Event: Gatoh Move Japan Tour #438 ~ Last Song For You
Date: July 2nd, 2019
Location: Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 420
I recognize that reviews on the site have slowed down to a crawl, and until I have the time and desire to start doing them again that will probably continue to be the case. However, I got this DVD a few weeks ago and decided to hell with it, I had to do a review. Gatoh Move Last Song For You features Riho’s “graduation” from Gatoh Move, as this was her last match with the promotion before moving on to AEW and Freelancing. There are a few other big matches as well, as Gatoh Move put on a fun show for Riho’s farewell. Here are all the Joshi matches on the show:
Since I am watching the commercial DVD, all matches will be shown in full. All Joshi wrestlers on the event have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their names above to go straight to it.
An Chamu, Hagane Shinnou, and Makoto vs. Antonio Honda, SAKI, and Sayaka Obihiro
We kick off the Joshi portion of the show with a six wrestler Intergender tag team match. The teams are even in regards to gender, with each team having two women and one man. Sayaka Obihiro is the only Gatoh Move affiliated wrestler in the bunch, however the Freelancer An Chamu was trained by Emi Sakura and mostly wrestles in Gatoh Move. Makoto is a veteran Freelancer best known for her time in REINA, while SAKI is a Freelancer six years into her career that makes Gatoh Move her primary home.
They brawl to start, Hagane and SAKI start as the legal wrestlers and Hagane hits a hard shoulderblock. SAKI replies with a shoulderblock of her own, Makoto comes in but SAKI drops her with a rebound crossbody. Chamu gets in the ring and with Makoto they double team SAKI, but Antonio helps his partner and clears the ring. He goes for a dive but trips, leading to him grabbing a mic and cutting a promo. Makoto, Hagane, and Chamu return to the ring as Antonio talks to them, Antonio pokes all three in the eyes but Chamu fights back and hits a jumping elbow. Tilt-a-whirl schoolboy by Chamu, but it gets a two count. Chamu applies a headscissors in the corner, she lets go and gets on the top turnbuckle, hitting a diving crossbody onto Antonio for a two count. Chamu tags Hagane, punches by Hagane to Antonio but Antonio punches him back in the stomach and makes the tag to Sayaka. Chops by Sayaka to Hagane, she goes for a spear but Hagane catches it and hits a vertical suplex. He tags in Makoto, Makoto throws Sayaka into the corner and hits a big boot for two. Double underhook by Makoto but Sayaka blocks the suplex and cradles Makoto for a two count. Sayaka chops Makoto into the corner, she goes off the ropes and dropkicks Makoto to the mat.
Scoop slam by Makoto but Antonio pulls Sayaka out of the ring to help her avoid the cartwheel double kneedrop. SAKI gets in as the legal wrestler and kicks Makoto into the corner, but Makoto knocks her back and hits a diving crossbody for two. Makoto picks up SAKI and hits a bridging double underhook suplex, but that gets a two as well. Makoto tags in Chamu, Hagane also comes in and SAKI is triple teamed. Shining Wizard by Chamu to SAKI, but the cover is broken up. Chamu picks up SAKI and hits a hip attack, as does Makoto and Hagane. They all go off the ropes but Hagane and Sayaka trip the helpers from the corner while SAKI catches Chamu with an atomic drop. SAKI and friends all punch their opponents but team SAKI returns the favor, all six trade punches with SAKI’s team getting the better of it. Double atomic drop to Chamu, Sayaka goes off the ropes and dives out onto Makoto and Hagane (after hopping on the apron first). SAKI picks up Chamu and hits a vertical suplex, cover by SAKI and she gets the three count!
Nothing about this will blow anyone away, but for an early-card match it was sufficient. None of the wrestlers got a real chance to shine, and there weren’t any higher end wrestlers here anyway (except maybe Makoto, depending on your tastes), so it just hummed along until it ended. Not offensive or boring, just a match to fill out the card before the bigger matches happened.
Haruka Umesaki vs. Mei Suruga
The rest of the matches on the show will be singles matches. Mei Suruga hails from Gatoh Move and debuted in May of 2018, with Riho’s departure from the promotion she is the brightest young star under Emi Sakura’s tutelage. Haruka Umesaki represents Diana and debuted earlier this year, not a lot of tape of her has been seen so she is a bit of an unknown, so it will be fun to see how she is progressing just a few months into her career.
