Hiroyo Matsumoto 10th Anniversary on 7/31/16 Review

Event: Hiroyo Matsumoto 10th Anniversary Produce ~ Hiroyo No Dai Ketto
Date: July 31st, 2016
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 360

No one can ever accuse me of being cheap or lazy, as once again I have jumped through the necessary hoops (Tenso, in this case) to order a wrestling event from Japan. But I couldn’t miss this one, as Hiroyo Matsumoto’s 10th Anniversary Show was stacked with goodness and/or weirdness. I mean where else can we watch Kotori battling Mayu Iwatani or Mariko Yoshida in her first non-battle royal match since 2012? Then Matsumoto gives herself no easy task in the main event, as she battles the legendary Aja Kong. Here is the full card:

  • Hiragi Kurumi and Kaori Yoneyama vs. Kagetsu and Maruko Nagasaki
  • Hikaru Shida vs. Kotori vs. Mayu Iwatani
  • AKINO, Chon Shiryu, Ikuto Hidaka, and Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Hikaru Sato, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Minoru Suzuki, and Rocky Kawamura
  • Aoi Kizuki, DASH Chisako, and Misaki Ohata vs. Cherry, Mariko Yoshida, and Kyoko Kimura
  • Aja Kong vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto

Everything will be shown in its entirety, should be great.

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Hiragi Kurumi and Kaori Yoneyama vs. Kagetsu and Maruko Nagasaki

Just like on Stardom, here Yoneyama is holding down the fort surrounded by younger wrestlers. Maruko is an Ice Ribbon baby, she just debuted last year, while Kurumi is a 16 year old also out of Ice Ribbon. Kagetsu is a Freelancer, she is only 24 but an eight year veteran, she comes into the match holding the Goddesses of Stardom Championship. Finally is of course Kaori, she hasn’t won a title in many years but is a very respected veteran on the Freelancer scene.

matsumoto7-31-1Kurumi and Maruko start for their teams, shoulderblock by Kurumi and she hits an armdrag. They trade trips and quick pins before returning to their feet, and both wrestlers tag out. Kagetsu shoulderblocks Kaori and hits a springboard armdrag, she tags Maruko back in and they both dropkick Kaori. Maruko tries to slam Kaori but has no luck, as Kaori hits her own scoop slam instead before tagging in Kurumi. Double shoulderblock to Maruko, dropkick by Kurumi and she covers her for two. Yoneyama returns as they take turns attacking the rookie, Irish whip by Kaori but Maruko hits a dropkick and makes the hot tag. Kagetsu clubs on Kaori, Kurumi comes in to help but Kagetsu spears both of them. Jumping forearm by Kagetsu in the corner and she hits two more, cover by Kagetsu but Kaori kicks out. Kagetsu picks up Kaori and kicks her in the chest, Kaori bridges out of the pin however and hits a running knee. Kaori tags Kurumi, shoulderblocks by Kurumi but Kagetsu slides away when she goes for a powerbomb. Kagetsu and Kurumi trade elbows, they go off the ropes and Kurumi hits a bodyblock, but Kagetsu comes right back with a spear. Kagetsu tags in Maruko, dropkicks by Maruko and she covers Kurumi for two. Maruko goes for a suplex but Kurumi blocks it, she goes off the ropes but Kurumi hits a bodyblock followed by a cannonball against the ropes. Kaori comes in but Kagetsu hits a swandive dropkick on both of them, Maruko grabs Kurumi and delivers the F Crash, but Kurumi gets a shoulder up on the cover. Maruko goes up top but Kurumi swats away the missile dropkick, running senton by Kaori and Kurumi hits a somersault senton for two. Kagetsu comes in and puts Kurumi in a sleeper, but Kaori goes up top and jumps on Kagetsu’s back. Kurumi slowly walks to Maruko and hits a body press with both wrestlers still on her back, but Maruko barely kicks out. Kurumi goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the diving body press, and she gets the three count! Hiragi Kurumi and Kaori Yoneyama win the match!

