Fall 2020. A young girl walks down the hall of a Japanese high school. She has three books she’s carrying, the bottoms pressed to the bottom of her sternum while her arms hold them angled away from her chest. Her face bears a small, but present smile. A look at any of the other students in the hallway would let you know this girl is taller than average, towering over others in some cases. This is Kohime Mori as she was at the time, a senior in high school.
As she continues to walk, there’s a group of students, three boys and two girls, conversing by some lockers. The rich kids… Delinquents? The richlinquents saw Kohime coming. The seemingly de facto leader of the group, a Japanese boy with his hair slicked back and dyed an unnatural platinum blonde, flashed his friends a mischievous grin before taking a half a step back. Kohime drew close…
“Oh no! It’s Godzilla! Look out guys!” The boy loudly exclaimed in Japanese, pantomiming as if he were stuck in an earthquake. His friends guffawed, finding the whole thing hilarious. Kohime’s head, which had been up, drops and she looks at the ground. Her books are now pressed tightly against her chest. Her smile disappeared and her pace quickened. She wanted to get past the group in a hurry without resorting to running. She was taller than this boy. In fact, she was taller than all five of them.
That didn’t make the insults hurt any less. This had become a daily thing. Someone would make fun of Kohime, whether it be due to her size, her love of anime and manga, being a bit spacy, they had plenty of fuel. She had learned to wait until she was in private to cry. Doing so in front of them just made the bullying worse. She had never asked for her height. She didn’t like standing out. Some would say it made her special. Mori would argue that it made her a target.
A few days later, Kohime was walking home from school. Another day, another round of degradation. It was really beginning to wear on her. She had tried everything she could think of at this point. Kindness? Brushed aside with a round of mocking. Firing back with words? That wasn’t Kohime’s strong suit, only helping to further embarrass her. Ignoring it only helped in the sense that at least it stopped when she got out of ear shot. Yes, she was resigned to running.
As she walked, a building caught Mori’s attention. There had been work being done on it, but it seemed to work had finally finished. Over top of the doorway to rather innocuous structure was a sign: Bushido Thunder Dojo. Kohime stopped and stared. A dojo? What kind of dojo? What was Bushido Thunder? She knew she should probably keep walking… But instead, the girl mustered up what courage sheer could and pushed the door open.
Inside, the small space sported weights, a few training mats, a couple of ellipticals, a heavy punching bag and a ring. It looked like a boxing gym to Mori. She had never had interest in the sport, but she had seen Hajime no Ippo. She had some things in common with the lead character, Ippo Makunouchi. Putting aside her lack of interest in boxing, maybe training in it would give Kohime some much needed confidence?
“Hey! You, girl! What the hell do you want?!”
The gruff voice, sharply ringing out from the other side of the room, startled Mori. She had, as is often the case with her, been caught up in her own thoughts. Kohime’s focus turned to where the voice had come from. Standing there, broom in hand, was a short woman. Her arms were covered in scars. Her thick black hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail. Her expression was sour, apparently not thrilled with this interruption. This woman? RAIKO.
“Oh! Um…” Kohime stumbled to find words. She was over half a foot taller than this woman. So why was she so intimidated? “I saw your sign over top of the building. I was wondering what kind of training you offer?”
RAIKO’s left eye area was covered with a large eye patch, so only her right eye showed the glare directed Kohime’s way.
“This is a professional wrestling school.” RAIKO’s tone was short and direct. Pro wrestling? Kohime knew of it, but she had never taken an interest in it. Maybe it would be fun? It might not help her with her bullies, but it could potentially give her a confidence boost. She could certainly use one.
“How do I sign up? How much does it cost?” Kohime politely asked. RAIKO looked the girl up and down before a disgusted grunt escaped her throat.
“You don’t have what it takes.” RAIKO scoffed at her. Kohime stepped forward, trying to show determination. The words bothered her. This woman hadn’t even given her a chance! How would she know whether Kohime had the right stuff or not?!