Mei and Haruka circle to start, they struggle for position until Mei gets Haruka into the corner, but she gives a clean break. Haruka elbows her in the chest, Mei rebounds out of the corner and grabs Haruka’s wrist, she jumps off the ropes but Haruka gets her in a guillotine. Mei quickly gets out of it, they trade trips and covers before reaching a stalemate. Drop toehold by Mei, she applies a headlock but Haruka gets out of it and they trade holds. Mei works a headlock and then applies a wristlock, she jumps off the ropes before hitting an armdrag. Snapmare by Mei and she applies a bodyscissors, she rolls Haruka around while maintaining the hold before stopping with Haruka’s shoulders down for a two count. Mei picks up Haruka, hard elbow by Mei but Haruka dropkicks Mei in the corner. Jumping crossbody by Haruka and she puts Mei in a submission hold, she stretches Mei before letting go and stomping her. Mei goes for a scoop slam but Haruka blocks it, they go back and forth until Mei delivers a scoop slam.
Mei picks up Haruka and rams her head-first into the turnbuckles, she does it a second time before covering Haruka for two. Mei applies a stretch hold before letting Haruka go and putting her in a crab hold. Haruka quickly gets to the ropes for the break, Mei goes off the ropes but Haruka avoids her dropkick and hits one of her own. Haruka hits three more dropkicks and covers Mei, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Haruka, she goes for multiple covers but Mei kicks out each time. Haruka gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, but again her cover gets two. Crab hold by Haruka but Mei inches herself to the ropes to get the break. Haruka goes off the ropes but Mei catches her with a takedown, schoolboy by Haruka but it gets two. An inside cradle and backslide by Haruka don’t work either, she charges Mei and hits a dropkick. She goes for La Magistral but Mei blocks it, dropkick by Mei and she covers Haruka for two. Mei jumps on Haruka’s back and she applies the Houkiboshi for the three count pinfall! Mei Suruga wins!
The match probably went a smidge too long considering Haruka’s experience level, but it was a fine little match. Very simple, lots of strikes and cradles, but Haruka has some spunk to her and Mei has great presence. If I was trying to sell someone on either of these young wrestlers I doubt this is a match I would recommend, but for where they are in their careers I have no real complaints.
Ryo Mizunami vs. Yuna Mizumori
Special guest Ryo Mizunami is here to show Gatoh Move wrestler Yuna Mizumori a thing or two before likely crushing her into the ground. Yuna Mizumori is a Gatoh Move wrestler that debuted in February of 2018, in her short career she has held the Asia Dream Tag Team Championship and also earlier this year challenged Nanae Takahashi for the SEAdLINNNG Beyond The Sea Championship. Ryo Mizunami represents Pro Wrestling WAVE and is one of their top wrestlers, as the 14 year veteran is a two time Regina Di WAVE champion. A lopsided pairing to be sure, but maybe Yuna can learn something from her senior in defeat.
Yuna tries to knock over Ryo with shoulderblocks to start the match but has no luck, Ryo kicks Yuna and shoulderblocks her down to the mat. Yuna immediately gets up and elbows Ryo from behind, and she finally knocks over Ryo with a shoulderblock. She picks up Ryo but Ryo hits a scoop slam and hits a quick legdrop for a two count. Camel Clutch by Ryo, she lets go after a moment and stomps Yuna in the back. Ryo chops Yuna into the corner but Yuna catches one to block it, Ryo goes off the ropes but Yuna knocks her into the corner. Elbows by Yuna, she dances a bit but Ryo moves out of the way when she charges her. Chops by Ryo in the corner, now its her turn to do a dance as she charges up but Yuna blocks her lariat. Kick by Ryo and she elbows Yuna repeatedly, lariat by Ryo and she hits a legdrop for two.
Anaconda Vice by Ryo, Yuna elbows out of it and tosses Ryo over her back. Body press by Yuna, but it only gets a two count. Running crossbody by Yuna and she hits two more, but again her cover gets two. Yuna goes for a handstand senton but Ryo moves out of the way and hits a running leg lariat. She quickly goes up top but Yuna recovers and grabs her, slamming Ryo into the opposite corner. Shoulder tackle by Yuna and she delivers the handstand senton for two. Yuna charges Ryo and tries to jump on her but Yuna gets her feet up, heel kicks by Yuna but Ryo kicks out of the cover. Dropkick by Yuna and she hits a double jump bodypress out of the corner for another two count. Yuna charges Ryo but Ryo catches her with a hard lariat, she goes off the ropes and hits a second lariat for two. Ryo waits for Yuna to get up and delivers a spear, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the guillotine legdrop for the three count! Ryo Mizunami is the winner.
An odd little match. Ryo wrestled from the dominate position but it was far from a squash as Yuna got in about a third of the offense and had several nearfalls. I am not a huge fan of Ryo’s goofiness so naturally I am not a big fan of Yuna’s goofiness either, but at least they were both on the same page. The end stretch of the match was solid, not necessarily heated but both were hitting their moves well and their exchanges were well done. A solid midcard match and Ryo made sure to put over Yuna’s bigger moves, Yuna doesn’t seem from this match to be the smoothest wrestler but overall an easy watch. Mildly Recommended
Hikaru Shida vs. Mitsuru Konno
I am glad I purchased this DVD as I love Hikaru Shida and want to watch as many of her recent matches as I possibly can. Like the last match, this is “Gatoh Move wrestler vs. veteran outsider.” Mitsuru Konno is three years into her career but rarely ventures outside of Gatoh Move and has never won a championship. Hikaru Shida is one of the most popular wrestlers in Joshi and has 15 career title reigns, at the time of the match she had announced that she’d be joining the US promotion AEW in the fall as she takes on a new challenge. The winner here isn’t in doubt, but hopefully the journey will still be worth it.
Hikaru and Mitsuru tie-up to start, Hikaru pushes Mitsuru into the ropes but she gives a clean break. They tie-up again, again Hikaru gets Mitsuru into the ropes and breaks clean, but Mitsuru charges right back at her. They keep struggling, Mitsuru finally gets Hikaru in the ropes and hits a series of elbows. Scoop slam by Hikaru but Mitsuru quickly gets back up but Hikaru pushes her to the ropes and knees her in the head. Hikaru hangs Mitsuru’s head over the apron and hits a kneelift, she gets back in the ring and hits a backbreaker for two. Camel Clutch by Hikaru but Mitsuru gets into the ropes for the break. Hikaru picks up Mitsuru but Mitsuru elbows her, eye poke by Hikaru and she throws Mitsuru into the corner, but Mitsuru kicks her back. Hikaru hits a jumping knee anyway but Mitsuru fires back with a dropkick and a jumping kick. Single leg crab hold by Mitsuru, she lets go after a moment and picks up Hikaru, but Hikaru knees her in the stomach. Knee to the back of the head by Hikaru, she picks up Mitsuru and delivers a vertical suplex for a two count.
Hikaru goes off the ropes but Mitsuru schoolboys her for two, Mitsuru tries a few more flash pins but Hikaru blocks them. Hikaru knees Mitsuru hard in the face, the referee starts a ten count but Mitsuru makes it to her feet. Elbows by Mitsuru but Hikaru knees her in the head again, Mitsuru again comes back with elbows and the two exchange blows. Mitsuru boots Hikaru out of the ring, she goes out after her and tosses Hikaru into the chairs at ringside. Mitsuru slides Hikaru back in the ring, she picks her up and hits a bridging suplex for two. Mitsuru goes off the ropes and boots Hikaru in the head, she picks her up but Hikaru pushes her away and delivers a jumping knee. Mitsuru quickly recovers and boots Hikaru, but Hikaru hits an enzuigiri before slamming Mitsuru into the mat. They trade flash pins with neither getting the three count, Hikaru goes off the ropes but Mitsuru hits a lariat for two. Mitsuru picks up Hikaru but Hikaru pokes her in the eyes and applies an inside cradle. Three Count by Hikaru, and she picks up the three count! Hikaru Shida is the winner.
This was really fun, enjoyed it thoroughly. For two wrestlers not overly familiar with each other it was pretty smooth, just one noticeable miscommunication, and Mitsuru definitely brought her best with her as she went toe to toe with Hikaru for the bulk of the match. Hikaru’s strikes are a thing of beauty as always but I liked Mitsuru not necessarily wrestling from the weak position which would have been assumed going into it considering their experience levels, it felt more like a struggle for both and not Hikaru sleepwalking through a lesser wrestler. I wouldn’t have minded a longer final stretch run, but otherwise a solid match to lead us to the main event. Recommended
Emi Sakura vs. Riho
It is time for the main event, as Riho has her ‘graduation’ match against her trainer and mentor. Needless to say the history here goes way back as Emi Sakura trained Riho to be a wrestler when she was just a child and Riho stayed loyal to Emi as she remained with her for 13 years, first in Ice Ribbon and then in Gatoh Move. But the time for Riho to leave the nest has finally arrived, as she decided to become a Freelancer (later she would sign with AEW and become semi-active in Stardom as well). This is their 36th singles match against each other, and both have won their fair share, although since 2016 Riho is 7-1 against her trainer. Its only fitting her Gatoh Move farewell match is against someone that played such a big part in her life, and I am sure they will do their best so Riho leaves the promotion on a high note.
