Friday, December 2 will be a big day in Sara Del Rey’s life, as she finally get the chance to wrestle her hero.
“Something I grew to understand about her was her idolisation of Aja Kong,” said CHIKARA’s Mike Quackenbush when discussing Del Rey in the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast. It is due to the 31-year old’s continued great body of work and the first opportunity to have them in the same place at the same time which has led to Del Rey and Kong facing each other in the main event of the first of three days of JoshiMania shows spanning the northeast of the United States.
Their paths have never really crossed during Del Rey’s tours of Japan, and there has been no chance of Aja being on the same card as her in the US, as she hasn’t been in the country since late 1995 when she was working with the WWF and was set to challenge Alundra Blayze for the Women’s Championship before the titleholder jumped to WCW, taking the belt with her – Sara didn’t debut until 2001. However, their paths WILL cross on Friday with one of the best joshis of her generation meeting one of the best female wrestlers in the world at this moment. It should be a titanic encounter, and while Del Rey may be all intense on the outside, you can expect her to be a giggling mess inside, and who can blame her? I know that Skye felt the same way when she wrestled her idol Daizee Haze at ChickFight VII back in 2007…
Del Rey also gets the chance to repeat her epic match with Ayako Hamada that took place at SHIMMER Volume 28 in late 2009 on the third and final JoshiMania show, while the second evening’s main event will complete the round robin with Hamada taking on Kong – not bad on Hamada’s part, seeing as she was brought in as a late replacement for the injured Meiko Satomura, who will still be there as part of a training seminar, but isn’t cleared to wrestle. She’s been announced as a participant at Ice Ribbon’s Ribbonmania on December 25, so here’s hoping she’s given a clean bill of health before then.
Speaking of injuries, the JoshiMania lineup’s been altered a couple of times because of Command Bolshoi and Madison Eagles being on the shelf along with Satomura, though this has opened doors for other wrestlers. Portia Perez, for example, was brought in as a substitute and will be able to expand her experience of wrestling joshi stars which she has experienced in SHIMMER and also during her flying visit to Japan for REINA earlier on this year – meanwhile, Hailey Hatred’s tag team championship partner Kaori Yoneyama will finally have the opportunity to wrestle in the US just weeks before retiring on December 23.
Elsewhere on the undercard, Triple Tails S member Mio Shirai will follow in partner Kana’s footsteps by stepping foot into CHIKARA’s ring, while Cherry, GAMI & Sawao Shimono will get a chance to show new audiences what they can do.
JoshiMania will also be a zenith of Manami Toyota’s association with CHIKARA, as it’s been revealed that the joshi legend was at a low ebb before debuting for the promotion last year, as revealed to us by Quackenbush on the WOW Podcast:
“To read her own words as she said things to the effect that she had begun to lose her passion for wrestling but appearing with CHIKARA gave her the passion to compete back, to me is very rewarding because together with my then-tag team partner, Tom “Reckless Youth” Carter we founded CHIKARA Wrestle Factory back in 2002 that it was hard to imagine that ultimately something we had played a role in could impact someone like a Manami Toyota in such a powerful way.”
Toyota will face Toshie Uematsu on night one, be part of an eight person intergender match on night 2, and will be part of a six-woman affair on the final event.
As for ones that got away, Quack also let us in on a former WWF Women’s Champion who almost ended up on the show:
“If circumstances would have worked out differently – unfortunately, they just didn’t come together – the was at one point I understand a very marginal possibility that Bull Nakano could have been involved in JoshiMania, but there were a variety of circumstances which arose that prevented that from happening, unfortunately. That to me was a very thrilling notion for the brief period of time that it seemed viable before it withered on the vine, which is a shame.”
A shame indeed. A final US appearance before her retirement show on January 8 would have been a special moment. However, it should not take away from the three massive cards which are due to take place this weekend.
