Event: Pro Wrestling WAVE “Catch the WAVE Tournament 2016”
Date: April 10th, 2016
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 694
Thanks to the wonderful new WAVE Network that launched today (I wrote a guide on how to sign up here), I am finally able to watch the Catch the WAVE Tournament! This year the tournament is massive, with 32 wrestlers participating. They are split into eight blocks of four wrestlers, and within each block every wrestler will wrestle everyone else in their block once. A win is worth two points, and in the case of a Draw (15 minute time limit) then the younger wrestler in the match gets one point. After all the block matches are done, the winner of each block go into the eight wrestler single elimination knockout round until a winner is crowned! Here are the blocks:
Needless to say, it is a long tournament. The first night of the tournament kicked off with a bang, at the famous Korakuen Hall! Here is the full match list:
- Hiroe Nagahama, Rabbit Miyu, and Yuuka vs. Meiko Tanaka, Natsu Sumire, and Tsukushi
- Ayako Hamada, Nagashima, Fairy Nipponbashi, Fujigasaki, and Yuu Yamagata vs. ASUKA, Hikaru Shida, Kobayashi, Haruhi, and Shimono
- Catch the WAVE Silver Gray Block: Kagetsu vs. Yoshiko
- Catch the WAVE Pompadour Pink Block: Cherry vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto
- Catch the WAVE African Violet Block: Kaori Yoneyama vs. Rina Yamashita
- Catch the WAVE Mandarin Orange Block: DASH Chisako vs. Yuki Miyazaki
- Catch the WAVE Regatta Blue Block: LEON vs. Mika Iida
- Catch the WAVE Chrome Yellow Block: Aoi Kizuki vs. Ryo Mizunami
- Catch the WAVE Orion Blue Block: Hanako Nakamori vs. Misaki Ohata
- Catch the WAVE Italian Red Block: Sareee vs. Yumi Ohka
That is a lot of matches! Many of them will be short though, which is normal in tournaments like this so its not as massive as it looks. As always, you can click on the wrestler’s name to go to their profile if I have one for them here on Joshi City.
Hiroe Nagahama, Rabbit Miyu, and Yuuka vs. Meiko Tanaka, Sumire, and Tsukushi
We start off with a straight-forward six woman tag with seemingly random teams. Nagahama is a young WAVE wrestler, while Miyu is from JWP and Yuuka is from Ice Ribbon. On the other side, Tanaka is from Diana, Sumire is from WAVE and Tsukushi is from Ice Ribbon. Needless to say these teams are not comprised of wrestlers that are used to working together and is really just to get more wrestlers on the card and give fans that came on time something to watch.
Nagahama and Tanaka are the first two in, Tanaka gets the early advantage but Nagahama’s teammates run in to help. Tanaka’s come in too and we end up with a triple suplex spot, with Tanaka’s team winning the battle. Nagahama is temporarily isolated but she suplexes Tanaka and tags in Yuuka. Tornado DDT by Yuuka, but Tanaka kicks out of the cover. Tanaka tries Yuuka into the corner and hits a running shoulder tackle, missile dropkick by Tanaka and she puts Yuuka on her shoulders, but Yuuka slides away. They exchange elbows until Tanaka hits a big spear, cover by Tanaka but it gets two. Tanaka tags Tsukushi, dropkick by Tsukushi and she hits the Unprettier followed by a low dropkick against the ropes. Crossbody by Tsukushi, but it gets a two count. Yuuka goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, she tags in Miyu but Tsukushi bulldogs her. Hard kick to the head by Miyu and she hits a vertical suplex on Tsukushi, picking up a two count. Elbows by Miyu but Tsukushi elbows her back and hits a missile dropkick for two. She tags Sumire, elbows by Miyu to Sumire as Nagahama comes in, but Tanaka comes in too and spears both of them. Diving crossbody by Tsukushi, then Sumire hits one too for a two count on Miyu. Elbow by Miyu but Sumire sneaks in an inside cradle for two. Miyu takes back over and goes up top, hitting a diving footstomp. Cover, but Sumire’s teammates break it up. German suplex hold by Miyu and she gets the three count! Nagahama, Miyu, and Yuuka win.
