January 3, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan
My sole show at Shinjuku Face was also the only main roster Wave show I managed to see: Happy New Year Wave 2016. It felt somewhere in between REINA and JWP in tone and approach. Like the Wave Young Oh! show, the lighter antics were confined to the undercard and the main event remained an intense, competitive match.
The opener, ASUKA vs Hiroe Nagahama, was mostly fine on a technical level but seemed to be lacking something. Could just be a matter of experience. ASUKA does stand out a bit against the rest of the roster, despite efforts to blend in.
Aoi Kizuki made her first Wave appearance teaming with Moeka Haruhi against Akane Fujita and Natsu Sumire in what could have been a hint to her announcement later the same day of going freelance. She had a good showing in a decent tag match, although is capable of more than she was able to show. There was a promo after the match that may have laid ground work for her future appearances.
Sumire’s gimmick is fine for her, but I’m not digging the pairing of her and Fujita. Akane was much more impressing in wrecking ball mode in the first match I saw her in than as Sumire’s twin.
Ryo Mizunami and Sawako Shimono vs Kaho Kobayashi and Rina Yamashita was a nice showcase for the younger team, who got a decisive and surprising upset victory. Both Rina and Kaho have been extremely impressive in every match I’ve seen them in. It was also interesting to see Mizunami in a tag match without her Avid Rival partner. The dynamic was quite different, which made sense and is a nice touch.
Given what an incredible technical wrestler Tsukasa Fujimoto is, it was different to see her in what was essentially a comedy / angle match against Yuki Miyazaki. She proved as adaptable as expected and as adept at this as everything else.
I couldn’t understand the mid-match promos, but the gist of what embarrassment Tsukka was trying to avoid was conveyed, and the match ended in a double countout when her “fears” were realized. Fine for what it was.
Fairy Nipponbashi, Hikaru Shida and Mika Iida vs Ayako Hamada, Yumi Oka and Yuu Yamagata was a well booked 6 woman tag, with the younger team dominated and overmatched but making the most of their openings and opportunities. Hamada seemed limited (possibly her shoulder injury lingering) and the heel edge didn’t really suit Yamagata’s style, but it was a good semi-main none-the-less.
The main event saw one of my personal favorites, Misaki Ohata, go one on one with the legendary Nanae Takahashi, who left Stardom, went freelance, and started her own promotion (Seadlinnng) summer 2015.
This was an excellent, hard hitting main event. Avid Rival’s tag title shot at Ribbon Mania was perhaps my favorite match of my trip, but it was also great to see Misaki in a high profile singles match. She went toe-to-toe with Nanae for an action packed 15 minutes.
After the match Ryo Mizunami came out, presumably to challenge the opponent her partner couldn’t defeat. Misaki had some things to say about that and there appeared to be Avid Rival’s usual banter going on. The show ended with a birthday celebration for Misaki, Akane, and Gami, including the traditional cake to their faces.
A fun show featuring several wrestlers I didn’t get to see elsewhere with spotlights on several great performers. Didn’t quite achieve its full potential, but that’s mild criticism at best.