KOPW: Emi Sakura vs. Riho (March 17, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ video service, you can watch the whole show here.

Our Story So Far…
Emi Sakura has been wrestling since 1995 for several Japanese promotions. She’s the founder of Ice Ribbon in Japan and Gatoh Move Wrestling in Thailand. She’s trained many other Joshi wrestlers, including Riho.
– Riho is a trainee of Emi Sakura and a Japanese idol singer on top of being a wrestler. She’s wrestled for Ice Ribbon, Michinoku Pro, and many other promotions in Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan, and Singapore. She was even a trios champion in DDT with Kenny Omega and Mr. #6. She’s also the inaugural Super Asia Champion in gatoh Move.
– These two women had a singles match at a CWF show in May 2016, and Sakura returned for a match with Ai Shimizu that September.
Now on to the match!

They go back and forth between Emi being stronger and meaner, and Riho flipping and flying at her. Riho shows some flexibility and acrobatic skill. Emi crushes her midsection with a low crossbody in the corner. She hits her with Sister Abigail, of all things. Emi stops a lot to pump up the crowd. There are way too many crowd shots in this match for some reason. They do a “This is awesome” chant. Riho pulls Emi into a wheelbarrow victory roll, then jumps up and lands a double stomp. A top rope stomp can’t get her the pin, but she gets the knees up on a Vader bomb and hits a top rope plancha to the floor. Emi catches her with a superplex and then a double underhook backbreaker. She misses the moonsault, and Riho hits her with running knees. She then performs the Kuru Kuru Ribbon to roll her up and get the pin.

This was very exhibition-y. It reminded me of that time in the 90’s when the WWF or ECW would have showcase matches of luchadores or other “specialty” wrestlers in the middle of their shows. I’m thinking of the six-man minis match from Royal Rumble ’98. It was a lot of flashy moves to impress the crowd and a simple story of bigger vs. quicker. It’s fun but feels kind of like an advertisement. These two have had these matches all over the place, so they can probably do them in their sleep. They don’t really lead or build to anything outside of themselves. I actually kind of liked the one from the CWF show in May 2016 a little better. It felt a little more substantial.

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