It’s been Golden Week in Japan, which has meant a slew of wrestling across the country. However, we have a brief history lesson first…
Golden Week starts at the end of April and runs through until May 5, and incorporates a number of Japanese public holidays, including honouring the birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day – which is to commune with nature – and Children’s Day, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It is also the longest vacation period of the Japanese year, and many people are given paid time off as many companies completely close during that period. For that reason, Japan has a lot of spare time – many people travel, and the west coast of the US and Canada sees a slew of Japanese tourists during that time, but others stay at home, and can entertain themselves during their leisure time by watching pretty much any wrestling promotion that they choose, as most of them hold a show, while some stage supercards. Here’s a rundown of some of the things that went down during Golden Week in the world of joshi:
Kurumi’s push in Ice Ribbon continues – she and Ribbon Takanashi won the Golden Ribbon Mixed Tag Team Tournament on Saturday, defeating Hamuko Hoshi & Hoshi Tango, Hikari Minami & Dynasty and Maki Narumiya & Masamune to win the whole shebang. As well as winning tournaments to win the IW19 Championship and to earn the right to become Manami Toyota’s tag team partner to challenge for the International Ribbon Tag Team Titles at Ice Ribbon March, 12-year old Kurumi is quickly becoming the tournament queen in the promotion. Don’t bet against her in the future – you’ll lose money if you do so.
Aoi Kizuki rubber stamped her comeback from injury which kept her out for two years by teaming with Sayaka Obihiro to win the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship from Tsukushi and Tsukasa Fujimoto. Known as the Happy Makers, Ice Ribbon also seems to have found a spot for Obihiro. She has recently found her way in the promotion again, following a quality outing against Fujimoto on 19 Pro last month, and forming a team with the always smiling Kizuki.
However, their run with the titles may be short-lived, as Kizuki has been forced to miss a couple of shows due to a knee injury. No word yet on how bad it is.
Elsewhere on the card, Kana beat ICEx60 Champion Hikaru Shida in a non-title match with the Kana Lock via referee stoppage, which will hopefully set up a title match in the future. Had this have been a title match, I would have favoured Shida all the way, but this is the result that is most likely to warrant a return match in the future, and I am all for that.
Later in the week, Ice Ribbon also returned to its early days of wrestling on mats before the promotion had a ring by staging a matinee and evening show in Ishiyama.
Nanae Takahashi once again successfully defended her World Of Stardom Championship against Hiroyo Matsumoto on Thursday. The Stardom main title is getting a bit of a reputation of being a title to have, and is being referred to by commentators as the “new Red Belt”, which gives a nod to the old All Japan Women title, which was red leather and one of the most prestigious titles in joshi.
Since Stardom created championships, none have changed hands, with Yuzuki Aikawa holding the Wonder Of Stardom and Goddesses Of Stardom titles – the latter of which she shares with tag team partner Yoko Bito – which is fine, but Stardom may wish to be careful with Aikawa. Yes, she is the promotion’s golden girl and she is beautiful, but the argument may come that things have come to her too easily. That could be argued, as she has taken utter kickings along the way and has been given bruises along the way, but she is still a double champion. It may be best for her in the long run to drop the Wonder Of Stardom belt and start a chase to regain it, as it gives fans a reason to get behind her struggle for the gold. Just a thought.
Ongoing opponents Emi Sakura and Kaori Yoneyama now hold the JWP and Daily Sports Women’s Tag Team Championships after defeating Command Bolshoi & Rabbit Miyu in a match to determine who would win the vacant belts – they had been held up following Toshie Uematsu’s retirement, as she had held the belts with Ran YuYu.
Considering the stipulations of their match against each other – Sakura would have to join JWP if she lost, while if Yoneyama fell, she would be made to join Sakura’s new Thai promotion – Emi has spent a lot of time wrestling in JWP even though she isn’t being forced to, and now holds its Tag Team Championship with her rival, meaning the belts will be taking a tour of Thailand before the pair inevitably return to defend them.
Still, holding the belts will be a massive shot in the arm for Sakura’s project to get a women’s promotion off the ground in Thailand, as being able to purport herself as a champion with her partner/rival Yoneyama in tow will likely generate some buzz. As with the early days of Ice Ribbon, Sakura has no ring yet – or even women to train – but from small acorns grow large oak trees, and she has a track record of being able to do things like this.
Incidentally, Emi Sakura’s changed the name of her Thai promotion from BKK Pro to Gato Move.
Finally, one of wrestling’s best kept secrets is no more. Cherry was forced to reveal her age after losing to Emi Sakura (replacing Mio Shirai) at Union Pro’s Golden Union show on Friday. The stipulations meant that Mio would have to remove her makeup if Sakura lost, and Cherry would have to reveal her age if she lost.
