This Sunday sees Bull Nakano issue her official goodbye to pro wrestling as part of her EMPRESS retirement show on her 44th birthday at the Tokyo Dome City Hall. So far, only two matches have been announced, though the former WWF Women’s Champion has spent the last few months visiting numerous joshi promotions, offering blue envelopes to wrestlers, ostensibly inviting them to be part of the show.
As well as handing out invitations like she’s on an episode of My Super Sweet 16, Nakano has also been preparing herself, putting on weight and growing her hair so she can become the image that she was when she was wrestling – 230lb with hair spiking straight up, and blue veins etched onto her face. It is a big change from a couple of years ago, when as a professional golfer, Keiko Nakano’s weight had dropped weight all the way down to 130lb – partly to ease the pressure on her injured knees that had taken a battering during her hard-hitting 14-year career between 1983 and 1997 (though she returned for one more match in 2001). For that reason, it is unclear if Nakano will wrestle on the event, though nothing should be ruled out.
Bull Nakano debuted in 1983 at the age of 15, winning the All Japan Women Junior Championship the following year, and then won the main AJW title in 1986, holding the championship for the next three years. Before leaving AJW and travelling to Mexico in 1992, Nakano also won the World Women’s Wrestling Association Tag Team Championship, as well as claiming the WWWA’s World Title (also known as the Red Belt). During that time, Nakano was engaged in a major feud with Aja Kong, which included a cage match at AJW Wrestlemarinpiad II on November 14, 1990.
During her time in Mexico, Bull became the first CMLL World Women’s Champion in June 1992, dropping the belt the following March. From there, she entered the World Wrestling Federation in mid 1994, being thrust into the Women’s Title picture against then-champion Alundra Blayze, AKA Madusa.
The pair engaged in a groundbreaking match for the WWF at SummerSlam that year with Blayze retaining her title, but lost the title to Nakano during the mammoth 10-hour, 22-match Big Egg Wrestling Universe event in Tokyo. She held the title until April 3, 1995, when she lost the championship back to Blayze, then dropped out of the picture and was fired after being found in possession of cocaine.
A fairly uninspired run in World Championship Wrestling where she wrestled Madusa in a series of matches was the beginning of the end for Nakano’s in-ring career. However, following her retirement, Nakano was inducted into the AJW Hall Of Fame in 1998, and in 2001, became part of the Wrestling Observer Hall Of Fame.
I say retirement, but it was never a proper send-off, but was more of Bull disappearing into the shadows in what was a low-key affair. This show on Sunday will likely be the grand send-off that she never really received, and means that she can put the Bull Nakano character to bed. Considering what happened with Kaori Yoneyama’s non-retirement just before Christmas – where she decided she wanted to carry on wrestling at the end of the show – I doubt that we will be seeing a full-time return for Bull, though anything is possible. Perhaps she sees herself as having one final run left in her, but after being out of the game for 11 years and originally quitting wrestling because of injuries to her knees at the age of 29, this seems unlikely.
Melina’s official eBay account has been closed down after complaints from winning bidders that they never received the items that they had paid for. At the time of closing, her account had a positivity feedback rating of -4, with accusations that she stopped communicating with buyers, never sent them the goods (including 8x10s, lingerie and ring-worn gear), and even blocked them when they complained. She does have one positive feedback from September, but had received nothing but red marks from November onwards, with all of them happening since she wrestled at Women Superstars Uncensored’s Breaking Barriers 2 show on November 19.
Speaking to ewrestlingnews.com, one anonymous buyer (see, that doesn’t help to add credence to the story by not leaving a name) claimed:
A few months ago, there was a story of former WWE Diva, Melina Perez, selling some items she wore in the WWE as well as autographs. Recently, a friend of mine purchased a MNM shirt from Melina’s Ebay store for $50 dollars. All of the items Melina listed were sold and none of it was ever sent to the buyers (including my friends). When the buyers contacted Melina (ebay, twitter, etc), she blocked them and never offered an explanation to why they never received their items. In case you’re wondering, they never got their money for the purchases back either.
Considering Melina has a spotty reputation, I hope that this is some sort of misunderstanding instead of what appears to be theft.
Despite hanging up the boots back in April, Michelle McCool is still being asked to justify her push in WWE, and counteract claims that she got preferential treatment because of her relationship and subsequent marriage to The Undertaker.