They start with a knuckle-lock and a Test of Strength, Emi pushes Riho down but Riho bridges back up and gets out of the hold. She goes for a crossbody but Emi slams her to the mat, Riho bridges out of the pin attempt but Emi flings her back down and goes for a submission. Riho quickly gets out of it and goes for a Mexican Surfboard, but she can’t get Emi up so she puts her in a Camel Clutch instead. Riho puts Emi in the corner and hits a jumping knee, another knee by Riho but Emi pushes her back and hits a series of Mongolian Chops. Emi throws down Riho by the hair and puts her in the Mexican Surfboard, she lets go after a moment and goes for a Tiger Driver, but Riho gets out of it and delivers a spinning headscissors. Emi falls out of the ring, Riho goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out with a crossbody to the floor. Riho rolls Emi back in, she goes to the top turnbuckle and hits another diving crossbody for a two count. Emi gets Riho on her shoulders but Riho slides off and dropkicks her in the back, she goes for the 619 but Emi moves out of the way and hits a backbreaker. Emi picks up Riho and hits a double underhook into another backbreaker, cover by Emi but it gets a two count. Emi chops Riho but Riho drop toeholds her into the ropes and hits the 619. Northern Lights Suplex by Riho, but it gets a two count. Riho goes up to the top turnbuckle but Emi avoids the diving footstomp, cradle by Riho and she hits a footstomp to Emi’s midsection.
Running knee to the back by Riho and she puts Emi in a single leg crab hold, but Emi gets into the ropes to force the break. Punches to the back by Riho, she picks up Emi but Emi grabs her and slams Riho to the mat. Emi charges Riho in the corner and hits a crossbody, reverse double kneedrop by Emi and she goes for a Vader Bomb, but Riho gets her knees up. Diving footstomp by Riho, but her cover only gets two. Riho charges Emi but Emi ducks the Somato and cradles Riho for two. Both wrestlers elbow each other as they return to their feet, Emi wins the battle and follows up with a dropkick. Riho doesn’t stay down, elbow by Emi but Riho fires back with a jumping knee. Emi hits a knee as well but Riho hits a crossbody in the corner, leaving both wrestlers on the mat. Riho goes up top but Emi recovers and joins her, Riho knocks Emi into the Tree of Woe and delivers a diving double knee. Riho goes for the Somato but Emi ducks it again and cradles Riho for two. Emi goes for La Magistral but Riho reverses it into one of her own, she finally hits the Somato but Emi barely kicks out of the cover. Riho picks up Emi but Emi snaps off a German suplex, Emi picks up Riho and hits the Tiger Driver for a two count. Emi chops Riho in the chest but Riho fires back with a lariat, Riho charges Emi but Emi applies La Magistral for the three count! Emi Sakura wins the match.
A fitting match for Riho’s ‘graduation’ from Gatoh Move, as with their chemistry and in-ring history these two aren’t capable of having a bad match together. It started a little slow and some of the submissions felt disjointed, but once they got rolling the match was fast paced and captivating. Emi Sakura can still go at 43 years old, she had no issues keeping up with Riho and hit everything smoothly, including her usual innovative backbreakers. I just wish the match had about five more minutes to it as it felt like they had more they could have done, particularly with Emi Sakura since she didn’t have a segment towards the end with convincing nearfalls that could have added some drama. This won’t be the last time these two interact in the ring so there was no need to go “all out” with it, an entertaining match between the student and the master. Recommended
Fans that expected a blowout Korakuen Hall-style super show for Riho’s graduation may be disappointed by this event, but top to bottom it was a solid effort by Gatoh Move as they focused on their own wrestlers as their biggest star leaves. Veteran vs. Inexperienced Wrestler matches don’t usually equate to ***** affairs in the Joshi world but they are entertaining in their own way, maybe having two matches in that style was one too many but both matches were fun so I’m not going to complain. Sakura/Riho was great, not ‘next level’ great but this wasn’t a retirement match or a title match, just a ‘goodbye’ match and I think it was their best singles match against each other in recent memory. An easy to watch and relatively short show, I can recommend it without hesitation to Gatoh Move fans, however those not familar with Gatoh Move and their wrestlers may not be as satisfied.