JoshiMania happens on December 2nd in Philadelphia, PA, December 3rd in Everett, MA & December 4th in Manhattan, NY. If you have the capacity to be there, do it, and feel free to get in touch with us to let us know what the atmosphere was like and your experiences. If you are unable to make it, the DVDs are expected to be out before Christmas, but it may be touch and go as to whether you receive them before December 25.
Got any news, results or upcoming events that you want to tell everyone about? Are you a female wrestler looking to secure more bookings? Let us know by emailing us at email@example.com and we’ll get the message out there.
The best of the rest
Kelly Kelly will have to show up at court in December after allegedly being caught running a red light in Tampa, FL… Yumiko Hotta became the first REINA World Women’s Champion on Wednesday, defeating Lady Apache… Maria Kanellis is training for wrestling again. She’ll make her in-ring return against Tara at a Family Wrestling Entertainment show in New York City on February 25… Ashley Massaro had a public spat over Facebook and Twitter with Tammy Lynn Sytch. Sytch fired the first shot on Facebook by insulting Ashley after the former Diva Search winner didn’t shake her hand at a show in Boston, MA. Ashley took the bait and fired back on Twitter. Both ended up looking pathetic… Chyna claims she dated Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake when she was 18, meaning he would have still been in the WWF at the time. I find this unlikely… Tsukasa Fujimoto will defend the Ice Ribbon ICEx60 title against Hikaru Shida on Christmas Day… There were worries that Sarita injured herself while wrestling as Dark Angel in CMLL on November 22 when she fell off the top rope and her head struck the arena floor. It looked really nasty, and she was taken from the ring on a stretcher. She later reported on her Facebook that she was fine, and won CMLL’s bodybuilding competition for the 6th year in a row the following day… According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE had wanted to cut Maryse for a year because she was “non-PG”, even though she was over. They went through with it after it became clear that Maryse also wanted out. She also told SLAM! that when she told her manager that she had been released from WWE, he replied ‘Now we can start working on the serious stuff’… Tomoka Nakagawa won the SMASH Divas Championship from Kana at SMASH 23 on Thursday… Lingerie Football League player Danielle Moinet has debuted in FCW as the manager of Abraham Washington… Tsukasa Fujimoto will wrestle Manami Toyota at Ice Ribbon’s Sendai Ribbon show on January 7… Holly Rocamora (formerly Holly Dee) will debut for Pro Wrestling: EVE against Nikki Storm on December 10… Melanie Cruise became the first Resistance Pro Women’s Champion on Friday night. She snuck in at the end of a Gauntlet match and pinned Cheerleader Melissa to claim the title. They’ll wrestle for the title on January 13.. Jenny Rose is to begin MMA training soon… During her interview with HONOUR Magazine, Hailey Hatred claimed she wasn’t sure on the direction of REINA… Wonder Of Stardom Champion Yuzuki Aikawa & Yoko Bito won the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League on Sunday… NWA Top Rope is planning to run a tournament to crown NWA Women’s World Tag Team Champions. They have been inactive since 1983 when the WWF bought the rights to the title… Jackie Moore sent Madusa a tweet on Sunday saying she’s getting “no love from a certain company”, meaning TNA. Yesterday, her contract expired and she openly tweeted that she expects to be cut. A shame, as she has a lot of knowledge to give, and could make some of the other Knockouts a lot more aggressive in the ring… AIW will present Girls Night Out 5 at the end of January… Su Yung and Serenity will debut for Anarchy Championship Wrestling and St. Louis Anarchy respectively in December… Mae Young was brought to Monday’s Raw in Columbus, SC last night, but because of rewrites, she never appeared on the show – instead, she was in a WWE.com video with Zack Ryder. To mess around an 88-year old woman like that is totally disgusting.
