In recent weeks, Yuna Mizumori of Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling has become a complex character. Complex development isn’t uncommon in professional wrestling. Seth Rollins, Tetsuya Naito, and most notably, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin are examples of sound wrestlers that saw greater success when their personas became more intricate. While it remains to be seen if the ongoing character development of Yunamon will lead to similar success, it has provided an edge in the otherwise whimsical world of Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling.
For the uninitiated, Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling is a wrestling promotion that was founded by Emi Sakura; long-time AEW fans may be familiar with her due to her appearances. While Gatoh Move saw prominence in Thailand, it is currently stationed in Japan. Gatoh Move holds wrestling events unique from other promotions. The intimate venue of Ichigaya Chocolate Square the promotion has become closely associated with it may hold less than one-hundred attendees, but it complements the company’s overall charm.
When the world was struck by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, most wrestling promotions were forced to cancel live shows.
This wasn’t to say that content stopped, however. In response to the pandemic, as well as to provide fans with content, Gatoh Move launched an initiative known as ChocoPro. Shows held under the ChocoPro banner would be held in Ichigaya Chocolate Square without fans. They would be filmed in first-person, not unlike home movies, and broadcast via YouTube live-streaming.
The ChocoPro shows have been well-received by Gatoh Move fans and newcomers alike, but amidst the lighthearted action began an interesting storyline. Enter Yuna Mizumori, who officially joined the company in early 2018. Since then, she has seen success in the purple-and-yellow promotion, winning the Asia Dream Tag Team Championship twice. The fact that few of her Gatoh Move contemporaries have yet to hold championship gold makes the “Pineapple Girl” that much more of a standout. One would think that she would be destined to break out as a megastar.
Long-time Gatoh Move fans believed the same, not only due to her accomplishments but skillset and overall presentation.
Dubbed the “Power Fighter” of Gatoh Move, Mizumori has been able to work a number of styles, ranging from fast-paced to strength-focused. Mizumori has also proven to be one of the most colorful personalities in the company, sporting bright green attires and a seemingly limitless degree of energy. Even her most devastating maneuvers are delivered with a sense of jubilation few wrestlers possess.
Fast forward to 2020, which started on a professionally rocky note for Yuna Mizumori. Alongside fellow titleholder SAKI, she dropped the Asia Dream Tag Team Championship to Sakura and Kaori Yoneyama. This was where many fans believed the issues for Mizumori stemmed from. When ChocoPro began, Mizumori was a prominent fixture. While she picked up wins over the likes of Antonio Honda and Mei Suruga, her losses proved to be soul-crushing. The more she came up short, the more that her upbeat armor formed cracks.
In addition to the aforementioned losses, Mizumori found herself pushed by Sakura.
Gatoh Move’s founder attempted to motivate Mizumori in an attempt to get her to be more “real.” This only frustrated the otherwise jovial “Pineapple Girl,” who grew tired of her mentor’s involvement in her professional life. In fact, Mizumori challenged Sakura to a one-on-match. In response, Sakura booked her to face Gatoh Move regular Baliyan Akki. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Mizumori. She even took to social media to drop several expletives, violating Sakura’s primary role of Gatoh Move in the process.
If the months prior were leading to a catastrophic event, it would be episode 15 of ChocoPro that served as the breaking point. The main event of this episode featured Yuna Mizumori taking on Baliyan Akki. During introductions, a distraught Mizumori made her entrance, lacking the energy and upbeat nature she became known for. Instead, her sentiments were simple: “I hate you.” She repeated this statement numerous times, targeting everyone from Sakura to the collective that made ChocoPro possible.
Akki’s sentiments weren’t nearly as venomous; he appeared more disappointed than anything else.
He didn’t have time to share his more extensive thoughts, as he was jumped by Mizumori at the onset. From the start, fans could see a visible change in not only her personality but the way that she wrestled. As she viciously unloaded on Akki with strikes, Mizumori let out guttural screams, her primal nature taking over. This wasn’t the same energetic idol that fans grew to love.
It didn’t seem like Mizumori’s priority was to win, but instead, inflict as much punishment on Akki as possible. Her signature back elbows lacked their usual theatrics. After all, even if there was a crowd present, she wasn’t competing to entertain others. Even the strikes that Akki delivered, as painful as they were, served to motivate Mizumori further. It would take a sizable effort to bring down the colorful yet dangerous Yunamon.
By comparison, Akki appeared more hesitant to deliver the same level of punishment that Mizumori was behind. After all, he was friends with this individual; why should their bond disintegrate in such a manner? Nonetheless, he kept his focus on the match at hand, utilizing everything from hard-hitting kicks to high-flying maneuvers. Akki desired to fight with honor, which was the furthest idea from Mizumori’s mind.
Without any regard for the rules, Mizumori elected to use the Ichigaya Chocolate Square as a weapon.
She removed the nearby glass pane window, sending Akki’s face into it. Even Mei Suruga, who served as the match’s referee, struggled to maintain order. Consider that the idea of Gatoh Move stars bending the rules in such a way was uncommon. Mizumori wanted to win, in an attempt to get herself out of her slump, but few anticipated she would stoop to such a level.
Finally, this heated encounter came to a conclusion when Mizumori and Akki wrestled to a time limit draw. While she avoided a loss, it was clear this wasn’t the desired outcome for either wrestler. Post-match, Akki expressed uncertainty about wrestling such an emotionally-charged match in Gatoh Move. Afterward, Mizumori sat on the Ichigaya Chocolate Square mat, pouring her heart out to the camera. Even non-Japanese speakers could feel the sadness in her words.
Baliyan Akki decided to rejoin Yuna Mizumori, not as an opponent but instead a translator of sorts.
Mizumori expressed defeat over her lack of success during the previous weeks, citing her own insecurities. She also saw Sakura’s involvement in her professional career frustrating, though Mizumori was able to dig deep and see what she was made of. Finally, Mizumori challenged the individual she believed to have caused the insecurities in question: Mei Suruga. Thus, Mizumori challenged Suruga to a singles match.
The match between Mizumori and Akki was emotional, to say the least, but the show wasn’t over. At the end of each episode of ChocoPro, a tournament game of janken – rock paper scissors in Japanese – takes place. On this episode, Mizumori lost her tournament match to Minoru Fujita. Despite the childlike nature of janken, Mizumori screamed, reacting like she lost a world championship. Given the fact that Yunamon previously struggled with janken, as noted by Akki, her reaction was understandable.
What was less understandable was Mizumori’s conduct after the janken tournament’s conclusion.
Suruga, who Mizumori expressed displeasure with in the past, won the tournament and the celebratory piece of chocolate. Before she could indulge, Suruga was attacked by Mizumori, who stole the chocolate. A vengeful Mizumori ate it on camera before making her exit through the window. In any other situation, a feud involving chocolate would seem comedic. However, the insurmountable frustration of Gatoh Move’s “Power Fighter” made this story engrossing.
Episode 16 of ChocoPro seemed to be a step toward recovery. In the show’s opening match, Mizumori and Akki found themselves joining forces against Fujita and Honda. Surprisingly, the team of “Tropical Namaste” seemed to be on the same page, utilizing tandem maneuvers and cooperating more effectively in general. Furthermore, Yunamon engaged in comedic antics, specifically against Honda and his Fox signature maneuver. Though the match concluded with a time-limit draw, Mizumori and Akki performed strongly as a unit.
The janken luck of the “Pineapple Girl” seemed to change for the better, too.
Though she ultimately lost to ASUKA, an independent wrestler who previously made appearances for Gatoh Move in the past, she was able to best Suruga in the first round. Speaking of, it was later announced that Mizumori would receive her wish in the form of a singles match against Suruga; this will take place on the next episode of ChocoPro. Whether this will be a clean fight remains to be seen, but given the number of time-limit draws in Gatoh Move as of late, Sakura has been adamant about this future contest having a decisive finish.
Episode 17 of ChocoPro will air on May 27th, 8 PM JST, and those that have been following recent events should give this show a watch. The featured match, which will pit Yuna Mizumori against Mei Suruga, is important. Mizumori has long been considered one of the standouts in Gatoh Move, but her recent character development has only bolstered her popularity. Whether Mizumori continues down her dark path or overcomes her personal turmoil, this story has made her one of the most captivating wrestlers more eyes should be on.
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 watch Yuna Mizumori at Gatoh Move on YouTube and via the Gatoh Move Experience.