Pumi here. As you know besides being a DDS columnist and I’m also a member of Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling, the Thailand-based wrestling promotion founded earlier this year by Emi Sakura.
It has been an eventful few months since Gatoh Move started. In Thailand, wrestling is very new to Thai people. AJW used to be very popular here, but that was about 20 years ago. Now Thais are more familiar with the mainstream American “sports entertainment” style than they are with Japanese Puroresu. We have had to do our best to promote – on TV, on talk shows, and with public matches in parks, beaches, and malls. We now have about 10 trainees. Some of them debuted last month on the first GM event at Sakura Dojo, which brought Japanese wrestlers Masa Takanashi, Madoka, and Hoshitango to Bangkok.
We also had Kaori Yoneyama join our promotion after losing a match to Emi in JWP. They went on to become JWP tag champions, and have even convinced young JWP stars Morii and Hanako Nakamori to join their faction.
However the most shocking moment in Gatoh move’s young history came earlier this month when one of Ice Ribbon’s most beloved wrestlers, Riho, announced, that she would leave the company and rejoin with Emi Sakura in Gatoh Move. She wrestled her final Ice Ribbon match at Korakuen Hall on September 23rd, in a losing effort against Aoi Kizuki.
On the same day, Gatoh Move held a show in Ichigaya at the venue formally known as the “Ice Box” (for it’s too-small-for-a-ring size and Ice Ribbon blue mats). There are usually 40-45 fans at Ichigaya shows, but Gatoh Move drew a record attendance of 70 at this event, which featured Hiroyo Matsumoto.
None of those fans would have expected to see Riho make an appearance so quickly after a show across town at Korakuen. But after Emi announced a surprise guest appearance and the first notes of “Odoru Ponpokorin” began to play, Riho made her way out in a Gatoh Move T-Shirt. She officially joined GM! Pending having free time from school, of course.
Below are photos and a video of the event, courtesy Mr. and Mrs. Aoukougei. Riho’s speech translates as follows:
“When Sakura-san left Ice Ribbon, I wanted to follow her. But it was not possible because, I would lose a ring and place to train. And I thought I would probably not be able to perform at a big event in Shin-Kiba or Korakuen Hall. Sakura-san, starting from this small Ichigaya-hall again, we will aim at a large hall together.”
As you can see, it was all quite emotional and brought Emi to tears. I am not sure when Riho will make her in-ring debut for Gatoh Move, but I promise to keep you all updated. Thanks!