For an opener, this was pretty fun. Kurumi has come such a long way in the last year, she is really really good and flying under the radar since she doesn’t get many big matches in Ice Ribbon. But at only 16 she is definitely one to watch out for, she may be the best sub-18 year old currently in Joshi. Maruko also looks good for a rookie, and of course Kaori and Kagetsu are top notch. Simple but solid, what an opener should be as it gave the young wrestlers a chance to shine but still had enough going on in the match to make it entertaining.  Mildly Recommended

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Hikaru Shida vs. Kotori vs. Mayu Iwatani

Now this is a match. I already know its stupid short since I saw the results but I am excited anyway. Stardom so rarely lets their wrestlers take matches in other promotions, it really is a treat to see her against Shida and Kotori. Shida is one of the top Freelancers in Joshi, as she has success in Pro Wrestling WAVE and OZ Academy. Kotori is a young trainee of Emi Sakura in Gatoh Move, she still has a ways to go but shows a lot of potential. This is one of those matches you’ll never see again, so you have to enjoy them no longer how long they last.

matsumoto7-31-2After a difficult three person handshake, Mayu engages with Kotori first while Shida watches, all three wrestlers go off the ropes until Shida eats a double dropkick. Armdrag by Kotori and she dropkicks Mayu, Mayu kips up but Kotori grabs her arm and hits a springboard armdrag while also dropkicking Shida at the same time. Kotori goes after Shida but Shida puts her across the ropes in the corner before suplexing Mayu on top of her. Mayu and Shida trade elbows until Mayu superkicks her, Kotori grabs Mayu and rolls her up for a two count. Northern Lights Suplex by Mayu to Kotori, but she gets a two as well. Mayu goes up top and hits a diving footstomp, but Shida breaks up the cover. Mayu grabs Shida but Shida drops her with a vertical suplex, she goes off the ropes but Mayu ducks the Three Count. Kotori returns and trades roll-ups with Mayu, Shida grabs Kotori as Kotori goes for a roll-up, but Shida blocks it. Mayu comes back over but she can’t get the roll-up either, Shida throws Mayu into Kotori and drops Kotori with a Falcon Arrow for the three count! Hikaru Shida is the winner.

I morally can’t recommend a four minute triple threat match but I can say that I enjoyed all four minutes. For wrestlers that are not familar with each other, everything was smooth and worked well, and needless to say it was a fast paced match. I love watching Stardom wrestlers outside of their normal comfort zone, Mayu of course is great in any situation but its still a fun change of pace. A cute match, I just obviously wish that it went a lot longer.

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AKINO, Chon Shiryu, Hidaka, and Takayama vs. Hikaru Sato, Matsumoto, Suzuki, and Kawamura

I might be tempted to skip this match except Hiroyo is in it. That’s not to say it won’t be good, but its just isn’t overly Joshi-y. I haven’t seen Shiryu and Kawamura in awhile so I don’t know what they have been up to, but the Legendary Yoshihiro Takayama and Minoru Suzuki are in the match so it should still be entertaining.

Matsumoto and AKINO begin the match and lock knuckles, they reach a stalemate so Matsumoto tags in Sato. AKINO kicks Sato in the leg but Sato catches one and applies a kneelock. Cross armbreaker by Sato but AKINO quickly gets out of it, kick to the gut by Sato but AKINO dropkicks him when he goes off the ropes. AKINO tags in Takayama, Takayama clubs on Sato and throws him back to his own corner so he can tag in Suzuki. Suzuki goes to tag in but Matsumoto stops him, as she wants a piece of Takayama. While brave, it doesn’t go well as Takayama boots her in the face and throws Matsumoto out of the ring. He goes out after her and slams her into a chair, he returns to the ring while his teammates slide Matsumoto back into the ring. Takayama tags in Shiryu and he hits an elbow drop on Matsumoto, Hidaka comes in next as the beatdown of Matsumoto continues. Matsumoto’s teammates come in to help but ultimately they aren’t too helpful, dropkick by Hidaka to Matsumoto and he hits a kneedrop. Hidaka stomps on Matsumoto and hits a DDT, but Matsumoto hits a vertical suplex and makes the tag to Kawamura.