I don’t want to over-hype an opener match, but this one was really fun. Tsukushi is fantastic and while not all the wrestlers here are top notch, they did a good job of focusing on the ones that are. Very fast paced, no real pause in the action for the whole match. This to me is what an opener should be – something to get the crowd excited with solid fast paced action. A nice way to kick things off, there is a lot of young talent in this match that will be a big deal in Joshi within the next few years.
Hamada, Nagashima, Nipponbashi, Fujigasaki, and Yamagata vs. ASUKA, Shida, Kobayashi, Haruhi, and Shimono
I will go ahead and state the obvious – this is a lot of wrestlers to be in one match. And some really quality wrestlers, such as Hamada and Shida, although I doubt they will get much of a chance to shine. Nipponbashi is also here, so there will likely be some comedy as well. This one is oddly not clipped as much as it probably could have been, lets hope something exciting happens.
The first two in are Nipponbashi and Kobayashi. I have to say that it pains me to see two of my favorites, Kobayashi and Shida, stuck in a ten wrestler tag that likely won’t be overly serious or memorable. Not a whole lot happens to start the match, until ASUKA and Hamada are tagged in and they trade holds. Hamada ducks ASUKA’s springboard crossbody but ASUKA ducks Hamada’s heel kick and delivers a dropkick. Hamada takes back over and hits a lariat, they tag out as Haruhi and Nagashima come in. Haruhi hits a nice hurricanrana and a Northern Lights Suplex but Nagashima boots her in the face and hits a face crusher. Shimono comes in to help but Hamada comes in and lariats both of them, Nagashima goes off the ropes but she boots Hamada by accident. Shida and Fujigasaki are tagged in, and Shida hits a hip attack. Yamagata comes in and trades strikes with Shida, backbreaker by Shida but Yamagata ducks the running knee. Code Breaker by Yamagata and she tags Nipponbashi, she brings in a light saber while Shida gets her kendo stick. They battle it out with their weapons with neither getting an advantage, but Nipponbashi knocks Shida out of the ring. We clip ahead with Kobayashi being set up for a double team move, but Nipponbashi hits Hamada by accident. ASUKA runs in and hits a springboard crossbody, she picks up Nipponbashi and she hits a suplex. We clip ahead again as Haruhi hits a diving footstomp on Nipponbashi, Kobayashi goes to pick up Nipponbashi but she gets an Oil Check from Fujigasaki. Yamagata slams Kobayashi, Hamada goes up top and they hit an assisted footstomp on her. Denden Clutch by Nipponbashi on Kobayashi and she gets the three count! Team Hamada wins the match.
For a slightly clipped (about four minutes) ten wrestler tag, this one had some good spots. ASUKA looks good for a rookie, Kobayashi is always a treat, and the Nipponbashi comedy was kept to a minimal. Fine for an undercard match but nothing more than that, skippable unless you’re a die hard fan of one of the wrestlers.
Kagetsu vs. Yoshiko
This match is part of the Catch The WAVE 2016 Tournament. The tournament starts with a bang, as the hated Yoshiko takes on one of my favorite Freelancers in Kagetsu. Kagetsu today is in Oedo Tai but was not as of the time of this match, she was just a happy go-lucky Freelancer trying to leave her mark in any promotion that would have her. Yoshiko is affiliated with SEAdLINNNG, which is run by her friend Nanae Takanashi and was the first place to give her a chance after the incident with Act Yasukawa in February of 2015. Yoshiko outranks Kagetsu due to all her success, but Kagetsu won’t go down without a fight.
