Having done my first two mixtapes on wrestlers I know very well, I thought number three should go in the opposite direction. I have seen plenty of folks gush over a certain Mio Momono recently as she made her return from what I assume was injury. Sadly, as she generally works promotions I either don’t follow or have only just started watching, I have never seen her wrestle. Perhaps it’s time to fix that.
Quick note, these are listed in the order I watched them. Would it have made more sense to go chronologically? Yes. Did I do that? No.
Mio Momono vs Hikaru Shida, WAVE (11/3/18)
Well, that was a good start.
My first choice is a short match, coming in at around seven minutes and with a clear contrast between the two wrestlers. Mio was on the edge of what could be called a rookie at this point, but in her pink swimsuit, she still looks like one. Shida, meanwhile, is so clearly a star. As she walks down to the ring with her kendo stick in hand, you’ve got to wonder why it took as long as it did for someone to pick her up.
Then, the match starts, and while Shida’s aura doesn’t go anywhere, it’s Mio who grabs your attention. Right from the bell, she’s a ball of chaotic energy, scrambling through Shida’s legs and unleashing a series of Dropkicks to her thigh. It was such an unusual move that I initially assumed it was an accident and she hadn’t got up high enough. No, it was the plan as that chaos proves to have a sharp edge to it.
And Mio seems to be one of my favourite kinds of wrestlers, aka a pest. She is relentless here, constantly coming at Shida and never giving her a second to breathe. You’re left with the feeling that if Hikaru could get a hold of her, slow her down and keep her in place for a second, she would win. Except that’s easier said than done. Even when she does string a couple of moves together, Mio kicks out at one, that relentless goblin energy proving impossible to contain.
If you couldn’t tell, I liked this a lot.
Mio Momono vs Rina Yamashita, WAVE (23/5/17)
The opening to this match was perfect. Out of the handshake, Mio launched into a series of roll-ups, bundling Rina up time after time as she was determined she was going to pin her opponent. It left Yamashita clutching onto the ropes, desperate to stop the onslaught and then, to put it bluntly, running away, fleeing from this wee lass and her endless determination to roll her up. Very rarely can an opening have my laughing and sitting on the edge of my seat at the same time, but this one pulled it off.
It also set-up the theme of this match, as Mio spent the whole thing desperately trying to win. That seems like an obvious point, I mean, trying to win is surely everyone’s goal, but this took it to a different level. Like 99% of people, she knew Rina could murder her, so she wanted out of there as quickly as possible. There was a moment where she hit a Bodyslam and followed up with so many covers I lost count, hoping beyond hope that the next one would get the three.
It made for another breathless encounter as poor Rina was left trying to swat at this fly that wouldn’t stay still. Much like the Shida match above, you got the impression that if she got her hands on Momono and could keep her still, it would be over quickly. However, it’s one thing to say that, and quite another to do it.
Yea, I think I’m a fan.
Mio Momono vs Yoshiko, SEAdLINNNG (24/8/17)
I don’t normally pick a wrestling match based on the runtime (unless I’m watching it on the toilet), but this was the rare occasion where that influenced my decision. Having watched Momono do two short, frantic encounters, a video that went over twenty minutes and had her facing off against Yoshiko felt like a chance to see another side of her.
Because Yoshiko would prove to be the first person to get Mio to stay fucking still. While in the other matches I’ve looked at Momono was able to set the pace of the action, Yoshiko was having none of that. At one point, she resorts to sitting on the rookie, forcing her to try and desperately bridge out of the situation. Mio had hit a brick wall, and it was stubbornly refusing to move.
Not that she didn’t have ideas. Whether it was an old-fashioned stamp on the foot or slipping under the ring, Mio was constantly trying. It’s just that Yoshiko is a hard person to breakthrough. Instead, she finds herself going for a tour of the building, Yoshiko dragging her around and introducing her to various chairs, but not in a way that is conducive to a long friendship. In many ways, this is a fifteen-minute squash match, the only problem being that Yoshiko didn’t win, the time running out before she could.
Thankfully, it was a tournament, so it couldn’t end in a draw. Instead, we got overtime with a two-count rule added, and suddenly Mio got her match. Whether it’s that Momono sensed a chance to win or that Yoshiko was fuelled by anger at being unable to put her away within the fifteen-minute limit, they flew at each other, proving quite nicely that they could do both.
As expected, I got my other side to Mio, and it didn’t let me down. This was a very different rookie performance, one where she got the shit beat out of her and had to show that vital fighting spirit. She was more than up to the challenge and it worked as a lovely contrast to the two other matches. I’ll definitely be searching out some more.