It’s been a while since I put together a Wrestler Mixtape and having enjoyed the brilliant Hamuko Hoshi vs Tsukushi Haruka IW19 title match, I was in the mood for some more Skoosh. So, here are three random matches plucked from YouTube and some rambling about the twenty-three-year-old veteran to go along with them. Enjoy!
Tsukushi Haruka vs Melanie Cruise, WAVE (17/5/16)
Up first we’ve got Tsukushi vs Melanie Cruise, a wrestler who is apparently on AEW’s books, but who I can’t claim to have seen much of. Thankfully, she turned out to be the perfect foe to start this run of matches. Not because she’s some tremendous in-ring talent, she’s portraying a pretty standard monster heel and doesn’t come across as anything special, but because she lets Skoosh show-off some of the things that make her great.
For in Tsukushi’s mind, it doesn’t matter that Melanie is a foot or so taller than her then 19-year-old self, she is puffed up with her devil child arrogance and strolls forward, raising her arm into the air for a test of strength. When Melanie responds by mimicking the gesture, she switches to angel mode, foregoing her goblin nature for a second to charm the ref into crouching down, so that she can stand on his back. With this giant foreigner looking on in bemusement, Tsukushi has made sure that even if you’ve never seen her before, you now know everything you need to.
The match itself is relatively straightforward, Tsukushi bumping around and trying to sneak her way to victory. At one point, she goes all Scrappy-Doo, Melanie’s hand on her forehead as she swings wildly, but when she does connect, she makes sure Mel knows she has been hit, no matter how big she might be. It makes for something that I wouldn’t call essential, but at eight minutes long, you’re not going to regret giving it a bit of your time.
Tsukushi Haruka vs Tsukasa Fujimoto, Ice Ribbon (31/12/16)
Ribbonmania 2016 was anchored by a tournament for the ICExInfinity belt that came about when the title was vacated following a draw between the two people in this match. The Dropkicker partners were set to meet again in the semi-final and, well, you probably don’t need me to tell you this was good.
It’s also a very different match to Tsukushi’s attempt to chop away at Melanie. Tsukka and Skoosh go at each other hard and fast, in what I can only assume is a complete switch in styles from the thirty-minute draw they worked not long before. The opening seconds alone are a dizzying exchange of moves, two people perfectly in sync as they counter each other’s attempts to get a quick win. It’s when they’re hitting each other that it really shines, though. Whether it’s Skoosh double stomping Fujimoto onto the apron or Tsukka returning the favour with a slam on the hard floor of the stands, they have no qualms about dishing out a beating.
Towards the end, we get one of my favourite spots, the two partners grabbing each other by the wrist as they trade blows. It’s fucking badass, especially when Tsukka traps both of Skoosh’s arms, holding her in place to deliver a hellacious slap. That also perfectly sums up the match. This is two friends going out and putting everything into a fifteen-odd minute effort where they beat the crap out of each other. At first glance, it is easy to assume that wee Tsukushi who looks like you could lift her with one hand is unlikely to knock your teeth out with a blow, but you’d be wrong. She is as capable of forearm assisted murder as anyone going, and as the dull thuds of her and Fujimoto beating each other ring out, you can be grateful you’re not the one on the receiving end of them.
Tsukushi Haruka vs Leon vs Misa Matsui, SEAdLINNNG (10/3/20)
We’ve seen underdog Skoosh and murder Skoosh, so it seems only right that we finish off with a bit of High Speed Skoosh.
And while I love all the different Tsukushis, I think High Speed is my favourite. She is at her best when she is embracing the devil inside of her, and she is perfect at that in these matches. From the way she butters up Taiyo before the bell, making sure she’s in her favourite ref’s good books, to the way she then repays said ref’s love with a dropkick to the face, she is delighting in her ability to go full goblin. She gets to embrace that angelic evil, lashing out at friend or foe alike and having a lovely old time as she does so.
Of course, it helps that High Speed matches are generally brilliant anyway. Even in its slightly edited form on YouTube (including SEAd’s annoying habit of putting music underneath their videos), this match flows beautifully, a perfect combination of violence and dazzling moves. This is a trio (well, foursome really, Taiyo is as active as usual) that is capable of stringing together some truly breathtaking wrestling, and it is a pleasure to watch.
Honestly, I assume nearly everyone reading this is already well indoctrinated into SEAd’s High Speed ways and, as this match wasn’t that long ago, you’ve probably all seen it. However, I had a lovely time going back to it, so that’s all that really matters, and if you haven’t enjoyed it before, well, you’re in for a treat.