Event: WAVE “Yokohama WAVE”
Date: January 9th, 2016
Location: Yokohama Radiant Hall in Yokohama, Japan
Announced Attendance: 182
We finally get to check in with WAVE, as their first full event of the year has been aired. This is a small show in most respects, it is at a smaller venue and has no title matches. However the matches all got a decent amount of time and all the major stars of WAVE are here, so there is still potential for the event to deliver. Here is the full card:
A pretty full show, let’s get right to it.
ASUKA and Yumi Ohka vs. Hiroe Nagahama and Moeka Haruhi
We kick things off with an interesting mixture of young wrestlers and veterans. ASUKA is a transgender wrestler that debuted in August, she is currently 17. Ohka is a long term veteran as is Haruhi, although Haruhi has not had near Ohka’s success in her career. Then there is young Nagahama, she debuted in late October of 2014. A pretty standard opening, although a bit lower than I am used to seeing Ohka on the card.
ASUKA and Nagahama are the first two in but Haruhi soon runs in and helps Nagahama out. This brings in Ohka and now it is Nagahama being double teamed as she is stomped on the mat, scoop slams by ASUKA and she tags in Ohka. Ohka and ASUKA take turns slamming Nagahama, elbow drop by Ohka and she covers Nagahama for two. Nagahama finally fights back and Haruhi comes off the top with a dropkick, giving Nagahama time to tag in Haruhi. Haruhi dropkicks ASUKA, she goes up top and hits a diving crossbody for a two count. Haruhi picked up ASUKA but ASUKA hits a rebound crossbody and tags in Ohka. Ohka boots Haruhi in the corner and does it again, she goes up top and hits a diving crossbody for two. Haruhi whips off a hurricanrana, quick footstomp by Haruhi and she hits a diving footstomp for a two count. Nagahama is tagged in, she dropkicks Ohka around the ring and covers her. Ohka and Nagahama trade elbows, jumping elbow by Ohka but Nagahama dropkicks her. Ohka gets Nagahama’s back and applies a cross arm stretch hold, big boot by Ohka and she hits another big boot but Nagahama gets a hand on the ropes on the attempted cover. Ohka tags ASUKA, Space Rolling Elbow by ASUKA and she follows with a dropkick. ASUKA goes off the ropes but Nagahama catches her with a suplex. Ohka comes back and they hit a double vertical suplex on Nagahama, they then drop Haruhi on her as well. Missile dropkick by ASUKA, she goes up top but Nagahama avoids the moonsault. Ohka boots ASUKA by accident, Nagahama quickly puts ASUKA in the Kasadora and she picks up the three count! Nagahama and Haruhi are your winners.
This wasn’t a bad way to start the show. Ohka is good at one thing, booting people in the face, and she did that well here as the big veteran presence. The other wrestlers looked fine, they tagged in and out (and just randomly ran in and out) enough to keep the action fresh. ASUKA continues to come along well for someone that just debuted four months prior, and Nagahama is finally starting to show some spunk as well. Overall a simple but fine way to begin.
Natsu Sumire vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto
This is a bit of a mismatch on paper but should still be fun. Fujimoto is a veteran wrestler for Ice Ribbon and held four titles going into this match (three tag titles and one singles title). Sumire on the other hand is still finding her way, as two and a half years into her career she is yet to win any championships and still wrestles towards the beginning of the card in WAVE.
After trading elbows to begin, Fujimoto gets Sumire to the mat but Sumire switches positions with her and applies a camel clutch. Sumire dropkicks Fujimoto but Fujimoto dropkicks her back and hits a cutter for a two count cover. Crossface by Fujimoto, she puts Sumire in the ropes and dropkicks her in the back. Fujimoto rolls Sumire around the ring but Sumire sneaks in a backslide for two. Fujimoto kicks Sumire in the back but Sumire ducks the PK and hits a dropkick. Fujimoto fires back with a dropkick and hits another one in the corner, but Sumire hits a jumping lariat. Dropkick by Sumire and she goes up top, hitting a diving crossbody for two. Kick by Fujimoto and she kicks Sumire in the chest, Sumire sneaks in a roll-up but she gets a two count. Dropkick by Fujimoto and she hits a scoop slam, she goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick. Gokurakugatame by Fujimoto, and she picks up the three count! Fujimoto wins the match.
One reason that Sumire is still having issues moving up the card is she is developing very slowly. Here she wasn’t bad but she wasn’t particularly good either, a bit clunky and stiff, and the match didn’t ever really click. Much of the action was ok but it was just basic, mostly dropkicks and the like. Not actively bad but still a skippable match, Sumire is still a bit away from making a real impact.
Hikaru Shida vs. Mika Iida
Now this match has some serious potential. Shida is one of the top Freelancers in Japan, and during her career she has held championships in four different promotions, including WAVE. Iida is only 23 but is a five year veteran, she only has one title reign while in WAVE but is a constant force and always presents a challenge to her opponent.