“Yes I do!” Kohime tried to sound believably determined, but it didn’t work. She sounded like the high schooler she was. The objection appeared to further irritate RAIKO, though chances are high that it didn’t take much.
“You think you’re ready?” RAIKO coldly questioned Kohime. Before the girl could answer, RAIKO had let the broom drop to the floor with a clack. She moved quickly, hovering on the border of Kohime’s personal space. “Drop your bag. Stand up straight.”
Kohime tentatively crouched down, placing her bookbag on the ground next to her. She straightened up, completely unsure of what was to come. RAIKO stood perpendicular to Kohime. The girl couldn’t help but look around nervously. She didn’t have much time to contemplate her fate.
A fast, vicious knife edged chop crashed into Kohime’s chest! She felt her feet fly out from under her as she flopped hard onto the ground. Mori gasped for breath… It was like someone had taken a baseball bat and cracked her across the chest with it. Her lungs finally filled with air and she lifted her head shakily to stare up at RAIKO. There was no sympathy on the woman’s face, no show of concern. Her look was one of repulsion, hard and unmoved.
“I told you, you don’t have what it takes.” RAIKO snarled at Kohime. The girl wanted to get up, to yell at RAIKO and tell her how wrong she was. But she could already feel the tears welling up in her eyes. She snatched her bag up and bolted for the door as quickly as her shocked body would allow her. RAIKO calmly retreated back over to the broom, picking it up off the floor. She stared at the door Mori had exited out of. Her face softened, a sigh of disappointment coming from her before she went back to her cleaning.
It was Sunday. RAIKO casually strolled to her dojo. There was no need to hurry. She hadn’t gotten any students yet and it seemed like her attitude scared off the few potential ones that had stopped in. She wasn’t going to give up, but she was also acutely aware of the current situation. As she drew close, RAIKO noticed somebody loitering near the entrance. Further inspection revealed it to be Kohime Mori. The girl was wearing a pair of red track pants and a white t-shirt. She looked like she was ready for gym class. RAIKO went to unlock the door.
“What are you doing here?” RAIKO dismissively asked, barely giving Mori a glance of acknowledgement. Kohime stepped forward, her face determined.
“I said it already. I want to be a pro wrestler!” Kohime boldly responded. RAIKO looked back to her. She said no words, opting to walk inside the dojo. Kohime followed her inside, figuring the lack of words to be an open invitation. RAIKO strode over to where the ring was set up. She turned around and leaned against the apron, arms crossed on her chest. She stared at Kohime.
“Why exactly do you want to be a pro wrestler?” RAIKO asked bluntly. Kohime, who had been doing a good job projecting confidence moments earlier, dropped her head and looked at her feet.
“Um…” Kohime paused. She really didn’t want to say this out loud. It was embarrassing. She could feel the blood rush to her face. “I get bullied a lot because of my size… And my interests… And because I space out a lot… And becaus–”
RAIKO held a hand up to cut off the rambling stream of consciousness. “So you want to learn wrestling to beat the shit out of these other kids?”
“No!” Kohime vehemently denied, her head shooting up to meet RAIKO’s gaze. The awkward outburst gave Mori just enough time to regain her composure. “I… I don’t have much confidence. I’m an outsider. A loser. I thought, maybe, if I could do this… Maybe I wouldn’t be so ashamed to look in the mirror…”
RAIKO remained stone faced, belying the thoughts in her head. This child was an outsider, but one that clearly had a good heart. Kohime reminded RAIKO of herself, back before catastrophe had hardened her. Her arms uncrossed and she stepped forward. She looked up at Mori, her poker face still very much in place.
“You realize this won’t be easy?” RAIKO warned. “I’m going to break you down, mentally and physically. You won’t get sympathy from me. I won’t pat you on the ass and tell you you’re doing a good job. Either you’ll endure it and become stronger, or you’ll waste both of our time. Do you understand that?”
