It’s a very rare occasion for us to be this excited about a successful title defence, but when you look at the history of the Wrestling New Classic Women’s Championship – and the SMASH Divas Championship which preceded it – you would join us in our exuberance.
Kana was the first winner of the SMASH belt in September 2011, though she lost it to Tomoka Nakagawa, who then dropped it back to Kana. Syuri then claimed the title and the promotion closed with the championship still in her possession. From the ashes of SMASH (SMASHes?) came WNC, which crowned Syuri as the inaugural Women’s Champion last December – she was beaten by Makoto, who quickly lost the title to the current holder, Lin Byron. In the past 22 months, there have been seven champions across both brands, with not a single successful title defence by any of them. That’s right – at no point had a SMASH or WNC female titleholder retained the title in either TAJIRI-run promotion… until now.
Based on the history of the title and the inability of any wrestler to get a win while holding the belt, the smart money would have been on Lin Byron’s challenger to wrest the title away from her on yesterday’s WNC show in . In this case, it was Serena Deeb, who was making her first trip to Japan since losing to Kana in the final of the SMASH tournament to determine the first champion. The pair had a quick angle ahead of their match during a training session on Wednesday where instead of shaking hands Byron went to get in a quick shot, only for Deeb to retaliate with a slap to the face and a big spear.
The Women’s Championship match was the main event of the show at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, and ended with the result which we were certainly not expecting – a win for the champion. Puroresu Spirit reports that Byron got the pin just before the 16 minute mark with a Frankensteiner to break the cycle. A look at the upcoming WNC cards show that the next time the pair will face off will be in a six person tag which will main event the August 10 show. Between now and then, Byron has no scheduled defences, so it could be that Serena may get another crack at the title if she can get a win over the champion in that match.
UPDATE: The Women’s Title picture has taken a turn since the publication of this piece. Click here to find out more.
– Lee Burton
– Photos by Yuichi Kojima