The second person to have the dubious honour of taking a spot in my wrestling mixtape series debuted nearly a year ago. However, it’s safe to say that over the last 11 and a bit months, Lulu Pencil has made a hell of an impression, proving that freelance writers and wrestlers are basically the same thing…
Despite the limited options (Lulu hasn’t had that many matches), I’ve decided not to include the obvious (so, no Honda) and instead pick out a few other Lulu efforts. Enjoy!
Lulu Pencil vs Yuna Mizumori, Exhibition Match, Gatoh Move (6/7/2019)
The first time Lulu stepped in front of the Ichigaya crowd was for an exhibition match which wasn’t counted as an official debut and had a three minute time limit. On top of that, they’re worked almost like an Iron Man match, although, for obvious reasons, they rarely go above a fall. Lulu also wasn’t the only rookie to have her debut exhibition on this show as Rin Rin, Tokiko Kirihara and Sayaka all made their first appearance too (in fact, all four matches are part of the same video).
Having those three on the same tape makes for a lovely contrast between Lulu and her peers. We start with Rin Rin giving an energetic performance against Emi, catching her off-guard and making a lot of new friends. After that Otoki battles Mitsuru, surviving a submission and even bundling her into a pin that can’t be counted because the time runs out. Finally, Sayaka brings the fight to Mei, charging across the ring with a Dropkick at the bell and showing a lot of aggression as she becomes the third rookie to earn a draw.
Nestled in between Otoki and Sayaka is Lulu and, well, things don’t go quite as well for her. I usually try not to spoil these matches, but it’s Lulu, so you know she loses. What’s impressive is that in three minutes, she manages to lose at least (the tap outs get hard to count towards the end) eight times.
I can’t think of many characters who have come into wrestling as fully formed as Lulu Pencil. The bell rings, she lets out a yell, and a few seconds later, her own attempt at a roll-up has somehow ended up with her being pinned. There is a moment where Yunamon lies on her legs, I’m not even sure it’s intentional, and Lulu is tapping frantically, unable to take the slightest bit of pain.
And what makes it clear that it’s done to perfection is that the fans get it instantly. The second that first pin is counted, they realise where this is going, and the laughter starts. More importantly, though, you begin to hear the first shouts of her name. It is impossible to watch her flailing around, giving up the second her body gets bent in any direction, and not want to support her. The three other rookies come out of the bag looking like good wrestlers while Lulu looks rather useless, and yet you can bet Lulu Pencil was the name everyone remembered.
Lulu Pencil vs Yuna Mizomori, Gatoh Move (28/8/19)
A month and a half after that exhibition, Lulu made her official debut and, once again, had a Tropical Girl standing across the ring from her.
Whatever Lulu spent that month doing, it worked. Where before she lost a somewhat embarrassing amount of times in three minutes here she manages a whole eight minutes and forty-five, surviving multiple situations that saw her defeated the first time around.
It also already feels like the first evolution of Lulu Pencil. The helplessness, born before she’d stepped foot in front of a crowd, isn’t gone, but this match finds the element that makes it more than just a goofy gimmick. Because while, yes, she is not a very good wrestler, that doesn’t stop her trying. She’s out there against Yunamon, someone who looks like they could snap her over one knee, yet she is determined to fight. When the chance comes to climb that turnbuckle, Lulu is there, and sure, she ends up coming back down from the top to the first because it’s a bit too high, but she’s giving it a go, throwing herself into the action.
On top of that, she’s improved already. Where before she was floundering, this match sees her pull out a couple of counters, slipping out of Yunamon’s signature moves into Sunset Flips. We even get the start of those pencil based attacks, her Pencil Rolls working on both the defence and the offence. It’s all simple stuff, but it shows that she is a comedy character who is willing to evolve. Lulu has a crumb of talent, and she is stretching it, trying desperately to take it as far as she can.
It’s a move that I admire the hell out of. For it would be incredibly easy for Lulu to have remained the wrestler she was during that exhibition. It’s the path a lot of comedy wrestlers choose, settling into a gimmick that works, and sticking to it for an entire career. However, The Pencil has shown time and time again that she has a willingness to push it forward, to show her evolution as a wrestler and try to find that next level. It’s not that Lulu’s bad, she just started a few rungs below everyone else, and this was the start of her clawing and scratching her way towards catching up with them.
Lulu Pencil vs Mei Suruga, Pro-Wrestling EVE (10/11/19)
Lulu Pencil’s first, and to date only, appearance outside of Gatoh Move and Japan was, from what I’ve heard, all a bit last minute. I believe, and I’m willing to be contradicted on this, that Lulu was only really coming to the UK to keep Mei company when she competed in the She1. However, with the videos of her Gatoh Move matches taking off on YouTube, the hardcore side of the EVE audience were suddenly as interested in the pencil as they were Suruga, and she found herself scrabbling to put together t-shirts and make her British debut.
And, honestly, the match is pretty straightforward, or as straightforward as Mei vs Lulu is going to be. They run through a lot of Lulu’s classic spots, from her making herself dizzy with arm wringers to her venturing to the top rope and getting scared. Outside of Ichigaya, she’s playing to a crowd where not everyone knows who she is, and that allows her to stick to the basics, letting people into her world.
However, the joy from this comes, once again, with the realisation that people get it. They instantly fall for Lulu and, in Mei, she has a perfect opponent. For our favourite Apple Goblin might be smiles and laughs 90% of the time, but Mei Suruga has an evil side, and it’s a side she loves to bring out when she faces Lulu Pencil. She has no problem tormenting Lulu, poking and prodding with a grin on her face.
Plus, you get to see some of that Ichigaya inventiveness as even outside of Chocolate Square they find a way to use the venue to their advantage, chasing each other around the apron and ending up hanging from a pipe seemingly just for the fun of it. If you were a fan in that crowd who had never heard of Gatoh Move before, then I can’t imagine watching this and not instantly wanting to check it out.
In the end, Lulu, as is so often the case, falls victim to one of her own moves, the Pencil Roll tripping Mei Suruga up only for to fall on top of The Pencil for the three. The triumph here, though, was the confirmation (as if there was any doubt) that Lulu is an act that works anywhere in the world. Fingers crossed this won’t be the last time we see her prove it.
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