Ramblings About’s Wrestler of the Year: Mio Momono

The best. Credit: WAVE

For around five minutes, I pondered whether I could justify making Mio Momono my wrestler of the year when she hasn’t got into the ring since September. Then I realised I was being a fucking idiot. Mio wrapped up this meaningless award back in June and isn’t just my wrestler of the year but the best wrestler in the world right now.

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

She’s so cool. Credit: TJPW

With matches of the year ticked off the list, it’s onto the all-important Rambling’s About’s wrestler of the year. It’s the most coveted award going, and, sadly, these four didn’t win it. They did come really close, though! Well, actually, that’s not true, my number one was miles ahead of everyone else, but they are all awesome and had brilliant years. If you disagree, well, em, there’s not much I can do about that, but screw you.

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Ramblings About’s Match Of The Year: Team Marvelous vs Team Sendai Girls, GAEAISM

A flag worth fighting for. Credit: GAEAISM

When trying to figure out what should top this list, it quickly became clear that the answer was actually kinda easy. While I loved a lot of wrestling over the last twelve months, the match that defined 2021 took place at GAEAISM. Not just because of what happened in the ring, but because of everything that came together to make it. Marvelous and Sendai Girls could have so easily dropped the ball on this one, the multiple delays and an injury to Takumi Iroha disrupting their plans, but they did nothing of the sort. After a build packed with brilliant tag-team matches and a gauntlet that was booked to perfection, it finally went ahead, and everything was in place for a hell of a main event.

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

There is a lot of this. Credit: TJPW

Wow, what a year. The world may not have got any better, as it is still a total shitshow out there, but hey, there was some brilliant wrestling, right? I started off with a long list of thirty matches and have whittled that down to ten, nine of which I have written about below (in chronological order). This is the best of the rest, but honestly, any one of them could have been my match of the year (which I’ll have an article up about tomorrow). 2021 may not have fixed the world, but wrestling continued to make me very happy, and this lot played a big part in that.

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Emi Sakura, Mei Suruga And Luck

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That’s not the look I was talking about, but it was much harder to get a decent shot of. Credit: ChocoPro

There was a moment towards the end of Mei Suruga vs Emi Sakura, where Sakura, clutching her injured shoulder, looked up at Mei with a face that seemed to be saying, ‘I can’t beat her’. Emi was in pain, struggling to continue, and this wee goblin that she is partly responsible for creating refused to back off. Seconds later, Mei locked in Lucifer, and if Sakura had been anywhere else on the mat, she would have lost. Thankfully for her, she was right at the edge, able to wiggle herself to safety and somehow stay alive.

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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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