They play nice to start with wristlocks and armdrags, Iida gets Shida to the mat but Shida slides away and applies a Stretch Muffler. Iida reverses it into a cross armbreaker but Shida slams her in the corner to get out of it. Hip attack by Shida but Iida rolls her up before hitting a reverse STO. Seated armbar by Iida and she starts working on Shida’s arm, but Shida rolls away from her and hits a hurricanrana followed by a hip attack. Shida pulls Iida’s head over the apron and hits a running knee lift, they return to the ring and Shida applies a rolling single leg crab hold. Backbreaker by Shida and she then puts Iida in a crab hold again, but Iida gets to the ropes. Vertical suplex by Shida and she throws Iida to the corner, but Iida slides out to the apron and snaps Shida’s arm on the top rope. Iida goes up top and snaps her arm again, but Shida boots her when she goes to the top turnbuckle again and suplexes Iida back into the ring. Running knee to the back of the head by Shida but Iida blocks the next attempt and applies a cross armbreaker. Shida gets to the ropes but Iida dropkicks her in the head and then hits a missile dropkick. Shida blocks the fisherman suplex and hits a jumping knee, Shida goes off the ropes but Iida trips her and rolls up Shida for two. Shida gets Iida on her shoulders and hits a backbreaker, running knee by Shida but Iida barely kicks out of the cover. Iida goes for a bodyscissors but Shida slams her way out of it and hits a Falcon Arrow. Three Count by Shida, she picks up Iida and delivers the Go To Sleep. Three Count by Shida, and she gets the three count cover! Shida is your winner.
A solid midcard match, I enjoyed it. Shida did what she does well, focus on the back before knocking off Iida’s head, and Iida at least planned for the arm and stuck with the plan for the entire match. Shida didn’t do a lot to sell the arm between sets, but Iida didn’t do a lot of real damage to it either aside from the late cross armbreaker. This was a bit of a dialed back Shida match but it was still fun, and Iida put up a tough fight. Worth a casual watch for sure. Mildly Recommended
Fairy Nipponbashi vs. Miyako Matsumoto
This match pits the two comedy wrestlers of WAVE against each other with no other wrestlers to keep them under control. What makes this not skippable is the beautiful and talented Mio Shirai is the referee! And she has high socks on. So that is far more interesting then the match will be, it is always a treat to see Mio Shirai.
For the first time in my life I am not going to do anything resembling play by play for this match, as there is no point. There was lots of dancing, posing, and things like that because that is what both of these wrestlers do anyway. The most interesting part was Mio, as Mio got involved several times including getting physical with both wrestlers. It was done in a comedic way of course, as they got Mio to do a bit of a dance herself and occasionally refusing to count. The match ended after the wrestlers had each other in submissions at the same time and both taped out, Mio thought about it for a moment and eventually called the match a No Contest.
The only reason to watch this is for Mio Shirai. I don’t really love this type of comedy, Nipponbashi and Matsumoto are a bit too goofy for my tastes. But Mio interjecting herself throughout added a different element to the match that did help it a bit. Not a good match, but if you miss Mio it is worth a watch.
Meiko Tanaka and Sareee vs. Las Aventureras (Ayako Hamada and Yuu Yamagata)
Business picks up a bit here, as the young Diana tag team of Tanaka and Sareee take on the WAVE veterans Las Aventureras. Since Diana doesn’t make tape, we only get to see Tanaka and Sareee when they wrestle in other promotions, which luckily they do quite a bit. Hamada and Yamagata came into the match as the WAVE Tag Team Champions, but the titles are not on the line here, as they are only fighting for honor and pride.
The Diana team attacks before the match starts and isolate Hamada in the ring until Yamagata charges back in to help her partner. Yamagata and Tanaka stay in as the legal wrestlers, chops by Yamagata and Hamada comes off the top with an ax handle. Hamada slaps Tanaka in the corner and hits a rolling senton, Yamagata comes back in as Tanaka tries to get on offense with limited success. Hamada takes her turn dominating Tanaka until Sareee finally comes in to assist, Tanaka puts Hamada in a crab hold but Yamagata breaks it up. Hamada and Tanaka trade shots with Tanaka standing strong against the veteran, but Hamada eventually knocks her to the mat. Boot by Hamada but Tanaka headbutts her before tagging in Sareee. Dropkicks by Sareee to Hamada but she swats away the missile dropkick attempt, Yamagata comes in but Team Diana both dropkick their opponents. Hamada and Sareee trade elbows, Hamada again wins the exchange and she covers Sareee for two. Hamada goes for a moonsault but Sareee moves out of the way, German suplex by Sareee to Hamada and she goes up top, but Hamada kicks her as she jumps off. Slingshot stomp by Yamagata, Hamada picks up Sareee and hits a backdrop suplex for two.