matsumoto7-31-3Kawamura punches everyone that comes near him (he is wearing boxing gloves), he charges Hidaka but Hidaka ducks his punch and hits a dragon screw in the ropes. Ankle hold by Hidaka but Kawamura punches his way out of it, punches by Kawamura but Hidaka kicks him to the mat. Suzuki and Takayama are both tagged in, knee by Takayama in the corner and he hits a double underhook suplex on Suzuki for a two count. Takayama kicks Suzuki in the back but Suzuki returns the favor, they get back up and trade elbows. Big boot by Takayama but Suzuki slides away and applies a sleeper. He spins Takayama around and goes for a piledriver but Takayama back bodydrops out of it and tags in Shiryu. Suzuki is triple teamed in the corner, AKINO hits an assisted DDT and Shiryu hits a diving kneedrop for a two count cover. Takayama picks up Suzuki and hits a backdrop suplex while Shiryu goes out to the apron and hit a springboard jumping kick. Cover, but all of Suzuki’s teammates break it up. Things break down as all eight wrestlers at it, Shiryu goes off the ropes but Suzuki slides around him and applies a sleeper. Gotch-Style Piledriver by Suzuki, and he gets the three count! Team Hiroyo Matsumoto are your winners.

Another good match, although it probably didn’t need so many wrestlers. The downside of having eight wrestlers in a match this short is by the time everyone gets their turn, its difficult to really get into a groove before the match is suddenly over. Shiryu wasn’t really weakened at all before Suzuki pinned him, but that was more of an issue with the time than an issue of the wrestlers themselves not structuring the match correctly. There were some fun moments, it is always a pleasure to see Takayama and Suzuki face off against each other, but just with the way the match was designed it felt like filler. Some good sections but overall a bit forgettable.

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Aoi Kizuki, DASH Chisako, and Ohata vs. Cherry, Mariko Yoshida, and Kyoko Kimura

My excitement level for this event went from 90 to 120 once I realized that Yoshida was on the show. Yoshida is a world class trainer and submission expert that wrestled in AJW, ARSION, and Ibuki (which was her own promotion) before she faded away after Ibuki disbanded in 2010. She trained Matsumoto, which is her connection on this show. She never officially retired but this is her first televised non-Battle Royal match since 2012, thus my excitement. Everyone here is good of course and these are all familar names, with the soon retiring Kyoko also present as well as Cherry from DDT, Misaki Ohata from WAVE, DASH Chisako from Sendai Girls’, and the popular Freelancer Aoi Kizuki. This may end up being the best match of the night, if they mesh well together as all do have their own unique styles.

Yoshida and Kizuki start for their teams, Yoshida quickly gets Kizuki to the mat but Kizuki gets out of it and they return to their feet. Irish whip by Kizuki but Yoshida blocks it, side headlock by Yoshida and she applies an ankle hold, but Kizuki quickly gets to the ropes. Yoshida tags in Kyoko while Chisako also tags in, Kyoko applies a side headlock but Chisako gets out of it and hits an armdrag. Dropkick by Kyoko, and both wrestlers get back up to tag in the last pairing. Armdrags by Ohata to Cherry, Kizuki and Chisako come in the ring and Cherry is triple teamed in the corner. Cherry avoids Ohata’s charge as the tides turn, Cherry’s team helps her keep Ohata down and Cherry tags in Yoshida. Ohata takes Yoshida to the mat but Yoshida quickly applies a cross armbreaker, Ohata gets to the ropes so Yoshida tags in Kyoko. Ohata doesn’t stay down for long as she hits a crossbody on Kyoko before tagging in Kizuki, Kizuki hits a crossbody of her own and goes for a suplex, but Kyoko blocks it and applies a guillotine. Kyoko tags in Cherry who takes Kizuki to the mat before tossing Kizuki around by her hair. Yoshida returns and works over Kizuki on the mat, she tags Kyoko back in as Kizuki continues being the Wrestler in Peril. She finally fights back with elbows, knocking Kyoko to the mat and making the hot tag to Chisako.

matsumoto7-31-4Chisako trades elbows with Cherry on the apron until Kyoko attacks her from behind, but Chisako dropkicks both of them before dropkicking Kyoko again in the corner. Cover by Chisako, but it gets two. Kyoko puts Chisako in a stretch hold, Ohata runs in but Kyoko grabs her too and stretches them both before tagging in Cherry. Cherry lariats Chisako and applies a reverse armbreaker, but Kizuki breaks it up. Dropkick to the knee by Chisako and she hits a flipping neckbreaker, but Cherry bridges out of the pin. Chisako tags in Kizuki, face crusher by Kizuki and she hits a twisting body press on Cherry for two. Cherry comes back with a kick followed by a dropkick, double wrist armsault by Cherry but Kizuki kicks out. Kizuki hits a double wrist armsault of her own with the same result, they trade elbows until Cherry delivers a bridging scoop slam. Cherry goes up top but Chisako grabs her, giving Kizuki time to recover and toss Cherry to the mat. Jumping lariat by Kizuki, she tags in Ohata while Cherry makes the tag to Yoshida. Ohata throws Yoshida in the corner and hits a back elbow, Ohata charges Yoshida and delivers a low crossbody while Yoshida is slumped against the turnbuckles. Cover by Ohata, but Yoshida gets a shoulder up.

Stunner by Ohata and she applies a cross armbreaker, she then applies a triangle choke but Yoshida gets in the ropes for a break. Ohata picks up Yoshida but Yoshida quickly flips her to the mat and goes for her own cross armbreaker, Ohata wiggles out of it but Yoshida puts her in the Spider Twist! Ohata struggles for a moment but is close enough to the ropes that she gets a boot on one to force a break. Yoshida tags in Kyoko, Kyoko kicks at Ohata before booting her in the face for a two count. Yoshida comes in and hits a double underhook facebuster, Swanton Bomb by Cherry and Kyoko picks up Ohata, but Ohata reverse the Samoan Drop into a crucifix cover for two. Elbows by Ohata but Kyoko elbows her back, Kizuki comes in with a lariat but Cherry hits Ohata by accident when she tries to help. Yoshida clears the ring and holds Ohata for Kyoko, but Kyoko boots Yoshida by accident. Ohata and Kizuki both suplex Kyoko, with Ohata holding onto the German for two. Hanamaru Dokkan by Ohata, but Yoshida breaks up the pin. Ohata picks up Kyoko and goes for the Blue Dahlia, but Kyoko slides away and applies a sleeper hold. Cover by Kyoko, but Ohata barely kicks out. Kyoko goes for a headbutt but Ohata ducks it and applies an inside cradle, she goes off the ropes but Kyoko nails her with a boot to the face. Kyoko goes to make the cover but the bell rings as time expires. The match is a Draw.

A really good match, but it didn’t quite reach the levels I was hoping. The issue was the Draw, not that there was one, but there were some parts that just really slowed down and it felt like they were killing time.  Yoshida was fantastic, she hasn’t missed a beat and even though she wasn’t in the match much she always made an impact when she was. Cherry and Kizuki aren’t on the same level as the others but held their own, and the last five minutes or so were well done and fast paced. Definitely solid but due to some of the early slowdown it wasn’t a classic.  Recommended

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Aja Kong vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto

Hiroyo got to pick her own opponent for her anniversary show, but never one to back down from a fight, she picked one of the most fearsome Freelancers in Joshi. Aja Kong needs no introduction but I’ll give her one anyway – she is a 30 year veteran and was one of the top wrestlers in first AJW, then ARSION before she became a Freelancer in 2001. She had only been pinned once in singles matches in 2016 leading to this match, and has been known as one of the toughest wrestlers in Japan to defeat for most of her career. Hiroyo Matsumoto is no slouch of course and has multiple tag team championships, but is not on Kong’s level. She will really have to step up her game on her own Anniversary Show to leave a victor.

