Pro Wrestling WAVE “Anivarsario WAVE” on 8/19/18 Review

Event: Pro Wrestling WAVE “Anivarsario WAVE 2018”
Date: August 19th, 2018
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 776

Pro Wrestling WAVE’s online streaming service can be hit or miss, but they have been on a roll this summer as they have been very timely with their updates. WAVE is in a rough situation right now, there is no other way to say it. They recently lost Ayako Hamada to a drug scandal, Misaki Ohata is retiring at the end of the year, Fairy Nihonbashi is leaving, and on top of all of that the promotion is temporarily closing at the end of the year to “restructure” behind the scenes before re-launching. They already have among the lowest Korakuen Hall attendance averages among all Joshi promotions (this event did a great number for them), and closing for a few months likely won’t help that. But even with all these issues going on, this is a very solid card up and down as they celebrate their anniversary with two big singles match and two title matches. Here is the full card (I am only reviewing the Joshi matches):

As this aired on the WAVE Network, matches will be unclipped. All wrestlers on the card have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name to go straight to it.

Aoki Itsuki and Mikoto Shindo vs. Hiroe Nagahama and Miyuki Takase

The show kicks off a match with two wrestlers that didn’t even have profiles on Joshi City (until I just added them) which shows they don’t show up too often. In Mikoto’s case that isn’t a surprise as she just debuted in Marvelous on August 8th. She is a very small wrestler so hopefully she can develop into a feisty underdog in the vein of Kaho Kobayashi. She teams with Aoki Itsuki, a Freelancer that used to be a regular in REINA, she debuted last year. On the other side is Hiroe, a young rising star in WAVE, and Miyuki who is affiliated with Actwres girl’Z but frequently wrestles in WAVE as well. Hiroe and Miyuki have a clear advantage here but I hope that Aoki and Mikoto show something as well.

Mikoto and Hiroe kick things off, they lock up as Hiroe gets Mikoto in the ropes, but she gives a clean break. Mikoto quickly locks back up with her, this time Mikoto gets Hiroe in the ropes and hits a series of elbows. Back in the middle of the ring, Hiroe tosses Mikoto into the corner and throws her down by the hair. Miyuki helps (even though Hiroe doesn’t need it), snaomare by Hiroe and she puts Mikoto in a bodyscissors. She picks her up after a moment and puts Mikoto into the corner, Irish whip to Mikoto and Hiroe hits a dropkick. Miyuki follows with an assisted elbow strike, Aoki tries to help but immediately gets kicked out of the ring by Miyuki. Mikoto dropkicks Hiroe and quickly rolls her up for two, another dropkick by Mikoto and she makes the hot tag to Aoki. Shoulderblocks by Aoki, she picks up Hiroe and hits a bridging vertical suplex for two. Aoki goes off the ropes but Miyuki kicks her from the apron, she gets in the ring and with Hiroe they hit a double dropkick. More dropkicks by Hiroe, she picks up Aoki and hits a vertical suplex for two. Aoki blocks the suplex attempt but Hiroe delivers a spear before tagging in Miyuki. Miyuki picks up Aoki but Aoki blocks the slam attempt and punches Miyuki in the stomach.

Miyuki comes back with a dropkick, legdrop by Miyuki and she covers Aoki for two. Back up, they trade strikes until Aoki chops Miyuki to the mat. Aoki goes off the ropes by Miyuki hits a lariat, Miyuki gets Aoki on her shoulders and hits a rolling fireman’s carry slam, but Aoki avoids the diving legdrop. Hiroe comes in and spears Aoki, Miyuki picks up Aoki but Aoki lariats both of them. Short-arm lariats by Aoki, but Miyuki kicks out of the cover. Aoki tags Mikoto, dropkicks by Mikoto to Miyuki and she covers her for two. Scoop slam by Mikoto but Miyuki continues to kick out of Mikoto’s covers, Miyuki elbows Mikoto but Mikoto elbows her back. Mikoto elbows Miyuki into the corner but Miyuki connects with a dropkick out of the corner, she gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving elbow smash for a two count. Miyuki picks up Mikoto while Hiroe gets on the top turnbuckle, but Aoki knocks Hiroe off and Mikoto cradles Miyuki for two. A schoolboy by Mikoto gets two as well, she tries a few more flash pins but none get the three count. Powerslam by Miyuki to Mikoto, she picks her up and hits a vertical suplex but Aoki breaks up the cover. Miyuki waits for Mikoto to get up and hits a lariat, cover by Miyuki and she gets the three count Your winners are Hiroe Nagahama and Miyuki Takase!

