SEAdLINNNG 5th Anniversary (26/8/20) Review

On their fifth anniversary, SEAdLINNNG made the exciting decision to air the show live on YouTube, one that I like to imagine was inspired by Nanae’s recent ChocoTalk where she was stunned to discover people all over the world were tuning in. Whether that’s the case or not, any chance to watch SEAd live on an easily accessible platform is a good thing. Now, let’s see how they did.

We opened with an idol performance from two people I do not know (that’s not surprising, my idol knowledge is limited, although I listen to more of it than people who know me well might suspect). It was a catchy wee tune, though, and I’m even willing to forget the very obvious lip-syncing. Is it really a wrestling show if it doesn’t open with a song and dance number? The answer to that question is no.

Tsukushi & Honori Hana defeated Rina Yamashita & Thekla

Thekla has been getting increasingly erratic lately, something that Rina would discover when she started this match as intent on fighting her as she was their opponents. Rina was even treated to a face full of chain, although to be fair to Thekla, she was giving everyone a taste of it.

When you throw in the fact that Rina isn’t exactly who comes to mind when you think High Speed (when forced to run the ropes to a make a cover she exhausted herself) plus the presence of Skoosh’s favourite ref, she must have felt she’d be dealt a dodgy hand. Thankfully, she was able to find some steady ground by hossing it out with Hana, but even that ended with her being bundled into a couple of roll-ups, that High Speed element proving inescapable.

Ultimately, this was Skoosh’s territory, and neither she nor Taiyo (who, as is customary, took as many bumps as the actual wrestlers) was going to let anyone else come in and steal her glory. A series of flash pins ended with her getting the three on Thekla and doing her customary leap into Taiyo’s arms to celebrate. A SEAd High Speed match is as close to a guarantee of a good time as you can get in wrestling, so it’s no surprise that this was great.

Verdict: A Lovely Time Was Had By All

Arisa Nakajima defeated Yuu

Both Arisa and Yoshiko were pulling double duty, wrestling singles matches followed by being on opposite sides of the tag-team main event.

For poor Arisa, that presented the rather intimidating force of Yuu, who is very few people’s idea of a nice warm-up. There aren’t many wrestlers like Yuu in joshi at the moment, as she’s a brick wall against which most people are set to break. And yet, she’s not purely reliant on brute force, early on she got Arisa in an Armbar, taking some time a submission as well as chopping the shit out of her.

To the shock of all, Arisa was also fantastic here. She really got across the idea of chipping away at Yuu, taking her beatings, but wriggling her way into little openings to build opportunities for herself. She was never in control of the match, but she was never out of either, and when she twisted Yuu around into a pinning combination at the end, you believed that it was enough to get the win (even if said twisting was a bit awkward).

Overcoming a monster is one of wrestling’s oldest tropes, but when it’s done well, it nearly always delights.

Verdict: Brilliantly Done

Ryo Mizunami defeated Yoshiko

Well, that’s probably not how Yoshiko wanted the first singles match of her title reign to go.

It started so well too, Aniki was her usual fun-loving self, and Yoshiko seemed to be in no mood for it. She came out hot, lashing out with a kick before the bell and then barging through her opponent.

Mizunami isn’t all fun and games, though, and Yoshiko was ultimately punished for not getting the job done. The champ had spent most of the action in control, brute-forcing her way through Aniki and continually trying to choke her out. However, she was just that little bit lax towards the end. After a Second Rope Senton, she cockily leaned back into a cover and Mizunami struck, firing up even as Yoshiko kicked out of the pin she managed to pull her into.

The final minutes turned the whole thing on its head, Aniki suddenly being the one coming forward and ultimately throwing Yoshiko over for a sudden three. The shock on Yoshiko’s face said it all as this leaves her 0-2 since she got her hands on that belt.

Much like Arisa vs Yuu, this was a match built around a simple story that was told to perfection. Afterwards, Mizunami grabbed the mic and cut a promo that ended with her going face-to-face with Yoshiko, so that’s pretty easy to translate.

Verdict: They’re On A Roll

Las Fresas de Egoistas (ASUKA & Makoto) defeated Max Voltage (Miyuki Takase & Itsuki Aoki) and Ayame Sasamura & Kaho Kobayashi

Nanae slipped in and joined the MAX VOLTAGE dance, looking a bit out of practice but serving as an effective hype-woman. ASUKA, meanwhile, had their shiny new title belt out with them, looking badass as always.

And this turned out to be a short and sweet blast of wrestling. There was a fun middle section where Itsuki and Ayame came together, looking to be on the same page only for the cracks to slowly spread and things to finally fall apart. The slow realisation that perhaps they weren’t exactly working towards the same goal got a chuckle from me.

It also continued the recent trend of putting over those egotistical strawberries over strong. They were very much the big bads here, everyone having a dig at them. Yet, they ultimately stayed a step ahead, coming away with the victory after a beautiful Brainbuster from ASUKA who then made sure those same dig takers (particularly Takase) knew they had no time for them.

Verdict: Those Damn Strawberries!

Best Friends (Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto) and Hiroyo Matsumoto & Yoshiko fought to a time limit draw

Best Friends never stop feeling special to me. Those two have an aura that means they walk through the curtain and I’m instantly hooked.

It helps that they’re also really fucking good. As a general rule, I’m not someone that wants long, epic matches. As my taste in wrestling has shifted, the number of wrestlers who I believe can pull off these drawn-out affairs and make them good has got very small. Thankfully, there was a few of them in this match.

And the way they kept you hooked was by almost splitting this up into acts. The opening was all about having fun, both Taiyo and Nanae getting the chance to get involved and everyone going at a million miles an hour. I knew the result going in, but I momentarily wondered whether I’d got it wrong because this didn’t feel like four women who were setting up to go the distance.

The second act did slow things down a bit as Best Friends took control and hung onto it greedily. Time after time it would look like they were going to let it slip, Matsumoto even launched Fujimoto over the top rope onto Arisa, only for them to wrestle it back, keeping the action under their wing. It was some great pro-wrestling.

All of which built to an unsurprisingly brilliant final act. With the time ticking away they were able to let loose, near falls galore as everyone went for it. Arisa and Yoshiko were our last pairing, flying into pin after pin only for the clock to eventually bring them to a stop.

Look, with who was involved I’d have been amazed if this sucked and it didn’t. These four went out and celebrated the company’s birthday brilliantly. Much like my issue with three-ways, it’s not long matches that are the problem; it just needs to be the right people doing them.

Verdict: Fantastic

The post-match was rather busy as we got Best Friends and MAX VOLTAGE making their case for tag title shots, fucking Sareee turning up to smack Yoshiko around the face with some flowers (I’m glad she’s delayed her retirement) and another musical performance complete with conga line. It was a load of fun, happy birthday, SEAd!

Overall Show

I was really impressed with this show. For their first time streaming on YouTube SEAd nailed the production side of things, working with various cameras and somehow getting away with using licensed music throughout. It looked great, and they seemed to get a decent chunk of viewers, so fingers crossed it’s something they keep doing at least occasionally going forward. I can’t imagine a new fan watching this and not wanting to see more.

Watch SEAdLINNNG on Youtube:

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