It’s safe to say that there is not much going on in the world of wrestling at the moment. Unless you’re a WWE or AEW fan, your cravings are probably not being met. Thankfully, Emi Sakura and co are here to help because after I raved about the first episode of ChocoProLIVE!, they’ve only gone and got better.
Episode three was their best yet as they put together an hour of wrestling that I’d put up against any other this year. It scratched every itch I have, providing absurd comedy from Lulu Pencil vs Antonio Honda, a technical battle between Konno and Mizumori and a wild tag to close it out. Across three matches they made me laugh, gasp and then laugh some more.
The most impressive thing, however, was how far ChocoPro has come as a presentation. Not only did they manage to avoid any technical glitches, but you can see the wrestlers involved getting better at adapting to this unique situation. Honda and Akki alternated holding the camera, swapping out to wrestle their matches, and both of them seem to be growing in confidence behind the lens. They’re starting to get closer to the action, capturing unique moments by using Ichigaya’s lack of ring to get right up next to those involved. It might seem like a small thing, but when you’ve got Emi Sakura staring into your eyes, it makes all the difference.
That’s extending to the in-ring work too. I praised Tokyo Joshi a couple of days ago for the wrestlers’ ability to perform to the camera, and ChocoPro has done the exact same thing. One of the spots of the night was Emi drawing the focus to her, setting up a pose with the knowledge that Brookes and Mei were preparing off-screen and the attack that would send her flying would come from nowhere for those at home. For a live crowd, that would have still been a good moment, but it was specifically constructed to play to a YouTube audience. Then again, this is the group that’s made Ichigaya Chocolate Square it’s home, so it should be no surprise that they’ve nailed the ability to use space to their advantage.
And, in what I feel is becoming a repetitive point from me, they continue to let wrestlers shine by maximising their personalities. Honda and Lulu are the obvious example of this, their unique brands of comedy producing genius in the opening match, but it shone all show long. Everyone has such a solid grasp of exactly who they are, so whether it’s the pineapple joy of Mizumori or the sibling bickering of Brookes and Mei, you’re grabbed by both more than just the in-ring work.
I’m lucky to be in a position where one of the biggest problems I have during this whole shitshow is a lack of wrestling. However, there is no getting away from the fact that said lack does effect me. Wrestling is my safety blanket, and when the world’s scary, I hide under it and wait for it all to go away. Thankfully, ChocoProLIVE! is doing its part to keep me safe as these shows are slices of joy that blow away all the bad stuff. If you’re missing that wrestling fix, then get on YouTube and hide in Ichigaya with me, I promise you’ll love it.
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