It was a dramatic night of JWP action, that’s for sure…

Earlier today in Tokyo’s wrestling mecca, Korakuen Hall, Hailey Hatred lost her JWP Openweight Championship to Tsubasa Kuragaki, ending Hatred’s six month run as the top female wrestler in the country, signified by her being in possession of Japan’s oldest active women’s championship. It was also the first time that a non-Japanese wrestler had ever held that title. Hatred fell to a Falcon Arrow after earlier kicking out of a Liger Bomb.

This is Kuragaki’s second run with the Openweight crown, having previously held the title between September 2005 and May 2006, and is one of only a select few to have held all of JWP’s championships – Openweight, Tag and Jr belts. The result is also a turnaround from their contest in April, where Hatred got the pinfall on Kuragaki en route to earning an Openweight title shot.

Speaking afterwards on her Facebook, Hailey said:

Lost the JWP Championship. My best friend decided not to retire. Taking the good with the bad. I can’t feel disappointed because of all the possibilities the future holds. I look forward to the new year, new challenges, and the inevitable new successes.

Ah yes, her best friend…

Kaori Yoneyama had been slated to retire on December 23 for a long time. The 4’11” former Openweight Champion had made a big deal of working a heavy schedule on her way out, competing in numerous other joshi promotions and even being part of the JoshiMania cards earlier on this month in the US. Her final match against Kayoko Haruyama saw her go down in defeat, and as the bell tolled ten times to signify her retirement, something apparently clicked in Yoneyama’s head.

She interrupted the tolls, announcing that she did not want to retire, in what was a massive swerve for everyone. Many of the wrestlers who were there came in to question her actions, while outgoing Ice Ribbon founder and Yoneyama rival Emi Sakura attacked her for withdrawing her intentions to bow out. The pair have a history, as it was because of her defeat to Yoneyama that Sakura had to shave her head last year.

In addition, Bull Nakano (who has been everywhere over the last few months offered Yoneyama a spot on her retirement show on January 8, so it looks as if we will be seeing more of her in 2012.

Certainly an interesting night of action – a new JWP Openweight Champion and a retirement show with no retirement at the end? It’s certainly unpredictable in Japan, is it not?

– Lee Burton