I sometimes worry that people think my love of Lulu Pencil is a joke. There is a side of the wrestling fandom which dismisses people like Lulu, declaring them memes or ‘irony’ wrestlers, and it’s always sad to see how many follow along with those opinions blindly. I suspect they would see me name Lulu my wrestler of the year and scoff at someone trying too hard or deliberately going out of their way to be different. So, I want to make it very clear. Lulu Pencil is my wrestler of the year because, in my mind, she was the best wrestler in the world over the last twelve months, and there’s no joke about that.
For in her first full year, Lulu showed that she is the furthest thing possible from a flash in the pan comedy gimmick. She’s taken that inherently ridiculous character (the wrestler who can’t wrestle) and fleshed it out wonderfully, dragging those who care behind her as we follow her on her quest to become stronger. The saga of the pink hat was core to that, and I’ve already written about it in-depth, but it was far from unique. She’s spent this year being driven forward by her unflappable optimism, determined that no matter how many barriers stand in her way, she will be a professional wrestler.
It’s an attitude that makes Lulu so much more than just my favourite. I’m a grumpy bastard, someone who tends to get lost inside their own head, overthinking everything and ending up doing nothing because the anxiety is too much to deal with. Sitting, watching Lulu do her thing, it’s, and there is no other word for it, inspiring. Because the idea that she is someone who shouldn’t be a wrestler isn’t kayfabe. A stranger who met games journalist Lulu for the first time would need a billion guesses to come close to getting her alter-ego. If she told them, they’d probably laugh, completely caught off-guard by this skinny wee lass claiming to be involved in a world that is renowned for its macho posturing. And yet, she does it. She continually puts herself in situations that there is no need for her to be in and pulls off the incredible.
She does all that while being hilarious too. Countless Lulu Pencil moments are engrained in my brain, ready to make me chuckle the second they pop to the surface. From her ChocoPro return where she had to verbally quit to her own move because, as she later admitted, she’d forgotten how to tap out, to the moment when she tagged in against Shinno Haggane and raised her firsts, dancing around him in her best shoot fighter pose. She also somehow continues to find new ways to lose, from being spun around really fast to Mei Suruga force-feeding her a poison apple. A lot of comedy wrestlers rely on the same shtick, and that’s not necessarily a criticism, but Lulu has evolved, taking what made her funny and building on it. It also led to some incredible moments, not least of which was the spot in her match with Emi Pencil where, just for a second, I thought Emi was going to tap out to Lulu’s backslide, reversing the iconic finish from Lulu’s first encounter with Antonio Honda.
If all of that isn’t enough, and you need traditionally good matches, well, they’re there to be seen. Whether it’s Honda, Ryo Mizunami, Emi Pencil, Chris Brookes or Kaori Yoneyama, Lulu has been involved in countless classics. Then there is her tag work which, well, I’ll have more on at least one of those next week. Lulu has found a way to take her style and make it work for more than just five-minute comedy bouts. I don’t think I’ve ever been more invested in a match than I am when I’m watching Lulu pull herself up, desperately trying to take on someone that is far too strong, but who she refuses to lay down for. It’s an incredible thing to be a part of, even if you are thousands of miles away screaming into a YouTube chat.
All of it adds up to a resume that makes Lulu not just my wrestler of the year, but my hero. I will watch her do anything, and I wish I could be a little more like her. If you dismiss Lulu Pencil as something not worthy of your time, then you are the one who is missing out because, in a year that has been harder than anyone saw coming, she’s been the thing that has repeatedly lifted me up. Now, let’s all march together into 2021 and get her that first win.
Thanks to their No Pay Wall initiative, all Gatoh Move and ChocoPro content is available for free on Gatoh Move’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2HtPsU4U7TNSv2mSbPkj0w