The match itself wasn’t much to write home about. Awkward in places and filled with interference from Shirai, it was more of a handicap match and a vehicle to get to the ending.
As it turned out, Sakura got the win at the five minute mark using Cherry’s own Spring Night Love pinfall finisher, meaning Cherry had to admit how old she really was. Considering she purports herself to be “forever 18” and looks around that age anyway, the answer was staggering.
THIRTY-SEVEN. According to reports, she told the audience that she debuted at the age of 30 because it was her dream to become a wrestler, no matter at what age that happened. Her passport was flashed on the video wall to prove it, showing that she was born on May 14, 1974, which means it’s her birthday next Monday.
As for the way they revealed the age, it was tremendous. As is customary for retiring wrestlers in Japan, they stand in the middle of the ring while the bell tolls ten times to signify the end of their career. In this case, the bell rang ten times while the video wall had shots of Cherry’s passport, and with each toll, we had shots of it opening, a close up of her photo, and then the big reveal of her age. It was so well done, and the gasp from the audience when they did the maths and worked out how old she was… such a great moment.
However, some may argue that it was something that never needed to be revealed, and that the secret was more important than the reveal, and should have been something she held onto for her entire career, much like how people argue about if The Undertaker should lose at WrestleMania. I can understand that thought process and even agree with it, but the way the reveal was done here was so great that it felt worth it.
So what’s next for Cherry? Well, we now know her age, so her trying to pass as an 18-year old may seem a little strange now. She could alter the gimmick so it’s less teenage-like and mature it out, or this may be her winding down her career to retirement.
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The best of the rest
Slammin’ Ladies was planning a charity show at a local YMCA for later this month, but it has had to be cancelled due to what they are describing as “middle management”… After pinning her on the last three Impacts, Brooke Tessmacher will challenge Knockouts Champion Gail Kim at Sacrifice on Sunday… Nikita Naridian and KC Cassidy have travelled to Australia to train at the Storm Wrestling Academy in Calgary [dramatic pause], Alberta, Canada… Ric Flair’s daughter Ashley is training to be a wrestler. She’s getting tuition at the same complex as Highspots in North Carolina… Evie beat her tag team partner Megan-Kate on Saturday to advance in the PWWA Interim Title Tournament. Shazza McKenzie went forward because her scheduled opponent, Eliza Sway, was unable to compete. McKenzie and Jessie McKay wrestled to a time limit draw later on the card… Terra Calaway will debut at WSU’s Uncensored Rumble on June 16 against Allysin Kay… April Davids got an x-ray after returning to England following her time in Japan at Ice Ribbon. It turns out that she wrestled half of her visit with cracked ribs… CHIKARA rookie Saturyne will meet Sendai Girls’ Kagetsu on May 20… Lucky O’Shea seems to have gone into softcore pornography under the name Katie O’Riley… New Ringbelles blogger Nikki Storm debuted a new character in Insane Championship Wrestling on Sunday. With a nod to the Right To Censor, she is Miss Nicola Storm, a prim and proper so and so… Nikki also faces Sara Marie Taylor in a ladder match on May 19… The Portuguese Princess Ariel is expecting her first child. Nikki Roxx tweeted a picture of her at the weekend… Melina commented on Triple H accompanying Floyd Mayweather Jr to the ring for his fight at the weekend, saying that the sight of him made her want to puke. Looks like she’s not keen on a WWE return any time soon… Rick Cataldo and WSU have agreed to part ways… A man got a tattoo of AJ on his arm. If I were him, I would be disappointed, as the face looks nothing like her. He should have visited Kat Von D… As part of WWE’s Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign, Natalya and Hornswoggle visited to Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Last month she tweeted “Yes I have been bullied- mostly