Considering the experience levels of those involved, this was a really solid opener. It wasn’t complicated but it didn’t need to be and everyone played their roles well without any awkwardness. The mid-match strike exchange was probably a tad too long and ultimately meaningless since the “loser” was immediately back on offense, but beyond that it never felt like it dragged. Mikoto is a firecracker as I assumed, and if she sticks with it/continues training under Chigusa Nagayo she could be something special down the road. A good way to start the show and get the crowd into it without trying to overshadow the action to come.

Cherry and Fairy Nihonbashi vs. Himeka Arita and Sakura Hirota

And here we have the match designed only to make me regret even watching this show. I say this as someone that enjoys some Fairy and Sakura comedy in small doses but them against each other is going to test my patience. They definitely have some humorous elements to their shtick but it virtually never changes, and after you watch them 100 times it becomes a bit of a grind. They team with Cherry, a veteran Freelancer that used to be in DDT, and Himeka who wrestles out of Actwres girl’Z. I always go into matches with an open mind but I have low expectations here.

Its hard to do play by play on silly comedy matches but I will try my best. Fairy and Himeka begin but Fairy starts doing Fairy things so no action actually takes place. Himeka is not in the mood and puts Fairy in a Argentine Backbreaker, but her own teammate breaks it up as this is not proper Fairy procedure. Hard shoulderblock by Himeka but Fairy gets her wand, she tries to use it on Himeka but Himeka doesn’t budge. It finally works, Fairy dances around and she covers Himeka for two. Fairy goes to tag out but Himeka hits her from behind and scoop slams her, Sakura comes in but Himeka slams her on top of Fairy. Himeka tags Sakura as she makes it back to the corner, Irish whip by Sakura and everyone comes in to deliver running strikes on Fairy in the corner. Including her own partner. Sakura then tries but Fairy hits her in the head with her wand, they go through the whole thing again but it has the same end result for Sakura. Sakura gets Fairy’s arm and goes to walk the ropes, but Fairy gets away and tries to wand Sakura off the top turnbuckle. Sakura walks the ropes instead and almost makes it to the next turnbuckle, but falls off. With her its hard to tell when her crash and burns are planned.

Anyway Cherry is finally tagged in and they both chop Sakura in the chest, double Irish whip but it is reversed and Cherry ends up going into the ropes. She lariats both of them, including her own partner, but Cherry makes her feel better by giving Fairy her wand. She uses it on Sakura, Cherry covers Sakura with the wand but it gets a two count. Cherry chokes Sakura into the corner but Sakura is still under Fairy’s spell so she isn’t moving too well. Headstand by Sakura on the turnbuckle which sucks everyone towards her, until Fairy hits Sakura low with the wand. Face crusher by Sakura to Cherry but Cherry slams her into the mat as they go back and forth with face crushers. Sakura tags in Himeka while Fairy is also tagged in, shoulderblock by Himeka and she his a second one. Fairy goes for a wand shot but Himeka moves and hits a jumping knee, but Cherry breaks up the cover. Fairy hits Himeka in the head with the wand, Cherry then tries to hit Himeka also but she hits Fairy by accident. Sakura comes in but she ends up kissing Fairy before Cherry accidentally hits Fairy again. Fairy tries to hit Cherry with the wand but it rebounds back and she hits herself, Himeka puts Fairy in the Argentine Backbreaker and Fairy submits! Himeka Arita and Sakura Hirota are the winners.

This was exactly as advertised. Maybe a new wrinkle or two but it was basically a Sakura Hirota and Fairy Nihonbashi comedy match combined into one. If you like it, more power to you, but its old hat to me and I’m happy to move onto the next match which is much more up my alley.

Hiragi Kurumi vs. Rina Yamashita

The rest of the show looks great, starting with this match. Kurumi is only 18 years old but has been wrestling for eight years, so while she is young in age she has lots of experience. She is a two time holder of the ICExInfinity Championship in her home promotion of Ice Ribbon, and has shown the potential to be the future Ace. Rina Yamashita is over ten years her senior but is only four years into her career, in that time period however she has risen to the top level of Pro Wrestling WAVE and has had success in other promotions such as SEAdLINNNG as well. This is Kurumi and Rina’s first ever singles match against each other, as WAVE continues to bring in new wrestlers for Rina to knock down or die trying.

