We now know who is facing who in the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament.
Last week AEW released all the matchups on the tournament bracket. The first match took place on Dynamite, which saw Thunder Rosa advance over Leyla Hirsch.
Now the action heads overseas, as the first round of the Japanese side of the bracket takes place tonight on AEW’s YouTube channel. The matches will be held on a closed set at the Ice Ribbon Dojo in Warami, Saitama.
Let’s look at the matchups and see what to expect going into tonight’s AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament action.
Aja Kong vs. Rin Kadokura
Kicking things off is Rin Kadokura having the tall task of taking on Aja Kong.
Kong is without a doubt a living legend in professional wrestling. She has wrestled all over the world in her astonishing 35-year career, including a brief stint in WWF back in 1995. She won a myriad of singles and tag team championships across various promotions, as well as founding the all-women’s promotion, Arsion.
In addition, Kong also wrestled in a six-woman tag match at AEW’s inaugural pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, back in 2019.
On the other hand, Kadokura made her in-ring debut in 2016 for Marvelous. Since then, she has appeared for SEAdLINNNG, Pro Wrestling WAVE, Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling, Ice Ribbon, and STARDOM. She is also a two-time WAVE Tag Team Champion, once with Takumi Iroha and currently with Itsuki Aoki.
This matchup will not be for the faint of heart. Kong is a hard hitting, smash mouth competitor who uses her strength and veteran experience to compensate for her lack of agility. Kadokura is technically sound and a violent striker with a lot of energy and tenacity. She is clearly the underdog going into this one, but don’t count her out right away.
Will Kong’s experience ensure her another victory? Or will Kadokura’s ferocity help her pull off perhaps the biggest upset in the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament?
Veny vs. Emi Sakura
We now move on to Veny facing off against Emi Sakura.
Veny is a six-year pro, despite only being 22 years old. They made there debut in 2015 for Pro Wrestling Wave, and then wrestled for DDT and SEAdLINNG. They are a three-time DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion and a former Wave Single Champion. They are also the first Japanese transgender pro wrestler.
Sakura is a familiar name among AEW fans, but she is absolutely revered in Japan. The 26-year veteran is not only a decorated performer in the ring, but is just as well known outside it. She founded Ice Ribbon in 2006 and was instrumental in training a lot of the talent. Then, she founded Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling just six years later.
Much like Kong, Sakura made her AEW debut in 2019 at Double or Nothing. She went on to compete in several matches before unsuccessfully challenging Riho for the AEW Women’s Championship at Full Gear.
These two will certainly put on a heck of a show here. They both have high ring IQs and can put on great matches with just about anyone. Veny is a high-flyer, but Sakura is adaptable and can take to the skies as well if needed. Don’t be surprised if this one is a back-and-forth contest from bell to bell.
Maki Itoh vs. Ryo Mizunami
Up next is Maki Itoh going toe to toe with Ryo Mizunami.
Itoh is a former pop idol turned wrestler. She made sporadic appearances for DDT starting in 2013 until making her official debut for the promotion in 2016. She is most known for her time there, where she was a six-time Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion.
Without a doubt, she is one of the most popular wrestlers in Japan right now. Not only is she bold and brash inside the ring, but she is the exact same outside of it as well. Just a quick look at her social media shows that she is vulgar, blunt, and doesn’t care who knows it.
Mizunami is yet another veteran making their presence known in the tournament. Debuting in 2004, she is best known for her time at Pro Wrestling Wave. She is a two-time Wave Single Champion and a one-time Wave Tag Team Champion with Misaki Ohata. Just like Sakura and Kong, Mizunami also wrestled at AEW’s Double or Nothing in 2019.
This match could top Kong vs. Kadokura in terms of physicality. Meiko Satomura trained Mizunami, so expect a quick and brutal offense that is focused on strikes. Itoh utilizes a very unorthodox style and is like a heat seeking missile inside the ring.
But it is Itoh’s mind games that could turn the tide in her favor. The self-proclaimed “Cutest Wrestler in the World” is notorious for throwing her opponents off their game with her attitude and taunts. If Mizunami can keep Itoh out of her head, both women could tear the house down tonight.
Yuka Sakazaki vs. Mei Suruga
Finally, we come to Yuka Sakazaki clashing with Mei Suruga.
Sakazaki is another name that AEW fans are familiar with. She debuted in 2013 for Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling and won several championships for the promotion. She is a two-time Tokyo Princess of Princess Champion, as well as a two-time Tokyo Princess Tag Team Champion.
She made her AEW debut at Double or Nothing in 2019, and then competed at Fyter Fest the following month. She debuted on Dynamite last February and defeated Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. However, Baker attacked her after the match and knocked several of her teeth out.
Suruga debuted in 2018 for Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling after training under Emi Sakura. She also wrestled for Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling, DDT, and SEAdLINNNG. She is currently one half of the Asia Dream Tag Team Champions with Baliyan Akki.
Both women possess very similar in-ring styles, so this could easily be the most competitive match of the night. They are extremely speedy and energetic high-flyers, so we are in for quite a treat. This one could potentially steal the show tonight, which is saying something considering the amount of talent in the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament.