Since 2012, Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling has been one of the most unique entities in international professional wrestling. This promotion, which had its roots in not only Japan but Thailand, has seen a number of developments throughout the years. In addition to wrestlers coming in and out of the company, it was this past January that we saw the introduction of the promotion’s on-demand service, Gatoh Move Experience. In other words, the company has been making moves.
Nonetheless, it’s likely that many people will look at Gatoh Move and wonder where to even begin. They may be familiar with certain talents associated with the promotion. Emi Sakura, an experienced name in the world of joshi puroresu, founded the company. Riho and Hikaru Shida, both commonly known for their All Elite Wrestling appearances, came through Gatoh Move as well. The question remains: where can one start watching?
In addition to Gatoh Move Experience, the company routinely uploads matches on its YouTube channel. These individual matches can help provide new viewers with a better understanding of what Gatoh Move is about. With over 330 videos to sift through on the official YouTube channel alone, finding matches can be daunting. To this end, here are 10 matches to start with. While these choices may not be the “best,” as this is largely subjective, they will help newcomers wrap their minds around this company that hosts a small venue but boasts tremendous spirit.
Yuna Mizumori, Mei Suruga, & Antonio Honda vs. Rin Rin, Chris Brookes, and Masahiro Takanashi (November 24, 2019)
If there’s one thing that can be said about Gatoh Move’s talent, it’s that they made the most of their limited field in Ichigaya Chocolate Square. The fact that a six-person tag team match could take place is nothing short of commendable. This may be the six-person tag that I would recommend to anyone just getting into the promotion. Among the names involved was Chris Brookes, who recently made history by becoming the first-ever Dramatic Dream Team Universal Champion. Even those that only know Gatoh Move in passing may recognize this match for one particular spot. Once viewers see it, suffice to say that it will surprise. With chaos and laughs galore, this is a good match to kick off this list.
Lulu Pencil vs. Antonio Honda (October 27, 2019)
If there’s any one wrestler in Gatoh Move that can be considered a viral sensation, it would be Lulu Pencil. The freelance writer of the purple-and-yellow promotion has become known online for her goofy antics. What she lacks in strength and speed she makes up in comedic bursts and sheer heart. This may be the match that best encapsulates her overall presentation as she faces another comedic wrestler in the form of Antonio Honda. For those that aren’t into the sillier aspects of professional wrestling, this match may not change your mind. However, for those that are willing to give it a try, not only may you enjoy this match but it’s possible you’ll become a member of the ever-growing Pencil Army.
Yuna Mizumori vs. Rin Rin (October 18, 2019)
Outside of comedy, another element present in Gatoh Move is idol culture. In Japan, an “idol” is an entertainer well-known in the country’s culture; think models, musicians, actors, and so on. This match between Yuna Mizumori and Rin Rin featured a healthy dose of idol entertainment. Both competitors engaged in a dance-off before Yunamon blindsided her teenage opponent. From there, Mizumori exercised her power over Rin Rin, who would have to be craftier in order to have a chance against her adversary. Though Rin Rin is fairly young – she was only 14 years old when this match took place – she features a wealth of potential. Perhaps we will look back on this match when Rin Rin becomes a bigger star in the world of joshi puroresu.
Mitsuru Konno vs. Chris Brookes (December 30, 2019)
Gatoh Move is an example of a Japanese wrestling promotion that embraces intergender competition. In this match, we see Mitsuru Konno, one of the pillars of Gatoh Move, taking on Chris Brookes, who we covered in an earlier entry. The dynamics in this match are clear: with Brookes being the taller, stronger wrestler, Konno has to counter with her quickness and technical ability. Brookes’ constant taunting, even telling Konno to “start trying, man,” only makes it easier to get behind the “Leader” of Gatoh Move. An exchange of submissions only made this match that much more entertaining. For those that are looking for Gatoh Move matches that are lighter on comedy, give this a watch.
Riho and Makoto vs. SAKI and Yuna Mizumori (December 11, 2018)
From multi-person and singles matches, we shift our focus to tag team competition with this entry. Tropikawild, the duo of SAKI and Yuna Mizumori, is the most recognizable team in Gatoh Move. As a duo, Tropikawild is the only team to have won the company’s Asia Dream Tag Team Championship twice. In this match, we see the then one-time title-holding team defend against Riho and Makoto. This match can be viewed as something of a test for Mizumori, who was less than one year into her wrestling career. Nonetheless, she did incredibly well in this match, whether it was performing tandem offense with SAKI, overpowering the smaller Riho, or mounting a comeback. This traditional tag team championship match is another bout worth checking out.
