Hana Kimura Memorial Show


We started off with some words and music, including from Hana's favorite musician, DJ Yamamura -- a former wrestler himself. Over commentary, CB told some stories about his time with her. They thanked Sumie Sakai for allowing the English commentary to come together for this show. CB explained that "Matane" is an informal good-bye, like "see you later."

They showed a display that laid out many of Hana's pieces of gear throughout her career. Riccaboni (perhaps accidentally) revealed that longtime Stardom wrestler and Hana stablemate HZK would be wrestling tonight.

"Super Ref" Keigo Yoshino spoke.

Jungle Kyona came out to the Tokyo Cyber Squad theme. She said some words and referenced TCS, getting emotional at the end. "Yes sir!"

Ilk Park performed a dance number soundtracked by AWANIKO, the idol group Hana used to be a part of.


A video played showing Hana's entrance from when she was in WRESTLE-1 with the signature Ribera jacket.


HUB, Shisaou, & Eisa8 defeated Shota, FUMA, & Mil Mongoose

***

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These wrestlers all come from different companies, many of which Hana worked for at some point. This match was all indie sleaze, in the best way. Shisaou wrestles more frequently as GAINA. HUB was Hana's favorite wrestler.

HUB and Mongoose performed some lucha libre to start. FUMA and Eisa8 tagged in with a more grounded grappling style. Finally, Shisaou and Shota tagged in. Shota played total heel, firing himself up and being easily overpowered by Shisaou.

A big senton from HUB on Shota got two. Shota tried to attack with chops on Shisaou but was dropped right away with a forearm and a bodyslam followed by a splash for two. HUB locked in a sleeper on Shota who fought his way out but was immediately shut down with a clothesline. Shisaou hit an assisted splash, but Mongoose ran in to break up the pin.

Shota took out his opponents with a tope suicida as FUMA took down Eisa8 in the ring with repeated kicks. A soccer kick got a near fall. Eisa8 came back with a leg drop bulldog and a meteora for two. FUMA and Shota tried to double team Shisaou, but the big man fought them both off.

Shisaou hit a Last Ride followed by double knees from Eisa8 for a close near fall. Mongoose entered the match with a handspring back elbow and a tiger feint kick. He went for a submission, but HUB fought out. Shota and FUMA cut HUB off with a double suplex before Mongoose hit a springboard corkscrew senton for two.

HUB took out his opponents with the tail attacked to his mask. His partners stacked up all three of his opponents and HUB hit a senton on all three. HUB hit a double underhook facebuster, but Mongoose blocked the frog splash and hit a Code Red for a close near fall.


Ram Kaicho won the All-Star Battle Royal

***

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Super Delfin, Miyuki Takase, Mika Iwata, DASH Chisako, Shotaro Ashino, Fuminori Abe, Menso-re Oyaji, Seigo Tachibana, Hagane Shinnou, Yuko Miyamoto, Chihiro Hashimoto, Ram Kaicho, Cherry, Yuki Miyazaki, Hanako Nakamori, Moeka Haruhi, Banana Senga, Gabai Jichan, and Lingerie Mutoh were the initial participants, with many surprise entrants throughout.

We got some triple stack spots at the start. A devilish group arrived, including Yusuke Kodama, Aiger, and Andras Miyagi, and eliminated Haruhi. Jichan entered the mix but was overwhelmed before stabbing Aiger and another member to eliminate them. Lingire Mutoh hit a shining wizard on Kodama and Jichan locked on an assisted crab on Miyagi, but Cherry rolled the crab around and eliminated Jichan.

Hana's music played and a wrestler came out dressed just like her, doing her entrance and mannerisms. It was Sakura Hirota. All the wrestlers as well as the referee attacked her. Menso-re gave hip tosses to many of the wrestlers in the match before being met by a series of chops from Takase. Delfin downed Menso-re with a palm strike and a tornado DDT to eliminate him. Takase immediately rolled Delfin up to eliminate him.

Iwata and Hirota exchanged kicks. Hirota locked on the Hydrangea, but everyone ran in to break it up. Mutoh took her out with a Shining Wizard but slipped on the top rope. He caught Sirota in the Figure Four, but the competitors covered both for a double elimination.

Takase and Shinnou had a great strike exchange; both are really talented. Shinnou rolled Takase up for the elimination.


