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 2

My favourite superhero. Credit: TJPW

The match of the year lists continue with part two of my best of the rest. Honestly, any one of these (or the ten from part one) could be my top pick, and in a different year, they probably would be. As it is, though, they’ll have to be happy with the somewhat crowded runner-up spot.

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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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Mayu Iwatani vs Takumi Iroha II

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If all fails, fucking yeet yersel at the problem. Credit: Stardom

February was a more innocent time. Yes, the world was already a shithole, but you could at least go to the pub or have a wee holiday to deal with the ever growing sense of dread. It was also when Takumi Iroha rocked up to Stardom and gave Mayu a good old-fashioned beating in front of a packed Korakuen Hall. In a match that is still held up by many as one of the best of the year, she looked a step ahead of Stardom’s Icon. Of course, we know what happened next. COVID struck, and we’ve had to wait a bit longer than we expected to see round number two, this time with the title on the line.

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Tokiko Kirihara: ChocoPro’s Success Story

Don’t mess. Credit: ChocoPro

ChocoPro might not have been around long, but it can already lay claim to a success story or two. Both Yunamon and Mitsuru have benefited from long arcs that have seen them grapple with who they are as a wrestler (while season three has hinted at a similar role for Mei). Meanwhile, Emi ‘Oni’ Sakura stirs the pot, looking on as the likes of Lulu Pencil grow in confidence, finding themselves in the ring. Nearly everyone involved has had something for fans to grasp hold of, and yet, ChocoPro’s greatest success story is none of that. Instead, it’s been the growth of one Tokiko Kirihara, known to fans as Otoki.

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Hyper Misao vs Jun Kasai

The first attempt did not go to plan. Credit: TJPW

You don’t have to dig deep to see the differences between Hyper Misao and Jun Kasai. One is a crazed lunatic, dealing out violence with an increasingly bizarre collection of weapons and the other is Jun Kasai. Jokes aside, it’s safe to say that the superhero antics of PaMi and the scarred deathmatch torso of Kasai don’t look like they belong in the same world. And yet, it was Kasai that inspired Misao to become a wrestler. To push off from a life where she was wasting away, living on bags of chocolate cream puffs, and become the superhero we now know and love.

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The Ramblings About List Of Things That Should Be On a List, But A Good List, Not A Bad One

Queen. Credit: ChocoPro

It’s PWI500 time which means that for a few excruciatingly long days everyone is going to be talking about a list of wrestlers that means fuck all and tends to ignore the existence of things like women. With that in mind, I decided that maybe it was time to release the Ramblings About List Of Things That Should Be On a List, But A Good List, Not A Bad List. Alright, it’s not my catchiest title, but I think it works.

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Emi Sakura: The Perfect Wrestler

‘You hate me? That’s okay.’ Credit: ChocoPro

Emi Sakura has been wrestling for twenty-five years. That’s longer than some of modern-day joshi’s biggest stars have been alive and covers a period where the scene has changed in countless ways. In that time, Emi has been an erratic constant. Despite having worked for some of the biggest companies and alongside the biggest stars, Sakura-san has ultimately ploughed her own path, doing things in a way that only she could.

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