WWE’s Super ShowDown event begins at 11 am Pacific time today. You could watch that, simultaneously supporting human rights abuses and forcing yourself to sit through Goldberg vs Undertaker, or you could watch… you know… something good. UK riot grrl women’s wrestling company Pro Wrestling Eve will be livestreaming some of their events on Facebook for free, which inspired me to put together ten great women’s matches that are available for free on YouTube!
Quick Note: I avoided including anything whose presence on YouTube isn’t strictly above board, making exceptions only for wrestling companies that no longer exist.
1. Sara Del Rey vs Kana October 8, 2011
You probably recognize Kana as former NXT and Smackdown Women’s Champion Asuka, You might recognize Sara Del Rey from her stint as one of the top women’s wrestlers in the United States, or as Sara Amato, Performance Center head coach. Their 2011 meeting in Chikara tore the roof off of the uh… Kingsport, Tennessee Civic Auditorium. Wow. That’s one lucky civic auditorium. This was back in the day when Kana didn’t wear any shoes and just kicked the crap out of her opponents. There’s no bottom rope for rope breaks because someone in the previous match broke it and they didn’t have time to get it fixed. And the match is better for it! An all-time favorite for me.
If you liked this, check out: everything Sara Del Rey ever did, honestly, but especially Sara Del Rey vs Kana in Shimmer, Kana vs Meiko Satomura.
2. Manami Toyota vs Akira Hokuto September 2, 1995
Just because not all of these matches are going to be from Japan in the 1990s doesn’t mean none of them will! Akira Hokuto is my favorite wrestler of all time. Manami Toyota is one of the greatest of all time. The match starts with Akira Hokuto doing a dive off the ringpost in a black wedding dress. I don’t really see what there is to complain about this. It’s fucking cool as shit.
If you liked this, check out: everything Manami Toyota and Akira Hokuto have ever done. Seriously. Just pop their names into a YouTube search and have a blast. Then pop their names into a Russian tube site search and keep the party going. But especially Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong and Akira Hokuto vs Shinobu Kandori.
3. Orange Cassidy vs Kylie Rae April 17, 2019
As I mentioned in my 7 Things this week, I love Beyond Wrestling’s weekly Uncharted Territory shows. As I mentioned in my Double or Nothing review, I love Orange Cassidy and Kylie Rae. So watching Orange Cassidy defend his (as of this publication date, no longer his) IWTV Title against Kylie Rae on an episode of Uncharted Territory? Yeah, I’m obviously going to be down for that. This is a great introductory match to both Cassidy and Rae, giving you a sense of their gimmicks and also why their gimmicks are good.
If you liked this, check out: Kylie Rae vs Mercedes Martinez, Orange Cassidy vs Kris Statlander.
4. Tessa Blanchard vs Mercedes Martinez 75 Minute Iron Woman Match October 19, 2018
“But Hunktears,” you might be thinking, “I like really long epic matches. Do you have any of those?” Why yes, strawman reader, I do. Tessa Blanchard and Mercedes Martinez going ONE HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES in an iron woman match in front of a crowd of like 100 people is insane and badass. Companies like Rise and Shimmer deserve a lot more credit for what they do for women’s wrestling in the United States.
If you liked this, check out: Tessa Blanchard vs Jordynne Grace, Mercedes Martinez vs Sara Del Rey
5. Dash Chisako vs Jordynne Grace April 1, 2018
A thriving indie wrestling scene in the UK and Ireland doesn’t just mean more indie wrestlers from the UK and Ireland! It also means cool matchups like brick shithouse Jordynne Grace and Sendai Girls’ Dash Chisako happening for very excited Irish crowds. Speed vs Power is a classic pro wrestling match dynamic, and Chisako and Grace really nail it in this one.
If you liked this, check out: Jordynne Grace vs Orange Cassidy, Dash Chisako vs Chihiro Hashimoto.
6. Athena vs LuFisto May 10, 2014
Earlier in 2019, French-Canadian indie mainstay LuFisto announced that after two decades in the business, she is retiring due to injury. (She also had cancer last year.) Back in the old days before Ember Moon was doing her Dungeons and Dragons character as a wrestler in WWE, she was doing her Dungeons and Dragons character as a wrestler on the independents. Their meeting in WSU in 2014 is the kind of solid match you’d expect from a powerhouse like LuFisto and an all-around talent like Athena.
Thank you LuFisto for giving us 22 years of ass-kickings!
If you liked this, check out: Athena vs Mercedes Martinez, LuFisto vs AR Fox.
6. Crush Gals vs Jumping Bomb Angels 1985?
“Hey Hunktears?” Yes, strawman reader? “What’s the deal with all this Japanese women’s wrestling from the olden days?” Wow, another excellent question. In the 1980s, women’s wrestling in Japan hit an enormous boom thanks in large part to one of the teams in this match: Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka, who, together, made up the Crush Gals. Back in the 80s, the Crush Gals released music, performed on variety shows, and were the kind of clean cut, cute athletic girls who dressed like Wham! that teens could look up to and sigh dreamily about.
Sure, this match has horribly low video quality and is frustratingly divided up into two parts. Please get back to me after you’ve watched it if you still want to complain. The action is quick and athletic, and you will not find a louder crowd than teenage girls in the 80s at All Japan Women’s shows.
If you liked this, check out: Chigusa Nagayo vs Dump Matsumoto, Jumping Bomb Angels vs Atrocious Alliance.
7. Chigusa Nagayo vs Lioness Asuka April 4, 1999
If anyone gets to show up on my list twice, it’s the Crush Gals. After Nagayo was aged out of All Japan Women’s, she just took all her star power and popularity and just started her own school and company. This brutal, emotional battle between two longtime tag team partners in their mid-30s is one of my favorites.
If you liked this, check out: the GAEA Girls documentary, honestly just do a quick search for “GAEA Japan” and have a wild time with some cool old wrestling.
9. Kay Lee Ray vs Meiko Satomura May 5, 2018
Pro Wrestling Eve put their entire Wrestle Queendom show on YouTube for free, but my favorite match of the bunch has to be the legendary Meiko Satomura going up against the very rude and very Scottish Kay Lee Ray. They have excellent chemistry, the crowd is hot, and they’re just able to really show off just how good they are. Meiko Satomura, a 24 year veteran of the business, does a lot of these matches nowadays where she’s testing the mettle of newer talent. It’s something I never really get sick of seeing.
If you liked this, check out: Meiko Satomura vs Chihiro Hashimoto, Kay Lee Ray vs Nikki Storm.
10. Bull Nakano vs Aja Kong April 25, 1992
The fact that I limited my Japanese women’s wrestling from the 90s to three matches is honestly a miracle. Why? Because once upon a time, I found this match on YouTube and my eyes were opened to what women’s wrestling can be. Bull Nakano and Aja Kong destroying each other in a steel cage while members of their respective factions wail on each other outside the ring and sneak them weapons is simply one of the coolest things that has ever happened.
If you liked this, check out: Bull Nakano vs Akira Hokuto, Bull Nakano vs Kyoko Inoue, Aja Kong vs Manami Toyota, Aja Kong vs Maki Itoh, Aja Kong vs Hikaru Shida, Aja Kong forever tbh.