Welcome back to hidden gems. Today, I present to you Chocolate Pro Wrestling. This new(ish) promotion is run from the Gatoh Move YouTube channel and fronted by Emi Sakura. That name may sound familiar as she is a veteran Joshi wrestler and to less Japanese wrestling versed fans, appeared in AEW during its first months. This whacky little show has drawn viewers from all over the world despite it basically being wresting in a small room with the chocolate square. I originally found them because I saw a clip of Minoru Suzuki bullying people and saw that Chris Brookes had taken part in one of these shows. This edition, however, brought in another one of my favourites, Masato Tanaka. Let’s see what happened when Tanaka was let loose on the Chocolate Square and how everyone else in their matches faired.

Antonio Honda defeated Emi Sakura via Arm Bar

Our first match saw head booker Emi Sakura take on DDT comedy sensation Antonio Honda. Honda started things by faking a handshake and pulling it away in a too cool pose, that dastardly villain. Sakura did not look impressed. The two traded wrist locks and Sakura got some revenge by grabbing what little hair (he’d had it cut) Honda had. She used this to Biel Throw Honda across the room and off the mat. Honda grabbed a chair and started swinging it over his head whilst gyrating his hips. He put it down without using it, claiming it was an Indian training technique, the Koshti, and ate a Mongolian chop from Sakura. Honda was trapped in another wrist lock and rather than giving up, made faces at the camera, tried not to cry, and asked for apple pie. This seemed to motivate him as he broke out of the wrist lock and punched Sakura in the gut. Honda went for a German Suplex but Sakura escaped and dropped him down into a back rake. This transitioned into the Romero Special which Sakura let Honda out of. He called for a time out and said they should have tea together. But it was a ruse and he jabbed her in the throat and collarbone. He kept up this merciless assault by jabbing her in the back of the knee and doing another Koshti, this time with Sakura’s hair. He let go of her hair and feigned hitting her with a sponsor’s flower basket but instead brought it into camera view for an advert. Sakura tried to attack during this but Honda kicked her away and bopped her on the head with the plants. Honda grabbed a mallet and went to hit Sakura but caught himself in the knee and started crying. He grabbed a basketball, made a belly button joke (I don’t know why), and barely escaped a Sleeper Hold by hitting Sakura with it. He scored a spike with the wrong type of ball and hit a series of jabs. He went for his overly long wind up but Sakura broke it up with a kick. She went on the attack but was trapped in a unique variant of the armbar. She escaped and managed to escape a Brainbuster attempt, hitting Honda with a Spinning facebuster. She started a “We Will Rock you” Chant and Honda took it away starting a duet. When Sakura didn’t get the lyrics right, Honda berated her over her lack of Queen knowledge. She told Honda she couldn’t speak English so he reminded her that Queen has a Japanese song. They started singing together and end in an emotional speech about peace only for Honda to betray it all and trap Sakura in an armbar for the win. Okay, yes this was silly but also a blast to watch unfold. You can tell the wrestlers were having a laugh, so I did too. Though Honda is a massive villain to me after this display.

Yuna “Yunamon” Mizumori defeated Mei Suruga via Wall Run Splash

Next up would be a bout between Chris Brookes’ best friend and one of ChocoPro’s most gif-able wrestlers, Mei Suruga taking on a fellow Gatoh Move star, Yuna Mizumori. Mizumori gave us a dancing entrance that Suruga joined in with and put over the product. It would be a battle of apple vs pineapple as Mei represented the apple and Mizumori represented the pineapple. Suruga went for a waist lock and managed to avoid getting bucked off. Mizumori eventually escaped with a pose and trapped Suruga in a waist lock of her own. Suruga escaped and dropped Mizumori to the mat. She ran across her back and the pair traded leapfrogs. Suruga put a stop to this by posing on the mat. Mizumori went for a splash but missed so Suruga posed on her back to screams of Kawaii. After being told she couldn’t dig in her elbows, Suruga transitioned the pose (with some difficulty) into a bow and arrow. When Mizumori escaped, she locked on body scissors and spun her around the world into a Gedo Clutch. Mizumori broke free and went on a rampage, slugging Suruga with a forearm and slamming her into the wall. She hit a series of wall trapped elbows but took too long posing on the final one and ran straight into the wall. Suruga then nearly made the mistake, riling up Mizumori with a series of her own poses but just before she could be attacked, she ducked under the cameraman and used his as a human shield. They both ran circles around him before meeting in the middle. An angry Mizumori pulled off a giant swing using Suruga’s hair. She looked to throw Suruga into the wall but Suruga caught herself and hit a Crossbody off it. Suruga trapped Mizumori’s hair in a window and started kicking away, nearly getting DQ’ed in the process. Suruga tried to use a Boston Crab but was instantly kicked off, so she retorted by dropkicking Mizumori in the back. Suruga tried to go for another move but was thrown into the wall. Mizumori continued the assault with a spear, back body drop, and a splash for two. She tried to follow up with a handstand up the wall but Suruga kicked her down. Suruga then trapped Mizumori in a unique bridging, ground full nelson but it was escaped from. Suruga tried for a roll-up but only got two so Mizumori killed her with an Inverted Boston Crab and followed up with a wall running splash. This again was very fun to watch. Both women gave it their all and in return, we got a nice little, semi-comedic match with some interesting moves. Pineapple proved to be superior this day. Also, yes, it definitely belongs on a pizza.