Mori thought for a moment. She flashed back to the chop she had received days ago. There was still bruising on her chest. RAIKO’s words weren’t a threat, they weren’t empty.
“I know it’ll be a lot of work.” Mori said. “I might not be cut out for pro wrestling. But I have to at least try! I’m going to do my best, give it my all. I can’t keep going with the way things are. I have to change somehow.”
“Good.” RAIKO answered. “You look like you’re already dressed to sweat. Let’s get started.”
Kohime laid on the floor of the dojo, panting, eyes closed, face grimacing. Her shirt may as well have been a second layer of skin with how closely the sweat drenched garment clung to her torso. RAIKO looked down at the drained girl.
“Get up, Mori.” RAIKO aloofly stated.
“So many squats… Why do the ropes hurt so much? Do I still have legs?” Kohime managed to spit out between gasps.
“Hey…” RAIKO ignored the babbling. She gave Mori a half hearted kick to the thigh, drawing an ‘Ow’ from Kohime. “I said get up.”
Mori tried to sit up, only managing to meagerly lift her head. Struggling, Kohime found enough energy to roll onto her stomach. From there, she slowly got to her feet, though she certainly didn’t look steady. RAIKO nods subtly.
“Good. You survived the first day.” RAIKO stated. One look at Kohime’s energy sapped body would tell you such a statement wasn’t an exaggeration. “You’re going to be training every day from here on out. You’ll have one day off. You can pick which day that is, I don’t really care.”
Mori groaned at the prospect of doing this daily. She felt like her entire body was on fire. Even the slightest movement put her in pain. This would be the toughest thing she ever had to do. A small voice in her head told her to just give up. What was this torture really going to accomplish? The other kids would still probably make fun of her. Big dumb Mori is going to be a pro wrestler? More fuel for an already full vehicle of ridicule.
“Yes… Sensei…” Kohime said, sounding all the world like a zombie. But that’s when it happened… It wasn’t much and if Mori hadn’t been paying attention, she might have missed it. The word sensei… It brought the slightest smile to RAIKO’s face. This was the first bit of positive reinforcement Kohime had received all day. Yet, it was more than enough for her.
༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ
November 2022. Kohime had trained for a full year before making her in ring debut. She had been wrestling for the last year now. She had really grown to love wrestling. She enjoyed the pageantry, the adoration and even the physical contact that came with being a grappler. Mori had immersed herself in the sport, watching old matches, keeping tabs on new ones and doing everything she could to continue to grow.
It was on the recommendation of RAIKO that Kohime try to get into PRIME. She had picked matches and moments from her brief career to fashion into a video to send to their office. This was the last part of this package: a brief showcase against some of RAIKO’s newer students. Standing across the ring from her were the Hori sisters, Momo and Kairi. Joining them was their cousin, Reimi Fuji. Momo and Reimi were about average sized for Japanese women, while Kairi was a bit on the chunky side.
With a camera set up at ringside, RAIKO gave the instruction to go. Momo stepped forward but was immediately grabbed by a bull rushing Mori. She clutched the young girl and quickly dropped her on her upper back and shoulders with a sick Exploder Suplex. Reimi tried to step forward with a forearm, but the strike was easily swatted away by the bigger Mori. Welcome to Suplex City, Fuji.
With her relatives writhing on the ground in pain, Kairi did her best to psyche herself up. With a war cry, she charged forward, throwing a lariat. Mori ducked under, hitting the ropes. As she rebounded off, Kohime blasted the largest family member with her own lariat, sending the poor girl ragdolling through the air before splatting onto the canvas. At this point, RAIKO called for an end to the action.
“Whew! I think I did pretty good!” Mori beamed, now leaning on the ropes with her forearms. Her teacher didn’t seem impressed.
“Shut up, Mori!” RAIKO harshly barked. “You beat up three young girls! You haven’t even won a match yet, so keep yourself in check!”
Kohime nervously laughed and ruffled the back of her hair. The camera was still rolling and definitely caught that comment. Probably not the greatest promotional tactic when it came to getting her hired.
