On 2nd December 2018 Hiroyo Matsumoto and Kaori Yoneyama won the OZ Academy tag team titles to start 2019 (at the 12th May Shinjuku Face show they lost them to Maya Yukihi and Saori Anou of Seikigun).
While being active in OZ Academy as part of ‘Kemotomo’ (Beast Friend) along with Aja Kong, Yoneyama, and Yuu, Matsumoto also took part in many other promotions, and was able to capture several other titles.
At the 18th August Super Fireworks Show in Kawasaki she defeated Nanae Takahashi in a no rope current blast table death match. She became the fifth Blast Queen champion, and a week later at the 25th August Yokohama Buntai show she had a double title match against the OZ Academy Openweight champion Mayumi Ozaki.
This was the fourth time that she had been in the main event of an OZ Academy show at Yokohama Buntai. For Matsumoto, it is an important place. Talking about the current blast exploding bat deathmatch that took place in 2019 she said, “last year I gave it my all at that place,”
In that match she fully unleashed her inherent destructive power, but had to deal with the interference of Seikigun, and finally lost after being hit with the exploding bat. Not only did she lose her dream of becoming a double champion, she lost the Blast Queen title that she had just won.
“Becoming a member of Kemotomo and winning the tag belts happened while I was tag team champion in another promotion – I thought of myself as a singles wrestler, but I discovered a different side of myself. At that time I came across the current blast match, I became the champion and brought the belt to OZ Academy but ultimately I was only champion for one week – it was a year where I was able to take on lots of different challenges.”
Matsumoto looked back on that time, with a sense of accomplishment, but also dissatisfaction. That is because right now, she is empty handed when it comes to titles in OZ Academy. This way of thinking reflects Matsumoto’s hunger.
For her ambitions in 2020 Matsumoto wrote the two characters on her paper for “explosion.”
“I want to achieve results, as if they are bursting open. I also want to make my own feelings explode, I want to get back to the pinnacle that I reached before, and just like the characters I wrote I want to take my Blast Queen title back. And, I think that being unhappy with yourself is important in order to grow. For example, if you have something you don’t want to do, in order to get through it you exert yourself, right? It’s the same if you carry a feeling of dissatisfaction. Precisely because I want to face that head on I’m including the meaning of ‘blowing up dissatisfaction’, which is the main reason why I felt like explosion was the perfect word.”
If she were to raise a concrete example of her words, it would be winning a title.
Currently she is part of a tournament to determine the right to challenge for Ozaki’s OZ Openweight title. On 5th January she defeated Tubasa Kuragaki in the first round at Shinjuku Face and moved on to the final. She will face Yuu on 2nd February in Shinjuku.
“This is the first chance I have to put this ‘explosion’ into action. My opponent ended up being Yuu, who’s also a member of Beast Friend, and I’m happy about that but I won’t let it distract me. I have stronger feelings about OZ than anyone else, and I’m definitely going to win, and then I want to challenge Ozaki again and get revenge for my disappointing Yokohama Buntai loss.”
Especially since it’s a belt with history, her thoughts of “I want to connect the OZ belts. I’m the only one who can do that,” are strong. A victory over Yuu in the first round is a necessary condition to achieve her goals.
[Matsumoto beat Yuu to win the tournament, but Ozaki then claimed that she never specified that it was for the Openweight title, so instead Matsumoto and Aja Kong challenged Ozaki and Saori Anou for the Blast Queen title. Matsumoto reclaimed her Blast Queen title at the 24th February Kawasaki Super Fireworks show.]