Yoshiko works the headlock to start, Kagetsu gets out of it and she hits a springboard armdrag. Yoshiko tags Kagetsu to the mat and works her over with stomps, she picks her up but Kagetsu catches her with a dropkick. Kicks by Kagetsu and she hits a jumping elbow in the corner, dropkick by Kagetsu and she applies an arm submission hold. Yoshiko gets to the ropes, Kagetsu flips out to the apron but Yoshiko blocks the swandive dropkick and drags Kagetsu back into the ring. Sliding lariat by Yoshiko and she hits a running senton, diving senton attempt by Yoshiko but Kagetsu moves out of the way. Kagetsu slams Yoshiko but Yoshiko hits a Codebreaker. Cross armbreaker takedown by Kagetsu but Yoshiko slams her way out of it, Kagetsu charges Yoshiko but Yoshiko hits a fireman’s carry slam. Short armbar by Kagetsu but Yoshiko gets into the ropes, high kick by Kagetsu and she hits a Ebisu Drop. Kagetsu picks up Yoshiko but Yoshiko gets away and destroys Kagetsu with a lariat. Cover by Yoshiko and she gets the three count! Yoshiko gets two points in the tournament.
This was a short match, made even shorter by slight clipping, but I loved what I saw. They played off each other really well, with Yoshiko using her strength and Kagetsu using her speed, and the ending was great as it was such a hard hit that it was understandable that she could hold down Kagetsu long enough to get the three. I also liked that when Kagetsu blew a spot, she just moved on. You could actually see her thinking about re-doing the spot and making Yoshiko wait, which would have been silly, but changing her mind and just skipping it. Some wrestlers never learn that, I don’t mind when a wrestler missteps, it only annoys me when they immediately do the spot again. Overall about as good as a five minute match can be. Mildly Recommended
Cherry vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto
This match is part of the Catch The WAVE 2016 Tournament. Cherry is a DDT wrestler and a very long time veteran as she is 42, but Fujimoto is no spring chicken either as she is a seven year veteran from Ice Ribbon. These are the top two wrestlers in their block, so the winner here will likely coast to the Knockout Round as it is doubtful they would lose to both Miyu and Haruhi to end up in the bottom two.
Cherry immediately gets Fujimoto to the mat, Fujimoto gets up but Cherry applies a triangle choke. Fujimoto gets a foot in the ropes and puts Cherry in a cross-arm submission, but this time it is Cherry that gets a foot on the bottom rope. Dropkick by Fujimoto in the corner and she hits another one, scoop slam by Fujimoto and she covers Cherry, but Cherry applies an armbreaker. Northern Lights Suplex by Cherry, she goes off the ropes but Fujimoto rolls her up for two. Fujimoto picks up Cherry and kicks her, they trade quick pin attempts on the mat but neither have any luck. Both wrestlers go off the ropes, Fujimoto wraps up Cherry in the Tsukadora and picks up the three count! Fujimoto wins the match and gets two points.
This match was super short but good. These little sprints are fun to watch, they work well in a tournament setting on a card with lots of matches… it wouldn’t be satisfactory on a five match card but here it didn’t feel out of place. Seeing Cherry wrestle seriously is always a treat (in DDT a lot of her matches have comedy elements) and Fujimoto was on fire as always. An easy watch between two seasoned veterans, as Fujimoto is set up well for the next round. Too short to recommend but still entertaining.
Kaori Yoneyama vs. Rina Yamashita
This match is part of the Catch The WAVE 2016 Tournament. This is a really interesting pairing. Yoneyama is a long time veteran, she is affiliated with YMZ but frequently wrestles in Stardom. She doesn’t really win titles very often however and mostly is used in the midcard. Yamashita is much less experienced with only two years under her belt but is pushed pretty hard in Osaka Pro and in WAVE, plus she is 27 so she isn’t a kid. So this is the classic midcard veteran vs. rising star match, with neither having a clear advantage.
They charge each other right as the bell rings as Yamashita hits a lariat, Yoneyama comes back with a roll-up but Yamashita hits another lariat in the corner. Yoneyama bridges out of the pin and knees Yamashita, she goes up top and hits a missile dropkick. Knee to the back of the head by Yoneyama, she picks up Yamashita but Yamashita hits a lariat followed by a backdrop suplex. Yamashita goes up top but Yoneyama recovers and joins her, suplexing Yamashita back to the mat. Yoneyama gets on the second turnbuckle and hits the diving senton, but Yamashita kicks out. Yoneyama goes all the way up this time but Yamashita gets her feet up on the senton attempt and hits a lariat for a two count. Sleeper by Yamashita but Yoneyama rolls out of it. Another lariat by Yamashita, she picks up Yoneyama but Yoneyama kicks her in the head. Yamashita kicks her back but Yoneyama quickly hits the Yone-ZOU for the three count! Yoneyama wins and gets two points in the tournament.
My main issue with Yamashita is that she is a lariat spammer. I like her in tag matches where she can just hit her spots and tag out, but even in this super short match she hit more lariats than I feel like counting. Yoneyama was great here and hit everything well, but I am generally not a fan of wrestlers hitting the same move over and over as just gets old, so a skippable match overall.
DASH Chisako vs. Yuki Miyazaki
This match is part of the Catch The WAVE 2016 Tournament. One of the best things about tournaments that bring wrestlers from so many different promotions is you get so many unique match-ups. Chisako is a bitty veteran from Sendai Girls’, while Miyazaki is a Freelancer that returned last summer from a lengthy break from wrestling. As far as I can tell, these two have never wrestled against each other in any capacity, so its a fresh match even though they have 30 or so years of wrestling between them. Miyazaki is yet to pick up any big wins since returning and looks to get an early advantage in the block against the Sendai Girls’ tag team specialist.
This one starts quick (or was well clipped) as Chisako hits a hurricanrana on Miyazaki and dropkicks her in the back, face crusher by Chisako and she covers Miyazaki for two. Dropkick by Chisako in the corner but Miyazaki blocks the cutter, kick to the arm by Chisako and she applies a short armbar. Miyazaki gets to the ropes but Chisako re-applies it only for Miyazaki to get to the ropes again. They trade elbows, Chisako sneaks in the cutter and hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Chisako goes up top but Miyazaki avoids the footstomp and suplexes Chisako into the turnbuckles. Ebisu Drop by Miyazaki, she goes on the second turnbuckle but Chisako recovers and joins her. Frankensteiner by Chisako but Miyazaki rolls through it, quick diving footstomp by Chisako off the second turnbuckle and then from the top turnbuckle, but Miyazaki barely kicks out of the cover. Chisako goes up top a third time but Miyazaki gets her feet up and dropkicks Chisako in the head. German suplex hold by Miyazaki, but it gets a two. DDT by Miyazaki, she goes up top but Chisako avoids the moonsault and applies an inside cradle for two. Wheelbarrow suplex by Miyazaki, they both get up and Miyazaki applies a quick pin for two. Miyazaki gets on the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault, but Chisako somehow barely gets a shoulder up. Time is running out as Chisako goes for a quick pin, but Miyazaki levels her with a lariat. Tiger suplex hold by Miyazaki, but that gets a two as well. Before they do can anything else, the bell rings as the time expires. The match is a Draw, Chisako gets one point because she is the younger wrestler.
This was the best clipped in half match I have ever seen. Now I recognize with eight minutes missing that they easily could clip out the slower parts, or any awkward moments, but what they showed was just fantastic. So many big moves, the footstomps, moonsault, tiger suplex… you’d think this was a title match and not just a mid-card tournament. This is the best I have seen Miyazaki look since returning and Chisako was on point. A high end heavily clipped encounter. Recommended
LEON vs. Mika Iida
This match is part of the Catch The WAVE 2016 Tournament. Another inter-promotional battle of sorts, as LEON hails from JWP while Iida wrestles in WAVE. LEON is a 15 year veteran but mostly has been more of a midcard or tag team wrestler, she is very talented but never had an extended run at the top. Iida is in her fifth year and like LEON has had some success, but also without rising to the top of her promotion. This tournament is a good opportunity for both wrestlers to further elevate themselves in their respective promotions, and with Tsukushi in their block, a win here is a must to try to lock up a spot in the Knockout Round.
