Have you ever watched a wrestling match where the more you re-watch it, the better it gets? This is that match for me. I was somewhat disappointed going in as Mayu’s original opponent, Sareee, had been replaced. But the silver lining came in the form of being introduced to one of the best Joshi wrestlers in the world today, Takumi Iroha. Her entrance, attire and charisma captivated me instantly and her offence in this match instantly made me a fan…but this is going to be more about Mayu Iwatani.
The more I re-watch this match (I’ve probably watched it about 5 times now), the more I appreciate how great Mayu Iwatani truly is. Her selling in this is just insane. The way her arm bends at a nasty angle in the armbar, the way she lands on her head from suplexes, her facial expressions, her flailing limbs when getting her head kicked off…all of it is perfection. Her hope spots were incredible too, with enough big moves and nearfalls to make Takumi look great when she eventually won, as well as Mayu’s own brutal offence and smooth counters kept her looking like a threat. Being able to get destroyed for over 20 minutes while still maintaining a believable ‘ace of the company’ role is extraordinary and Mayu perfected it here. To prove it, I’ll list a few key moments that always stick in my head:
- The brutal looking fujiwara armbar that Iroha locks in multiple times
- The INSANE ragdoll-style deadlift german suplex
- The forearm that Takumi hits where Mayu slowly collapses to the mat
- The kick combo that Takumi hits right before the Running Three finish.
And all these moments were Takumi offence, yet it’s Mayu’s selling that sticks in my head. Obviously, Iroha was phenomenal, and it was on first viewing that I became a big fan of her. However, the more and more I watch, the more I notice little things and appreciate the pace, structure and how well put-together the match is.
They went on to have a rematch for Mayu’s red belt in October of last year but there’s so much to say about this match alone that examining the second match is a discussion for another day (it is a fantastic rematch).
I could talk about this match all day and how near-perfect it is. One could compare it to John Cena vs Brock Lesnar of Summerslam 2014 but to me, this is a whole different level. If wrestling could be considered art (which is also a subject for another day), this is one match that I would put forth to support that statement. I’ll sum up by saying it’s one of the best matches of 2020 and, in the words of the Icon of Stardom herself, check it out!