The fun-loving violet and yellow Gatoh Move continues to move forward. Earlier this month, I covered the promotion in a column detailing such points as its creation, its unique take on puroresu, and even a few notable talents. In that column, I briefly discussed Rin Rin, Lulu Pencil, and Mei Suruga. However, I made it a point to mention that the company’s litany of talent doesn’t end here. In fact, Gatoh Move’s current crop of wrestlers is nothing short of diverse and, more importantly, impressive from bell to bell.
This level of impressiveness is especially surprising when considering that many of these wrestlers have only been active for months. In other words, they have yet to truly reach their potential. Nonetheless, they have been active in Gatoh Move, working events in the intimate venue of Ichigaya Chocolate Square. Here are many more of Gatoh Move’s talent that new and existing viewers should keep an eye on in 2020.
From Shizuoka, Japan, Chie Koishikawa made her debut alongside this past August’s group of newcomers. She is quite fond of her roots, as evidenced by her orange attire, and comes to the company with a love for comic books and food alike. The latter aspects should make Koishikawa endearing to viewers, but when they see her wrestle, it will become apparent that she’s capable of hanging with the best in Gatoh Move.
For as little experience as Koishikawa has, the offense she has shown in matches speaks for itself. Perhaps her most unique attribute, from an offensive standpoint, is her way of delivering chops. Koishikawa has a background in fencing, and when she chops opponents, it appears as though she’s attacking with a sabre. With plenty of room to grow, not to mention opponents to deal damage to in the same way, Koishikawa is one to watch in Gatoh Move.
Dressed in white, the 28-year-old Sayaka made her wrestling debut in August of 2019. She impressed in her initial exhibition matches, wrestling Suruga and Yuna Mizumori in 3-minute draws. Since then, she’s amassed a total of five wins in tag team matches. Sayaka became a wrestler largely through her brother’s influence. She also possesses a love for gaming and cosplay, the latter of which has been routinely referenced on commentary.
As a relative newcomer to Gatoh Move, Sayaka has an equal amount of heart and room to improvement. This past November, Sayaka faced Mitsuru Konno in a singles match, dropkicking her even before the bell rang. Sayaka’s innocent appearance shouldn’t be enough for opponents to let their guard down. It may be that very same dropkick, which Sayaka has become known for in Gatoh Move, that helps take her to new heights.
This past July, Tokiko Kirihara made her debut in Gatoh Move. Kirihara entered the promotion with a background in mixed martial arts, giving her a competitive edge in the process. Perhaps her greatest asset, however, has been her fighting spirit. This isn’t a foreign concept in puroresu, but the following October, this came into play in a major way. Alongside Yuna Mizumori, she showed such a spirit in her tag team match against Mitsuru Konno and Sayaka.
At the age of 45, Kirihara is the oldest member of Gatoh Move, which differentiates her from her peers even more. Kirihara entering this sport late in life, compared to others, is admirable. Considering that she spent considerable time training in fighting, her age shouldn’t be a reason for others to underestimate her. With a total of six wins under her belt in 2019, the aforementioned fighting spirit will take her to greater heights in 2020.
Trained by Mei Suruga and Gatoh Move founder Emi Sakura, Sayuri made her debut this past August. Sayuri may be undersized, at five feet tall, but she brings a sense of technical know-how that makes her stand out among her peers. Sayuri’s style, to put it simply, gets the job done. This mentality carries over into her presentation as well. While many of her peers wrestle in bright hues that stand out, her red and black dress-like attire is more subdued by comparison.
It can be argued that if anyone is looking to make 2020 a better year, it’s Sayuri. Out of the 14 matches she has had in 2019, she’s lost a total of 13. However, a counterargument can be made that this will give her all the more motivation to turn things around. Sayuri has plenty of potential to not only pick up victories this year but achieve greater popularity as well. If there is a hold or technique that exists in wrestling, expect Sayuri to know a way to counter it.
In this column, we go from one Sayaka to the next. This time, we focus on Sayaka Obihiro, who made her wrestling debut in 2010. Obihiro started in Ice Ribbon, primarily working there until her departure in December of 2012. In January of 2013, Obihiro debuted for Gatoh Move, where she focuses her efforts to this very day. Obihiro is a decorated competitor as well, winning the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship twice and the REINA X and Asia Dream Tag Team Championships once each.
The Sapporo native in blue, Obihiro, was trained by Sakura prior to joining Gatoh Move. She can also be considered a company stalwart, since it was only founded the year prior to Obihiro’s debut. In terms of legitimacy, Obihiro isn’t to be taken lightly. This 9-year specialist has been known to put opponents away with the sleeper hold. If this doesn’t work, techniques like Magic Obihiro will give her the edge, inching her closer to victory.
Since her in-ring debut in 2016, Mitsuru Konno has proven that she isn’t shy about fighting and enjoying a cold beer after. Prior to wrestling, Konno was active in volleyball. In an interview with Humans of Wrestling, she revealed she became a wrestling fan after seeing a Gatoh Move event. Konno would go on to train with the promotion later on. Her overall demeanor is friendly and approachable, but once the bell sounds, she understands that it’s time to go to work.
Konno is a proficient wrestler, using moves such as the brainbuster to her advantage, but her dependability as a talent can’t be ignored. She’s equally capable of being a singles star as she is a solid pillar in a tag team formation. Additionally, Konno has been featured in Pro Wrestling HEAT UP from time to time, working with fellow Gatoh Move wrestlers such as Riho and Mei Suruga. To say that Konno has been invaluable to the promotion would be an understatement and she will continue to elevate it in 2020.
Though she has been able to hold her own in singles matches, SAKI may be better known as one-half of the tag team, Tropikawild. SAKI regularly tags with Yuna Mizumori – we will get to her in a bit – as the Asia Dream Tag Team Champions. SAKI is one of the most experienced wrestlers in this line-up, having started in late 2012. Since then, she’s been featured in many Japanese promotions. These include Ice Ribbon, Pro Wrestling WAVE, and REINA.
In addition to a lengthy career, SAKI holds a total of three Asia Dream Tag Team Championship reigns. SAKI won the title twice with Mizumori, her fellow current champion, but she also won it once in 2016 alongside MIZUKI. In terms of presentation, SAKI is nothing short of vibrant, sporting pinkish highlights in her hair and furry boots on her legs. With techniques like the Texas cloverleaf and the Konnichiwa Press, SAKI is a well-traveled joshi not to underestimate.
Like with peanut butter and jelly, one cannot discuss SAKI without Yuna Mizumori coming into the conversation as well. As one half of the Asia Dream Tag Team Champions, Mizumori has proven herself as strong wrestlers. This is meant in both the literal and figurative sense; Mizumori is arguably Gatoh Move’s “power” female wrestler, using brute strength to gain the advantage over her adversaries. Her running body splash, dubbed the Tropical Yahoo Press, is more hard-hitting than it sounds.
Though she’s arguably the “powerhouse” of Gatoh Move, Mizumori’s presentation is surprisingly colorful. Her bright green and yellow outfit is eye-catching. Her overall demeanor in the ring is energetic, heightened by her propensity to hype the modest crowds in Ichigaya Chocolate Square. In this sense, Mizumori is deceptive. Whether she’s tagging with SAKI or fending for herself, Mizumori will stop at nothing to pick up a victory.
There are a few ways to watch and support Gatoh Move. First, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel, which is routinely updated with recent and older matches alike. Second, you can sign up for Gatoh Move Experience, the company’s video-on-demand platform. At $9.99 per month, users have access to content such as Ichigaya shows with English subtitles.