They start off trading tie-ups with neither getting the clear advantage, they try to shoulderblock each other over until Kurumi ultimately wins the battle. Rina rolls out of the ring but Kurumi goes out after her and scoop slams Rina onto the floor. Rina gets some of the cold spray and sprays Kurumi with it, she takes Kurumi around the ring and throws her into some chairs at ringside. Rina sits Kurumi in a chair, she goes all the way up into the bleachers before charging at Kurumi, but Kurumi had plenty of time to recover and greets Rina with a lariat. Kurumi slides Rina back into the ring and hits a body avalanche in the corner, cover by Kurumi but it gets two. Crab hold by Kurumi but Rina gets to the ropes for the break, scoop slam by Kurumi and she hits a somersault senton for a two count. Kurumi tries to knock Rina over but Rina stays up, Rina goes off the ropes and she hits a hard shoulderblock. Rina picks up Kurumi and eventually hits a scoop slam, cover by Rina but it gets two. Rina picks up Kurumi and throws her into the corner, lariat by Rina and she hits a second one before kneeing Kurumi in the back of the head for a two count. Kicks by Rina, she picks up Kurumi and hits a backdrop suplex for another two.

Sleeper by Rina but Kurumi hiptosses out of it, they trade elbows until Kurumi dropkicks Rina to the mat. Cannonball by Kurumi, she gets back up but Rina manages to re-apply the sleeper. Kurumi struggles but eventually makes it to the ropes, Rina goes off the ropes and hits a kick to the head, but Kurumi ducks the lariat and delivers a release German. Rina returns to her feet but Kurumi connects with a second German, which keeps Rina on the mat. They both slowly get up and trade lariats, with Kurumi winning the battle as she knocks Rina down. Kurumi picks up Rina but Rina wiggles away, she goes for the sleeper but Kurumi quickly grabs the ropes. Rina goes off the ropes but Kurumi floors her with a lariat for a two count. Kurumi drags Rina to the corner, she goes up top but Rina recovers and joins her. Superplex by Rina, she slowly covers Kurumi but Kurumi gets a shoulder up. Rina picks up Kurumi and nails the sliding lariat, but again Kurumi kicks out. Rina charges Kurumi but Kurumi catches her with a cradle belly to belly piledriver. Kurumi picks up Rina and goes off the ropes, but Rina catches her with a lariat. Rina goes to pick up Kurumi, Kurumi hits a back bodydrop but Rina turns it into a cradle for two. Lariat by Kurumi, she picks up Rina and hits a second belly to belly piledriver, but the bell rings before she can make a cover as the time has expired. The match is a Draw!

Even though it felt like they were going for the draw with the slower portions early in the match, I still enjoyed it. I was surprised how much Kurumi was shown as an equal to Rina, even getting the better of her on several occasions, but Rina has always been good at giving her opponents a lot to make the matches more competitive. Kurumi flies under the radar a bit since Ice Ribbon isn’t as popular among Western fans but at only 18 she is already great at the “hoss” style and will continue to get better. Some unique spots and numerous ‘strength’ battles makes this one worth watching, and hopefully they will get a chance to do it again sooner than later.  Recommended

Misaki Ohata vs. Ryo Mizunami

Misaki shocked Joshi fans around the world when she announced she will retire from wrestling at the end of 2018, so for the rest of the year we will likely see her having ‘final’ big matches with a variety of opponents. Misaki Ohata and Ryo Mizunami are long time friends and teammates, wrestling as Avid Rival. As a team they won the tag team championship in both Ice Ribbon and WAVE, and individually both are former Regina Di WAVE Champion as they have led the promotion for the last several years. Nothing is on the line here, just two friends going at it for perhaps the last time in singles competition, putting everything they have into putting on a show at WAVE’s biggest event of the year.

They tie-up to start, Ohata gets Mizunami into the ropes but she gives her friend a clean break. Wristlock by Ohata but Mizunami reverses it, armdrag by Ohata and they trade positions on the mat. Mizunami works a headlock and hits a hard shoulderblock, she goes for a leg drop but Ohata moves out of the way and hits a dropkick. Mizunami stomps on Ohata’s foot but Ohata hits a jawbreaker and stomps on her foot back, she goes off the ropes but Mizunami catches Ohata with a powerslam. Mizunami chops Ohata into the corner and hits a jumping elbow smash, but Ohata dropkicks her when she messes around too much and hits an elbow in the corner. Ohata mimics Mizunami before hitting another elbow, Ohata goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody for two. Stunner by Ohata and she hits a tornado DDT, low crossbody by Ohata and she nails a sliding kick for a two count cover. German suplex hold by Ohata, but Mizunami kicks out. Back up they trade strikes until Mizunami hits an overhead belly to belly suplex, lariat by Mizunami and she hits a German suplex. Jumping leg lariat by Mizunami, but her cover gets a two count. Mizunami picks up Ohata and hits an elbow combination, Ohata fires back with slaps but Mizunami hits a lariat.

