SEAdLINNNG Grow Together! (17/3/21) Review

Ready for the fight.

From shit, occasionally a flower blooms. Is that a saying? I wrote it thinking it was, but now I’m not so sure. Fuck it. It’s there now. Sadly, Yoshiko has had to drop the SEAd title, her recent injury issues getting the better of her. In response, though, Nanae has booked Rina Yamashita vs ASUKA, and that’s one hell of a flower. Throw in a one-day tag tournament, and this show was can’t miss.

Before we started, we got introduced to all the tournament teams, Beast Kid looking very excited to hold Makoto’s hand and Nagashima somewhat less so to hold Tsukushi’s.

Hiroyo Matsumoto & Itsuki Aoki fought Kaho Kobayashi and Ayame Sasamura to a time-limit draw in the Get A Dream Tournament First Round

Aoki’s entrance mask is kinda terrifying, especially when considering what a happy person she appears to be. That joy meant she got into trouble early on as even Matsumoto took a swipe at her for being too loud.

It was the start of a rough afternoon for Itsuki. Kaho and Sasamura had (quite smartly) decided that their best path to victory was to keep Matsumoto on the apron. Unfortunately, that meant her partner was in for a beating, as even when Hiroyo got involved, it was to add a Powerbomb to the Superplex Aoki was setting up, which, while slightly helpful, must have hurt too.

Unfortunately for Kaho and Ayame, that tag eventually came, and Lady Godzilla was let loose, smashing all in her way. It looked for a bit like Matsumoto was going to turn the match on its head single-handedly, taking out both opponents and grabbing the victory. However, with a ten-minute time limit in place, it was too little too late. She would hit a vicious Sit-out Powerbomb on Kaho, but Sasamura was there to make the save, and the clock ran out.

That meant both teams were eliminated, but they could at least go home happy with what they got to do. They delivered an enjoyable, smartly worked match, and I had a lovely time.

Verdict: Lovely Job!

High Speed-gun (Tsukushi Haruka & Chikayo Nagashima) defeated Citrus Wind (Arisa Nakajima & Nanae Takahashi) in the Get A Dream Tournament First Round

Citrus Wind’s entrance is everything. From the music to the dancing, they are going all out, and I approve. Meanwhile, their opponents posing with the referee was a hint as to what was to come.

Before we get to that, Arisa in this match reminded me why Emi Sakura bad mouths every wrestler going, but after any mention of Nakajima’s name makes it very clear she wants nothing to do with her. In many ways, this was fun and frothy. There was a lot of comedy built around Nanae having no time for the High Speed rules or how her old pal Taiyo enforced them, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the way Arisa wrestled. Whether it was the repeated Germans to Nagashima or the boot that came close to removing Skoosh’s head, she was going to murder whether people were having a giggle or not.

It was one of the many elements that meant it was awesome. Normally you’d go into this thinking Skoosh and Nagashima were goners, but those High Speed rules changed the game. It added an element of chaos that everyone’s favourite devil child and her pal thrived on. They were playing on home turf, able to use every advantage they could grasp to level the playing field, advantages that included the referee being very much on their side. It made for a perfect crossover of styles as violence melded with speed under a ten-minute time limit that meant there was no chance for anyone to slow down and catch their breath.

Even better was the fact that it paid off for High Speed-gun. It would have been so easy for the story to be Citrus Wind being caught off-guard before battling through, but no, Nanae Takahashi played Tsukushi’s games and was found out. It was a perfect finish, made all the sweeter after the bullshit on Twitter about her holding people back and never taking falls. Nanae is the best, and this match was awesome.

Verdict: Brilliant

High Speed-gun (Tsukushi Haruka & Chikayo Nagashima) defeated Las Fresa de Egoistas (Makoto& Riko Kaiju) in the Get A Dream Tournament Semi-Final

Still trying to catch her breath from the last match, Skoosh grabbed the mic before this one and tried to get it wrestled under High Speed rules. Sadly for her, Beast Kid was having none of that, as she answered the question for everyone by dropkicking the hell out of Nagashima, making it very clear that they had started.

