ShuPro 2020 Wrestlers to Watch: Hibiki

Image from Weekly Pro-Wrestling #2050

“That kid is a wrestler’s wrestler,” those were the words that Chigusa Nagayo spoke when talking about the character of Hibiki the pro wrestler.

She joined World Women’s Pro Wrestling Diana after being scouted by Kyoko Inoue, and made her debut in December 2014 under her real name Meiko Tanaka. She received the high praise that, “her natural sense is even better than Sareee,” and a lot of attention as the second homegrown Diana wrestler.

However, she was also carried away by her youthful enthusiasm and the young woman who wanted to keep her freedom was suspended due to her private actions. Even though she returned to the ring, she finally faded out and disappeared from the world of pro wrestling.

“I quit without even saying goodbye to the fans or the people at Diana. At that time I thought there was no way that I was going back, so I got rid of my gear and my shoes, everything.”

She enjoyed her new life of freedom, where she had just started a new part time job. However, she was called back a second time to the world of pro wrestling that she thought she would never return to, with a new point of view.

“I love Sareee-san so I ended up going to watch wrestling, and at that point I came to see pro wrestling from the point of view of a fan. I started wrestling without knowing anything about it, and until then I’d never seen wrestling from anything other than the viewpoint of someone doing it.”

She came to think “I want to try and get to know more about pro wrestling,” that she now saw objectively, and decided that she wanted to return to the world of pro wrestling again. She chose the new environment of Marvelous.

“I wanted to leave my home town to challenge myself, and I wanted to stand opposite Sareee-san in the ring. I love my family so when I went into the dorm I cried for about three days in secret.”

She chose to start from the beginning again as a trainee, and after about six months she re-debuted in September 2019 with the new ring name of ‘Hibiki’. As she couldn’t move in the ways that she wanted she felt like her time away from wrestling was a gap, but she also reflected on the happiness that she felt being in the ring, saying “this is what I wanted!”

“My sense still hasn’t come back from my two and a half year absence – I feel like if I think about starting over as trainee I didn’t have confidence in myself. If I’d kept going then this would be my fifth year as a wrestler. If I completely come back to my previous level I think I’ll be pretty good, even if I say so myself.”

Career-wise, Hibiki is at the same place as her juniors in the third class of Marvelous rookies. However, for Hibiki having a friendly rivalry with her generation means having admiration for them, and under the current Marvelous system of everyone living in the dormitory she enjoys “freedom under rules,” and she is completely happy.

Hibiki wrote that her goal for 2020 is “to make an echo” with meaning on her paper [hibikasu is the same kanji as her ring name Hibiki]. She was given the ring name Hibiki by Chigusa Nagayo, with the idea that “you are a wrestler who will make an impression on everybody.” For the pro wrestler Hibiki this has become a major goal.

“I am determined to become a wrestler that can affect people’s hearts in some way. Takumi-san has become the representative of Marvelous and I think it’s going to change quickly, but I love new things, so I can’t help but be excited. While honouring the original, I want to take on lots of new challenges.”

Such is the confidence of Hibiki, who is on a path of her own choosing following her coming of age ceremony. When she unlocks her full potential she is sure to change the world of joshi pro wrestling.

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