Deathmatch legend Jun Kasai's music played and he arrived, skewers in hand. Everyone bailed to the floor to escape Kasai except Iwata, who wanted an autograph. Ashino interrupted and took Kasai out with a German, which pissed Iwata off. Ashino and Iwata faced off before Hashimoto arrived. Ashino dispatched Iwata as the powerhouses Ashino and Hashimoto exchanged shoulder blocks.

Wrestlers entered the ring repeatedly as Ashino and Hashimoto just body-slammed everyone. Ashino caught a spear from Hashimoto and hit a vertical suplex, but Hashimoto came back with a German as both got covered for the double elimination.

Former ECW champion and current ZERO1 champion Masato Tanaka made a surprise entrance and eliminated both Shinnou and Kodama right away. Miyazaki cut him off as she faced off with Cherry. Miyazaki planted Cherry for the elimination.

The next surprise entrant was the legend and current Michinoku Pro president Jinsei Shinzaki. Shinzaki locked everyone in arm-wringers before going to the top, but everyone just pushed him off the top. Nakanori eliminated Senga with a crossbody.

Current GLEAT/AJPW/AEW wrestler and Dragon Gate legend CIMA made his entrance next, sending Abe to the floor for an elimination. He and Nakanori then eliminated Miyazaki before CIMA eliminated Nakanori. Chisako brought a chair into the match but was stopped by Miyamoto, where we got a paraide of people stealing the chair from each other. Iwata and Kasai worked together to eliminate Chisako with the Kasai splash.

Miyamoto grabbed the chair but Kasai stole it from him and smacked it over Miyamoto's head for the elimination. Kasai and Iwata celebrated, but Iwata kicked Kasai low to eliminate him. The other competitors then eliminated Iwata.

The final three were CIMA, Tanaka, and Kaicho. The men ignored the minuscule Kaicho until they got tied up in the ropes and Kaicho eliminated both to win.

– Kaicho gave everyone the middle finger to celebrate. After the match, she cut a promo.


ASUKA, Syuri, Natsupoi, & Mio Momono defeated Kagetsu, Hazuki, Konami, & Death Yama-san

***1/2

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Fantastic match.

This is an absolute all-star lineup of joshi talent. ASUKA, who you may know as Veny from their time in AEW, was joined by a live rap performance for their entrance. Kagetsu and Hazuki were former stable-mates of Hana's and came out of retirement for this match. Many of the wrestlers in this match were among Hana's best friends in real life.

Yama-san and Natsupoi started off. The former played to the crowd until Natsupoi cut her off, leading to a nice choreographed high speed sequence. Syuri and Konami tagged in for a rematch from their Budokan match earlier in the year. They grappled to a stalemate before exchanging kicks.

ASUKA and Kagetsu tagged in, leading to by far the loudest crowd reaction of the night. They had a test of strength, which ASUKA won. They each hit a shoulder block before Hazuki and Momono tagged in with an acrobatic sequence that Momono won with a dropkick. Kyoko Kimura, Hana's mother, tripped up Momono, allowing Hazuki to take control with a face wash.

Konami and Yama-san posed over Momono before Jungle Kyona entered and they all did the Tokyo Cyber Squad posed. Konami turned on Kyona as usual. Momono escaped and tagged in Natsupoi, allowing her team to take control. Yama-san did her "DEATH!" schtick but was flattened with a dropkick. She came back with throat chops and tagged in Konami, who took out Natsupoi with a running kick.

Natsupoi tried to fight Konami off, but Konami went for an armbar. Konami caught Natsupoi through the ropes with a triangle choke followed by a running dropkick. She locked on an Octopus stretch (Hana's finisher), but it was broken up. A fisherman's suplex from Konami got two. Kagetsu tagged in after a double team with Konami.

Kagetsu taunted Natsupoi but was met with more dropkicks. Momono entered the fray and they took Kagetsu down with a double blockbuster followed by a jackknife pin for two. Syuri sent Kagetsu into the corner with a shotgun dropkick followed by a leg drop bulldog for two. She went for a sitdown Sharpshooter, but it was broken up right away as Syuri and Kagetsu traded forearms.

A stiff forearm from Kagetsu fired up the crowd. She followed it up with a strike sequence and a chokeslam for two. Syuri cut her off with a high kick leading to a double down. Momono and Hazuki tagged in and Momono took Hazuki down with a headscissor takedown and a dropkick. They traded forearms until Momono stomped out Hazuki's foot, so Hazuki took her down with a pump kick and Hana's signature running boot.

