It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Yes, it’s Voices of Wrestling Secret Santa time again, everyone. The brainchild of JR Goldberg (@wrestlingbubble), VOW Secret Santa sees all participating website contributors give their fellow contributors, the greatest gift of all: wrestling matches!

VOW Secret Santa Archives:

Nanae Takahashi vs. Yuzuki Aikawa
October 31, 2010
Yuzuki Aikawa Produce Yuzupon Matsuri

Reviewed by Sean Sedor (@SASedor2994)

Gifted by Taylor Maimbourg (@tamaimbo)

There is a lot of wrestling that I would love to watch if there was an extra day in the week. While I think Dragongate would easily be first on that list, Joshi isn’t that far behind. I’m fairly certain that I’ve been given a Joshi match in the past, but this was easily the most obscure (i.e. a produce show that I had never heard of until I got this as my Secret Santa gift) Joshi match I’ve ever watched. Fortunately, this bout does feature someone that I’m familiar with in the form of Nanae Takahashi. How do I know her, you might ask? Well, she actually made two ROH appearances in 2015 (against ODB) and 2016 (in a tag team bout teaming with Jenny Rose against Solo Darling and Sumie Sakai). Yes, if you’re wondering, those are matches that did actually happen.

This Secret Santa Gift is also very timely as, unfortunately, Nane Takahashi announced that she would be leaving her position as the President of the SEAdLINNNG promotion in Japan. From what I can gather, even though she’ll apparently be doing work as a freelancer, she did reveal that she’s been battling with depression for a few years, so hopefully, everything works out for her.

As far as this particular match goes (from Halloween Night in 2010), Takahashi was taking on a debuting wrestler by the name of Yuzuki Aikawa. Now I had never heard of this person until I got this match, but I found out through some research that she wrestled regularly for STARDOM during the promotion’s early years, before retiring in 2013 (though she did make a one night only comeback earlier this year in an All-Star Rumble on STARDOM’s Budokan Hall show back in March).

Now the match itself was a shade under fourteen minutes, and as a whole, it was a pretty enjoyable watch. Obviously, the thing that stuck out immediately was the fact that Aikawa LOVES kicking. When she wasn’t doing the occasional armdrag or ground submission, she was kicking every chance she got, from kicks to the legs and torso, to some really high kicks. I have no idea if this kick-based offense would become a staple for Aikawa when she was wrestling in STARDOM but, at least on this night, she was really into kicking. As for Nanae, I thought she played her role well as the more experienced competitor. She utilized her size advantage, as well as a few different submission holds, throughout the bout. Nanae was able to survive the kick onslaught, and after a solid closing stretch, Nanae finally put Aikawa away with a top rope splash. A good outing for Aikawa in her debut match.

The fact that it’s an obscure Joshi match really narrows down the possibilities of who could’ve gifted this to me. I’ll go with Taylor Maimbourg.