April 25, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan
Choco Pro is a new effort from Gatoh Move’s Emi Sakura and DDT’s Antonio Honda to bring live wrestling from Ichigaya to fans all over the world.
The shows are streamed live from Ichigaya Chocolate Square with no crowd. As I like to mention to start my Gatoh Move reviews, the Ichigaya events are held in a small room with no ring. The edge of the mat and the wall are essentially the “rope break” point for submissions, but do not interrupt pinfall attempts.
With no crowd the two large sliding windows on one wall which are left in, but opened as needed for some unique high risk maneuvers performed from the windowsill.
Big singles match in the main event topping a strong card all around.
As usual Akki is helping with translation, as well as sharing camera duties with Honda. Yuna and Mei split referee duties.
1) Mei Suruga vs Antonio Honda
Rematch from ChocoPro 4, and we’re “warned” with such a small roster we’ll potentially be seeing lot of rematches. Totally fine with me, and it’ll be interesting to see how they keep things fresh from match to match..
Honda won that prior encounter, although Mei has a victory over him in Gatoh Move in their 500 Count match. In a bit of a surprise we don’t have normal apple-themed Mei, but Lettuce Mei the Vegetable Girl in a light green costume.
Standard in-every-match Honda spots to start, but nice variety later with a lot of gags and spots revolving around Mei’s cape including a bull fighting bit, Honda putting it on as a skirt and pantomiming Marilyn Monroe, and the cape taking the place of the banana peel in Honda’s recurring unfortunate experiences slipping out of the windowsill. Yuna proves to be a very passive referee largely letting them do whatever they want with minimal token protests.
In the end Honda reverses a rollup for another victory to keep his undefeated streak intact. This was fine, with some nice variations among the usual Honda formula.
2) Yuna Mizumori vs Baliyan Akki
Yuna gets in the window behind Akki as he makes his pre-match comments and nails a dropkick from there for a hot open. From there they’re just throwing themselves at each other with high speed, high impact moves and it’s fantastic.
There were a lot of great little touches throughout. At one point Akki does his wall hang into a body press when Yuna tries the Papaya, Mango, Coconut headbutt in a great counter, then tries his own variation (Katsu! Pineapple! Curry!) to about as much success as Yuna had. Later Yuna tries to make him Yahho but he forces her into a Namaste pose instead.
The counters and pace got crazy towards the end, and Akki ties Yuna up completely and she has to submit to what Honda dubs the Namaste clutch. Excellent match.
Like Yuna Mei’s proving to be a rather overly-tolerant and uninvolved ref, but their reactions to what’s happening around them more than makes up for it. 😉
3) Emi Sakura vs Ryo Muznami
First time singles match between two Joshi wrestlers who have worked in AEW. Sakura has an AEW logo in the corner of the ChocoPro banner and is generally trying to do everything she can to promote them while she can’t travel over to wrestle here in the US.
I’m a long time fan of Mizunami from seeing her in Shimmer and her Avid Rival tag team with the retired Misaki Ohata so was extremely excited when she started wrestling for Gtoh Move and ChocoPro. She fits in so well and the potential for great matchups like this one is limitless.
This was an absolute treat as two masters fought tooth and nail. Elevating things even further were several close ups and extreme camera angles, epitomized by knocking Honda over at one point and brawling directly above the camera.
I was cringing at their chop exchange, and poor Sakura had visible welts around her neck post match. Such is the price of victory however, as Emi wins with La Magistral in a bit of a surprise.
Post-show sees the newly named AEW Dark Chocolate Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament! Honda powers through this one with mind games and in the finals he avenges his loss last time to Yuna when she tells the truth about what she’ll throw and Honda wins the chocolate. For insult to injury, Honda teases giving it to Yuna then eats it. An annoyed Emi (who Honda beat in the semis) declares it’s no longer allowed to announce what you’ll throw in future tournaments. Janken is so intense.
ChocoPro 8 is announced for April 29 back at their normal times. It’ll be a celebration of Obi’s 10th Anniversary and she’ll face Honda in the main event.
As I like to reiterate I’m beyond grateful to Sakura and the rest of Gatoh Move/ChocoPro for doing so much to provide good natured content aimed at connecting people in this time of isolation and bringing smiles to everyones faces. It’s much needed and appreciated. Visit Gatoh Move’s YouTube channel to check it all out, including the replay of this show.
Another great offering from ChocoPro. The main event in particular is must-see.