Joshi Watch: Mei Suruga

In the landscape of the lighthearted, fun-loving landscape of Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling, few are as recognizable as Mei Suruga.

Though she has only been wrestling professionally for a short time – this May, she will have been in the business for two full years – Mei Suruga has made the most of every opportunity given to her. Thus, Suruga has amassed popularity in Japan and abroad. The sky is limit, however, and, she isn’t shy to spread her wings and soar.

According to an interview she did on the Miracle Apricot Podcast, Mei Suruga began watching pro wrestling during her second year of high school. The year after, she decided to pursue wrestling more seriously, which led to her becoming involved in Gatoh Move. At the stature of four feet, ten inches, Suruga was included in a directory with other shorter wrestlers. Though Suruga was in the process of studying for her university entrance exams, she opted for the path of a wrestler.

Suruga entered learned in Gatoh Move’s Daredemo Joshi Pro Wrestling, or Darejo Project. It was here where she under the tutelage of Gatoh Move Founder Emi Sakura, who founded Ice Ribbon years prior. Suruga began training in mid-April before making her debut the month after. On May 27, 2018, Suruga had her first official match against her trainer at Gatoh Move’s Kitazawa Town Hall event. Though Suruga lost in her first encounter, her career was just beginning.

Photo / Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling
Suruga continued to test her mettle against other Gatoh Move talent throughout the rest of the year.

In the months that followed her debut match, the Kyoto native faced the likes of Mitsuru Konno, Yuna Mizumori, and future inaugural AEW Women’s World Champion Riho. Suruga made her first appearance for Pro Wrestling HEAT UP in June, teaming with her mentor Sakura against Konno and Riho. August saw Suruga make her Dramatic Dream Team debut, joining forces with Sakura and Riho in a losing effort against NEO Biishiki-gun‘s Saki Akai, Yoshiko, and Masahiro Takanashi. As someone who was making appearances for other promotions with such little experience, considerable trust was instilled in Suruga early on.

In addition to securing her first victory in August – she teamed with Aoi Kizuki to defeat Konno and Riho – her appearances across other promotions continued. That same month, she started working events for Sendai Girls, facing Mizumori in her debut match. September saw Suruga debut for PURE-J as well, facing KAZUKI in a losing effort. In October, Suruga won her first singles match against Kizuki. Suruga continued to appear for promotions including Sendai Girls and Michinoku Pro Wrestling before 2018 came to a close.

In January of 2019, Suruga wrestled outside of Japan for the first time. During this month, she debuted for King of Pro Wrestling in China, facing Sakura in the second to last KOPW III match. While Suruga’s priority remained Gatoh Move, her appearances for other promotions included; she debuted for SEAdLINNNG in February and Pro Wrestling WAVE in April. In early May, Suruga secured her first title opportunity. Defeating Sakura and Mizumori in a one-day tournament, Suruga became the number one contender for Gatoh Move’s Super Asia Championship. The month after, Suruga unsuccessfully challenged Super Asia Champion Riho in a competitive encounter that lasted a little over 13 minutes.

Photo / Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling
Despite the aforementioned loss, Suruga remained a consistent presence in Gatoh Move.

In addition to wrestling live matches, Suruga had a hand in training future wrestlers at Darejo, Rin Rin and Lulu Pencil being just a few examples. She also worked exhibition matches against other newcomers, including Tokiko Kirihara and Chie Koishikawa. September saw Suruga challenge for the Asia Dream Tag Team Championship. Alongside Kaori Yoneyama, Suruga fell to reigning champions SAKI and Mizumori, known collectively as Tropikawild. Suruga set her sights on the 3 Count Wrestling Women’s Championship, held by Sakura, in October; once against Suruga fell short.

In her ongoing efforts to wrestle abroad, Suruga appeared for the United Kingdom-based Pro-Wrestling EVE in November. She competed in the SHE-1 Tournament, featuring three four-wrestler blocks and held under round robin rules. The eventual winner would receive a title match at Wrestle Queendom in January of 2020. As a member of Block C, Muruga picked up a victory over Jetta and fell to Rhia O’Reilly and Jazz. Despite finishing with only 2 points, this experience was essential for Suruga’s long-term growth.

Early 2020 would mark another landmark in the young career of Mei Suruga.

The previous December, Stardom wrestler Kagetsu announced her retirement. This news was shocking, to say the least, but she still had more matches to wrestle. What followed was a final run for Kagetsu, which saw her wrestle for Stardom and other promotions to boot. This run would lead her to Gatoh Move, where she faced Suruga in a BASEMEN MON STAR encounter in Tokyo. In this exciting match, which featured numerous near-falls by the end, Kagetsu emerged victorious.

Photo / Twitter @Mei_gtmv

Though Mei Suruga is still early into her wrestling career, she has already made a number of great strides. From her consistent development to her participation in major tournaments to her clashes with departing veterans, Suruga has been nothing short of impressive in every endeavor. Gatoh Move is comprised of strong wrestlers with unique personalities. It wouldn’t be unfathomable to expect Suruga truly break out in the coming years.

Check out past Joshi Watches and discover more stars from Japan!

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can watch Mei Suruga at Gatoh Move on YouTube and via the Gatoh Move Experience.