Having managed to outpace their opponents last time around, High Speed-gun were now stuck trying to survive. They were struggling, and coming up against Makoto and her enthusiastic young rookie, was not the best reward for beating the tag champs. Much how the High Speed rules had levelled the playing field for them in the last match, their tiredness now let you buy into the idea that Kaiju could get the win. That facing off with two exhausted wrestlers, she might pull it off.

Sadly for Best Kid, lightning would not strike twice. With a bit of a helping hand from Taiyo, who stayed at ringside even if she wasn’t reffing, Skoosh eventually managed to find her feet and take the rookie out. That wasn’t before we got another fun match, though. It didn’t match up to the previous one, but since Skoosh and Nagashima were part of both, it would have been quite something if it had.

Verdict: Fun

ASUKA defeated Rina Yamashita to win the Beyond the Sea Title

Few (if any) wrestlers have been as consistently brilliant over the last year or so as ASUKA and Rina Yamashita. It doesn’t matter who they are teaming with or facing off against, you can rely on the pair of them to deliver excellence at every opportunity. As gutting as it was that Yoshiko had to drop this title early, you couldn’t have picked two better people to pick it up again.

So it was no surprise that this match was awesome. What did catch me off-guard was quite how hard and fast they went. SEAd has become a place with big, epic title fights, but this was different. When the ten-minute call came, I was shocked it had been that short, not because it had felt long or boring, but because they’d done so much to each other. In my mind, two people who were that beat up had to have been wrestling for twice that long.

It also showed off that these two are a near-perfect physical match-up. ASUKA has that little more speed and technique while Yamashita is raw power, and when put together, it resulted in them beating the shit out of each other. Lariats, headbutts and suplexes that looked like they should have all caused a knockout. There was a German where ASUKA dropped to her knees that drew an audible gasp from me.

It would end with ASUKA debuting a new finished, an almost Northern Lights style Brainbuster that she’s called 紅花衣, which combines the kanji for Hana and Veny (I’m not sure how you say it). I can think of few titles more deserved and few finishers more perfect to win it with.

Verdict: Fantastic

Citrus Wind (Riko Kawahata & Honori Hana) defeated High Speed-gun (Tsukushi Haruka & Chikayo Nagashima) to win the Get A Dream Tournament

Riko and Honori also have a wonderfully choreographed dancing entrance, so Citrus Wind is becoming one of my favourite factions.

Watching ASUKA and Rina beat each other black and blue, Skoosh and Nagashima must have been begging them to take a step back, grab a rest hold and have a wee chat. While they’d had two tough matches already, the first round time-limit draw meant their opponents were coming in as fresh as can be, ready to take on the tired High Speed-gun.

And this was the cherry on top of a near-perfectly booked tournament. They took the idea that I spoke about in the last round, where you believed Kaiju might get the win, and pushed it to the next level. Now High Speed-gun were a step further along, a little bit more exhausted, and while they were both still brilliant, it gave Honori Hana a chance that you might not have thought she had otherwise.

Before we return to that, I want to take some time to praise Kawahata. My primary experience of her is Assemble shows, so I’m glad she and Hotta seem to have signed on to be SEAd regulars. She’s one of these people who move around the ring as if she was meant to be there, flowing between spots. Everything I’ve seen makes me want to see more, so I’m excited to get the chance.

The story here, though, was Honori, who would eventually (after a slight helping hand from Hotta at ringside) beat Skoosh at her own game, reversing a roll-up to get one of her own. It was a perfect moment because as huge a moment as it was for the rookie, it did nothing to hurt Tsukushi, who was coming into this with everything against her. That’s fantastic booking, and this was a brilliant wee tournament.

Verdict: A Masterclass

High Speed-gun may have lost the final, but they still had a win over the tag champs, and Skoosh was happy to cash that in. They interrupted the celebration to make their challenge, and, as far as I could tell, Nanae accepted. If that picks up where they left off, it’s going to fucking slap.

Overall Show

I would put that down as a show of the year contender. We had a brilliantly put together tournament with a load of enjoyable matches plus a stunningly violent title bout that gave us a fresh champion who was more than deserving of the belt. That’s not a bad day’s work, is it?


If you enjoyed this review, please consider contributing to my Ko-fi, even the smallest amount is appreciated.

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