Asuka vs. Mei Suruga in Gatoh Move on 5/23/20 Review

Gatoh Move ChocoPro #16 Banner

Event: Gatoh Move ChocoPro #16
Date: May 23rd, 2020
Location: Ichigaya Chocolate Hiroba in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 0

I don’t normally review just one match from an event, but this will be an exception. There were only two matches on the show, but I decided to skip the other as it didn’t look like my cup of tea and went straight to the main event as the Freelancer Asuka invades Gatoh Move to challenge their brightest young star – Mei Suruga. Here is the match we will be watching today:

As this aired live on Youtube, the match will be shown in full. You can click on the wrestlers’ names above to go straight to their profile on Joshi City.

ASUKA vs. Mei Suruga
Asuka vs. Mei Suruga

Even though this was a pretty big match for Gatoh Move when it was first announced, it took a different tone leading up to it after the tragic passing of Hana Kimura on the same day. Asuka and Hana were close and used to wrestle together as a tag team, so Asuka choosing to still wrestle is the ultimate example of “the show must go on.” Coming into the match, Asuka had been by Gatoh Move twice before but this was her first time wrestling Mei in the promotion, and only the third time they’ve faced off at all. She comes in with the experience edge over Mei, but Mei has the home court advantage with the unique setting so I’m looking forward to how this match turns out.

Asuka won’t shake hands with Mei before the bell, setting the early tone. They lock knuckles but Asuka pushes Mei down, Mei gets back to her feet but can’t reach Asuka’s hand to lock up again. Mei stomps on Asuka’s foot and applies a waistlock, she leaps over Asuka and grabs her arm, jumping off the window and going for an armdrag. Asuka doesn’t go over, she picks up Mei and does an armdrag off the window herself before doing a sexy dance. Mei does a dance as well, which disgusts both Asuka and the referee Emi Sakura, Mei gets Asuka to the mat and puts her in a bodyscissors. Mei rolls around Asuka while keeping in the hold before keeping the cradle applied for a two count. Mei runs over Asuka’s back but eventually trips over Asuka, Asuka bops Mei in the head before throwing her down by the hair. Mei gets back up and grabs Asuka by the hair but Asuka flings her head forward, sending Mei crashing to the mat. Kicks to the head by Asuka, she picks up Mei and hits a scoop slam. Elbow drop by Asuka and she covers Mei with one boot for a one count. Asuka picks up Mei and hits another scoop slam before putting Mei in a crab hold, but Mei reaches the edge of the mat to force a break (there are no ropes).

Asuka vs. Mei SurugaAsuka applies an arm wringer and then a side headlock, she switches it to a guillotine hold on the mat but Mei reaches the edge again for the break. Asuka mounts Mei and chokes her, she picks her up and puts Mei in a stretch hold. Mei reaches the wall which also forces a break (slightly different rules here), Asuka picks up Mei but Mei connects with a series of elbows. Low dropkick by Mei but Asuka blocks it when she goes for a cradle and applies an ankle hold. Mei manages to get the break, Asuka picks her up and goes for a chokeslam, but Mei blocks it and hits an armdrag. She grabs Asuka’s wrist and jumps off the window sill with another armdrag, kicks by Mei and she stands on a stool so she can club Asuka in the back. Mei jumps up into the other window and rides over to her to deliver a hurricanrana, dropkicks by Mei but Asuka returns to her feet. Asuka goes for a dropkick but Mei swats her away and rams her head-first into the wall. Dropkick by Mei, and she covers Asuka for a two count. Asuka trips Mei and goes back to the ankle hold, but Mei rolls to the wall for the break. Mei grabs Asuka’s ankle and goes for a hold of her own, but Asuka reaches the wall so Mei has to let go.

Mei charges Asuka but Asuka dropkicks her as she charges in, Asuka picks up Mei and slaps her. Back kick by Asuka and she covers Mei for a two count. Asuka picks up Mei but Mei ducks the elbow, boot by Asuka but Mei elbows her in the chest. Asuka knocks Mei to the mat, she picks her back up as Mei continues trying to fight back. Asuka sends Mei down again with another hard elbow, cover by Asuka but it gets a two count. Asuka knees Mei in the head and kicks her around the mat, vertical suplex by Asuka and she hits a standing moonsault for a two count. Asuka circles Mei before picking her back up, but Mei quickly applies a small package for two. Mei goes for a few more flash pins with no luck, she ducks Asuka’s boot attempt and hits her with a kendo stick. They both slowly get up, Mei charges Asuka but Asuka catches her with a heel kick. Cover by Asuka, but Mei bridges out of the pin. Asuka picks up Mei but Mei blocks the chokeslam and rolls Asuka into a pin attempt for two. Schoolboy by Mei, but that gets a two count as well. Mei goes for a cradle but Asuka rolls through it and applies an ankle hold, but Mei reaches the edge of the mat to force a break. Asuka picks up Mei but Mei slips away, she goes for a cover but Asuka pushes her off as the bell rings due to time expiring. The match is a Draw.

It is easy to dismiss a match that takes place on a mat inside a small room as goofy, especially since sometimes the style in Gatoh Move leans towards comedy, but this was a legitimately good match. They used the unique surroundings when appropriate but not excessively, as the bulk of the match was the same style as if they were in an actual ring. Asuka adapted well and they mixed in typical action with the occasional Gatoh Move-style cuteness in a way that really worked. I wish of course it wasn’t a Draw but I get it in cases like this, and Mei more than put up a fight so it wasn’t a mercy Draw where she was about to lose to the more experienced outsider. It wasn’t perfect, things like the ankle holds just felt like killing time and I wish Mei had a non-flash pin nearfall or two, but overall a really entertaining effort by both.  Recommended