Welcome back to ChocoPro and one of the more heartfelt moments from within the Ichigaya Chocolate Square. As the brand celebrated its second anniversary, it had been revealed that it was Minoru Fujita’s 25th anniversary in wrestling. He’d planned to do nothing but as a damn dependable hand in ChocoPro and a former champion, they weren’t going to let that fly. They were going to throw him an anniversary match. It would be him, Rina Yamashita, and Yuna Mizumori against a familiar foe in BJW deathmatch elite Ryuji Ito, Emi Sakura, and Masahiro Takanashi. When the smoke from that cleared, we also had #216 and two more matches of madness. Mei Suruga and Haruka Umesaki were teaming again to battle the might of RESET and Baliyan Akki teamed up with his idol, Masahiro Takanashi to take on Sayaka and Shin Suzuki. There was a lot to enjoy so let’s delay no longer and get into the carnage.

ChocoPro #215

Emi Sakura, Masahiro Takanashi & Ryuji Ito defeated Minoru Fujita, Rina Yamashita & Yuna Mizumori via Dragon Kick La Magistral on Fujita

It was time for a one-match show of special importance as this one match was in honour of Minoru Fujita’s 25th anniversary in wrestling. It would be a six-man tag featuring not one but three deathmatch superstars. Fujita would be joined by regular tag partners The Deathmatch Amazon Rina Yamashita and the Tropical Fairy, Yuna Mizumori against the might of the Hyakkin Thunders, Masahiro Takanashi and Emi Sakura plus a familiar adversary in the Dragon Ryuji Ito of BJW. This was going to be wild as I had no idea what someone as scary as Ito was going to do within the Chocolate Square. Ito and Fujita opened with a grappling exchange and everyone followed suit, picking a grappling partner and trying to outdo them. Yamashita and Sakura had a first-time-ever clash and tried to break each other with tackles and everyone had to stop Ito from bringing out weaponry. He even tried to pry a light tube free from the studio lights. The match erupted into chaos as everyone tried to attack everyone. Ito was cracked multiple times with a plastic case and Team Fujita tried to run a train on him. Things got even worse for him as Team Fujita tortured him with pineapples and Fujita’s flag. The Thunders made the save and administered some anniversary chops, hitting him for each year and breaking his balloon on his chest. It was Fujita’s time to die as Ito got some revenge with the makeshift weapons and the rest of his team quickly joined in, keeping Mizumori and Yamashita at bay.

Fujita escaped with a spear and we went into a chair-infused fight between Yamashita and Ito before Mizumori got to unleash some tropical-tinged fury on the Dragon. Ito shut that down and Sakura came to pick the bones. Mizumori made her hurt and Fujita tagged in to keep his hero story going. Sadly, he met the wall and Sakura tuned up the band for We Will Rock You. The whole team was moved into position and Ito flew in to deliver an encore. They too felt the sting of the wall though as Team Fujita answered back with triple Papaya Mango Coconuts. They tried for tandem Sayonara but that fell through so Fujita just tried to break Sakura’s limbs. Everyone went wild again, invading the mat to down someone and everyone went down in the aftermath. Both teams had malfunctions but Ito was able to right the course with a kendo stick shot to the head of Fujita. Sakura followed up with the splash but only got two. Ito tried to end things with the Dragon Splash but he was thrown out the window. Sakura ate the Exploder and slugged it out with Fujita, absorbing and dishing out horrifying shots, ripping Fujita’s vest in the process. He was dazed so Ito blasted him with his celebratory flowers, delivered the Dragon Kick and Sakura sealed the deal with La Magistral. It hadn’t been the ending he’d wanted for his heroic match but it had made for great laughs, great moments, and some wild chemistry. Ryuji Ito fit right in with this madcap crew and seemed to have fun here. Don’t get me wrong, he was still scary as hell but it was clear he was enjoying himself. This was excellent viewing and felt very Fujita-Esque. Congratulations Fujita on 25 years. As a personal favourite of mine for many years, I look forward to seeing what else the future holds.

