Arisa Nakajima vs. ASUKA (SEAdLINNNG Delivered to You! 6/13/20)

Match Reviews

A lot of knee work going around this past week, huh?

The main takeaway from this match is going to be the really excellent leg selling that ASUKA did through most of the second act and into the third. It comes off the heels of a great comeback sequence from Nakajima that culminated in her hitting a missile dropkick to the knee. Gorgeous offensive move that she did well to follow up on with a Stretch Muffler exchange down on the mat.

ASUKA pulls out a really great defensive performance in this section, really doing well to sell the damage to her leg. It’s a really balanced performance as well. Not nearly as expressive as Endo but also not quite as nuanced and interesting as Bryan’s. It’s a happy medium that is its own achievement for being restrained yet also crystal clear.

Where I mentioned in my review of her match at Wrestle Peter Pan that I wasn’t quite convinced by ASUKA’s offense, that wasn’t much of a problem for me here. In the early control segment especially, I finally grasped her appeal. She brings a lot of charisma and personality to her matches and that’s great to stuff to really carry her singles performances. There’s a real magnetism to her that’s incredibly compelling without being too overt or blatant. She comes across as a more subdued version of the traditional joshi wrestler, aided by her raspier voice and larger build. It makes her stand out and combined with some really solid ring work and you’ve got a great performance like this.

Nakajima was very good in this match as well. There was the aforementioned leg work but also just her general determination as a fighting champion. She was able to drop the big bombs but when those didn’t work, she diversified to go for creative pinning situations instead. Love the finish of her shifting her weight just in time to put the pressure on ASUKA’s bad leg to get the victory. Subtle stuff that can go a long way.

Really great joshi title match here from both these ladies. Perfectly timed at roughly 18-20 minutes with each section of the match being well-worked and compelling. Absolutely worth checking out.

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