Speaking to Inside Wrestling magazine, McCool said:
People can say what they want to say, but at the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror. I know how hard I fought. I know how many storylines I pitched. I know how hard I worked in the ring. I can’t tell you the number of times I was one of the first people at the arenas or at TV, constantly trying to better myself. I can honestly say that my hard work paid off. My resilience paid off. My persistence paid off. That’s all there is to it. People are always going to say what they want to say and believe what they want to believe, but that’s the bottom line.
While it is true that she worked fewer house shows in 2010 than any other Diva, a lot of that downtime was likely spent looking after her husband, who was laid up with injuries. A year ago, former WWE writer John Piermarini revealed notes he made ahead of the 2010 Money in the Bank PPV, pointing out that despite criticisms of why McCool is in the spot that she is in, she deserves everything that she is receiving as far as pushes and status is concerned, as she has worked hard and performed at the level expected of her.
It is ridiculous that she is still having to fight her corner about this. Whether you were a fan of McCool or not – and I can’t say I was her biggest supporter – she was the one of best wrestlers amongst the Divas around at that time. I wasn’t keen on her character either as a single or in LayCool, and was unsure on how well she could draw a crowd into her matches, but she’s better than anyone on the current Diva roster, barring Beth Phoenix and maybe Natalya.
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The best of the rest
Chalk up another title for Hikaru Shida. After winning Ice Ribbon’s ICEx60 title on Christmas Day from Tsukasa Fujimoto, she won the International Ribbon Tag Team Titles alongside Maki Narumiya from Emi Sakura & Tsukushi three days later… Rosita mocked an Asian woman on her Twitter for trying to cut in line, calling her “Kung Foo Panda”. That may not go down well with TNA… Alicia Fox’s sister Christina “Caylee Turner” Crawford has been getting tryouts as a ring announcer… Layla is due to be put into a Divas title feud against Beth Phoenix when she returns… Jesse Neal’s revealed that his girlfriend Toxxin (Christina Von Eerie) was never under contract to TNA. Despite him being released, it is still unclear as to her current status… Tamina turned babyface on Natalya on last week’s SmackDown, delivering the Superfly splash on her following their defeat to Alicia Fox & Kaitlyn. On a side note, it looks like Kaitlyn’s heel turn has been put on hold for the foreseeable future… Former Ice Ribbon wrestlers Makoto (now with SMASH) and Micro (formerly Chii Tomiya, and currently a freelancer) wrestled at a Kishindo Returns show on Thursday… The full lineup for the Squared Circle Wrestling Girls Grand Prix tournament on February 24 has been announced: it’s Portia Perez, Sara Del Rey, Nikki Roxx, Rachel Summerlyn, Cherry Bomb, Courtney Rush, Alexxis Nevaeh, and if she’s healthy, Serena Deeb. You can see how they’ve been paired off below in the Upcoming section… Speaking of Cherry Bomb, she faces Allysin Kay at Girls Night Out 5… Stephanie Levesque told Rxmuscle.com that she gained 70lbs when she was pregnant with both of her children and some other waffle, including throwing out the cliched and ambiguous “Anything can happen in the WWE!” when asked if she would return to WWE TV… World of Stardom Champion Nanae Takahashi’s been announced for the next SMASH show. She and SMASH regular Kana had a falling out a while ago… Former Diva Cherry complained on Twitter about WWE’s treatment of Natalya over the last couple of weeks. Last week on SmackDown, Alicia Fox beat Natalya after fluffing the scissor kick and dropped her backside on her head instead. For the record, Fox has one move that she can’t successfully execute (scissor kick) and one that hurts her opponent (somersault legdrop)… Emi Sakura & Ribbon Takanashi were the second team eliminated in the special Samurai TV 15th Anniversary Gauntlet match at Korakuen Hall on New Year’s Eve. They were also part of a SEVENTY-SIX person tag team match, which also featured Kaori Yoneyama & Mio Shirai… Maryse appeared at a Maryland Championship Wrestling show on Friday to sign autographs and pose for photos… OVW’s Solo Darling got married over Christmas. Congratulations to her… LuFisto’s back is recovering well after not wrestling for two months… Tsukasa Fujimoto was voted Ice Ribbon wrestler of the year by fans of the promotion… The SHIMMER juggernaut is as strong as ever. Its front row seats sold out in just two and a half hours on New Year’s Day… Tammy Lynn Sytch says she is engaged, and also that she wants to get out of wrestling… I accept that WWE wants to push the Bella Twins, but they still suck as wrestlers… Ayumi Kurihara beat Cherry to retain her CMLL World Women’s Championship at Union Pro today. It means Kurihara has won all five of their outings. Meanwhile, sisters Mio and Io Shirai stood opposite each other in intergender tag action on the same show.
