Pro Wrestling WAVE Happy Birthday WAVE
April 14 2019
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring. I’ve never seen WAVE before but this show is literally all singles matches so I cannot possibly get confused as to who various wrestlers are. Also I recongnise a lot of the names on the card so it should be fun times. Plus as I’ve not seen WAVE before I’m adding to my list of different promotions seen in 2019. This is the 66th different promotion I’ve watched a show from this year.
It’s bring your kids, and panda, to work day. These two natter for 25 minutes before the show starts. It’s a little weird hearing kids making noises in the background during the show.
Hiroe Nagahama vs. Saori Anou
Nagahama sees WAVE as her home promotion. Anou could play the invading heel here but opts not to. I’ve seen Anou wrestle quite a bit and have always found her technically sound. Nagahama is less useful and they seem to have a few communication issues. The match is at its best when they just club each other with forearms. Matters improve as the match progresses with them gaining chemistry out of thin air.
Anou finishes with this nifty looking roll up. If this had been as good throughout as it got towards the finish I’d be very happy with it.
Final Rating: **3/4
Rin Kadokura vs. Nagisa Nozaki
This is a patient match up. Both keen to demonstrate their mat skill. Nozaki is the more experienced of the two, by some considerable distance, and is able to switch gears, which leads to her dominating Rin. The match is weirdly unbalanced. They do a great job of fighting against submission holds and yet stand around in place to get hit with dropkicks and the like. It’s not always like that but it is frequently. Whenever they go to holds over Movez it’s much better. I’d like to see a rematch where they’re not allowed to hit any spots. A lot of the spot work is sluggish at best and some of the strikes are wayward too. Out of nowhere Rin hits a neckbreaker for the win. This was patchy at best and only worked on the mat.
Final Rating: *1/2
Yuka Miyazaki vs. Chihiro Hashimoto
Big Hash is the Sendai Girls champ. She’s facing veteran Miyazaki here. She’s one half of WAVE’s tag champs (with Sakura Hirota).
C-Hash isn’t as focused here as in Sendai. Allowing herself to be distracted and allowing Miyazaki to use sneaky, underhanded tactics. There’s so much fucking around. It’s largely a bonus for Chihiro who gets to muck about instead of doing her usual intense match up. Hashimoto does maintain a high standard when its required. Her last gasp kickouts are really something. The whole match sees Miyazaki trying to lay a kiss on Chihiro and failing. The finish is Chihiro kissing Yuka and then rolling her up. That’s the match! It was mostly fun but not one for workrate fans of Chihiro’s main events.
Final Rating: **
Hikaru Shida vs. Ryo Mizunami
The Brits involved in AEW have left for the USA, which leaves me wondering if Shida is moving Stateside permanently or whether she’ll remain active in Japan.
Mizunami also worked for AEW, teaming with Shida. Hikaru is doing her Shawn Michaels thing here. Being all around capable and looking like a star. I find her work generally a lot like early 90s Shawn. Mizunami has a lot of good shtick and it all comes off nicely here, with Shida selling as required. If you sell right even the most goofy of offence can come off right. Meanwhile on offence Shida is driven, determined and sharp. The transitions aren’t as smooth as they could be, which is something this show has generally suffered with, but Shida is good enough to cover for almost any untidiness. When Shida dominates the match all of the goofiness is gone and it’s laser focused. Shida targeting the neck and not fucking around. Mizunami getting all fired up and just running straight into another knee strike is definitely my shit. Especially as she recovers and batters Shida with a lariat moments later for the double down. This match lives on the raw edge. It’s not sloppy but it’s very close to it and, honestly, I love that. Mizunami has this won but the time limit expires. I loved the shit out of this match. Shida is special. Mizunami is starting to get her name out there.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Himeka Arita vs. Yumi Ohka
Arita has only been wrestling for a year. Ohka is 40 years old. Bit of a contrast. Ohka is on commentary for this show. She’s prepared to have fun and let Arita get over on her for a while. She’s experienced enough to know Arita can do the basics and makes the match about a struggle. Mostly hooking holds and giving Arita the chance to show her strength of will. Arita, on offence, looks like Shida only slowed down. A lot of what Ohka does is subtle. She takes these little shortcuts that are put down to ‘experience’ but are designed to make the younger Arita the hero of her story. Arita is visibly green and her timing on a lot of reaction spots isn’t there yet. It’s not bad but its far from good. A lot of her offence is missing in action too. At one point she does a walking splash because she doesn’t have anything fancier to do to a downed opponent. The finish is a monster big boot from Ohka that opens Arita up.
Holy shit, remind me never to piss Yumi Ohka off
Not pictured; resultant blood pic.twitter.com/CfppXTyc1O
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) May 26, 2019
Final Rating: **1/4
Mika Iwata vs. Sakura Hirota
Hirota is green…for reasons? Gamora cosplay? Mist accident? Allergic reaction? Hirota is largely a comedy wrestler but that doesn’t mean she can’t go when required. She shows some real fire here, although that doesn’t always work for her. The green appears to be some sort of Hulk reference as Hirota fires up after taking moves. She still can’t do the Mutalock but I appreciate her character trying hard. Hirota is really good at telling her story match, to the point where she can fit in anywhere on a card as it all depends on how the opponent reacts. Iwata ends up humouring Hirota to a degree. Including borrowing her spots and being unconcerned by a “running” powerbomb that never materializes. Hirota has a full on breakdown in mid-match when Chihiro Hashimoto trips her. I’m also really happy we get to see her two most devastating moves; the dragon suplex where she can’t bridge and pins herself and the plank attack.
Most devastating hold in pro wrestling pic.twitter.com/3b8yX7wfsq
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) May 26, 2019
After a vicious anal assault Hirota collapses and Iwata picks up the win. Well structured and well executed comedy match. Hirota is one of my favourites in this milieu.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Iwata, unhappy despite victory due to pain in rear end.
Miyuki Takase vs. Yumi Ohka
Takase came out after the Ohka match to challenge Ohka tonight. This has a five minute time limit! Takase considers doing a rolling cradle for the entire match but Ohka has other ideas and fights out before vomit comes out. We’ve already had enough bodily fluid on this show, thank you. The contest is Takase being all plucky and fighting the bigger opponent and Ohka shutting her down. Mostly by kicking her square in the face, which caused considerable damage to Arita earlier. Takase tries hard to get a pin as the time runs out but it’s a draw.
Final Rating: **1/2
This is my first experience of WAVE and it’s certainly a strange promotion. A Japanese company that throws out matches, all singles mind you, in no particular order is a rarity. The whole show felt quite random. The better workers delivered in a big way. Shida and Iwata are already firm favourites with me.