Codebreaker by Yamagata to Sareee but Sareee fights back as they trade chops. In a recurring theme, the veteran wins the duel but Sareee snaps off a vertical suplex followed by a footstomp. Dropkick by Sareee while Yamagata is in the ropes, fisherman suplex hold but Sareee but Yamagata gets a shoulder up. Sareee tags in Tanaka, shoulder tackles by Tanaka in the corner but Yamagata hits an enzuigiri. The pair trade dropkicks, jumping elbow by Yamagata and she goes up top, hitting a missile dropkick. Hamada comes in and kicks Tanaka in the head but Tanaka spears both of them, Sareee then jumps off the apron with a crossbody down onto Hamada. Sareee returns and both she and Tanaka dropkick Yamagata. Missile dropkick by Sareee and Tanaka, cover by Tanaka but it gets two. Assisted senton by Sareee, Tanaka goes up top and nails the diving senton, but Hamada breaks up the pin. Yamagata slides away from Tanaka and hits a Backstabber, enzuigiri by Hamada and Yamagata follows with a buzzsaw kick. Sareee comes in but gets double teamed for her trouble, Yamagata positions Tanaka and Hamada goes up top and hits a diving footstomp. Dual running kicks to Tanaka and Yamagata hits a Somato for two. Yamagata picks up Tanaka and nails the Air Raid Crash, and she gets the three count! Yamagata and Hamada win!
This was a fun match with a well done young wrestler/veteran dynamic throughout. The story was simple, the WAVE team was clearly better as they kept winning the exchanges, but the Diana team was spunky and had several really close falls as they were hard to put down for good. They showed Tanaka some respect with her taking so much offense at the end before getting pinned, and all four had a chance to shine with Tanaka being the most impressive. This is actually probably the best match I have seen with Tanaka, really solid performance by her here. Best match of the night so far, check it out. Recommended
Kaho Kobayashi and Rina Yamashita vs. Avid Rivals (Misaki Ohata and Ryo Mizunami)
Main event time! This is mostly an all WAVE match, while Yamashita is affiliated with Daijo she wrestles more in WAVE than anywhere else by a significant margin. Ohata and Mizunami make up Avid Rivals, one of the newer tag teams in WAVE, and they team up in other promotions as well as in December they challenged for the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship. This is a ranking match more than anything else, Kobayashi and Yamashita are not a regular team but can quickly climb up the ladder with an upset here.
Kobayashi and Ohata are the first two legal wrestlers and they quickly go to the mat before trading armdrags with neither getting a clear advantage. Yamashita and Mizunami are tagged in, they take turns trying to knock each other over which Mizunami gets the better of. Yamashita returns the favor and tags Kobayashi, Kobayashi goes for dropkicks but Mizunami is a brick wall. Ohata is tagged in and they take turns beating the smaller Kobayashi for several minutes, as Kobayashi is the perfect rag doll. After Kobayashi eats a variety of offense, including double leg drops and a curb stomp, she finally hits a dropkick on Mizunami and makes the hot tag. Yamashita cleans house with shoulderblocks and a double lariat, suplex by Yamashita and she covers Mizunami for a two count. Yamashita and Mizunami trade elbows, Ohata comes in and she hits a sliding crossbody on Yamashita in the corner. Tornado DDT by Ohata, she goes up top but Yamashita ducks the diving crossbody. Yamashita goes for a kick but Ohata catches it and applies an ankle hold. Seated armbar by Ohata to Yamashita but she gets out of it and hits a lariat.
Backdrop suplex by Yamashita and she tags Kobayashi, missile dropkick by Kobayashi to Ohata, Yamashita comes in and they hit Ohata with a double shoulderblock, but Mizunami runs in and helps. Kobayashi is double teamed, crossbody by Ohata but it gets a two count. Rolling Germans by Ohata and she holds the last one on Kobayashi for two. Ohata tags Mizunami, Mizunami picks up Kobayashi and she hits an overhead suplex. Running leg drop by Mizunami and she quickly applies an Anaconda Vice but it is broken up, Kobayashi dropkick Mizunami but Mizunami slams Kobayashi to the mat and Ohata hits a diving body press. Mizunami goes up top but Yamashita joins her and hits a superplex. Mizunami is double teamed, fisherman suplex hold by Kobayashi but it only gets two. Mizunami comes back with a lariat, another lariat by Mizunami but Kobayashi kicks out of the cover. Yamashita returns and elbows Mizunami, hurricanrana by Kobayashi but Ohata breaks up the pin. 120% School Boy by Kobayashi, but that is broken up as well. Kobayashi goes off the ropes but Mizunami hits a lariat, dragon suplex hold by Mizunami but the bell rings as time as expired. The match is a Draw.
I don’t love draws that seem to not have a real purpose, neither of these teams are champions and it is not a tournament, for such a small show it would have nice to have had a real conclusion to it. But I enjoyed the action itself, Kobayashi and Ohata are two of my favorites and any time they were both in the ring it was heavenly. Yamashita and Mizunami are solid too and the action flowed really well, especially in the last few minutes of the match. Sometimes things can get a little awkward when wrestlers are flying everywhere but everything was really smooth here. A really fun match, just with a disappointing end results. Mildly Recommended
For a small show, they packed in a lot here. Usually these events are five matches and the matches clock in at under an hour. That was not the case with this show, as we got six full matches, with most going to around 15 minutes or more. It was also pro shot, which was nice. As for a full WAVE event it was very solid with several entertaining matches, the only thing lacking was a great or MOTYC type of match. A good way for WAVE to kick off the year.