“Yeah, you’re right sensei. I’ll be better.” Mori dutifully responded. RAIKO shook her head in frustration, grabbing the camera equipment.
“Go run laps, Mori.” RAIKO ordered before looking at the half dead bodies that were her other students. “You three… Go get yourselves some ice.”
RAIKO stomped off towards her office with the equipment while a slightly dejected Mori climbed out of the ring and started running. RAIKO made sure to close the door before setting the camera back up. She centered it so she could sit down and be in frame, doing so shortly after.
“Not sure who in PRIME see this…” RAIKO started, switching to English for this talk. “But I have things to say about Mori. She is good girl. I not just mean in ring, she very nice kid. I know I say she not win match yet… But she have twenty matches so far. She lose in debut and lose in tag match.”
RAIKO readjusted in the seat before staring directly at the camera.
“Eighteen other matches were against me.” She further explained. “Yes, she lose every one. But she keep getting better and better. First match, she lose in two minutes. Last match go fifteen minutes and she put up great fight. She have so much potential… I know she do great things. Just give her chance. Please. Arigato.”
The door can be heard opening off-camera.
“Sensei!” An unidentified Japanese voice called. “Mori is throwing up. She drank too much water before she started running.”
RAIKO groaned and rolled her eye.
“Damn it, Mori!”
I’m such a whirlwind of emotions right now. I’m going to be having my first match in America! I’m excited, but I’m also nervous. I want to run and hide, but I also want to have the match right this moment! This wasn’t something I had ever dreamed would happen. PRIME has such a rich history. I can’t believe I’m actually a member of the roster! THIS IS SO COOL!
My upcoming match is against two men. This will undoubtedly be a huge challenge for me. Not just because I have to contend with two opponents at once. Not just because both may be incredibly talented wrestlers in their own right. But ultimately, it’s mainly because these two guys confuse the ever living funyuns out of me!
Like, take this Rocky De Leon guy. I know next to no Spanish, but Google assures me his last name means ‘of Lion’. I know you don’t speak Spanish either, Diary, that’s why I’m letting you know. So hearing that, you might think he has some super cool lion mask or a wicked awesome lion motif. He doesn’t! AT ALL! Instead, he has this weird, creepy pterodactyl type thing going on. Like, some people might think it’s cool. But I’m pretty sure it would scare babies.
Is that what you aspire to be, Rocky De Leon?! Huh?! You’re gonna be some kind of baby terrorist?! By that, I mean he’ll terrorize babies, not be a baby that also happens to be a terrorist. I can’t stand for that, Rocky De Baby Hater! For all the innocent babies out there, and a little bit for me, but mostly the babies!… I MUST defeat you! I’ll show you the error of your ways through my actions in the ring!
My other opponent is Mike McGee. I guess he’s been a human resources guy in other places? RAIKO-sensei assures me he probably wasn’t very good at it. I think I can see her point. How are you supposed to provide guidance on the work place when you’re trying to piledrive your coworkers?! It’s a pretty big conflicting mentality, I’d say.
Not only that, but RAIKO-sensei has also told me it looks like he shops exclusively at The Gap. Now I’m not too familiar with this The Gap, so I did some research. If I had to make a list of things to describe their clothing, ‘cool’ would not be on that list. Neither would ‘fashionable’. The guy seems like he’s a huge dork, and not the fun kind! More like the type that does his own taxes without the help of software but also feels the need to brag about it.
This match is also a part of the Alias Title tournament. I know it’s a bit sudden and it might be too early for me, but I really want to win that title! It would be the first thing I’ve ever won that wasn’t a plushie from a claw machine… Don’t play those, Diary, they’re rip-offs. So if I have to go through Dinoman McHatesBabies and Mr. My Pants Are A Size Too Small And I Act Like It… Then so be it! I’m gonna do it! I’m gonna be the first Alias champion! Thanks for listen, Diary. You’re the best!