Iida goes to shake LEON’s hand but attacks her instead, quick pin attempts by both wrestlers but neither can get three. Iida catches LEON with an armbar and then a cross armbreaker, but LEON gets a foot in the ropes. Dropkick by Iida while she is against the ropes and she hits a missile dropkick, picking up a two count. Uppercuts by Iida but LEON catches her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, Texas Cloverleaf by LEON but Iida gets out of it. LEON gets on the top turnbuckle and walks the ropes before dropkicking Iida, and she covers her for two. Iida goes for a quick roll-up but LEON kicks out and then slams Iida to the mat. LEON goes up top and hits a diving body press, but it gets two. After Iida tries more pin attempts without getting a three, Iida goes off the ropes but LEON decks her with a spear. Iida blocks the Capture Buster but LEON hits a heel kick, Capture Buster by LEON and she gets the three count! LEON wins and gets two points in the tournament.
While this match had some really hard hits, there wasn’t a whole lot to it. It was a short match that was slightly clipped further, and mostly was comprised of quick pin attempts with a few strikes and submission holds between. It was obviously pretty fast paced and nothing was bad about it, just not long enough to really recommend.
Aoi Kizuki vs. Ryo Mizunami
This match is part of the Catch The WAVE 2016 Tournament. Kizuki and Mizunami are two of the top wrestlers in their respective promotions, with Kizuki coming from Ice Ribbon and Mizunami being a member of WAVE. Both have won singles titles, although neither held a belt coming into the tournament, and both could use the boost that comes from winning Catch the WAVE.
Kizuki attacks Mizunami before the match starts with elbows but Mizunami comes back with a spear, lariat by Mizunami but Kizuki rolls her up for two. Powerslam by Mizunami and she hits a quick legdrop, she goes to run off the ropes but Kizuki grabs her. Elbows by Mizunami but Kizuki bridges out of the cover and hits a running senton. Jumping lariat by Kizuki and she applies a backbreaker over her knee, German suplex hold by Kizuki but it gets two. Another jumping lariat by Kizuki and hits a German suplex, but Mizunami springs to her feet and hits a lariat. Lariat to the back by Mizunami but Kizuki sneaks in an inside cradle for a quick two. Kizuki goes off the ropes but Mizunami catches her with a lariat, Kizuki rolls up Mizunami and this time she gets the three count! Mizunami is the winner and gets two points in the tournament.
This was the shortest match of the night and not long enough to get excited about. I will say though that it is nice to see Kizuki wrestling more seriously as she has been throwing in more comedy spots in her matches lately, looks like everyone is bringing their best for this tournament. Some hard hits but not enough action due to the sub-three minute time.
Hanako Nakamori vs. Misaki Ohata
This match is part of the Catch The WAVE 2016 Tournament. As will be a common theme throughout the tournament due to how they set up the blocks, this is another battle between two wrestlers that come from different promotions. Nakamori is from JWP and is a nine year veteran, however she has mostly been a midcarder during her career. Ohata is one of the biggest stars of WAVE, but her only title success in the promotion has been in the tag team division. This is Nakamori’s chance to prove she is isn’t just a forgotten midcard wrestler, while Ohata looks to assert herself as a dominate singles wrestler.