Mei Suruga vs. Riho (June 3, 2018)
One can argue that this match has the beginnings of a torch being passed. On one side, Riho was Gatoh Move’s “ace,” one of the promotion’s top stars. On the other side, Mei Suruga was just starting to build a reputation for herself. In fact, Suruga would end up picking up the slack after Riho’s departure, an event that we will revisit later in this piece. In terms of this match, it is a solid showing for the newcomer. For as new as she was to wrestling, Suruga takes the fight to Riho early on. Keep in mind that this match took place one week after “Mei-chan’s” debut. Furthermore, this isn’t a mere walk in the park for Riho, who stays on her toes throughout. Overall, this enjoyable match teases where Gatoh Move would shift in the months that followed.
Kagetsu vs. Mei Suruga (February 9, 2020)
The most recent entry on this list sees Kagetsu, on her retirement tour, facing the budding “ace” of Gatoh Move. Stylistically, these two couldn’t be more opposite. While Kagetsu sports an intimidating look, face paint and all, Mei Suruga showcases a bubblier disposition. In any event, this match is competitive. It still features much of the trademark comedy associated with Gatoh Move, particularly on the end of Suruga, who takes joy in being on the offensive against the joshi legend. This exciting match is eventually capped by a series of near-fall attempts, the crowd at Basement Mon Star into every moment. This wasn’t Suruga’s first clash with a legendary wrestler; she faced Jazz in last year’s Pro-Wrestling: EVE SHE-1 tournament. Nonetheless, this is further evidence that “Mei-chan” could hang.
Kaori Yoneyama and Masahiro Takanashi vs. Riho and Kenny Omega (February 9, 2013)
Before Riho was AEW’s inaugural Women’s World Champion and prior to the ascent of Kenny Omega as “The Best Bout Machine,” they were carving their legacies in Japan. Those that have seen Riho and Omega team up in AEW may not realize that they were partners in the past. This was one of the earliest case, if not the earliest, period. As is the case with many Gatoh Move matches, there’s plenty of comedy to be seen. Even Emi Sakura, who refereed this match, found herself on the receiving end of errant offense before delivering some herself. The comedy is further enhanced by spots such as the “Gatoh Move Train,” featuring Sakura, Riho, and Omega hitting sequential sentons on Masahiro Takanashi. Not only is this an essential Gatoh Move watch, but it’s worthwhile for those that be interested in Riho and Omega’s earlier work.
Hikaru Shida vs. Sayaka Obihiro (October 4, 2019)
In one of the two “farewell matches” on this list, we see Sayaka Obihiro taking on the departing Hikaru Shida. Prior to this match, Shida became a fixture in All Elite Wrestling, having worked Double or Nothing and All Out. Shida signed with AEW on a full-time basis and this marked her final match with Gatoh Move. Standing across from her was Obihiro, who had been with the promotion since 2013. What makes this clash especially interesting is that Shida’s first Gatoh Move match took place alongside Obihiro. In 2015, the debuting Shida teamed with Obihiro to defeat MIZUKI and SAKI. During this singles match, however, Shida’s departure was so important that other talents came in to deliver their final blows. This is another solid match that can be recommended to Gatoh Move newcomers, especially those that have recently become familiar with Shida through AEW.
Emi Sakura vs. Riho (July 2, 2019)
This match marks the final appearance of Riho in Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling. To send her off, the promotion held a “farewell match,” which pit her against her trainer, Emi Sakura. The pupil and teacher met in the center of Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, and to say that it was an emotional encounter would be an understatement. With the smaller Riho relying on her speed, Sakura exercises power and experience. Despite Riho’s best attempts to keep momentum in her favor, Sakura routinely cuts her off, utilizing the Romero Special to wrench the future inaugural AEW Women’s World Champion. Riho gives it her all in this final Gatoh Move encounter, the crowd in Tokyo firmly behind her. This wouldn’t be their final singles encounter, as they would square off at AEW Full Gear the following November. Consider their July showdown a necessary companion piece.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can see more Gatoh Move matches on YouTube and via the Gatoh Move Experience.