Yes, Japanese wrestling has ground to a halt outside of a handful of empty arena shows, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still things for me to ramble on about! First up is SEAdLINNNG’s show from earlier this month, which took place in a time where crowds were still allowed. Quick reminder, this is only the second SEAdLINNNG review I’ve done, so if I make any mistakes/miss anything out, please let me know.
Tsukasa Fujimoto defaeted Honori Hana
There was a fun through line in this match as Honori repeatedly attempted to headbutt Fujimoto. She went for one out of the opening handshake and seemed to have made it her goal to drive her head into Tsukasa’s. It turned out to be a strong idea too, as when she did hit it, it set-up a trio of two counts that came very close to getting the win.
Of course, she wouldn’t get any more than close. This was your standard rookie vs veteran set-up which, as always, is not intended as an insult. In fact, it was a strong example of the genre, Honori showing good fire and Fujimoto given her a decent amount to work with. She let the kid shine, and in my mind, that’s always the sign of a great wrestler.
Fujimoto would pick up the win, slapping on a Camel Clutch style move that wrapped Honori’s arms around her own neck. It was a nice finish to an enjoyable opener that kicked us off in the right way.
Tsukushi defeated Leon and Misa Matsui in a High Speed match
Even by wrestling’s standard, Natsuki Taiyo’s ‘retirement’ is rather active, isn’t it? Tsukushi was smart enough to get on the ref’s good side before the match, which meant when her two opponents locked her in a joint submission, Natsuki couldn’t resist the temptation to break her out. Not that Tsukushi showed much gratitude, choosing instead to Dropkick her saviour in the face.
It also serves as a pretty perfect insight into what this match was like. SEAdLINNNG’s High Speed style seems perfectly designed to put together bouts that are just a shitload of fun. They’re worked at pace and seem to encourage inventive spots, as these three did a great job of working around there being three of them. Any regular readers of my reviews will know three-ways generally leave me cold, but this worked for me.
Tsukushi would get the win and leap into the arms of the ref in celebration, so the Dropkick was obviously forgiven. One can’t blame Leon for being a bit miffed about the situation, though. She’ll be pushing to get the VAR in sooner rather than later.
Verdict: Dodgy Ref!
MAX VOLTAGE (Ryo Mizunami and Miyuki Takase) and Hiroyo Matsumoto and Syuri fought to a time limit draw
Much like in January, Syuri found herself being dragged into the Max Voltage pre-match dance despite being on the other side of the ring. You know, my move into watching smaller joshi companies has revealed to me that Syuri is probably one of my favourite wrestlers, lass can do it all. She has got to start remembering what team she’s on, though, as the match opened with everyone deciding to give her a kicking thanks to her fickle nature.
Eventually, Matsumoto decided to forgive her partner, and we settled into a solid match. It’s something I say all the time, but when you put a load of talented wrestlers in the ring together, they tend to produce good shit, so while there was no real emotional hook to this (at least not for me, long time SEAdLINNNG watchers might have had that), I was always going to have a good time.
By the end, the excitement had been ramped up, leading to an engrossing exchange from Syuri and Takase before Ryo and Hiroyo were unleashed to do strong girl stuff. As the clock ticked down, both teams escalated their aggression, but neither could get the win, Matsumoto and Mizunami colliding in the centre of the ring and proving unable to stand-up as the time ran out.
Verdict: Good Wrestlers = Good Wrestling
Post-match, everyone except Syuri got a chance to say their bit, and there was lots of impassioned communication. It ended with Takase and Matsumoto shaking hands, so presumably, some kind of agreement was reached.
Yoshiko, Yuu and Kaho Kobayashi defeated La Fresa de Egoistas (Makoto, ASUKA and Mima Shimoda)
Is there a reason for the Fresa team name? Because it seems incredibly random without context.
Anyway, this fell into the alright category. It was weird, there were a lot of wrestlers involved who I like, but for whatever reason they never grabbed me. It might have been caused by my head, rather than an actual issue with the match, but I they failed to get me invested. There was no through line for me to latch onto, and unlike the previous tag, it didn’t build in a way that got me to care despite that.
Still, it had its moment. It’s always lovely to see ASUKA, as it’s been a while since she last popped up in DDT (has she been injured?) and her final exchange with Yoshiko was good, even if it did end a bit abruptly.
Sorry, this is a bit of a failure of critical ability as saying ‘this didn’t click for me’ without explaining why isn’t much use. Sometimes, though, a match just doesn’t work for you, and I think that’s what happened here. I’m not willing to tell you it sucked because it didn’t. It just wasn’t what I wanted on the Sunday afternoon that I watched this show.
Verdict: Something Didn’t Click
ASUKA and Yoshiko had a chat post-match that didn’t seem friendly. I’m guessing that’s one we might see again.
Arisa Nakajima defeated Rina Yamashita to retain the Beyond The Sea Title
Rina attacked as Arisa entered the ring, getting down to some good old-fashioned bullying as she soaked her with a water bottle and took control. That set-up the narrative for the match, with Yamashita dominating the bulk of the action, but Arisa taking her moments well. When she struck, she struck hard, hitting the bigger woman with everything she had.
That slowly managed to level the match out, the two of them exchanging strikes in the centre of the ring before both collapsing from the onslaught, unable to be separated. Rina still had that power advantage, hitting multiple brutal lariats, but Arisa was chipping away at her, kicking away a Sliding D and forcing her to work for the damage she did do.
Her chipping away would turn out to be successful, allowing her to pull out an awesome counter to a Crucifix Bomb (it was basically a Sunset Flip Bomb) before getting Yamashita over with a Suplex Hold for the three. It all added up to a match that I thought was good, but not great. The story made sense, running through the action in a way that kept me engaged, but it felt like there was another level or two they could have hit. It was a bit too centred around Rina hitting a big move and Arisa kicking out defiantly, especially as those big moves tended to be Lariats. I just wanted that little bit more to push it to the next level.
Still, I’m by no means saying it was a bad match. It was good, verging on great and worked smartly. I was just left with the feeling that these two could do even better.
Verdict: Good, But Not Incredible
After Arisa had her say towards Rina post-match, her Fresa buddies seemed to be coming out to celebrate with her. However, ASUKA had brought a chair to that celebration, and it wasn’t for sitting on. She smashed it over Nakajima’s head, as it looks like they’re heading in a different direction. One could argue that kicking the champ out of your unit is perhaps not the smartest move, but I’m sure they gave good reasons.
Then, after her former pals had left, Fujimoto turned up and gave Arisa a kick too. Thankfully, that seemed to be a supportive kick, as some friends just interact in physical ways.
That was a fun show which I enjoyed a lot but never pushed over into being anything special. Still, that’s hardly the worst review in the world, is it? Oh dear, I only had a really nice time watching your wrestling show, what a catastrophe. Plus, it all comes with the caveat that I’m not yet emotionally invested in SEAdLINNNG’s storytelling. Perhaps in a year, I’d watch a show like this and have a completely different point of view.
Watch SEAdLINNNG on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/nicopro