Featured image by @miyamuu_o_o
First reviewed here.
Unlike the Momono/Ozaki title fight, this feels like it loses a little something with more distance. In particular, I don’t care for how superfluous the limbwork from both women ends up feeling. It’s difficult because the in-the-moment action on both sides is really strong. Both Arisa attacking the leg and Sareee going after the arm feels brutal and focused when they’re giving those plot points the time of day. They’ll occasionally signal back to it later in the match, detached from the original control segments, but I would have preferred just a little more lasting power from those narratives.
That being said, it doesn’t detract too much from the meat of this which is just a hella cool firefight. Especially in the finishing stretch, both Arisa and Sareee are throwing heaters at each other. It’s easy to tell just how much they put into this because by the end of the match, both their faces are red and puffy from the impact. All those big elbow strikes land with such a meaty thud too, it’s amazing to watch unfold. Even in the earlier sections with the limbwork, those things are enacted with a similarly petty violence–a lot of stomping and kicking at injured limbs that makes it feel gruesome in its own right.
Still one of the best title matches in Japan all year.