You have seen all the moves Arisa Nakajima and Nanae Takahashi executed in their SEAdLINNNG Beyond the Sea Championship match before.
You have seen foes hit each other with lariats and dropkicks, seen them yank each other’s hair and smash their bodies to the mat with suplexes. All of this, though, was delivered with such precision and ferocity that it elevated the match to something special: to a resonating piece of ugly and indelible art.
On November 2, 2019, Nakajima and Takahashi, two keystones of the SEAdLINNNG promotion for the last several years, were two enemies carving their fury into each other’s bones.
Nakajima, the Beyond the Sea Champion faced her rival, her peer, her sometimes tag team partner, the intimidating bruiser Takahashi. The title bout unfolded in the Culttz Kawasaki sports complex in Kanagawa, Japan, but with as savage as this turned out to be, a blood-red sky would have been a more fitting backdrop.
Takahashi, at this point, had been bashing in heads since the late ‘90s when she wrestled for All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling. She’d been crowned the AJW champion. She twice held the WWWA Championship. And when STARDOM came on the scene in 2011, Takahashi was the promotion’s first top titleholder. It’s easy to imagine Takahashi ruling the roost everywhere she went. She’s an unrelenting bruiser with a whiplash-inducing lariat.
In 2015, she founded SEAdLINNNG where she reigned as Beyond the Sea champ when the title was created three years later.
Nakajima, like Nanae, was there for the birth of that promotion. The Chichibu, Saitama native wrestled at the company’s first two events before eventually earning her spot as SEAdLINNNG’s ace.
She remains one of the best overall wrestlers on the joshi scene. Nakajima’s offense is crisp and varied, her execution like something out of an action movie. It has always been her nastiness that has set her apart, however. Whether she is slapping someone in the chin or kicking the side of their heads, Arisa looks like she is trying to wound a mortal enemy.
At an event dubbed Dynamic Show Case!, Nakajima would get ample chances to dole out such wounds. Takahashi was coming for her Beyond the Sea Championship, a title Nakajima had won that September.
History favored the challenger. Takahashi had beaten her four times before this, including once to win the vacant Beyond the Sea title at Korakuen Hall in 2018. The powerhouse was an obstacle Nakajima had yet to conquer, the blockade to her quest to be SEAdLINNNG’s best.
In her black and purple skirt reminiscent of a gladiator’s attire, Nakajima set out to change that.
There is no mistaking what the core of this match is. The animosity pulses from the outset. Moments into the title bout, Nakajima and Takahashi are nailing each other with strikes, two boxers exchanging desperate haymakers in search of a knockout.
And it’s not just that they hit each other hard. The wrestlers revel in their cruelty. Arisa, at one point, laughs before belting Takahashi with forearms to the sternums.
There is joy in the air just as there is absolute malice.
Takahashi dishes out some of her savage lariats. They trade elbows that could wobble a mountain lion. Nakajima twice flings her opponent into the stands with not a drop of mercy.
The bout’s highlights include Nakajima working over Takahashi’s arm and each wrestler dropping the other’s face on the ring apron. But they keep returning to strikes, to up close and personal, to just straight bashing each other.
That is the heart of this match – how deeply personal and vicious it is.
Takahashi tries to take down the champion with all her big power moves. It doesn’t work this time. Nakajima is stronger, more resilient. So, Nanae resorts to charging forward with a flurry of headbutts.
Nakajima, too, has to amp up the violence. She hits a half nelson suplex while holding tight to Takahashi’s hair. Each wrestler hits the other with bomb after bomb. They reach deeper into themselves to find more ways to ramp up the punishment. It is a war of escalation.
When Nakajima’s signature suplexes don’t get the win, she fires them off again, again, again, until she has fully hammered the nail into the wood, until Arisa can lie on her back with blood in her smile the victor.
The drama rolls on after the final bell courtesy of the hair vs. hair stipulation. Takahashi is forced to sit in a chair and shave off her own hair. She offers no resistance, instead taking this penance with honor. But it is an emotional process for both women.
Nakajima cries watching all the blonde hair fall to the mat. She seems overcome by the moment, by how severe this outcome is. Maybe it’s regret or mercy, but something is tearing away at the champ as Takahashi’s sits bald before the audience, her eyes closed, her face tight with grief.
With that, Nakajima could not only call herself champion, but the true master of SEAdLINNNG. The blood left on her sword would always be a reminder of the beast she’d slayed.
This is a match that many will miss out on because of the size of the promotion that produced it. Joshi wrestling overall gets overlooked, but the companies outside of the top ones especially so. But this bout is not to be missed.
It is a pushing of boundaries, a primal triumph. The violence Nakajima and Takahashi exact on each other is deliberate, elegant, a celebration of pain, and all worth watching many times over.