as an adult, ironically! Stand up for yourself and kill em with kindness.” It explains why she never spoke out about the farting gimmick, which seems to have been dropped… Speaking of Natalya, she’s a heel this week. She teamed with Maxine on Raw, who was making her in-ring debut on Mondays… Riot City Wrestling released a one-page press release to promote the crowning of an RCW Women’s Champion on May 26. Seriously, that’s brilliant… Layla will defend the Divas Championship against Beth Phoenix at Over The Limit. Phoenix is working the heel role, saying that Layla didn’t deserve the title shot she got at Extreme Rules which saw her take the title from Nikki Bella, even though she pinned Brie…
April 30: AAA (Guanajuato, Mexico) – Mari Apache b Fabi Apache
May 3: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Brooke Tessmacher & Velvet Sky b Gail Kim & Madison Rayne
May 3: Kaientai Dojo (Chiba, Japan) – Bambi b Aoi Ishibashi
May 3: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Mayu Iwatani, Eri Susa & Saki Kashima b Kairi Hojo, Natsumi Showzuki & Yuuri Haruka; Arisa Hoshiki b Act Yasukawa; Io Shirai b Yuhi; Miho Wakizawa & Aoi Kizuki b Natsuki*Taiyo & Yoshiko; Yoko Bito b Yuku Yasukawa; Nanae Takahashi b Hiroyo Matsumoto
May 4: WWE SmackDown (Toledo, OH) – Layla b Natalya
May 4: Union Pro (Tokyo, Japan) – Emi Sakura b Cherry
May 4: Maximum Pro Wrestling (Collingwood, ONT, Canada) – Courtney Rush b Leah Von Dutch
May 4: Kaientai Dojo (Chiba, Japan) – Kaji Tomato & Makoto b Bambi & Marines Mask II
May 4: Pro Wrestling Syndicate (Rahway, NJ) – Jillian Hall & Reby Sky b Maria Kanellis & Brittney Savage
May 4: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – La Comandante, Princesa Blanca & Tiffany b Dark Angel, Lady Apache & Marcela
May 4: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Ryo Mizunami b Sawako Shimono; Ayako Hamada b Aya Yuki; Misaki Ohata b Hanako Nakamori; Yumi Ohka b Yuu Yamagata; GAMI & Tomoka Nakagawa b Shuu Shibutani & Mika Iida
May 4: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Leon b Sareee; Tsubasa Kuragaki b Nana Kawasa; KAZUKI b Sachie Abe & Morley in a 3-way; Hanako Nakamori, Misaki Ohata & Ray b Kayoko Haruyama, Manami Katsu & Arisa Nakajima; Kaori Yoneyama & Emi Sakura defeated Command Bolshoi & Rabbit Miyu to win the JWP and Daily Sports Tag Team Championships
May 5: Ice Ribbon ‘Golden Ribbon’ (Tokyo, Japan) – Maki Narumiya & Masamune b Neko Nitta & Makoto Oishi; Riho & Hikaru Sato b Miyako Matsumoto & Mr. #6; Hikari Minami & Dynasty b Ray & Marines Mask; Kurumi & Ribbon Takanashi b Hamuko Hoshi & Hoshi Tango; Aki Shizuku b Meari Naito; Maki Narumiya & Masamune b Riho & Hikaru Sato; Kurumi & Ribbon Takanashi b Hikari Minami & Dynasty; Kaori Yoneyama b Dorami Nagano; Kurumi & Ribbon Takanashi b Maki Narumiya & Masamune; Kana b Hikaru Shida; Aoi Kizuki & Sayaka Obihiro b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi to win the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship
May 5: Pro Wrestling Alliance (Casula, Australia) – Evie b Megan-Kate; Shazza McKenzie b Eliza Sway by forfeit; Shazza McKenzie v Jessie McKay went to a time limit draw
May 5: Kaientai Dojo (Chiba, Japan) – Ricky Fuji b Bambi
May 5: I Believe in Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Santana Garrett b Rain
May 5: Swiss Pro Wrestling (Lugano, Switzerland) – Shanna b Xcute Sweet
May 5: St Louis Anarchy (Granite City, IL) – Rachel Summerlyn b Jordan Jensen
May 5: EVOLVE/New York Wrestling Connection (Deer Park, NY) – Braydon Knight & Marti Belle b Rick Cataldo & Nikki Syxx
May 5: Diana (Tokyo, Japan) – Bolshoi Kid b Piyota Mask; Keiko Aono b Masked Sun; Kyoko Inoue & Mima Shimoda b Jaguar Yokota & Sachie Abe; Kaoru Ito & Sareee v Yumiko Hotta & Aoi Ishibashi went to a no contest
May 5: Traditional Championship Wrestling (Pine Bluff, AR) – Miss Natural b Stacy O’Brien
May 6: AAA (Merida, Mexico) – Fabi Apache, Mascarita Dorada & Octagoncito b Mini Histeria, Mini Psicosis & Sexy Star
May 6: CMLL (Monterrey, Mexico) – Estrellita, Lluvia & Luna Mágica b Amapola, La Seductora & Tiffany
May 6: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Leon b DJ Nira; KAZUKI b Megumi Yabushita; Ran Yu Yu b Morley; Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki b Sachie Abe & KAZUKI; Kayoko Haruyama won a battle royal
