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AWG ACTwrestling Step 25 Review – 11.18.23

7 months ago Masahiro Kubota | MP | ACTwrestling Step 25, 11.18.23

Masahiro Kubota | MP | ACTwrestling Step 25, 11.18.23

AWG ACTwrestling Step 25 Review – 11.18.23

By: Jeff Brown

Shin-Kiba 1st RING is the site of this stop for Actwres gir’Z as they move toward another big title challenge on November 30th. CatMASK Calico has joined Teppen, and now there are only a few roster members without a unit. Challenger Maru is determined to dethrone champion Miku Aono, and the tag team scene is beginning to really heat up for AWG.

The show begins with the Love Riddle Dance sans ring announcer Yumi Agawa, who, due to a back issue, is stationed at the timekeeper table for the entire show.

Update+ (Kanamic & Sakura Mizushima) vs. IES Eyes (Kyoka Iwai & Ren)

The consummate good guys in Update+ going against the perineal underdogs of IES Eyes to open the show. Kanamic dazzles with her swift offense, and Mizushima has added hard forearms to go along with the graceful athleticism she is known for. Kyoka is as intense as ever, and Ren has a new aggression as she moves away from the chaotic and funny lotus persona.

It was a very fun 8 minutes to kick things off. Mizushima, with her signature rollup, is almost as surprised as IES by the flash victory. Afterwards, she calls Misa Matsui to the ring and issues a challenge.

Asako Mia, Bulldozer Todoroki, Marino Saihara, & Nagisa Shiotsuki vs.BE∀STZ REBELLION (Ayano Irie, CHIAKI, Nene Arahata, & Riko Fukunaga)

When BE∀STZ REBELLION makes their entrance, it’s akin to a ribbon of darkness wrapping around the arena or an infection spreading through the veins, each member fanning out around the ring, leaving a cold, blackened stain in their wake.

Ayano feels like a unit leader, with a cool goth indifference to the audience; she takes joy in being a bad person to the fan favorites. Her heel turn was such a revelation; the once-nice, fun-loving wrestler in pink had this sinisterness inside all along that was just waiting to come out. It is likely the key to keeping her in the main events and becoming a veteran presence that will be relied upon for years to come. CHIAKI has put it all together and is even better since her championship bout. Riko Fukunaga is deadly with kicks and submissions; she has the eyes of a killer once the bell rings, and she is someone to keep tabs on heading into next year. Arahata has a swagger that is unlike anyone else on this roster; her charisma is unique, and she is finding her path and making progress weekly.

Asako Mia was the ever-unpredictable Asako and did a cross-body to no one; her creativity has gained her a cult following. Marino Saihara and Nagisa Shiotsuki are both extremely talented, with Marino having strength and fighting spirit while Nagisa is chopping as hard as ever while increasing her moveset every show. Bulldozer is like Asako—a lot of fun—and seems to wing it with her well-timed comedy. This team was a bit thrown together, and that was the story. The well-oiled machine of BE∀STZ REBELLION got the win as CHIAKI pinned Nagisa.

KIRA★AN & Miku Aono vs. The Royal (Chika Goto & Kouki)

This was part match and part forwarding of the title storyline, with Aono and KIRA★AN once again teaming up and being a formidable force with all their hard strikes. KIRA★AN is a member of Jadoshu but has never betrayed her tag partner Aono. She tends to go with the flow and is happy to just be there and kick people in the face. Goto really has improved, and the giant swing executed on Aono was perhaps her best one to date. Kouki had the same confidence that carried her to Korakuen main events and seemed reinvigorated. Jadoshu interfered, leading to Kouki getting the pin on Aono, her third loss in a two-month span, though the previous one was also due to heavy Jadoshu cheating.

The challenges of being a champion are getting harder while her opponents are getting smarter and stronger. Maru and the rest of Jadoshu do a middle-finger parody of the Teppen☆ pose. The unit is in contrast to BE∀STZ REBELLION, as they are more street tough and have anger in their hearts. Ayano, CHIAKI, and ACT all fought for the belt fairly and without BE∀STZ REBELLION assistance over the summer.

Each Jadoshu member carries frustration and a desire to not only win but to tear the establishment to the ground brick by brick. Maru, the leader, is a dissenting voice that cultivates this “by any means necessary” ethos and has corrupted the younger faction members. One faction with this mentality is a nice variety to an otherwise friendly locker room.

The Royal (Natsuki & Natsumi Sumikawa) vs. Teppen☆ (CatMASK calico & Misa Matsui)

All four members of Teppen☆ were present for the entrance with the return of Naho’s megaphone. The fan next to her was inadvertently subject to her powerful voice. Naho apologized profusely, but the man is surely deaf in his left ear now. Such are the hazards of live attendance.

CatMASK did her cat-style antics, including clawing Natsumi’s face to break a hold, but also showed a variety of stylish kicks. Natsuki, ever dependable, delivered some quick-paced offense and stiff knees to faces. Sumikawa and Matsui were the highlight of this match, and they tore into each other with a barrage of strikes. Sumikawa even hit a last-ride powerbomb to counter an aerial maneuver from Matsui. These two never miss and could face off every week with zero complaints and find ways to have compelling wars. Sumikawa gets the win with the diving double knees. This match is highly recommended. Kouki entered the ring and said her pin on Aono warrants a future title match. Maru returned to remind everyone she is the next in line.

Mari & Naru vs. Teppen☆ (Asahi & Naho Yamada)

The ninja shined brightly here. Mari performs many tasks for the company but definitely has a main event run in her. Naru has agility that is matched by few in the current landscape; her missile dropkick, in addition to the handspring moonsault she and Mari do, are breathtaking. Naru also makes ring gear and has been a professional seamstress in the past; like many in AWG, her many talents are an asset to the brand. Asahi and Naho are both energetic building blocks and have the potential to reach the top. This was about 12 minutes and full of great action. Naho countering Mari’s fireman’s carry into her patented out-of-nowhere stunner adds to the unpredictability of her moveset.

Like the established main eventers in AWG, she doesn’t feel the need to hit every signature move in every match and only does it if it serves the overall story. After a brutal series of moves to each other, Mari put Ashasi down with the buzzsaw kick for the win. Post-match, Mari did call out Aono, who is someone she teams with and has a long history with.

It is refreshing to see multiple roster members on one show state their desire for a shot at the belt. It’s an old-school approach, but everyone working in a reference to wanting gold is what makes it worthwhile and valuable. Aono having a belt that no one talks about isn’t worth much. Talent all wrestling for merely a chance to challenge is a great way to add cache to a new championship.

With so many tag teams developing great chemistry and the majority of the crew being part of a unit, it would be beneficial to reintroduce the tag team titles. These smaller shows are a lot of fun, but having a number one contender’s tag match to headline Shinkiba or even a title defense when venturing out to Osaka would add value to these cards. AWG is continuing their journey with the young roster gaining much-needed experience, and the veterans are doing an admirable job guiding this company up the steep mountain.

All photos by Masahiro Kubota. Copyright Monthly Puroresu LLC.