Decmber 3, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
The whole show looked like a lot of fun, and with the added bonus of seeing a dear friend in Japan again I was extremely excited for the night.
In an awesome touch, since Natsumi Maki is currently out injured and thus unable to wrestle at the show Sareee instead included her as a special ring announcer.
1) Zap I & Zap T vs Madeline & Miyuki Takase
In a heartbreaking bit of bad luck Marvelous’ Mio Momono, scheduled to team with Madeline here, required surgery on her elbow just a few short weeks after returning from knee surgery. On the positive side it went well, and she was in attendance (in a sling) helping sell tickets for her home promotion Marvelous’ upcoming shows.
While certainly bringing a different style and energy to things than Mio would have, reigning Actwres girlZ Champion Miyuki Takase was a great replacement none-the-less.
This was my second time seeing Madeline (after catching her debut last May) and she’s a joy to watch. Her mannerisms are so expressive and she was a natural fiery underdog for the Zaps to push around.
I’m admittedly not a big fan of the way full heels are handled over here (with referees simply watching and making disapproving noises as they use weapons without any actual attempts to, you know, STOP THEM FROM CHEATING and the faces hardly ever responding in kind).
But outside of that particular common aspect of wrestling in Japan/pet peeve of mine this was a really fun battle between a pair of looming, dominating bullies and faces who just refused to stay down to the last. The assault of the masked veterans was too much in the end, but Madeline and Miyuki put up a hell of a fight. Great start.
2) Hibiki vs Jenny Rose
Marvelous’ rookie Hibiki is the former Meiko Tanaka (of Diana). I was quite impressed with her when I saw her a few years back and it’s great to see her back in wrestling. Also beyond awesome to see Jenny back in Japan.
So this was a reunion of the former Diana rookie and a mainstay foreign wrestler of theirs at the time. The familiarity and chemistry showed, with a nicely competitive match wrestled at a good clip and a strong showing for Hibiki before losing to the veteran.
3) Aj Kong vs Nanami
Diana’s newest rookie, at 13 years old and having debuted just two months ago, draws the monster here.
There’s an art to having a much bigger, dominating veteran bait an upstart and have it remain interesting, and Kong’s a true master. She was never losing this match, but it was compelling all the same and Nanami’s infrequent advantages were perfectly done. In one extended sequence Kong egged Nanami on to deliver over TWENTY dropkicks, yelling at her to hit harder and higher each time. When Nanami later got Aja down to a knee and nailed her in the head with a dropkick the crowd erupted.
Excellent example of how to do this particular formula right (as always with Kong), and I’m looking forward to seeing more of Nanami in the future.
4) Haruka Umesaki & X vs CRYSIS (Jaguar Yokota & Ayako Sato)
After everyone else was introduced Haruka called for X … and Sareee’s own music played. With the woman of the night already ringside something was clearly up, and sure enough after a moment out came Kyusei Sareee as played by the glorious mimic herself Sakura Hirota.
This was WAY over the top, but amusingly done and Jaguar’s barely strained patience awesome. The real Sareee eventually got involved, and this was just a well done bit of comedy supported by bursts of heavier action and continued the excellent pacing and balance of different styles on this show.
As with the opener the treatment of weapons took me out of the match at moments, but again that’s personal preference and otherwise this was exactly what it meant to be and should have been (I do have to mention a rather humorous whiff by Jaguar with a tray when Haruka hit the ropes and instead of hitting the rookie the tray went clear through the air/ropes next to her, which somehow kind of fit in with the kind of match this was 😉 ).
4) Kaoru Ito vs Kyoko Inoue vs Chihiro Hashimoto
My goodness this was an awesome little war. It featured three heavyweight Joshi competitors just laying into each other full force until one couldn’t kick out. Kyoko pinned Ito after one big lariat too many for the win, and all three of them looked great along the way.
5) Sareee & Syuri vs Mayu Iwatani & Takumi Iroha
This was billed as a dream match, and with reigning top champions from three different promotions that don’t all generally interact and a recently returned MMA competitor involved I’d say it fit the description.
With her time in MMA I hadn’t seen Syuri wrestle in years. And while Stardom’s NY show was quite good a crazy 8-woman tag with a broken bottom rope isn’t the same thing as a concentrated singles or tag team match, so this was also my first time seeing Mayu in this type of contest in about as long. Add in Marvelous’ ace and reigning Regina di Wave champion Iroha and Sareee herself and this was quite an exciting matchup on paper.
Of course again the benefit of dream matches is seeing these unusual combinations of wrestlers squaring off with a big fight feel, and this had it all in spades.
Top notch work from all four for the full duration of the time limit draw without every feeling like it was headed that way, this was a treat on so many levels. Great way to wrap up a great show.
This show was interesting matchups that were well booked and fun up and down the card. Stellar effort from Sareee, and a thoroughly enjoyable night.