Ohata charges Mizunami but Mizunami hits a lariat, another lariat by Mizunami and she covers Ohata for two. Mizunami picks up Ohata but Ohata quickly hits the Blue Dahlia, she follows with the Fisherman Buster but Mizunami gets a shoulder up on the pin attempt. Ohata goes off the ropes but Mizunami gets Ohata onto her shoulders and slams her to the mat. They headbutt each other on their knees before trading elbows, Ohata finally chops Mizunami to the mat and she hits a hard elbow for a two count. Ohata goes for the Sky Blue Suplex but Mizunami rolls out of it, Ohata kicks Mizunami in the head and hits a second Blue Dahlia, but she again only gets two. Sky Blue Suplex Hold by Ohata, but Mizunami barely gets her shoulder up. Ohata goes for a second one but Mizunami blocks it and hits a uranage, Mizunami goes for the Hot Limit but Ohata blocks it as she goes for a series of flash pins. Ohata goes off the ropes but Mizunami hits a pair of lariats, dragon suplex hold by Mizunami but it gets two. Mizunami picks up Ohata and she nails the Hot Limit, cover by Mizunami but Ohata kicks out at one. Mizunami picks up Ohata and delivers a second one, a third Hot Limit by Mizunami and she picks up the three count! Ryo Mizunami is the winner!

This match was good but something felt a bit off. Its like they were going for that epic feel but it was just a midcard match with under 15 minutes of action so there were built-in limitations. Both were going through their finishers which I have no issue with but there wasn’t a lot of build-up to it, for Ohata to kick out of the Hot Limit and Mizunami to kick out of the Blue Sky Suplex Hold it just would have been nice for them to have a slower lead-up to that. Still, these two have great chemistry obviously so everything they did was smooth and hard hitting, and the match certainly never dragged. Hopefully this match is just a primer for a bigger match between them before Ohata retires, but still an enjoyable match.  Mildly Recommended

(c) Nagisa Nozaki and Yuki Miyazaki vs. Mio Momono and Yumi Ohka
WAVE Tag Team Championship 

Nagisa and Yuki won the tag team titles on February 12th, 2018, and this is their fifth defense as they have been pretty active champions. They face off here against the regular tag team of BOSS To Mammy, as even though Mio and Yumi are from different promotions (Marvelous and WAVE, respectively) they are also a regular tag team as well. They actually challenged for these same belts back in June but came up short, so they hope to get a different result this time and get Mio Momono the first championship in her young career.

Yuki and Mio begin for their teams, they lock knuckles but Mio spins away and hits a series of elbows. She goes for a crossbody but Yuki catches her and hits a slam, she goes to put Mio in an unfortunate situation but Ohka breaks it up. Ohka slams Mio on top of Yuki, Mio tags in Ohka and Ohka delivers a hip toss slam for two. Ohka picks up Yuki but Yuki hits a sliding kick and tags Nagisa. Yuki stays in and helps Nagisa for a moment double team Ohka, Nagisa chops Ohka in the corner before putting her in a sleeper. Ohka quickly gets to the ropes to break it up, Nagisa charges Ohka but Ohka moves out of the way and hits a big boot. Another boot by Ohka and she tags in Mio, Mio stomps down Nagisa in the corner but Nagisa fires back with a big boot, cover by Nagisa but Mio bridges out of it. Nagisa pulls down Mio by the hair, Mio goes for a dropkick but Nagisa swats her away and applies the sleeper. Mio drives back into the corner to break it up, Ohka comes in and she stomps on Nagisa’s foot repeatedly. Nagisa tries to boot Mio but she boots Ohka by accident, Mio then accidentally dropkicks Ohka but she recovers and boots Nagisa into the corner. Ohka launches Mio at Nagisa for a dropkick, cover by Mio but it gets two. Mio applies an ankle hold but Nagisa quickly gets to the ropes, Mio keeps the hold applied anyway until Yuki knocks her off. Dropkick by Mio, and she covers Nagisa for two. Mio goes off the ropes but Nagisa drops her with a big boot, Somato by Nagisa and she tags in Yuki.

