Before I review and go over the, honestly, amazing memorial show on FiteTV for Hana Kimura from last night.. I found something online that I want to share with you all.
That is one of Aesop’s Fables, The Rose and the Amaranth, and honestly it makes me think of Hana Kimura. Why do I say this? Well, Hana is the Amaranth in my eyes. She was the beautiful, everlasting flower and now her stem has been cut. However.. her friends, family, loved ones and fans have come together to ensure that her flower never fades and is immortalized forever. Hana Kimura is the everlasting Amaranth. Her flower will bloom forever and I will do my part in making sure she is remembered.
That said, let’s take a look at “Hana Matane” from Fite TV. If you haven’t watched the show yet, there is a spoiler warning in effect and I highly recommend you go to FiteTV and purchase the event. You get unlimited views and all the proceeds go to Kyoko-san.
The Hana Kimura Memorial Event took place on Saturday, May 22, 2021, live from Tokyo’s legendary Korakuen Hall. It is still available to purchase on Fite TV with all proceeds going to Kyoko Kimura, Hana’s mother.
It was exactly one year ago that the 22-year old star sadly passed away. ‘Matane,’ the name given to the event, is an informal goodbye akin to ‘see you later.’
We open the show with Hana’s favourite DJ, DJ Yamamura, in the middle of the ring spinning his records for the fans as they find their seats. DJ Yamamura may be better known to wrestling fans as retired professional Takehiro Yamamura. Honestly, I had a hard time hearing the music through my speakers but what I could hear sounded awesome. It wasn’t hard for me to see why he was Hana’s favourite. The English announce team explains that we’re getting an introduction to the Japanese announce team, giving them each a moment to speak and address the viewers. Of course, couldn’t really hear what they were saying, but that’s okay. Ian Riccaboni and Cheeseburger were the American announce team and did a great job throughout the night. While the Japanese team is being introduced, CB and Ian tell some of their memories of Hana and of their friendships. We are reminded throughout that this is not just a memorial, but a celebration of her life, so it was a more upbeat vibe than I expected.
While waiting for the show to begin, they have a display of all the various outfits that Hana wore during her career, as well as the Kairi Sane memorial umbrella that she auctioned for Hana’s mother Kyoko. Literally all of her outfit styles were on display and the memories they brought made me shiver. It’s clear from how the announcers are speaking, Hana lived a life of happiness and she wanted to be a light for everyone. They speak over the DJ playing, telling us what we can expect from the three match card and also checking in with fans watching the show live.
Once DJ Yamamura’s set is done, ‘Super Ref’ Keigo Yoshino and Jungle Kyona shared some words in memoriam for Hana. After Jungle leaves the ring, we get Ilk Park performing a dance number to a song by AWANIKO, the idol group Hana performed in. They have such a high energy and the song is so good, glad I was able to hear it as I watched the dancers. The lead even had her hair dyed pink, like Hana had for her TCS run at the end of her career. After Ilk Park finishes performing, we get a short little video tribute to Hana, one of several that play throughout the night. The first forty minutes or so are just a celebration of Hana Kimura, absolutely perfect for this event.
After the video package, we get to the first match of the evening which sees HUB, Shisaou, & Eisa8 against Shota (With a touching tribute to the late Eddie Guerrero), FUMA, & Mil Mongoose. We are told that HUB was Hana’s favorite wrestler, so seeing him in the ring is an honor for me. What comes is a great match, plenty of back and forth with several humorous spots. It had a mixed bag of action, from high flying to technical and striking, and it was a lot of fun to watch. I’m not going to give a play-by-play for the match, but the end sees HUB, Shisaou, & Eisa8 pick up the victory after a fantastic 16 minute match.
While a crew wipes down the ring in preparation for the mixed person battle royale, we get another short video about Hana.
After the package, the participants for the Battle Royale come to the ring. Wrestlers from all the companies that she worked for in her career are on display and there is plenty of different styles of wrestling to offer so there is something for everyone in this match. Participants of the battle royale included Aiger, Andras Miyagi, Banana Senga, Cherry, Chihiro Hashimoto, CIMA, DASH Chisako, Fuminori Abe, Gabai Ji-chan, Hagane Shinnou, Hanako Nakamori, Jinsei Shinzaki, Jun Kasai, Lingerie Muto, Masato Tanaka, Menso-re Oyaji, Mika Iwata, Miyuki Takase, Moeka Haruhi, Ram Kaicho, Sakura Hirota, Shotaro Ashino, Super Delfin, Tsutomu Oosugi, Yuki Miyazaki, Yuko Miyamoto and Yusuke Kodama.
This was just a hilariously fun match with many surprise entrants and great spots. There was a moment when the cosplay wrestler, Sakura Hirota , came out dressed up like Hana Kimura from her days with the Tokyo Cyber Squad. She even came out to one of her old entrance themes! All the wrestlers, and even the Ref in the ring, took ‘offense’ to this and tried to beat her down a couple times.. however each time they surround her, Menso-re Oyaji, ends up being in the middle being beaten up. This match was silly but absolutely perfect. It’s nothing like a WWE battle royal and that is a good thing. It gave everyone a chance to shine and gave us some really hilarious spots. After thirty minutes of hilarity and fun, Ram Kaicho was the last woman standing and gave us a promo in the ring afterwards and paid tribute to Kimura.
Again, we get another video package while the ring is sanitized between matches.