Kong and Hiroyo start with a long tie-up, Kong works a headlock and gets Hiroyo to the mat. Hiroyo gets out of it and gets back up, they trade elbows and running strikes in opposite corners until Hiroyo falls to the mat. Kong kicks Hiroyo in the chest, she returns to her feet but Kong knocks her back down and kicks Hiroyo in the ribs. Hiroyo falls out of the ring so Kong goes out after her and beats Hiroyo around the ring. Kong sets up a table at ringside, she pulls Hiroyo up onto it with her and piledrives her through the table to the floor! She then breaks off a piece of the table and whacks Hiroyo in the head with it before choking Hiroyo with the piece of table. She returns to the ring and waits for Hiroyo, Hiroyo slowly crawls in to beat the count but Kong immediately grabs her and hits another piledriver for a two count. Kong kicks at Hiroyo which just fires her up, she hits a few elbows but Kong headbutts Hiroyo back into the corner. Hiroyo gets up and they trade headbutts, a battle which Kong wins as Hiroyo falls to the mat again. Hiroyo slowly gets up on the other side of the apron, Kong comes at her but Hiroyo snaps her neck over the top rope. Missile dropkick by Hiroyo and she hits a body avalanche, backdrop suplex by Hiroyo and she hits a second one, but Kong blocks it when she goes for a third.

matsumoto7-31-5Kong goes for a lariat but Hiroyo avoids it and hits a third backdrop suplex, picking up a two count. Kong returns the favor with her own backdrop suplex, slap by Kong and she goes to the top turnbuckle, but Hiroyo recovers and hits a powerbomb for two. Hiroyo goes for another one but it epicly fails as Kong falls on top of her, Kong gets her metal paint can and hits Hiroyo with it, but Hiroyo takes it from her and hits Kong with it as well. Hiroyo puts Kong on the second turnbuckle to go for another powerbomb, but Kong blocks it rolls out of the ring to the floor. Hiroyo goes out after her, she gets a big metal oil drum but Kong chucks her own metal can at her to make her drop it. Kong then gets the drum and throws it at Hiroyo, she goes and gets a chair before breaking it over Hiroyo’s head. Kong goes to the lower stage to contemplate an elbow drop, but Hiroyo recovers and powerbombs her off the stage and onto the oil drum. Hiroyo pulls Kong and the drum onto the ramp, but Kong grabs Hiroyo and hits a brainbuster onto the metal drum. These two are holding nothing back. Kong recovers first and rolls back in while Hiroyo barely makes the count, they slowly get up and trade elbows and open hand slaps until Hiroyo sends Kong to the mat with a backdrop suplex for two. Hiroyo picks up Kong and goes for a powerbomb but Kong back bodydrops out of it, she gets her paint can and headbutts it into Hiroyo. Uraken by Kong, but Hiroyo kicks out of the cover. Kong picks up Hiroyo but Hiroyo blocks the Uraken, she hits an elbow but Kong connects with the Uraken the second time and both wrestlers fall to the mat. They both get up, slap by Kong and she nails a final Uraken for the three count! Aja Kong is the winner!

I generally don’t use terms like “epic” and “this was a war” but there is hardly another way to describe this match. Aja Kong isn’t the quickest wrestler and she can’t go at a fast pace, but she is still strong and knows how to lay out a match to keep you engaged even when there is a bit of downtime here and there. Hiroyo throwing everything she had at Kong while Kong proved to be too strong was a predictable story but one that was very well done, Kong tried staying one step ahead of Hiroyo but occasionally would slip and Hiroyo was always quick to capitalize. The outside the ring action was nuts, I mean this is a show that wasn’t even televised (its quite possible that at this moment I’m the only person in the United States that has seen it), and yet both were going all out. But it all still fit in the story, as Hiroyo brought the biggest weapon she could find to try to keep the legend down. A captivating match and proof to me that while Hiroyo is one of the best current Joshi wrestlers, Aja Kong is one of the best Joshi wrestlers of all time.  Highly Recommended