Yuki dropkicks Mio, she picks her up but Mio slides away and dropkicks Yuki in the knee. Yuki and Mio trade flash pins, they get back up but Mio ducks Yuki’s lariat attempt and hits a spinning headscissors. Dropkick by Mio and she rolls Yuki to the mat before hitting a footstomp to the chest. Mio goes for the Yoshi Tonic but Yuki blocks it, Ohka comes in and hits a chokebomb on Yuki before she gets tagged in and drops Yuki with a cross-arm DDT. Ohka goes for a suplex but Yuki blocks it and kicks her in the head, Yuki picks up Ohka but Ohka wiggles away. Ohka knocks Nagisa off the apron and boots Yuki in the head, cover by Ohka but it gets two. Ohka goes off the ropes but Nagisa trips her and pulls her out of the ring, meanwhile on the other side Mio pulls Yuki to the floor as both teams brawl. Mio goes up top and dives out onto both opponents, they return to the ring but Sakura Hirota gets in the ring too and helps Yuki with Ohka. That quickly backfires, Ohka drops Yuki with a backdrop suplex and she covers her for a two count. Mio comes in and stands on Ohka’s shoulders for an assisted senton, cover by Ohka but Nagisa breaks it up. Mio and Ohka try to suplex Yuki but Yuki reverses it, Yuki suplexes Ohka into the turnbuckles and she goes up top, but Ohka avoids the moonsault. Samoan Driver by Yuki, but Ohka kicks out. Yuki tags Nagisa, boot by Nagisa to Ohka and she drives her into the corner. Nagisa sets up Ohka in the corner and hits a boot, another boot by Nagisa and she covers Ohka for two.

Nagisa goes for the sleeper but Ohka quickly gets out of it and they trade boots until Ohka knocks Nagisa to the mat. Ohka calls for Mio, they pick up Nagisa and Ohka hits a brainbuster while Mio distracts Yuki. Mio goes up top and hits a diving crossbody onto Yuki, Ohka then goes up but Nagisa recovers and joins her. Mio grabs Nagisa from behind but Yuki tosses her aside, Yuki then helps Nagisa superplex Ohka but Mio breaks up Nagisa’s cover. Mio goes up top but Yuki joins her and gives her a kiss, which knocks Mio to the mat. Yuki wraps up Mio near the corner but Ohka breaks it up, Nagisa rolls up Ohka from behind and puts her in a grounded dragon sleeper, but Mio breaks it up. Double Irish whip to Mio but Mio tosses both opponents down and dropkicks Nagisa in the head. Yuki kisses Mio again and goes for a wheelbarrow slam, but Mio blocks. Boot by Nagisa to Ohka, but it gets two. Nagisa goes off the ropes but Ohka hits a big boot of her own, Nagisa boots her back and hits another one, but Mio breaks up the pin. Nagisa goes for a sleeper but Ohka kicks his way out of it, Mio comes in and hits the Yoshi Tonic on Nagisa and Ohka hits a boot. Ohka goes off the ropes and hits a final big boot, and she picks up the three count! Yumi Ohka and Mio Momono are the new champions!

While I am beyond excited for Mio Momono getting her first title as she is a lot of fun to watch, I can’t say that this match did a lot for me. Yuki Miyazaki is best in small doses, if at all, as while she does provide a veteran presence and can help keep things together, her offense is pretty bland and her segments tend to drag. Ohka is better but still is mostly just big boots, and Nagisa wasn’t able to do what she does best here (set up submissions) as the match wasn’t about her wrestling preferences. So a 20 minute match with the only highlights being Mio-related feels like an eternity, the wrestlers worked together well but the structure was just all over the place with Yuki’s occasional comedy. Not a match I would recommend unless you love all parties involved but still a big moment in Mio Momono’s young career.

(c) Takumi Iroha vs. ASUKA
Regina Di WAVE Championship

Main event time! Takumi Iroha won the championship from Misaki Ohata on June 28th, and this is her first defense. Takumi hails from Marvelous and is the young Ace there, she is 25 years old and is one the top young wrestlers in the Joshi scene. ASUKA is 19 years old and is a three year pro, she is the first openly transgender Joshi wrestler and has been working her way up the card since debuting in 2015. She defeated Yumi Ohka last summer at the Anniversary Show and looks to build on that success by winning her first career championship at WAVE’s biggest event of the year.

