Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Heiresses to the Throne: Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and the Toryumon 2000 Project

They would have fit in at the Toryumon Dojo
Photo Credit:
Everyone has (correctly) been calling the Sasha Banks-Becky Lynch match the match of the night at last week's NXT Takeover: Unstoppable live special. Considering this was a show that included the latest entry in the Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens blood feud, the dramatic return of Samoa Joe, and Finn Bálor vs. Tyler Breeze in a stunningly hot opener, this feels like the sort of thing that would be perhaps more shocking than it would be.

My favorite part of it was the return to the sort of limb work that I grew up with when I was a young wrestling fan. Maybe it's the idea that they were two characters who aren't expected to be Ricky Steamboat-style babyfaces, so working on an arm doesn't seem as vicious as it might have been. At least that's what I thought. Then I remembered the most innovative, and sadly the shortest-run, wrestling promotion of my living memory. In fact they were my favorite promotion, even though they didn't run for that long. Ladies and gentlemen, when I saw Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks, I saw a match that wouldn't be too out of place in T2P, or the Toryumon 2000 Project.

This promotion gave us Masato Yoshino, Milano Collection AT, Shuji Kondo, and a few other leading lights of late 2000's puroresu. Strangely, the students perhaps best known for their time spent in Toryumon were not members of the Toryumon 2000 Class. Rather, CIMA and Dragon Kid were from the first class, and Kazuchika Okada came from the third. That's right, international favorite the Rainmaker came from the third class of Toryumon. Also interesting, after the first and second classes the talent crop doesn't just drop, it falls off of the roof of an airplane onto a mountain where it turns into an avalanche.

I say all of that to say that in 2015, if you had told me that the spiritual heirs to the best of what T2P stood for would be found in a web-exclusive show on WWE's stand-alone network, I would have been shocked beyond words. There is a chance I would not have believed you. But alas, last week, there we were. Want proof? Tell me how different Banks and Lynch were from this, perhaps the greatest match T2P ever produced:

Milano Collection AT vs Ryo Saito by Rob_the_Ninja

It was a pleasure to see. And I, for one, welcome the heiresses to the T2P throne.