As mentioned in last week’s Roundup, despite having not wrestled in more than a decade, Keiko “Bull” Nakano officially retired from wrestling today at the end of her EMPRESS show at the Tokyo Dome City Hall in front of 3,000 fans (a Super No Vacancy Full House).
In a curious twist, the main event of the show featured up-and-comers Yuzuki Aikawa (currently the Wonder Of Stardom Champion) against Hikaru Shida (the reigning Ice Ribbon ICEx60 titleholder), while legends Aja Kong and Ayako Hamada competed in the opening match in a rematch from their battle on night 2 of JoshiMania, of which you can read a review here.
Featuring more than fifty different stars coming together from a range of different promotions like SMASH, JWP, WAVE, Diana, Ice Ribbon, Sendai Girls, Stardom and UNION Pro, it saw rising joshi grapplers tangle with veterans and legends, and even featured an appearance from Dump Matsumoto, despite dealing with a terminal illness that doctors say may claim her as soon as this summer.
Click after the jump for the results:
1. Ayako Hamada pinned Aja Kong following an AP cross
2. Sakura Hirota (wrestling as Bull Hirota) won a 22-woman battle royal
3. Shinjiro Otani, Ikuto Hidaka & Daichi Hashimoto defeated Osamu Nishimura, Hakushi & Super Delfin. Otani pinned Delfin following a Spiral Bomb
4. Kayoko Haruyama & Ryo Mizunami beat AKINO & Maki Narumiya. Mizunami pinned Narumiya with a diving guillotine drop
5. Dump Matsumoto, Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sawako Shimono & Tsukushi defeated Jaguar Yokota, Manami Toyota, Tomoka Nakagawa, Natsuki*Taiyo & Cherry. Inoue used a powerbomb to pin Cherry.
6. Kana beat Kagetsu with the Kana Lock via referee stoppage.
7. Nanae Takahashi, Meiko Satomura & Emi Sakura beat Ayumi Kurihara, Yoshiko & Tsukasa Fujimoto. Sakura pinned Fujimoto following a 450 splash.
8. Yuzuki Aikawa pinned Hikaru Shida following a Yazupon Kick Red.
At the end, Bull acted out some of her key moments with wrestlers like Shinobu Kandori & Aja Kong, then took to the centre of the ring as the bell tolled ten times to signal her retirement.
It’s nice that Bull got the chance to have a proper goodbye. She quietly slipped into the shadows when injuries took her career from her, but after putting on all the weight, getting back into the gear, dying her hair the traditional blue and repainting the blue veins, it’s uplifting to see that she finally got the send off that she never really had, and was a great way to make her 44th birthday.
A selection of the matches were broadcast on TV, including Hamada v Kong, Kana v Kagetsu and Aikawa v Shida, as well as the retirement shenanigans. You can watch them here… until the videos are removed. Get it while it’s hot.
– Lee Burton