May 6: TNA (Visalia, CA) – Tara b Winter
May 6: WWE (Chattanooga, TN) – Eve Torres b Kelly Kelly
May 6: Ice Ribbon (Ishiyama, Japan) – Hikaru Shida b Meari Naito; Hikari Minami b Maki Narumiya; Tsukushi b Neko Nitta; Choun Shiryu & Ribbon Takanashi b Hamuko Hoshi & Dorami Nagano; Hikaru Shida b Neko Nitta; Ribbon Takanashi b Choun Shiryu; Hamuko Hoshi b Tsukasa Fujimoto; Maki Narumiya & Sayaka Obihiro b Riho & Kurumi
May 6: Stardom (Odate, Japan) – Kagetsu b Saki Kashima; Io Shirai b Eri Susa; Hiroyo Matsumoto v Natsuki☆Taiyo went to a time limit draw; Yoshiko & Act Yasukawa b Mayu Iwatani & Natsumi Showzuki; Nanae Takahashi, Miho Wakizawa & Yuuri Haruka b Hiroyo Matsumoto, Yoko Bito & Kairi Hojo
May 6: World Association of Wrestling (Cambridge, England) – Sweet Saraya b Penelope
May 7: WWE Raw (Greensboro, NC) – Kelly Kelly & Layla b Maxine & Natalya
May 12: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Allysin Kay v Jennifer Blake
May 12: Solent Wrestling Federation (Gosport, England) – Amazon v Erin Angel
May 12: EuroWrestling (Hennigsdorf, Germany) – Jenny Sjodin v Blue Nikita
May 12: Toryumon (Mexico City, Mexico) – Kana v Syuri
May 12: IWA Unlimited (Onley, IL) – Sassy Stephie v Nikki St John
May 13: REINA (Tokyo, Japan) – Basara & Saya v Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto; Aki Kanbayashi v Kimberley; Mima Shimoda, Ray & X v Aja Kong, Zeuxis & Dalys; Princesa Blanca v Lady Apache; Aoi Ishibashi & Mia Yim v Kyoko Inoue & Sareee; Yumiko Hotta v La Commandante
May 13: TNA Sacrifice (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim v Brooke Tessmacher
May 18: New York Wrestling Connection (Deer Park, NY) – Nikki Syxx v Sara Del Rey
May 18: Acid City Championship Wrestling (Blackburn, England) – Jenny Sjodin v Kay Lee Ray
May 19: Crossfire Entertainment (Nashville, TN) – Reby Sky v Jessicka Havok
May 19: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Velvet Sky v Sassy Stephie
May 19: World Wide Wrestling League & Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Stirling, Scotland) – Nikki Storm v Sara Marie Taylor
May 19: Purely Obsessed Wrestling World (Elk Grove, IL) – Melanie Cruise v Chazz Moretti
May 19: Lucha Fan Fest (Mexico City, Mexico) – Chika Tormenta & Vaquerita v Io Shirai & Keira
May 19: CHIKARA (Easton, PA) – Meiko Satomura & Kagetsu v DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko
May 20: CHIKARA (Manhattan, NY) – Sara Del Rey v Meiko Satomura; Saturyne v Kagetsu; DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko v Bravado Brothers
May 20: International Wrestling Cartel (Newell, WV) – Sassy Stephie v Marti Belle
May 20: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Rachel Summerlyn v Angel Blue; Athena & Davey Vega v Su Yung & Matthew Palmer
May 20: WWE Over The Limit (Raleigh, NC) – Layla v Beth Phoenix
May 26: Riot City Wrestling (North Adelaide, FL) – Miami v Savannah Summers
May 26: United States Wrestling Alliance (Mansfield, OH) – Nevaeh v Sassy Stephie
May 26: New Horizons Pro Wrestling (Freemantle, Australia) – Kellie Skater v Shazza McKenzie
May 27: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Live Oak, TX) – Su Yung v Angel Blue
May 27: Wrestling New Classic (Hiroshima, Japan) – Tajiri, Mikey Whipwreck & Kana v Dave Finlay, AKIRA & Syuri
June 2: NWA Hammerlock (Tonbridge, England) – Jenny Sjodin v Rhia O’Reilly
June 2: Northern Championship Wrestling (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Kalamity v Portia Perez
June 16: Women Superstars Uncensored “Uncensored Rumble V” (Deer Park, NY) – Jessicka Havok v Mercedes Martinez; Sassy Stephie v Brittney Savage; Alicia v Lexxus; Kalamity v Sweet Cherrie; Tina San Antonio v Annie Social
June 24: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Live Oak, TX)
June 30: World Wrestling Council (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) – Melina v Mickie James
July 1: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Allysin Kay v Mia Yim
July 7: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews v Sweet Cherrie & TBA; Kalamity v Sara Del Rey
July 13: Squared Circle Wrestling (Watertown, NY) – Mickie James v Rachel Summerlyn
July 14: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England) – Alpha Female v Nikki Storm
- Lee Burton