Nakamori and Ohata quickly get into a strike exchange until Ohata hits a German suplex, sliding crossbody by Ohata and she hits a few more German suplexes. Nakamori comes back with kicks and hits a Shining Wizard, and she covers Ohata for two. Nakamori picks up Ohata and kicks her hard in the face, more kicks by Nakamori and she kicks Ohata against the ropes. Nakamori applies a submission hold on the mat but Ohata gets a foot on the ropes, Nakamori picks up Ohata but Ohata connects with a DDT. Ohata kicks Nakamori into the corner and hits a sliding crossbody, tornado DDT by Ohata and she covers Nakamori for a two count. Ohata goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, she goes up top again but this time Nakamori recovers and joins her. Elbows by Ohata and she crossbodies Nakamori down to the mat, but Nakamori hits an enzuigiri. Running kick by Nakamori and she delivers a fisherman buster for a two count cover. Nakamori picks up Ohata but Ohata hits a crucifix bomb, spinning chop by Ohata and she hits a fisherman buster for two. Ohata picks up Nakamori but Nakamori sneaks in a schoolboy. Spinning chop by Ohata, she goes off the ropes but Nakamori catches her with a high kick. Another hard kick to the head by Nakamori, and she covers Ohata for the three count! Nakamori wins the match and picks up two points in the tournament.
Surprising result, but tournaments should have surprises. I don’t think that Nakamori is a very good wrestler, she is a solid hand but not much more then that. Ohata is great, her offense is hard hitting and pretty diverse, and she keeps her matches interesting. Nakamori in her defense was really on point with some of her strikes, and with a slight clipping the match stayed intense. A pretty entertaining albeit short match. Mildly Recommended
Sareee vs. Yumi Ohka
This match is part of the Catch The WAVE 2016 Tournament. Ohka gets the main event as she is one of the most respected veterans in WAVE, plus she won the tournament last year. Sareee has been on fire the last six months, as she has branched more out of her home promotion of Diana and has had success in other promotions such as Ice Ribbon. This is the classic firecracker youngster vs. accomplished veteran style of match, Sareee is full of energy while Ohka is content to boot off faces until her opponent stays down for the count.
Sareee swats Ohka’s hand away as she is in no mood for a friendly handshake, dropkicks by Sareee and she follows those with a missile dropkick. Another missile dropkick and she hits a third, cover by Sareee but it gets two. Ohka blocks the uranage and drops Sareee onto the top rope before booting her in the face. Another boot by Ohka while Sareee is in the ropes and she kicks her a third time before mushing her into the corner. They trade boots and dropkicks, fisherman suplex hold by Sareee and she gets a two count. Ohka blocks the German and the pair trade elbows, boot by Ohka and she hits Sareee with a series of knees. Sareee comes back with mounted elbows but Ohka boots her again, she goes for another but Sareee swats her away and hits a German suplex. Ohka blocks the uranage again but Sareee rolls her up and hits a footstomp. Another dropkick by Sareee while Ohka is against the ropes but Ohka connects with a backdrop suplex. Ohka goes up top and hits a diving crossbody, she applies an armbreaker but Sareee is too close to the ropes. Kick to the head by Ohka, Sareee goes for a quick pin but Ohka blocks it. Heel drop by Ohka, she goes off the ropes but Sareee rolls her up for two. Sareee tries more quick covers with no luck, Ohka grabs Sareee and drops her with a brainbuster. Ohka goes off the ropes but Sareee catches her with an uranage, cover by Sareee but Ohka barely kicks out. Sareee goes off the ropes but Ohka hits a Chokebomb, big boot by Ohka and she gets the three count cover! Ohka wins the match and picks up two points in the tournament.
I think that Ohka is a bit limited in her move set, but in shorter type sprints it isn’t quite as bad. Sareee is just a great young wrestler, so much fire and while she throws a lot of dropkicks she also has a variety of suplexes she uses as well. It really felt like she was a going to pick up the upset at various times, and even though she wasn’t able to, she put on a solid performance in the main event at Korakuen Hall. I wouldn’t have minded if it went a little longer and it was slightly clipped, but overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. Mildly Recommended
If it wasn’t for the new WAVE Network I likely never would have been able to see this entire show, so I am stoked that the new service is available. While the matches were still clipped, most were just a minute or two except for Chisako/Miyazaki so it didn’t really impact the event too much. A lot of the matches were short but they were at least action packed, and only a few of the ten matches are skippable. Overall a great way to kick off the WAVE Network, just this event almost justifies the normal monthly cost, hopefully they continue to put up new shows at a decent pace so we can watch the rest of the tournament.