Lulu Pencil: Is Caring Enough?

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It could have been such a beautiful thing. Credit: ChocoPro

Lulu Pencil isn’t strong, she certainly isn’t a technical genius, and she isn’t that fast. If you were to plug her stats into a wrestling game or put them on a Top Trump card, she’d be lucky to have anything sneak above a one. What she does have, though, is passion. Lulu Pencil cares more than anyone. But is caring enough?

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Happy Birthday, ChocoPro!

I love these goofs. Credit: ChocoPro

The last year is a hard one to reflect upon. On the one hand, it feels like nothing has happened, and yet, at the same time, everything has. The world has twisted and turned, changing in ways that will reverberate for a long old time. In the middle of all that, we’ve all had to find things that keep us going. The stuff that makes getting through each day that little bit easier. For me, that’s been ChocoPro.

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Baliyan Akki vs Konosuke Takeshita

The seal of approval. Credit: DDT

One of my favourite happy/sad feelings is being stood in a music venue, watching a band I’ve seen play to ten people in a pub, ingratiate themselves to an audience a hundred times that size. Even as someone who has played little to no part in their success, it’s a moment that fills you with pride, as you watch something you’ve been a part of break out of its bubble. However, there is also a small, selfish part of yourself, that feels sad. Sad that the thing you love is about to become bigger and more successful than ever before and you’ll never again see them in those tiny venues, feet from the stage as they play directly to you. It’s a feeling similar to the one I got watching Baliyan Akki take on Konosuke Takeshita.

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Emi Sakura vs Sayaka Obihiro: Winning Isn’t Everything

Emi is not impressed.

Emi Sakura and Sayaka Obihiro had one of my favourite matches of 2020, and while it would be unfair to compare their showdown on ChocoPro 87 to the main event of Sakura’s anniversary, I enjoyed it for the exact same reasons. The bouts between these two mean very different things to those involved. Obi may now be ten years into her career, a decorated wrestler and a veteran in her own right, but when she faces off with Emi, she reverts. She becomes, once more, a young trainee desperate to impress her sensei and prove she’s worthy of stepping onto the mat with her. It doesn’t matter if it’s the main event of Emi’s 25th anniversary, or second on the card, she throws her heart and soul into the action, fighting until she’s exhausted, stumbling around the ring and barely able to stand.

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Farewell, Mitsuru

Mitsuru finding great pleasure in her bleeding hand after slapping Mei across the face.

When Gatoh Move announced that Mitsuru Konno was retiring, it was both a blow and somehow entirely unsurprising. The storyline that defined Mitsuru’s 2020 and pushed her to the MVP award in ChocoPro’s second season was built around her bizarre relationship with wrestling. On more than one occasion, she’d expressed that it wasn’t fun for her, and that what kept her going was the need to figure out what exactly it was that made the likes of Mei Suruga fall wildly in love with it.

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Ramblings About’s Match of the Year: Pencil Army vs Tropical Calimari

A well-earned hat. Credit: ChocoPro

Weakness isn’t something you often find in professional wrestling. When you think of its icons, American superstars like Stone Cold or Japanese aces like Mitsuharu Misawa, everything about them screams strength. In a world defined by macho posturing, to be weak, and even worse to show that weakness, is not only not done, but actively discouraged. You need only go onto certain Twitter accounts to see what old-school wrestling types think of anything that might make a performer not look like a hard bastard.

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Ramblings About’s Match Of The Year: Best Of The Rest Part 1

A perfect moment. Credit: TJPW

According to some, 2020 has been a lousy year for wrestling, an opinion fuelled by New Japan not doing what people want them to do and an aversion to the dreaded clap crowds. Unfortunately, no-one told my match of the year list, which was quite frankly unwieldy. So yes, this is part one of the best of the rest because when I started writing it very quickly got out of hand. Excessive? Perhaps, but despite its many faults, wrestling is still the best, so a bit of excess isn’t too bad.

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Ramblings About’s Wrestler Of The Year: Best Of The Rest

I never know who to pick for the main picture in these things, so I went with the person most likely to murder me. Credit: Gake No Fuchi

Picking a wrestler of the year is dumb. How can anyone sit down and compare two people who work in different companies doing a different style with any degree of accuracy? A champion that puts on great matches every week is important, but so is the comedy wrestler who opens up the card, working their arse off to earn those giggles. Of course, in the best companies, those can be the same people, but that’s a different topic. And, despite it being dumb, I’m still going to do it because it’s also fun. However, for all that 2020 has sucked, there has still been a shitload of good wrestling, so I couldn’t pick just one. So, here’s my list of ten wrestlers who could have been wrestler of the year, but for whatever reason weren’t. Except, it’s not really because there are another twenty or thirty people that could also be on this list. Let’s stick with it being ten brilliant wrestlers. That work for everyone? Good.

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Lulu Pencil’s Hat

Before the storm. Credit: ChocoPro

Wrestling titles are weird. You don’t need to work to make a football league or an Olympic gold medal feel important. In a pre-determined sport, however, a title only has as much value as the people competing for it give it. It means that in some companies, they are mere props, McGuffins to build stories around, but with no real value. In others, they are everything, the backbone of what they do and the conduits to incredible moments. That feeling you get when you watch your favourite scratch and claw their way to the top, finally winning the big one, well, there are few things like it. Rarely, though, and I do accept that it’s uncommon, those titles are hats.

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