Event: Prominence Pre-Launch Round 1
Date: January 16th, 2022
Location: Akihabara Talk Live BAR From Scratch in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 56
Broadcast: Streamed on Wrestle Universe
In late 2021, the Joshi world was rocked when five wrestlers from Ice Ribbon announced they were leaving the promotion to form their own team called Prominence. Mochi Miyagi, Suzu Suzuki, Akane Fujita, Risa Sera, and Kurumi decided to follow their hearts and create a hardcore stable of wrestlers, with the intention of invading other promotions and putting on their own events as well. This event, as the name implies, is a pre-launch of their promotion with the bigger goal to raise awareness. They also had a talk show after the wrestling matches so this was more than just an in-ring affair. Here is the full card:
All wrestlers on the show have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go to it. The event does not take place in a ring, rather near a small stage, so needless to say this will not be your typical wrestling presentation. Onto the show!
Mochi Miyagi vs. Suzu Suzuki
We kick off the show with the face of Prominence, Suzu Suzuki. Suzu is the youngest and most popular wrestler in the new promotion, and is seen as the driving force behind it. She has a passion for deathmatch/hardcore matches, and while Ice Ribbon did at times accommodate her, she had to break free to really pursue her wrestling goals. I don’t know where she will be in five years, but in the moment this is what she wants and I applaud anyone that goes after their dreams. She is against Mochi Miyagi, a ten year veteran best known for her long time tag team with Hamuko Hoshi as Lovely Butchers. She hasn’t shown as much of a love for hardcore matches as the other wrestlers in the new promotion, but seems up to the challenge.
There are already various unusual weapons around the stage, as the two circle each other on the floor. They lock knuckles until Suzu stomps on Mochi, they trade holds but eventually reach a stalemate. Suzu gets a ball with plastic forks stuck in it while Mochi gets a whip, and Mochi whips the ball out of Suzu’s hands. Suzu avoids the next whip attempt and elbows Mochi, she gets a pot but Mochi takes it from her. After chatting, Mochi sits down on the stage and allows Suzu to whip her in the back, Suzu then sits and Mochi hits her with a metal ball. They repeat the process which Mochi gets the better of, and Mochi hits a scoop slam on the floor. Mochi puts the fork ball on Suzu and jumps off the stage, sitting down on the ball. This appears to hurt Mochi more than Suzu, which is logical, and Suzu cradles her for a two count. Waistlock by Suzu but Mochi elbows out of it, she gets the streamer gun but it jams. Suzu gets up on the stage and quickly rolls up Mochi, high kick by Suzu but Mochi blocks the German suplex. Mochi gets a board and hits Suzu in the head with it, cradle by Mochi and she picks up the three count! Mochi wins!
In this type of setting, the wrestlers aren’t going to be able to put on a high-end match, so the best they can hope for is to put on something fun. There wasn’t much to this, a couple painful looking spots but they were clearly limited by their surroundings. The ending was sudden, but since they have to wrestle again later there wasn’t any need to go all-out. A memorable spot or two, but hopefully the next couple matches use their environment a bit more creatively.
Akane Fujita vs. Risa Sera
Next up are the two other active wrestlers in Prominence (Kurumi is currently not wrestling due to an injury). Fujita and Sera are both well-versed in the hardcore style, with many hardcore matches under their belt. Sera does have the experience edge over Fujita, but just barely, and overall has had a more successful career. Still, they wrestle pretty evenly and in Prominence they will likely be on the similar level, so this should be a competitive match.
Side headlock takeover by Risa to start the match but Akane quickly gets out of it, they circle each other on the floor before repeating the same process. Akane gets a bat with thumbtacks stuck to it and some baseballs, she gets up on the stage while Risa grabs her barbed wire-wrapped kendo stick and joins her. Akane throws Risa a pitch and Risa actually connects, sending the ball flying while she celebrates her success. They switch as Risa tosses Akane a pitch, but Akane misses. They try again but Akane misses again (by a lot, hopefully on purpose), they do it a third time before finally giving up. They switch again and this time Akane intentionally throws it too hard for Risa to hit it. She connects the second time however, but on the next toss she throws the barbed wire kendo stick, hitting Akane with it. Risa apologizes but Akane hits Risa repeatedly with the stick in retaliation before choking her. Akane drags Risa onto the stage, Kurumi holds Risa in place with the kendo stick while Akane throws baseballs at her. Akane then gets the thumb tack bat but Risa talks her out of using it, she gets free of Kurumi but Akane elbows her. Akane gets the kendo stick back and hits Risa with it, Akane gets Risa on her shoulder but Risa slides off and down to the floor.
Akane grabs her bat and jumps off the platform, ramming it into Risa’s chest. Risa quickly recovers and the two trade elbows, Samoan Drop by Akane and she covers Risa for two. Akane gets a chair and puts it on Risa’s chest, she gets up on the stage but Risa recovers and hits her with the chair before she can jump off. Risa pulls Akane back to the floor with her and hits the Schwein onto the chair for a two count. They both get back on the stage, Risa puts Akane on top of the kendo stick and puts her in a crab hold. She switches it to a grounded stretch hold while using the barbed wire kendo stick for extra leverage/pain, but Akane won’t submit. Risa lets go after a moment and throws the kendo stick at Akane, she gets Akane up on her shoulder but Akane wiggles away and headbutts her. Akane picks up Risa and gets a powerslam from the stage to the floor, cover by Akane but it gets two. Akane picks up Risa but Risa blocks the slam, elbows by Risa and she hits Akane with the kendo stick. Schwein by Risa, but Akane barely kicks out. Risa positions Akane and gets back on the stage, she sets up a little step ladder and dives off of it onto Akane with a double kneedrop. Cover by Risa, but the bell rings before the referee can complete the count. The match is a Draw.
One of my concerns for Prominence, just based on my own personal tastes in wrestling, is that it will occasionally go too far into the comedy genre. Comedy in wrestling is extremely hit and miss with me, usually miss, but regardless I generally prefer to have my comedy matches just be comedy matches. Them going from beating each other up, then a few minutes of goofy fun with baseballs, then back to beating each other up just breaks the match flow to me and I’d rather matches focus on one or the other. I really enjoyed the last few minutes of the match as they used their surroundings well and utilized the weapons in an intelligent manner without overdoing it. If I only looked at that portion this would have been a pretty entertaining match, but throwing in the comedy bits brought it down for me to just an “ok” match at best.
Akane Fujita and Miyagi vs. Risa Sera and Suzuki
Since this is a pre-launch show, they didn’t bring in any outside wrestlers so we get the same four wrestlers we already saw again in the main event. Which is fine, this was designed as an introduction-type event and is combined with a talking portion after the show, so no one expected them to bring in Rina Yamashita or someone else for this presentation. The teams at least aren’t comprised of wrestlers that just fought each other, so each side can expand on their actions from earlier in the main event. They are pretending to have tag rules but there are no ropes so we’ll see how much they stick to it.
They have some unique weapons with them, I’ll describe everything the best I can. Suzu and Risa charge their opponents to start the match, quickly getting the upper hand as they isolate Miyagi. Risa puts a chair on Miyagi’s back and hits a double kneedrop, she then puts the barbed wire kendo stick on her back and steps down on it. Another double kneedrop by Risa and she tags in Suzu, Suzu comes in with a pot full of… bands with tiny silver balls attached to them. Suzu picks up Miyagi but Miyagi slams her onto the bands for a two count. She tags in Fujita, Fujita puts the bucket over Suzu’s head and hits it with the kendo stick. Fujita picks up a metal bell and hits Suzu in the head with it, cover by Fujita but it gets two. She tags Miyagi, Miyagi puts the bucket back over Suzu’s head and hits it with her whip. She then removes the bucket so she can choke Suzu with the whip, using the stage for extra leverage. Cover by Miyagi, but it gets a two count. Fujita is tagged in, she brings her thumbtack bat into the match with her and rubs it into Suzu’s forehead. Fujita picks up Suzu who is now bleeding, while Miyagi keeps Risa at bay. Sleeper by Fujita, she lets go after a moment and hits Suzu in the head.
She tags Miyagi, Miyagi toys at Suzu with her whip but Suzu ducks out of the way and hits a spear. This gives her a chance to tag in Risa, Risa slams Miyagi and then drops Fujita on top of her. Risa throws the wrist bands at Miyagi before getting a steel chair, hitting Miyagi in the back with it. Cover by Risa, but Fujita breaks it up. They are sticking to the tag rules way more than I was expecting them to. Risa picks up Miyagi but Miyagi slides away and nails a DDT, Miyagi tags Fujita and Fujita lays a banner with small painful things stuck all over it onto Risa. Elbow drop by Fujita, but Risa kicks out of the cover. Miyagi runs in and sits on Risa, Fujita picks her up but Risa blocks Fujita from putting her on her shoulders. Risa gets her kendo stick and hits Fujita with it, Fujita slides away from Risa and holds her for Miyagi, but Miyagi accidentally shoots Fujita in the face with the streamer gun. Suzu dropkicks Fujita from behind while she fusses at Miyagi, Suzu sets up a chair and sits Fujita onto it. Suzu charges Fujita, Fujita gets up from the chair and goes for a slam, but Suzu wiggles away. Suzu ends up on the stage, Fujita joins her with the bat but Suzu ducks it and hits a cutter. Dropkick by Suzu, she lays the chair down on the floor but Fujita blocks the suplex attempt.
Miyagi lays the banner used earlier on the floor and tries to help Fujita suplex Suzu, but Suzu blocks it as Risa joins her side to help. Kurumi comes in to help Fujita and Miyagi, and they suplex Suzu and Risa onto the banner. Miyagi recovers first and gets onto the stage, jumping off with a seated senton for two. Miyagi picks up Suzu but Suzu elbows her as the two trade blows. Miyagi gets the advantage and hits a reverse splash off the stage, but Suzu kicks out. Miyagi picks up Suzu but Risa hits her in the head with a metal bell, Suzu gets on the stage while Risa helps her hits a backflip kneedrop. Suzu then jumps on Risa’s back before Risa hits a double kneedrop, but Fujita breaks up the cover. High kick by Suzu to Fujita and she throws her into Kurumi, Suzu picks up Miyagi but Miyagi hits a Lou Thesz Press for two. Miyagi gets up the stage but Suzu trips her and kicks Miyagi in the chest. Cover by Suzu, but Miyagi barely kicks out. German suplex hold by Suzu on the stage, and she picks up the three count! Suzu Suzuki and Risa Sera are the winners!
This match was the best one on the show, as they kept it mostly serious and had some unique plunder to use. Matches with random weird weapons can go off the rails, as they can become too focused on being unusual without being interesting, but for the most part I thought they avoided that here as they had normal weapons as well. They actually stuck to the tag rules which really surprised me in this setting, but the bulk of the match took place on the floor as they didn’t take full advantage of having a stage. It was hard to take the match too seriously just due to the bizarre setting, but they kept the action at a good pace and all four are good wrestlers. If this is a preview of what Prominence plans to present, it may be interesting but I hope they don’t lean too hard on having unorthodox weapons or the concept may wear thin. Mildly Recommended
Its hard to evaluate an event like this as its far from a traditional event – it really was designed as a preview of what Prominence may be once they officially launch. Plus, half of what was advertised was the talk segment, which doesn’t do much for me personally since I don’t understand Japanese. As for the matches, they seemed to struggle a bit without a traditional wrestling setup but the last match was pretty good. I am not sure if Prominence will be for me – I enjoy more traditional hardcore matches (and explosions) but am not as big a fan of comedy in hardcore matches and some of the weapons were a bit goofy. But I’m curious enough to keep checking their events out, so in that respect I think the show was a success even if the matches were nothing special.