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.
A Rose and an Amaranth blossomed side by side in a garden, and the Amaranth said to her neighbor, “How I envy you your beauty and your sweet scent! No wonder you are such a universal favorite.” But the Rose replied with a shade of sadness in her voice, “Ah, my dear friend, I bloom but for a time: my petals soon wither and fall, and then I die. But your flowers never fade, even if they are cut; for they are everlasting.”
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 favorite 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 favorite.
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 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.
HUB, Shisaou, & Eisa8 Vs Shota, FUMA, & Mil Mongoose
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.
The Hana Kimura Matane Battle Royale
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 of 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 afterward and paid tribute to Kimura.
Again, we get another video package while the ring is sanitized between matches.
Hana Kimura Matane Main Event | ASUKA (Veny), Mio Momono, Natsupoi & Syuri vs. Death Yama-san, Konami, Hazuki (HZK) & Kagetsu
We come to the main event of the evening, and the match I was looking forward to the most. ASUKA (Veny), Mio Momono, Natsupoi and Syuri vs. Death Yama-san, Konami, Hazuki (HZK) and Kagetsu. We heard a few times through the night that this match features some of Hana’s closest friends. I was looking forward to this match most strictly due to HZK and Kagetsu coming out of retirement for the night’s festivities and god did they both look fantastic.
HAZUKI’s last match was in December 2019 for STARDOM and Kagetsu retired in February 2020 on a show that she promoted herself. It was like they hadn’t lost a step at all and could get back into the ring anytime. I really wish that they would after this amazing match. However, HZK has said that it was a one-time deal and I haven’t heard if Kagetsu is done again or not.. I digress.
HZK and Kagetsu came out in their Oedo Tai gear and underneath had a mix of their gear and Hana’s pastel colors. It was a touching tribute to their fallen friend in my opinion. This match lived up to my expectations as it was a constant back and forth, even having a spot where Jungle Kyona got into the ring for a moment. Kyoko Kimura was at ringside and even tried to help her Oedo Tai friends out during the match. In the end, ASUKA (Veny), Mio Momono, Natsupoi and Syuri were declared the winners as ASUKA pinned Hazuki at 15:54.
After the match, we get ASUKA, Kagetsu, and Kyoko Kimura in the ring and they are on the mic talking. We can’t really hear them but we get an impromptu match between ASUKA and Kagetsu after Kyoko-san approves of it.
They really made ASUKA looks good this night. The ‘first genderless’ wrestler had a strong showing which was fitting as she was one of Hana’s best friends. She even wears Hana’s Oedo Tai Kimono to the ring in her entrances.
Kagetsu really gives it her all but ends up putting over ASUKA, as a sort of passing the torch moment between the old and new guard. This impromptu main event was just as fun as the eight-woman tag match and it showed the world how good Kagetsu still is. I cannot say it enough, I really wish she and Hazuki would come out of retirement. Alas, as of now that is not to be. ASUKA pinned Kagetsu with a Northern Lights Bomb in 14:16 in this main event and that was the last wrestling match on the show.
Kyoko gets in the ring with ASUKA and Kagetsu and they give a salute to Hana. A video package played with highlights of her life. Jungle Kyona ran the bell for the 10-bell salute. Kyoko stood in the ring while holding a picture of Hana.
TAJIRI introduces us to a touching video tribute to Hana Kimura as he explains what Matane means and then says it for Hana. What follows is a long and heart-wrenching package where wrestlers like Leyla Hirsch, Thunder Rosa, Hikaru Shida, Session Moth Martina, Kenny Omega, Keiji Muto, Io Shirai, Kairi Sane, and Meiko Satomura all tell Hana “Matane”. There were so many big names that I just can’t name them all. The package ends with Kyoko saying “Matane” followed by “We love Hana, Hana loves everyone.” This was emotional and I’m not ashamed to admit that I had tears in my eyes when all was said and done.
I still had tears in my eyes when the show ended and they stayed until I fell asleep. I’m sure I am not the only one.
Thank you to everyone who put this amazing show together. Sumie Sakai, Kyoko Kimura, Ring of Honor‘s Ian Riccaboni, and The World Famous CB (fka Cheeseburger) for the commentary and all the men and women who made this night memorable. I know that wherever Hana is, she was watching this night with that beautiful smile on her face. I know that I will be watching this show many more times, as Hana Kimura was a very important figure in the wrestling world to me, and I never want her memory to fade.
If you haven’t checked out Matane yet, please go to Fite.TV and purchase the event for yourself. It is worth every cent and the proceeds all go to Kyoko Kimura. Thank you for joining me for this recap and review of the Hana Kimura Memorial Show “Matane”. Remember, this isn’t goodbye, it is a see you later.
Matane, Hana Kimura.