Hazuki sprung in with a dropkick for two before locking on a crossface. Momono had to fight to reach the ropes. She and Natsupoi dropkicked Hazuki and Yama-san before Momono landed a diving crossbody on Hazuki for two.

ASUKA tagged in and crushed Hazuki with a German. Hazuki avoided a ripcord and Kagetsu hit ASUKA with the Oedo Tai sign. Kagetsu and Hazuki hit stereo tope suicidas on their opponents. Konami hit a German on ASUKA followed by a diving senton from Yama-san. Hazuki hit a Falcon Arrow for two.

Hazuki tried to keep up the offense but was met by a spinning heel kick from ASUKA for two. ASUKA followed it up with a top-rope Orihara moonsault, landing on their feet. Everyone landed dives on Hazuki before Syuri hit a double-knee gutbuster. Hazuki fought out of a powerbomb but ASUKA was able to cradle Hazuki for the win.

– After the match, ASUKA cut a promo, followed by Kagetsu. Kyoko Kimura spoke next. It looked like ASUKA issued a challenge to Kagetsu, and Kimura had to sanction it.


ASUKA defeated Kagetsu

***1/4

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ASUKA overpowered Kagetsu right away. They landed a handspring elbow. Kagetsu fired back with a dropkick, but ASUKA popped up and immediately took Kagetsu out. Kagetsu kicked ASUKA off the top rope and landed a trifecta of topes.

Back in the ring, Kagestu landed a springboard dropkick and a running forearm followed by a running dropkick. ASUKA fired back with a crushing forearm. They exchanged more forearms in the center of the ring. Kagetsu landed a high kick, so ASUKA came back with a thrust kick. Kagetsu kipped up and hit her strike sequence but was cut off with a spinning heel kick for a double down.

ASUKA hit a stiff series of strikes including a slap and a superkick for two. They pulled Kagetsu to the corner, but Kagetsu rolled out of the way of the moonsault. Kagetsu used the Oedo Tai sign on ASUKA and hit a Samoan driver before heading to the top rope, where she hit the 450 splash for two. She locked on the Hydrangea, Hana's finishing octopus stretch, on ASUKA. ASUKA was able to reach the ropes after a fight.

Kagetsu climbed to the top rope again where she was met with a slap from ASUKA. They traded forearms up top, with Kagetsu eventually sending ASUKA to the mat, but ASUKA popped up with a rolling hurricanrana takedown. A Blue Thunder Bomb from ASUKA got two. They followed it up with a great spinning heel kick for a close near fall.

ASUKA hit a high chokeslam on Kagetsu for another near fall. They blew a kiss to the sky and hit the northern lights bomb for the victory.

– After the match, ASUKA cut another promo addressing Kagetsu. Kagetsu, exhausted, said a few words. Everyone in the crowd gave a standing ovation for Kyoko Kimura.

Kyoko stood in the ring with a portrait of Hana. The three did the Tokyo Cyber Squad pose. "Yes sir!" closed the live portion.

The rest of the show was an incredible fifteen-minute video package in remembrance of Hana, essentially recapping her career from start to finish.

The video was followed by a long moment of silence. After, Kyoko stood in the ring holding a portrait of Hana while the announcer listed Hana's experience and accolades. The ten-bell salute followed, with Kyona ringing the bell.

Finally, we got some video tributes. TAJIRI was the first, explaining what "Matane" means, and then most of the talent from the show and others from outside the show all were shown saying "Matane." There was way too much talent to name, but suffice to say, if you follow Japanese wrestling, you'll see people you recognize. The biggest names were probably Keiji Mutoh and Kenny Omega. The final image was Kyoko saying "Matane" followed by "We love Hana, Hana loves everyone."


Final Thoughts:

On December 30th of last year, I covered the stunning AEW Brodie Lee tribute show and said "I genuinely can’t conceive of a more beautiful and fitting tribute to a man who was universally beloved."

Those same words now apply to this Hana Kimura memorial show. The opener featured six wrestlers punching above their weight, the battle royal was spectacular and hilarious, and the double main events would have been incredible matches even outside the context of this show.

Finally, the video package put together at the end of the show that essentially recapped Hana's career from start to finish was absolutely perfect, encapsulating her character and how she came to be so widely popular. Even those with no connection to her life and career will love the double main event and the closing videos.


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