They tie-up to start, Takumi pushes ASUKA into the ropes and she gives a clean break. They go into a Test of Strength and go to the mat, they jockey for position but end up in a stalemate and return to their feet. Knees by ASUKA and she kicks Takumi in the arm, ASUKA goes for a boot but Takumi moves out of the way and kicks ASUKA down in the corner. Dropkick by Takumi and she hits a dragon screw leg whip as she starts working over ASUKA’s leg. Scoop slam by Takumi and she hits a body press, covering ASUKA for two. Takumi goes back to ASUKA’s leg as she goes for the Stretch Muffler, but ASUKA gets into the ropes before she can get it fully applied. More kicks to the leg by Takumi but ASUKA absorbs the blows and kicks her back. Takumi gets the better of it at first but ASUKA knocks Takumi out of the ring, she goes up top and dives down onto Takumi with a missile dropkick. ASUKA slides Takumi back into the ring, she goes up top again and hits another missile dropkick. Another missile dropkick by ASUKA, she picks up Takumi and goes for a suplex, but Takumi blocks it. Superkick by ASUKA and she hits a running shooting star press. She then goes for a Lionsault but Takumi gets her knees up, jumping heel kick by Takumi but ASUKA blocks the suplex attempt. ASUKA goes for a boot but Takumi catches her leg and hits a dragon screw, figure four leglock by Takumi but ASUKA eventually gets to the ropes for the break. Takumi goes up top but ASUKA smacks her before she can jump off  and slams Takumi down to the mat. Dropkick by ASUKA and she hits the big boot in the corner, gutwrench suplex by ASUKA and she covers Takumi for two. ASUKA picks up Takumi but Takumi blocks the chokeslam and hits a kick combination.

Release German by Takumi, she goes up top but ASUKA recovers and joins her. They trade elbows while on the top turnbuckle, Takumi jumps over ASUKA and powerbombs her to the mat for two. Takumi positions ASUKA and goes up top, diving body press by Takumi and she quickly goes up top again to delivers a somersault senton, but ASUKA barely bridges up. Takumi goes for the Running Three but ASUKA slides away and hits a snap German. Kick to the head by ASUKA, she picks up Takumi and hits a German suplex hold for two. ASUKA picks up Takumi and delivers a chokeslam, she goes up top but Takumi joins her. Takumi brings ASUKA back down with a superplex, but ASUKA kicks out of the pinfall. Takumi and ASUKA trade elbows back on their feet, slaps by ASUKA and she superkicks Takumi for a one count cover. ASUKA goes off the ropes but Takumi catches her with a high kick, kick combination by Takumi and she nails a high kick for a two count. Liger Bomb by Takumi, but ASUKA kicks out of that as well. Takumi goes for an elbow but ASUKA catches her with one first, chokeslam by ASUKA near the corner but her cover gets two. ASUKA goes up to the top turnbuckle, Takumi grabs her ankles so ASUKA hops back off to hit a series of elbows. ASUKA goes up again and delivers the moonsault, but Takumi barely gets a shoulder up. ASUKA positions Takumi and goes up top again, and this time nails the Shooting Star Press! Cover by ASUKA, and she picks up the three count! ASUKA is the new champion!

Minor quibbles aside, this was a great match. They waited until just the right time with ASUKA to give her the top belt in WAVE, as over the last three years her offensive arsenal has grown significantly and she has grown into an excellent wrestler. I would have just cut out the leg work and just kept it as a strike/suplex type battle it then turned into, Takumi doesn’t really have any finishers to target the leg and ASUKA blew it off immediately anyway so it didn’t serve a real long term purpose. Beyond that though everything worked well, and I loved the ending with Takumi grabbing at ASUKA’s leg so she just elbows Takumi a bunch of times until she stays down for good. The high spots were kept to a reasonable amount so they always felt meaningful, and it was an even back and forth with both respecting the other with their exchanges so it felt like a real struggle. This is a match worth tracking down (or subscribing to the WAVE Network for a month) as it not only is a big deal for a transgender wrestler to hold a top Joshi title, but even without the historical meaning it was a great match as well.  Highly Recommended

Final Thoughts:


WAVE is always a mixed bag for me as far as being a complete show, but their big matches tend to deliver. They have some high end wrestlers (Mizunami, Ohata, ASUKA, Yamashita) but also a lot that are either average or not my cup of tea that take up spots on the card. Some matches here met expectations (Yamashita/Kurumi), others fell below (Ohata/Mizunami), while the main event over-delivered. For WAVE’s biggest show of the year I think its worth watching, especially the last few matches. Even the tag match has its bright spots, particularly with Mio Momono winning her first title. More good than bad across the card, not a “complete” show but still entertaining and a must-see for any WAVE fans.