In light of what’s come out over the last few days, I want to kick this off by saying that I believe victims. I have nothing but respect for those who are brave enough to speak out against abusers in wrestling and will strive to do anything I can to help. In the past, I’ve described wrestling as my safety blanket, the thing that allows me to hide from the world and feel something. That anyone could have that feeling taken away from that at the hands of some sick fuck breaks my heart and makes me furious at the same time. Wrestling can and should be better. If we have to burn it down to make that a reality, then let’s grab the matches.
There is no good way to segue from that into my nonsense, so I’m not even going to try for smoothness.
As wrestling floods back into Japan, SEAdLINNNG is coming back hot, kicking things off right where they left them. Sure, there weren’t any fans there, but ASUKA and Arisa were still going to war, and that sounds like a shitload of fun.
The show actually started with definitely retired wrestler Natsuki Taiyo working an exhibition against Riko Shirai. I’m a big fan of Taiyo being ‘retired’ while managing to bump and get involved in matches more than many active wrestlers and was kind of sad we didn’t get to see it. Still, we’d get our Taiyo fix later in the show.
Hiroyo Matsumoto defeated Honori Hana
Honori looked nervous before the match, appearing unsure what to do with herself. My guess would be that a few months off plus the bizarre confines of an empty arena threw her.
Thankfully, it didn’t seem to extend into the performance. Matsumoto was obviously the dominant force here, but Honori showed some scrappy fire, at one point literally biting her way out of a submission. While it must have been tough being dragged away from the ring so early in her career, it looked like she quickly got back into the swing of things.
Her fire would peak towards the end, a string of Dropkicks dropping Matsumoto to a knee before she lifted the veteran for a Slam. It was to be her final moments, though, Matsumoto bending her in half with a Crab for the submission win. Still, for someone who looked terrified when she stepped into the ring, that was a decent showing.
Verdict: Beat The Nerves
Makoto and Yuu defeated Miyuki Takase and Misa Matsui
Miyuki and Misa were already halfway through roll-ups when the bell rang, which I can only applaud. The more flash pins in wrestling, the better.
Sadly, sometimes flash pins meet brute force, and when that brute force is wielded by Yuu, it’s nae a fair fight. She was a wrecking ball in this match, barrelling through Matsui and, unsurprisingly, coming out on top in a strike exchange with Takase. Throw in Mokoto booting them in the face, and it’s fair to say Takase and Matsui were in for a rough afternoon.
They didn’t go down with a fight, Takase coming to the youngster’s aid on a couple of occasions and plenty of fire being shown. Ultimately, though, they didn’t have enough. Power trumped roll-ups and this was a decent match.
Verdict: I Still Love A Roll-Up
Kaho Kobayashi and Yoshiko defeated MAX VOLTAGE (Ryo Mizunami and Aoki Itsuki)
Right, who had Yoshiko becoming a big TikTok star on their bingo card for 2020? No-one? Hm, no, me neither. Jokes aside, it would be great if SEAdLINNNG was able to leverage that into pulling some more fans. She has a lot of followers and the number she’d have to convert to wrestling to make a difference is not huge.
If you’re a current SEAdLINNNG fan, you know what this match was. MAX VOLTAGE always deliver in this spot, putting together tags that are built for joy. Throw in Kaho, who is consistently entertaining, and Yoshiko, who is at her best in a tag team environment, and you’ve got a pretty tasty recipe on your hands.
It wasn’t all fun and games, Yoshiko and Ryo getting into a slugfest that saw things get serious pretty quick. Then, once they were done dishing out beatings, Kaho and Itsuki were handed the home stretch, momentum bouncing between the two as their partners slipped in and out. It was a blast, the eighteen odd minutes they wrestled for flying by.
As I said, these matches are a staple of SEAdLINNNG’s mid-card, so you know what you’re getting coming in. That doesn’t stop them being fun, though.
Verdict: Fun, Fun, Fun
Yoshiko won a Battle Royal
The good times continued as we rolled into a good old-fashioned indie battle royal where everyone was handed the chance to be involved.
From start to finish, this leaned into the silliness. We got a big girls alliance of Matsumoto, Yoshiko and Yuu throwing everyone into the corner, launching Kaho at them and then failing to do the same with Yuu. Later, Takase was eliminated after she ran into an invisible wall and Natsuki Taiyo charged the ring to turn it into a High Speed match (making sure to take a few bumps too). So yea, if you have an issue with nonsense, walk away.
Thankfully, I love the nonsense, so this was right up my street. It’s not like there wasn’t some good wrestling in there either and the hoss-off between Yoshiko and Matsumoto that saw us home was everything you’d want it to be (with the added fun of Honori Hana grabbing some revenge from earlier in the night). There were a lot of talented wrestlers in that ring, so you can sit back, relax and trust them to entertain you.
Verdict: Big Smile
Arisa Nakajima defeated ASUKA to retain the Beyond the Sea Title
A match that (for reasons outwith the company’s control) was many months in the making. ASUKA turned on Arisa back in March, kicking her out of Las Fresas de Egoistas and setting them on a collision course.
And having removed Arisa from her faction, ASUKA was now out to beat the shit out of her. She had the power advantage in this match, dumping the champ with Germans and hoisting her into the air for Powerbombs. If this had been a straight fight, two people standing in the middle of the ring trading blows, she might just have won it.
However, for all ASUKA’s brilliance, she doesn’t yet have Arisa Nakajima experience. That streak of genius that comes from years honing your craft. When she needed to, she found every opening, leaping off the top to DDT ASUKA on the apron and attacking her leg, cutting it out from underneath the challenger. There was even an Avalanche German which sent ASUKA tumbling across the ring, looking for a second like she was going to flip out of it only to come crashing down on her knees.
In would all prove too much for the challenger as at the crucial moment Arisa twisted into a DDT. An unleashing of blows and a German couldn’t see ASUKA off, but when she was bundled up into a complex pin, her shoulders were trapped, and there was no kicking out. She was left glaring a hole into Arisa who may have won the battle, but I suspect ASUKA is ready to go to war. That was a damn fine match.
Verdict: Welcome Back
Post-match Arisa called out Yoshiko and I’m going to feel relatively confident in my assumption that they were setting up a match.
That’s how you do a comeback show. SEAdLINNG gave us a bit of everything in their return to the ring before capping things off with a hell of a main event. It’s nice to have them back.
Watch SEAdLINNNG on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/nicopro