ShuPro Joshi Column: Emi Sakura

This week’s Weekly Pro Wrestling Joshi Column featured the first interview with a figure in the joshi wrestling world about the current situation and future plans, in this case Emi Sakura. The full article can be found here if you’re a ShuPro Premium Member:

Given how the world is I’m often asked, is Gatoh Move okay? Certainly Riho leaving was a real blow, and last year we became a public company, which brought with it added business costs, but the fans haven’t decreased as much as we feared so I guess we can say it’s a pretty good situation.

Nevertheless, due to the deterioration of the building of Ichigaya Chocolate Square repairs cost us about 1,000,000 yen, so we’re still in a precarious situation.

As for the six rookies that debuted in August last year, not one of them has quit. Honestly, if there’s a rookie who decides after their debut match that they’re going to quit it can’t be helped, so this is a happy coincidence. Just over six months has passed and they’ve all grown as wrestlers, but I think it will take some time before they can make appearances for other promotions since they’re all working jobs or going to school as well.

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about Gatoh Move right now and going forward.

For a few years I’ve strongly felt that we could attract fans overseas. Last year there were probably people who thought “why?” when I took a break from having matches in Japan and had a match overseas every month, but it was a stepping stone for Gatoh Move’s next stage.

First, I had matches in as many countries as possible, and at the same time as letting fans in those countries know about our existence I made connections with promotions in those countries. That way other wrestlers can also have matches in those countries right? To the best of my ability my goal is for people to get to know Gatoh Move.

So as for our aim going forward, it’s the realisation of online streaming that can be watched overseas. This isn’t a distant dream, we are advancing preparations right now. Isn’t that great? People all around the world watching matches at Ichigaya Chocolate Square. If we can set up this online streaming as a profitable pillar, in many ways it will mean that Gatoh Move has gone to the next step.

However, in order to do that issues have come up that need to be thought about. For example, at the January 6th Ichigaya show, out of 80 fans 47 came from overseas. Naturally, overseas fans don’t get the build-up to matches or the post show discussion circle. Once a match starts the appeal of pro wrestling is universal, but in order to get our true feelings out to the world we need some kind of solution for that.

Since this is the situation, as wrestlers we’re standing up and doing everything we can. At the least, this might be the first time since Gatoh Move was founded. Mei Suruga, Yuna Mizumori, Mitsuru Konno, they’re all very strong, but right now we can’t make them carry the burden themselves.

Especially in this situation, not being able to have matches overseas due to coronavirus prevention is painful. However, we’re all still working hard, and we’re able to keep having matches. In this sort of situation Ichigaya Chocolate Square is a real asset.

At any rate, right now this is a time that we’re using Ichigaya Chocolate Square as a base to perfect pro wrestling for the world. Because I think we can make pro wrestling even more fun.

[After this article was published Gatoh Move announced that the Ichigaya Chocolate Square shows on March 28th and 29th have been cancelled.]

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