November 23: REINA 20 (Yokohama, Japan) – Saya b Lady Afrodita; Mika Iida b Dama de Hierro; Kaori Yoneyama & Cassandra b Leon & Aoi Ishibashi; Marcela & Saori b Ayumi Kurihara & Aki Kambayashi; Yumiko Hotta b Lady Apache to win the REINA World Women’s Title
November 23: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Mochi Miyagi b Dorami Nagano; Kurumi b Maki Narumiya; Makoto Oishi b Ray & Ribbon Takanashi in a 3 way; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi v Emi Sakura & Hikaru Shida went to a time limit draw
November 23: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Holly Blossom b Lady JoJo
November 24: SMASH (Tokyo, Japan) – Aki Shizuku b Makoto; Syuri b Lin Bairon; Keizo Matsuda, Katsuki Hirano & Kiyoko Ichiki b Takuya Kito, Mio Shirai & Konaka; Tomoka Nakagawa b Kana to win the SMASH Divas Championship; Jessica Love & Hajime Ohara b Tajiri & Ultimo Dragon
November 24: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Velvet Sky, Tara & Brooke Tessmacher b Madison Rayne, Winter & Angelina Love
November 24: Top Rope Promotions (Fall River, MA) – Alexxis Nevaeh b Luscious Latasha
November 25: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukushi & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Emi Sakura & Maki Narumiya
November 25: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Estrellita v Tiffany ended in a draw
November 25: WWE SmackDown (Wilkes-Barre, PA) – Beth Phoenix & Natalya b AJ & Kaitlyn
November 25: SMASH (Osaka, Japan) – Hajime Ohara & Jessica Love b Takuya Kito & Mio Shirai; Tomoka Nakagawa b Lin Bairon; Kana & Aki Shizuku b Syuri & Makoto
November 25: NWA Pro Australia (Adelaide, Australia) – Shazza McKenzie b Kellyanne English
November 25: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, Ohio) – Mickie Knuckles b Mia Yim
November 25: Resistance Pro (Chicago, IL) – Melanie Cruise b Cheerleader Melissa, Sassy Stephie, Serenity, Taylor Made & Simply Luscious in a Gauntlet match to win the RPW Women’s Title
November 25th: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Glasgow, Scotland) – Erin Angel b Viper
November 25: New Horizons Pro Wrestling (Medina, Australia) – Sara Del Rey & Chris Vice b KC Cassidy & Percy T
November 26: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Motherwell, Scotland) – Erin Angel b Nikki Storm
November 26: New Horizons Pro Wrestling (Morley, Australia) – Sara Del Rey b KC Cassidy
November 26: Ayumi Kurihara 6th Anniversary show (Tokyo, Japan) – Toshie Uematsu b Rabbit Mito; Ran Yu-YU b Nana Kawasa; Aiki Uesugi, Aoi Ishibashi & Saya b Saori, Dama de Hierro & Lady Afrodita; Aja Kong, GAMI & Sawako Shimono b Yutaka Yoshie, Aya Yuki & Ryo Mizunami; Yumiko Hotta & Leon b Lady Apache & Cassandra; Ayako Hamada & Misaki Ohata b AKINO & Mika Iida; Ayumi Kurihara b Marcela to win the CMLL World Women’s Title
November 26: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Neko Nitta b Mochi Miyagi; Kaori Yoneyama b Hiakri Minami; Emi Sakura & Maki Narumiya b Hikaru Shida & Kurumi; DASH Chisako b Tsukushi
November 26: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada) – Pete Powers & Nicole Matthews b Sid Sylum & KC Spinelli
November 26: QWEST (Orlando, FL) – Darque Carnival b Leva Bates, T-Bone Funk & Xander
November 27: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Saki Kashima b Eri Susa; Nanae Takahashi & Io Shirai b Arisa Hoshiki & Mayu Iwatani; Natsuki*Taiyo & Yoshiko b Yuzuki Aikawa & Yoko Bito; Yuzuki Aikawa & Yoko Bito b Natsuki*Taiyo & Yoshiko