December 24: REINA 23 (Tokyo, Japan) – Saori b Lady Afrodita; Kyoko Kimura & Kellie Skater b Aki Kanbayashi & Saya; Mima Shimoda & Cassandra b Yumiko Hotta & Aoi Ishibashi
December 25: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Natsuki*Taiyo b Yuuri Haruka; Io Shirai b Kellie Skater; Arisa Hoshiki & Mayu Iwatani b Yuzuki Aikawa & Yoko Bito, Yuu Yamagata & Yoshiko and Eri Susa & Saki Kashima in a Scramble Match; Nanae Takahashi b Miho Wakizawa; Nanae Takahashi, Natsuki*Taiyo, Yuzuki Aikawa, Io Shirai & Yoko Bito b Yoshiko, Arisa Hoshiki, Mayu Iwatani, Eri Susa & Saki Kashima
December 26: CMLL (Puebla, Mexico) – Lady Apache, Luna Mágica & Marcela b Amapola, La Comandante & Zeuxis
December 27: Great Canadian Wrestling (Oshawa, ONT, Canada) – Brent B & Selezia Sparks b Shawn Spears & Angelina Love
December 27: WWE (New York, NY) – Beth Phoenix b Eve Torres
December 28: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hikaru Shida & Maki Narumiya b Emi Sakura & Tsukushi to win the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship; Hailey Hatred b Dorami Nagano; Ribbon Takanashi b Sayaka Obihiro and Miyako Matsumoto in a 3-way; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Hamuko Hoshi
December 28: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Taeler Hendrix b Taryn Shay
December 28: WWE (Detroit, MI) – AJ & Alicia Fox b Tamina & Natalya
December 28: WWE (Pittsburgh, PA) – Beth Phoenix b Eve Torres
December 29: TNA (Albany, NY) – Gail Kim b Mickie James
December 29: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim b Mickie James
December 29: WWE (Washington DC) – Beth Phoenix b Eve Torres
December 29: WWE (Buffalo, NY) – AJ & Alicia Fox b Natalya & Tamina
December 29: Kishindo Returns 8 (Tokyo, Japan) – Makoto b Micro
December 29: GakePro (Saitama, Japan) – Emi Sakura b Miyako Matsumoto in a two-count fall match; Emi Sakura b Miyako Matsumoto in a two-count fall rematch; Ribbon Takanashi b Miyako Matsumoto in a drinking match; Miyako Matsumoto v Ribbon Takanashi went to a 30-minute draw – Takanashi won in overtime; Emi Sakura b Miyako Matsumoto in a Marriage Contention Match
December 30: TNA (Poughkeepsie, NY) – Gail Kim b Mickie James
December 30: WWE (East Rutherford, NJ) – AJ & Alicia Fox b Natalya & Tamina
December 30: WWE (Hartford, CT) – Beth Phoenix b Eve Torres
December 30: WWE SmackDown (Indianapolis, IN) – Alicia Fox & Kaitlyn b Natalya & Tamina
December 30: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Emi Sakura b Sayaka Obihiro
December 30: SMASH 24 (Tokyo, Japan) – Syuri b Aki Shizuku; Kana & Tomoka Nakagawa b Makoto & Lin Bairon
December 30: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Amapola, La Seductora & Tiffany b Dalis la Caribeña, Estrellita & Lluvia
December 30: EMPIRE (Avondale Estates, GA) – Zach Daniels, Zackary Blane, Sylar Cross & Chad Silva b Ultimate Warhorse, Simon Sermon, Pandora & Tommy Daniels
December 31: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Sayaka Obihiro b Neko Nitta; Hamuko Hoshi, Mochi Miyagi, Kurumi & Dorami Nagano b Hikaru Shida, Maki Narumiya, Meari Naito & Tsukushi; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Miyako Matsumoto; Emi Sakura & Ribbon Takanashi b Riho & Hikari Minami
January 1: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Lady Apache, Luna Mágica & Marcela b Amapola, La Seductora & Tiffany
January 2: WWE (Memphis, TN) – Nikki & Brie Bella b Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly
January 3: Union Pro (Tokyo, Japan) – NOSAWA Rongai & Io Shirai b Ken Ohka & Mio Shirai; Ayumi Kurihara b Cherry
January 4: Ice Ribbon ‘New Year Ribbon 2012′ (Tokyo, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi v Dorami Nagano & Meari Naito ; Sayaka Obihiro & Black Buffalo v Neko Nitta & Makoto Oishi; Emi Sakura v Aoi Kizuki; Ribbon Takanashi v Miyako Matsumoto v Yasu Urano; Hikaru Shida, Maki Narumiya & Hikari Minami v Tsukasa Fujimoto, Tsukushi & Kurumi
January 7: Ice Ribbon ‘Sendai Ribbon’ (Sendai, Japan) – Misaki Ohata v Dorami Nagano ; Hailey Hatred v Neko Nitta, Meari Naito & Miyako Matsumoto; Kurumi & Ribbon Takanashi v Sayaka Obihiro & Shuou Fujiwara; Emi Sakura v Tsukushi ; Hikaru Shida & Maki Narumiya v Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi ; Manami Toyota v Tsukasa Fujimoto
January 7: Impact Pro Wrestling (New Brockton, AL) – Chris Corbin v Becki Kennedi
January 7: Peachstate Wrestling Alliance (Carrollton, GA) – Jessica Wetmore v Tiffany Roxx
January 7: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – Kc Spinelli v Sammie Hall
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 8: TNA Genesis (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim v Mickie James
January 13: Resistance Pro (Chicago, IL) – Melanie Cruise v Serenity
January 13: NWA Houston (Cypress, TX) – Barbi Hayden & Jen Alise v Angel Blue & Pink
January 13: All Star Wrestling (Surrey, BC, Canada) – Mary Jane Payne v Sammi Bambi Hall; Kc Spinelli v Raven Lake
January 14: World Xtreme Wrestling (Minneola, FL) – Mercedes Martinez v Kimberley Maddox
January 15: Anarchy Championship Wrestling Guilty By Association VI (Austin, TX) – Portia Perez v Robert Evans; Athena v Angel Blue v Lillie Mae
January 15: REINA (Tokyo, Japan) – Ayumi Kurihara v Hailey Hatred
January 19: SMASH (Tokyo, Japan) – Tomoka Nakagawa v Kana
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; Jillian Hall v Traci Brooks; Mercedes Martinez v Jennifer Cruz; Jessicka Havok v Becky Bayless; Jessie “Bonesaw” Brooks v Rick Cataldo
January 22: Insane Championship Wrestling (Glasgow, Scotland) – STIs & Sara Marie Taylor v Bucky Boys & Lambrini
January 27: ArenaChicks (Los Angeles, CA) – Angel Orsini & Amber O’Neal v Shelly Martinez & Becky Bayless
January 28: Pro Wrestling Xtreme (Orlando, FL) – Jillian Hall v Leva Bates
January 29: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 5 (Cleveland, OH) – Mickie Knuckles v Sara Del Rey; Allysin Kay v Cherry Bomb; Marti Belle v Mia Yim
February 4: World Wrestling Fan Xperience (Quezon City, Manila) – April Hunter v Jillian Hall
February 22: Joshi4Hope (Tokyo, Japan)
February 18: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England) – Jenny Sjodin v Alpha Female
February 19: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Live Oak, TX) – Angel Blue v Mia Yim
February 24: Squared Circle Wrestling “Girls Grand Prix” (Binghamton, NY) – Rachel Summerlyn v Serena Deeb; Portia Perez v Cherry Bomb; Courtney Rush v Sara Del Rey; Nikki Roxx v Alexxis Nevaeh
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; Annie Social v April Hunter; Gabby Gilbert v Athena
March 10: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
March 17-18: SHIMMER Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
March 24: World Association of Women’s Wrestling (Norwich, England)
April 4: Purely Obsessed Wrestling World (Onley, IL) – Sassy Stephie v Nikki St John
– Lee Burton