ChocoPro #216

Baliyan Akki & Masahiro Takanashi defeated Shin Suzuki & Sayaka via Akki’s Knot on Suzuki

First up today, we had Akki teaming up with his idol and common enemy, Masahiro Takanashi. The two top men in the company were going to have to find cohesion as they took on the random pairing of Sayaka and the Headstand King, Shin Suzuki. It was an odd situation to be in but if the random team could get that important pin, they had a claim to the Super Asia Title. We opened with a selection of chain wrestling pairings between the fighters before Sayaka found herself singled out and tortured by the pair. They were paying extra attention to her knee and tried to break it in as many ways possible. Any animosity had been thrown aside as Akki and Takanashi were working like a well-oiled machine here. Suzuki made the save and changed the tide of battle with his fast and unique style of fighting. Sayaka got to have her measure of revenge and Takanashi was now in the hot seat, being bludgeoned and stretched. Takanashi broke free of the turmoil and Akki was unleashed on the match with a flurry of kicks and backbreakers. He too ended up on the wrong side of Suzuki and Sayaka and found himself fighting up against their stretches and strikes. Sayaka and Suzuki were putting the rough start behind them and made the most of the chances they had putting the champs through their paces. Things got way more competitive once Suzuki and Akki heated up and we got an absolute brutal display from both. Suruga put it best on commentary, it was pure murder. They just kept braining each other until Akki trapped Suzuki in Akki’s Knot and referee Sakura stopped the match. Suzuki was adamant he hadn’t quit but the ref’s word was final. Akki won this round but Suzuki was less than thrilled. This was an awesome opener. It had high energy, great wrestling, and more breakout moments for Suzuki and Sayaka. Suzuki looks more and more like a belt contender and Sayaka just keeps getting better. With the screwy finish here, I’m hoping it leads to a singles match between Suzuki and Akki. I just want to watch them hurt each other more.

RESET (Emi Sakura & Kaori Yoneyama) defeated Mei Suruga & Haruka Umesaki via Queen’s Gambit on Suruga

Last but not least, the main event. It was time for more tag action as the Emi Sakura farewell countdown began again. The Queen of Ichigaya had only returned for a short while and had two matches left before heading off at the season’s end. The first was a tag team she’d wanted to reunite. That’s right, RESET were back for another match. Sakura and Yoneyama had been the final bosses for Best Bros back in the day and now they were putting Suruga through the wringer again with a different partner, Haruka Umesaki. After finding success as a team, Suruga and Umesaki were doing it again, much to everyone’s delight online. Akki was going to have his work cut out reffing this one. Things opened with a tense standoff between Sakura and Umesaki as the Queen tried to embarrass the younger fighter. This yielded mixed results and everyone ended up trying to be cute. Suruga and Umesaki took control with the Apple Girl battering Sakura’s already bruised leg. The goblin came out on both sides and we got a train of hair-pulling. RESET took over as the young’uns got too cocky and Suruga was buried under their brutal tactics. Umesaki tried to come to the rescue but ended up making things worse as Sakura used her as a weapon. They were eventually able to turn the tide and the pair began working over Yoneyama bringing out Umesaki’s bridging leglock and Suruga’s wall combo. Sakura put a stop to this and soon Suruga was being bullied again, ending up on the wrong end of a giant swing/senton combo. Umesaki fired up and the match upped the ante with a host of brutal strike exchanges, giving Sakura the fight of her life despite taking some absolutely nightmarish chops. The window became a tourism hotspot as multiple fighters went through it and after more goblin antics, Suruga was able to use Akki as a platform to dislodge Sakura for double dives. Sakura once again became the crash test dummy of the match and had to fight off Apple Mutilation, refusing to give up to Suruga.

She got revenge with a wall swing and flattened her student with We Will Rock You. It became a race against time as everyone rushed the ring to dole out killing blows and finishers. Everyone tried to keep the other down but nothing seemed to be enough. Even the double-team blows weren’t doing enough. After a frantic back-and-forth, it was Sakura that ended things, taking out Suruga with the Queen’s Gambit. It was a surprising ending but an earned one after the punishment she’d taken. This had been a very even tag match full of explosive moments and excellent wrestling. As per usual, the ChocoPro tag scene yielded another awesome main event spectacle with Suruga and Umesaki once again proving to be an excellent team, even in defeat. Sakura has scored one win on her farewell tour, can she score another tomorrow?

All images courtesy of Gatoh Move, Chie Koishikawa, FlyingVTrigger, videos courtesy of Gatoh Move YouTube

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