November 28: WWE Raw (Columbus, SC) – Alicia Fox & Kelly Kelly b Nikki & Brie Bella
December 2: Impact Championship Wrestling (Elmhurst, NY) – Mia Yim v Angel Orsini
December 2: Joshimania (Philadelphia, PA) – Aja Kong v Sara Del Rey; Manami Toyota v Toshie Uematsu; Mayumi Ozaki & Mio Shirai v Ayako Hamada & Cherry; Kaori Yoneyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Hanako Nakaomori vs. Archibald Peck & Los Ice Creams; Gami v Sawako Shimono
December 3: Joshimania (Everett, MA) – Aja Kong v Ayako Hamada; Sara Del Rey v Tsubasa Kuragaki; Mayumi Ozaki v Mio Shirai; Manami Toyota, Mike Quackenbush, Fire Ant & Green Ant v Portia Perez, Icarus, Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano; Kaori Yoneyama v Hanako Nakamori; Gami & Toshie Umetsu v Sawako Shimono & Cherry
December 3: Melbourne City Wrestling (Broadmeadows, Australia) – Eliza Sway v Shazza McKenzie
December 3: NEO Wrestling (Niagara Falls, ONT, Canada) – Courtney Rush v Cherry Bomb
December 4: Joshimania (Manhattan, NY) – GAMI v Portia Perez; Kaori Yoneyama v Mayumi Ozaki; Sara Del Rey v Ayako Hamada; Manami Toyota, Sawako Shimono & Hanako Nakamori v Aja Kong, Mio Shirai & Tsubasa Kuragaki; Cherry, Green Ant, Fire Ant & Soldier Ant v Toshie Uematsu, Obaryon, Kodama & Kobold
December 4: Dragon Pro Wrestling (Risca, Wales) – Welsh Action Heroes & Pollyanna v The Dunne Brothers & Adam Day
December 9: Premier Wrestling Xperience (Charlotte, NC) – Amber O’Neal v Mickie James
December 10: Southside Wrestling Entertainment (Nottingham, England) – Nikki Storm v Holly Rocamora
December 10: North Georgia Wrestling Alliance (Canton, GA) – Pandora v Tiffany Roxx
December 10: EPIC Pro Wrestling (Lakewood, CA) – Winter v Terra Calaway
December 11: TNA Final Resolution (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim v Mickie James
December 17: Herts & Essex Wrestling (Takeley, England) – Sweet Saraya v Lady Lory
December 23: JWP (Osaka, Japan) – Hailey Hatred v Tsubasa Kurugaki; Kaori Yoneyama v Kayoko Haruyama
December 25: Ice Ribbon ‘Ribbon Mania’ (Tokyo, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto v Hikaru Shida
January 4: Ice Ribbon ‘New Year Ribbon 2012′ (Tokyo, Japan)
January 7: Ice Ribbon ‘Sendai Ribbon’ (Sendai, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto v Manami Toyota
January 8: Bull Nakano retirement show (Tokyo, Japan) – Kayoko Haruyama & Ryo Mizunami v AKINO & Maki Narumiya; Shinjiro Otani, Ikuto Hidaka & Daichi Hashimoto v Hakushi, Osamu Nishimura, & Super Delphin
January 13: Resistance Pro (Chicago, IL) – Melanie Cruise v Cheerleader Melissa
January 15: Anarchy Championship Wrestling Guilty By Association VI (Austin, TX) – Portia Perez v Robert Evans
January 20: HQ Pro Wrestling (Yuciapa, CA) – Terra Calaway v Lucky O’Shea
January 21: Women Superstars Uncensored (Stirling, NJ) – Amber, Lexxus, Sassy Stephie, Allysin Kay & Tina San Antonio v Marti Belle, Brittney Savage, Alicia, Jana & Luscious Latasha
January 29: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 5 (Cleveland, OH)
February 18: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England) – Jenny Sjodin v Alpha Female
February 25: Family Wrestling Entertainment (New York City, NY) – Tara v Maria Kanellis
March 3: Women Superstars Uncensored (Deer Park, NY) – Mercedes Martinez v Jessicka Havok; Sassy Stephie & Allysin Kay v Brittney Savage & Alicia
March 10: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
March 17-18: SHIMMER Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
– Lee Burton