It’s sometimes easy to forget that when ChocoPro began, there was no feeling (at least as a fan) that this would be a long-term thing. At the time, we thought COVID would be over sooner rather than later, and Emi Sakura throwing a live show on YouTube to highlight Baliyan Akki vs Minoru Suzuki felt like a fun way to pass the day. Those first few shows had no unique identity or distinguishing features but came across as Gatoh Move without the fans and with added squats. However, as it became clear COVID wasn’t going anywhere, ChocoPro began to search for what made it unique. And while they went through a few ideas (Mei Suruga’s arts and crafts period was a personal favourite), they eventually settled on the formula that exists to this day. And the key to finding that formula? Yuna Mizumori vs Emi Sakura.Continue reading “Yuna Mizumori: Finding ChocoPro’s Identity”
Emi Sakura, Mei Suruga And Luck
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.Continue reading “Emi Sakura, Mei Suruga And Luck”
Lulu Pencil: Is Caring Enough?
Lulu Pencil isn’t strong, she certainly isn’t a technical genius, and she isn’t that fast. If you were to plug her stats into a wrestling game or put them on a Top Trump card, she’d be lucky to have anything sneak above a one. What she does have, though, is passion. Lulu Pencil cares more than anyone. But is caring enough?Continue reading “Lulu Pencil: Is Caring Enough?”
Happy Birthday, 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.Continue reading “Happy Birthday, ChocoPro!”
Baliyan Akki vs Konosuke Takeshita
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.Continue reading “Baliyan Akki vs Konosuke Takeshita”
Ramblings About’s Match Of The Year: Best Of The Rest Part 1
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.Continue reading “Ramblings About’s Match Of The Year: Best Of The Rest Part 1”
Ramblings About’s Wrestler Of The Year: Best Of The Rest
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.Continue reading “Ramblings About’s Wrestler Of The Year: Best Of The Rest”
Tokiko Kirihara: ChocoPro’s Success Story
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.Continue reading “Tokiko Kirihara: ChocoPro’s Success Story”
Hyper Misao vs Jun Kasai
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.Continue reading “Hyper Misao vs Jun Kasai”
Wrestler Mixtape: Mio Momono
Having done my first two mixtapes on wrestlers I know very well, I thought number three should go in the opposite direction. I have seen plenty of folks gush over a certain Mio Momono recently as she made her return from what I assume was injury. Sadly, as she generally works promotions I either don’t follow or have only just started watching, I have never seen her wrestle. Perhaps it’s time to fix that.
Quick note, these are listed in the order I watched them. Would it have made more sense to go chronologically? Yes. Did I do that? No.Continue reading “Wrestler Mixtape: Mio Momono”