ChocoProLIVE! And Doing It Yourself

Coronavirus might be putting the world under lock and key, but even that can’t stop Emi Sakura. Over the weekend she debuted ChocoProLIVE!, a wrestling show broadcast live on YouTube from the famous Ichigaya Chocolate Square And boy, did they have a name to help them kick things off as they said hello to Murder Grandpa himself, Minoru Suzuki.

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Some Matches That Might Convince You To Watch Wrestling

Image result for kota ibushi yoshihiko
I assume this will entice you all in. Credit: DDT

The world is fucking weird at the moment and, as of today, I don’t have a job, so if you like my rambles, get ready to see a lot more of them. With that weirdness, there are suddenly a lot of people with a hella lot of time on their hands. Now, I don’t normally do listicles on this website because, well, why would I? I spent some time in the trenches of making money by writing for WhatCulture, and it ain’t much fun. However, what better way to spend all that free time than by getting into everyone’s favourite pseudo-sport, wrassling! Usually, when people try to get you into wrestling, they’ll go straight to WWE. There is a decent chance they’ll show you Mick Foley being thrown off a cage because of the wrestling fan’s innate need to prove it’s not fake. However, that’s dumb, and WWE sucks. So, I’ve decided to put together a list of matches, all of which you can watch for free, that might tempt you to fall in love with this world that gives me so much joy.

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Manabu Nakanishi: Going Out In Style

The Boss. Credit: NJPW

I have no deep connection to Manabu Nakanishi. By the time I started watching Japanese wrestling, he was firmly rooted in his role as a New Japan Dad. The years weighed heavily on him, and he’d slipped into the world of Young Lion matches and undercard tags. However, I’ve always loved the Dads. There is something beautiful about these grizzled old veterans, beaten up and hurting, but refusing to die. Every time they wander down to that ring, they are trying to prove their fire still burns. Perhaps ironically, Nakanishi would prove his fire is still roaring in his final ever match.

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Natsumi Maki vs Miyu Yamashita: Progression Through Defeat

One more time. Credit: TJPW

Since returning from injury, Natsumi Maki has been determined to prove herself. She might not have gone after the biggest dogs in the yard, but she definitely went after those who kick the hardest. Up first, was her close friend Sareee, with whom she had a fantastic match based on mutual respect. Maki lost, but she came out the other side feeling like she’d taken a step forward and was emboldened to challenge The Mega Champ, Miyu Yamashita.

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Jushin Thunder Liger: The Perfect Wrestler

One final time. Credit: NJPW

On January 6th, New Japan said goodbye to Jushin Thunder Liger. By wrestling at the Tokyo Dome on both the 4th and 5th Liger had made sure that during his thirty-five-year career (and he wasn’t far off hitting thirty-six) he’d wrestled in five decades. According to Cagematch, those five decades included 4205 matches (and let’s be honest, they’ll have missed a few) 113 of which took place in 2019. During that time, he arguably redefined the role of the Junior Heavyweight, becoming a star recognisable to anyone who has ever shared even a passing interest in the world of pro-wrestling.

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Maki Itoh vs Thunder Rosa: The Quest For Acceptance

Itoh falls. Credit: TJPW

When you strip it down to its bare bones, Maki Itoh’s journey through the world of wrestling has been a desperate quest for acceptance. She entered this weird and wonderful form of entertainment feeling like idol had rejected her, chewing her up and spitting her out. To recover, she sought to prove herself in a different medium, one that bore similarities but allowed Itoh to be a lot more, well, Itoh.

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Miyako Matsumoto vs Chris Brookes: Genius Through Chaos

Satisfaction through agony. Credit: Gake No Fuchi

While most of the wrestling world’s attention was on the Tokyo Dome, or at the very least the NOAH show next door, there was a small group of around a hundred who were swimming against the current. For just a twenty-minute train ride away in Itabashi Green Hall, Miyako Matsumoto and Chris Brookes were taking part in a one-match card which was, well, a little bit different from what was going on in the echoey confines of the Dome.

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DDT/BJW New Year’s Shuffle Tag Tournament (31/12/19) Ramble

A decent party. Credit: DDT

My biggest worry about making this Japan trip solo was how I was going to spend my Hogmanay. The idea of being on the other side of the world, all on my lonesome and sat in some random bar while the bells rang felt, well, a bit depressing. Thankfully, Big Japan and DDT came to the rescue, with their Tag Team Shuffle tournament, a show that went through midnight and gave me an excuse to see in the New Year in Korakuen Hall. Like yesterday, this won’t be a traditional review, but instead a ramble about the experience.

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