place, Player and Cat Just Trained Often together, but they’re each coming into their own. They have been known to be forever rivals, so seeing that chemistry carry over into the world of SUKEBAN really makes me happy. I do hope that they get opportunities to wrestle with as many of the roster members as possible because it will only make both of them better. 

Stray Cat definitely is calling back to the sportscatship from one of her other nine lives with a handshake after the match. Midnight Player offered Stray Cat a Vandals tee, but the black cat casually waved her finger no and strutted off. 

Harajuku Stars vs. Dangerous Liaisons: Commander Nakajima & Lady Antoinette defeated Maya Mamushi & Babyface – Nakajima pinned Babyface with the Cutie Special

I cannot get enough of the Harajuku Stars’ commitment to the heavy Harajuku Gyaru makeup and over-the-top pastel sailor uniforms. Meanwhile Dangerous gets put in Dangerous Liaisons with Commander Nakajima and Lady Antoinette with grit and obligatory chains.

Experience-wise Babyface is at a distinct disadvantage compared to Nakajima, Antoinette, and Mamushi, but she did really well. I really liked seeing her taking Commander Nakajima to task with trying to lock in several arm bars for a potential upset. Lady Antoinette had some additional jewelry some with extra chains, that she used several times within the match. The referee might be in the pocket of Dangerous Liaison because he had some slow counts that favored the villains. 

Nakajima pinned Babyface with the Cutie Special while Lady Antoinette choked out Maya Mamiushi in the ring. 

Prior to the main event, a Bull Nakano montage played without any audio and it is revealed that Bull Nakano is not only unveiling the new SUKEBAN Championship, but that she is The Commissioner of SUKEBAN!!!!!

Main Event Title Eliminator: Ichigo Sayaka (Harajuku Stars) defeated Countess Saori (Dangerous Liaisons) 

Arguably two of the hardest working women in the Japanese wrestling scene at the moment, Countess Saori and Ichigo (Strawberry) Sayaka were the perfect choices for the first main event at Sukeban’s debut. Their wild popularity and increased exposure with the continued growth of the Joshi scene and the international interest in women’s wrestling have certainly been assets in driving the interest in SUKEBAN. In recent years, both Ichigo and The Countess have improved in the ring. Despite really committing to their characters, they do keep some of their signature moves. It gave the match a taste of familiarity while creating enough division between the SUKEBAN realm and their other world alter egos. 

There was a moment in the match where it seemed that Ichigo Sayaka got a victory roll pin, but it was called off, so she did it again for the win. ichigo Sayaka advances to the Championship Match at a future event. That little hiccup aside, it was a good match. After the match, Commander Nakajima confronted Ichigo, which was followed by all of Harajuku Stars and Dangerous Liaisons spilling out to the ring. 

Commissioner Nakano came out to sort out the melee and announced that Ichigo Sayaka and Commander Nakajima would fight for the SUKEBAN Championship at a future event to be announced. 


Overall Report Card

TikTok Experience: B-

The debut of SUKEBAN and their premiere broadcast was aired exclusively on TikTok, viewers could purchase various digital icons using TikTok Coin to support the broadcast. My gut tells me that with over 18.9K in the TikTok account compared to the less than 300 on their YouTube channel at the time of broadcast, it was likely they were able to monetize the TT far more easily compared to the stringent nature of YT and the difficulty of getting live wrestling content monetized on the platform.

I am curious as to the choice of using a vertical format social media platform, traditionally used for short-form video for live streaming an entire wrestling show. I found the chat feature scrolling across the bottom of the screen distracting on my mobile app, so I elected to watch it on the desktop version of TikTok, where I was able to collapse the chat for a distraction-free viewing experience. Much like streaming on Twitch, as fans sent their digital gifts, they did appear on screen.

The video quality wasn’t necessarily the best, but I chalk that up to live streaming in NYC. Again, I hope that they are able to edit the footage afterward because the show was a good time. There was an average of 860 viewers throughout the livestream. I do hope that the audio gets fixed a little because I was having difficulty hearing the ring announcer and Commission Nakano at times. Veda and Sam really brought the show together with their commentary. Again, I sincerely hope that the archive goes onto YouTube because the show was too much fun not to share with the world. 

Costuming/Pageantry: A++++

As many of the roster members of SUKEBAN are popular freelancers, many with international exposure or excursion experience, there was no shortage of creative characters and colorful designs. The attention to detail and presentation of the factions and characters prior to the premiere genuinely felt like a high-fashion editorial. Even BINGO made me second-guess my stance on childhood trauma and clowns (but that is largely because of who embodies the character). 

Seeing pictures of the venue with a Japanese night market vibe complete with stalls and lanterns further added to the experience. The animated mach graphics were a lovely touch. However, the camera temperatures didn’t match at times and the live stream got choppy at times, so I do hope that the video archive (once the copyright music is muted) will be made available. 

I love the attention to detail of the costumes and styling. 

Match Quality:  B+

For their first show, the variety and quality of matches gave the entire audience exposure to the depth of the roster and allowed for every single member to participate. The matches were constructed to showcase everyone, but I think there could have been some opening night jitters or some of the wrestlers still figuring out the mechanics of their new characters. There’s room to grow, but I am excited to see where it goes from here. 

Homework: I would recommend everyone chase up the film Shimotsumo Monogatari (English Release Title: Kamikaze Girls; 2004) for those wanting a little more background on some of the girl gang culture (like Midnight Player), Loligoth/ Rococo Fashion styles (like Lady Antoinette), and even Harajuku Gyaru (like Saki Bimi). 

Announcements

Follow SUKEBAN  on Instagram, TikTokX.comYouTube for all their upcoming announcements and developments!

About Karen Peterson 113 Articles
Occasionally drops by wrestling podcasts, but remains rather elusive. Joined the Japanese wrestling fan scene in summer 2017, and continues to work on bridging the language gap between fans. Outside of wrestling, she’s a dog mom, perpetual Japanese learner, and when conditions permit, world traveler. Never skips dessert.