Should’ve put her in the Sharpshooter and had a torrent of blood flowing down her forehead for those juicy Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIII parallels!
This is basically as expected — super trashy pro wrestling with idols!! — but in a weird sort of way. Everyone knows pro wrestling is staged (sorry if you’re like 10 years old and I just ruined the illusion for you), but in the world of this anime it seems to be totally real? Or maybe Rio’s just turning this into a shoot fight. (Wrasslin’ speak for when the staged fight suddenly becomes real. I’m using it so you know how knowledgeable I am!) I’m pretty sure that even in Japan, where the wrestle fighting is a bit rougher and more hard-hitting than what you’ll see in the WWE or whatever, it’s generally known that the wrestlers are putting on a show and that the results are pre-determined. But I suppose that’s a bit complicated for this series!
I haven’t regularly watched pro wrestling in a few years, but I was a huge fan back in the day, and when I was in college I became a huge hipster and watched a ton of Japanese pro wrestling. When I watched, women’s wrestling was often seen as a joke outside of rare occasions (not sure if that perception has shifted at all recently); however, in glorious Nippon, the best examples of women’s wrestling are generally fucking bananas. Actually I’d say that in their own way they’re even crazier than the men — they don’t do quite as many of the big, flashy moves, but they make up for it by beating the absolute piss out of each other. (If, for whatever reason, you are suddenly interested, I think I recall this match in particular being pretty good. All these ladies are god damn crazy. It’s actually kind of scary.)
Not gonna lie, I got some good laughs out of how this first episode plundered the vast repertoire of wrestling submissions for cheesecake shots. The Mexican Surfboard!! The Camel Clutch!! The half-crab and the Boston Crab!! I’m not even sure what the hell was going on when Rio was stretching Sakura like crazy and giving the paparazzi an eyeful. I’m not certain how those close-ups of Sakura’s labia are supposed to be super hot sexy times, but perhaps my sexual tastes are just not refined enough to appreciate the fine art of shoving a camera between a lady’s legs. I’m not nearly classy enough for this, really. That said, I look forward to the coming weeks where we’ll see cheesecake shots brought on by the Walls of Jericho (WCW version, not WWF/E version), the Anaconda Vice and the Crippler Crossface.
My favorite part of the episode, though, is the random guy watching everything on TV who inexplicably knows what a “Cabellera contra Cabellera” match is. Does he watch a ton of lucha libre in his spare time?? Bring that guy back for when this series goes for the mascara contra mascara match in the finale. Actually, wait, my favorite part is when the wrestler who clearly hates the pop idol and wants to embarrass her gives the idol a haircut that arguably makes her look cuter. How DARE you desecrate the grand tradition of the hair vs. hair match! You’re supposed to shave the opponent’s head!! FUCKING DROPPED