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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I Believe In Lulu Pencil

Credit: ChocoPro

Lulu Pencil probably shouldn’t be a wrestler. All those people who claim they could snap Kenny Omega over one knee would be telling the truth if they made the same claim about The Pencil. Her long, skinny frame does not look like it should be involved in physical sport, appearing much more suited to the world of a freelance writer, the job she does when she’s not prowling the mats of Ichigaya. However, Lulu Pencil is a wrestler, and an inspiring one at that.

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Saki Akai vs Meiko Satomura

Unsurprisingly, this ended badly for Saki. Credit: DDT

Not that long ago, the idea of Saki Akai headlining a DDT show, even one with limited attendance, would have felt pretty far-fetched. Early in her career, I remember someone describing her as wrestling like Bambi on ice, as while there was potential there, she didn’t quite seem in control of her limbs. However, times have changed, and now every time Saki steps into a ring, she seems to improve. Suddenly, the idea of having her main eventing isn’t ridiculous at all, and when you put Meiko Satomura across from her, it’s downright tasty.

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Yunamon vs Emi Sakura: Last Woman Standing

Yunamon vs Emi Sakura is the story that ChocoPro has been built around. Yes, there have been divergences, the occasional scurry down another alley, but time after time it’s come back to those two. Emi Sakura believes that two years into her career, Yunamon doesn’t know who she is. That’s she trapped somewhere between an idol and a wrestler, more interested in seeking fan approval than greatness. Unsurprisingly, that’s an opinion that Yunamon took to heart, driving her crazy as she sought to prove herself to the person who trained her. It felt like the only place it could be settled was on Chocolate Square’s mat, and while Sakura initially ducked and dodged Yunamon’s challenges, she finally gave the Tropical Girl what she wanted. It was Oni vs Pineapple in a Last Woman Standing.

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Thank You, ChocoPro

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the world is a bit of a shit show at the moment. As if the global pandemic isn’t enough, we still find ourselves having to fight battles against racism and sexual abuse. It’s a situation that has taken a chunk out of everyone, with those who have only suffered excessive bleeding feeling like the lucky ones. However your last few months have looked, it’s probably safe to say you’re not going to forget them any time soon.

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Tokyo Joshi: Personality Trumps All

Before the hair sniffing. Credit: TJPW

There was a moment in the main event of Tokyo Joshi’s first show back in front of fans where Nodoka Tenma, having locked on a submission, shyly announced that Suzume’s hair smelled nice. In response, Yuka Sakazaki yelled hentai before storming the ring with Mizuki to kick Nodoka away. It might sound strange, but that silly little moment, sums up everything I love about TJPW.

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