Masato Tanaka defeated Baliyan Akki via Sliding D

Last but not least was our main event, Baliyan Akki taking on wrestling legend, Masato Tanaka in a fight that was sure to go everywhere in this small room. Akki admitted before the match that he was still in shock that he fighting Masato Tanaka and thanked the crowd for watching. He also had an advantage as Tanaka did not know all the rules of the promotion. Things started fast with a series of shoulder blocks and Akki taking down Tanaka with a dropkick. Akki nearly won with a roll-up but Tanaka kicked out and backed off. The pair locked up and went through a series of chain wrestling holds before Akki was grounded into a Hammer Lock. Akki escaped and picked a leg but Tanaka rolled it into an Arm Bar. Akki got a headlock on but Tanaka reversed into another Arm Bar. Things broke up but Tanaka instantly went back to the shoulder and locked Akki up again. Tanaka twisted up Akki’s arm and started ringing, then stomping. At this point, Tanaka started getting more violent and slammed Akki into some mat-side tables. He grabbed a chair at started stabbing at the injured shoulder. Akki was then driven face-first into a chair. his led into another series of shoulder focused attacks that saw the ChocoPro sign fall down. Akki finally started to mount a comeback by striking back but Tanaka quickly put that to rest with an uppercut to the arm. He continued with another chair shot to the arm, slamming it straight down onto the folded-up chair. Tanaka created a chair pile and look set to powerbomb Akki onto them but Akki turned it into a back body drop, sending Tanaka back first into the chairs. This just seemed to power Tanaka up like 2 seconds later he DDT’ed Akki onto the chairs. A slugfest broke out that Akki won with a flurry of strikes.

He dropped onto Tanaka with double knees but only got a two count. The pair fought over a Brainbuster but no one won so Akki threw Tanaka into the wall but missed a dropkick. Tanaka threw Akki at the wall but he was able to stick to the wall using the open windows and dived on Tanaka from them to hit a Frankensteiner. Tanaka responded by throwing a chair at his head and went for a Brainbuster but Akki reversed it into a Suplex. Tanaka dropped Akki with a lariat and went for another Powerbomb but Akki reversed it into a fisherman’s kneecap brainbuster. Akki climbed onto the window again and hit a splash across the mat. When that got two, a dumbfounded Akki grabbed a chair and went up for another splash. Tanaka dodged, planted a chair into the face of Akki, and went up to the windows with a chair of his own. From there, he hit a chair assisted elbow drop onto the chair over Akki’s face. Somehow Akki kicked out of this so a frustrated Tanaka grabbed a table only to have it kicked into his face. Akki went for a series of roll-ups but none were successful. Tanaka reversed the final attempt into a powerbomb, slammed Akki onto a table, and hit a Superfly Splash but only got two again. Sensing the end was near, Tanaka went for the Sliding D and won the match. Tanaka won his ChocoPro debut but also made more of a star of Baliyan Akki. He may have lost but he took Tanaka to the limit and survived way more than I thought he would. As my first time seeing his work, I was impressed.

Tanaka stuck around for another thirty minutes for Choco Talk and we got Mei Suruga beating Tanaka at rock, paper, scissors, then the show ended. As things stand, I found this a lot of fun. It was a small, hour-long show of funny, fast, and furious wrestling. The main event was genuinely great, Honda and Sakura put on something hilarious and Mizumori and Suruga did great in their time slot. I can see how a show like this would have a cult appeal. It’s got some star power; some laughs and it seems perfect for breaking up lockdown woes. As a free weekly YouTube show, you really can’t go wrong. It’s just fun and as I said in the opening, the first episode had Minoru Suzuki bullying people so I’ll link that here. Thank you ChocoPro for existing.

All images courtesy of Mei Suruga Twitter, Spirit of Botan Twitter, Emi Sakura Twitter, Mr Haku, Juan Nunez Videos courtesy of Gatoh Move YouTube Channel

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