Ramblings About’s Top Ten Matches of December 2020

Now this, this is wrestling! Credit: ChocoPro

December is a weird month for wrestling as it both feels quiet and busy. We’re building up to the New Year buzz in Japan, but at the same time, everyone is going back and looking at the past twelve months as a whole, picking out their favourite matches and moments. Still, wrestling never sleeps, so there was plenty of stuff to get your teeth into, and these were the ten matches that I particularly enjoyed.

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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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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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Ramblings About’s Top Ten Matches Of October 2020

Living that shrimp life. Credit: ChocoProLIVE!

Guess what, folks? I was smart this month. Rather than waiting for the 31st to hurriedly throw this together, I wrote it as we went. How fucking sensible is that? You may no3 call me a grown-up. There was plenty to write about too, as we’ve got a bit of deathmatch, a load of nonsense and even some straight-ahead wrestling, what will they think of next?

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Ramblings About’s Top Ten Matches of September 2020

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Big champ. Credit: Ice Ribbon

Another month is done, and this hell year ticks on, providing us with little joy. One thing it has given us, though, is plenty of fantastic wrestling. There are a lot of big tournaments going on right now, but not a single one made this list because, well, I honestly haven’t watched a second of them. There is a lot more fun to be had elsewhere.

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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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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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Ramblings About’s Top Ten Matches of July 2020

Matt on Twitter: "Main event! Yuna Mizumori & Mitsuru Konno vs Emi ...
Safe to say Mitsuru was angry at this point. Credit: ChocoPro

I’m tweaking the match of the month formula a bit for July, ditching the top ten list to do it in chronological order. Partly that comes about because I think ranking matches was always a bit silly and partly because there was a series this month that told a story, so writing about them out of order would be weird. Anyway, it was another strong month for wrestling, so here are ten matches I reckon you should check out.

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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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