Ringbelles Roundup (29 January 2013) – Trish Stratus, National Pro Wrestling Day, Pro Wrestling: EVE & more
It was announced during last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw that Trish Stratus would be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this April as part of the WrestleMania XXIX weekend. As expected, the wave of congratulations came from wrestlers past and present like Lita, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Layla, Gail Kim and more, as well as personalities both inside and outside of the business like Jim Ross, Lilian Garcia and Snooki. Indeed, there are a lot of supporters of the Torontarian, and she was quick to react to the announcement:
I still can’t believe it. I’m just so honored to be taking my place alongside WWE’s greatest, as a wrestling fan – I’m kind of blown away! It’s simply amazing.
The 37-year old joins the Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Sensational Sherri, Sunny and Wendi Richter in the Hall, and is the most modern Diva to be inducted, though this provided a sticking point for some who felt that while she was worthy of going in, it was ahead of others who they felt should go in first – Leilani Kai, Bull Nakano and Madusa were names which cropped up, as well as Lita, whom Stratus’ career ran parallel with for damn near the entirety of their runs.
Now, while I’m not the biggest Stratus fan in the world, I’m fair – and without a doubt, Trish deserves to be in that Hall of Fame, and as far as the criteria of this particular one is concerned, is more worthy than the others. If we were discussing the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame or the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, NY, then Stratus would get nowhere near the ballots, but for WWE’s version, all you have you do is get the green light from one Vince McMahon – and when it comes to that element, Stratus was always inevitable, as she was a model WWE employee.
Another argument was that it was too soon for her to go in – however, she retired from full-time action in September in 2006, which was more than six years ago. Edge went in 12 months after her retired, so that’s no real argument either. People’s argument about it being too soon may be because of her periodical returns – the most extended of which was in 2011, where she competed at WrestleMania XXVII in a six-person tag alongside Snooki and John Morrison against Michelle McCool, Layla and Dolph Ziggler. From this writer’s perspective, Trish’s dips in and out of the product, which include her being a trainer on the duff return of Tough Enough two years ago don’t help her legacy and cheapens her star power, which is undoubtedly high. However, her run in the WWF/WWE between 2000 and 2006 was more than enough to warrant her inclusion.
Stratus debuted in March 2000 at the age of 24 after signing with the WWF in November of the previous year following a stint in fitness modelling – which came about after she was working at a reception in a gym and got spotted, which only came about because her degree in biology & kinesiology was shelved in 1997 due to a strike at York University in Ontario. She was the manager of T&A, a combination of Test and Albert which made it massively clear that she was the focus of the group. At the time, she wasn’t wrestling much, but participated in a number of intergender matches alongside her charges against Lita and the Hardy Boyz. She wasn’t required to do much, but what she did was perfectly fine.
Her real break came in early 2001 where she was interwoven into a feud with Stephanie McMahon which also took in parents Vince and Linda as well as Kurt Angle and Triple H, which led to Trish and Stephanie having a great match at No Way Out in February which was much better than anyone could have predicted, and then turned babyface at WrestleMania X-Seven after being humiliated by the McMahons in previous weeks. From there, she pretty much fell off a cliff, save for teaming with Lita and beating Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson in a Bra and Panties Match at Invasion in July.
Women’s wrestling fell off the map during the whole WWF v WCW/ECW storyline – partly due to Women’s Champion Chyna reportedly making unreasonable contract demands and being benched until her contract ran out, and the company not being in a great rush to crown a new titleholder when there were a million belts being thrown about at the time anyway. However, a new titleholder was crowned at Survivor Series of that year with Stratus winning the belt in a mild surprise as part of a six-way match. At the time, Trish still wasn’t much of a wrestler, but got a baptism of fire by being embroiled in programmes with Jazz and Molly Holly, as well as the debuting Victoria (now TNA’s Tara). For the most part, the matches weren’t much to write home about, but things were going in the right direction, with everything clicking for she and Victoria’s Chicago Street Fight on Raw on January 27, 2003, and then winning the Women’s Title for a fourth time in a 3-way involving holder Victoria and Jazz at WrestleMania XIX.
Stratus’ next big development took place in early 2004 when she was involved in a romance with Chris Jericho, then saw her turn heel at WrestleMania XX and align herself with Christian, allowing Trish to show off her versatility as a troublemaker – and she grabbed the opportunity with both hands, being the ultimate queen bitch, antagonising Lita at every opportunity and seeing the two main event Raw on December 6, with Lita finally getting one over her enemy to win the Women’s strap, only to lose it back to Stratus a month later.
Much of 2005 saw Trish on the shelf with a herniated disc in her back which was dealt with in part thanks to yoga – which explains her current venture with her Stratusphere yoga studio – and returned to play the babyface foil for the debuting Mickie James, who was obsessed with Stratus and saw it develop into the last great women’s feud in WWE. It’s well covered in our Women Of Wrestling Podcast with Alex Greenfield about how great both women were, but many forget how Trish played the great straight-woman (so to speak) against James’ lunacy and romantic advances, peaking with their heated match at WrestleMania 22. However, their run was cut short by Trish dislocating her shoulder the following month at Backlash. A brief flit against Melina followed, but ended with Stratus beating a now-heel Lita in Toronto at Unforgiven to win a record-setting seventh Women’s Title and retire as champion, proving how much she is valued by WWE.
Despite only being around for six years, Stratus certainly has a legacy, and for the bulk of the time was the focal point of the Divas division. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that if it wasn’t for WWE having faith in her, there may not be a Divas division at all. While Sunny calls herself the “Original Diva”, and Sable was the first model-turned-wrestler, Trish put all the pieces together and made people believe in her. Indeed back in 2001, the WWF could have easily dumped the belt and women’s wrestling with it. However, even while her matches weren’t much to write home about, the company stuck with her and proved that they can create a great wrestler and character out of virtually nothing.
In fact, she was so good at it that WWE has been trying to capture that lightning in a bottle again with more models-turned-wrestlers. While Michelle McCool, Eve Torres, Candice Michelle and kelly Kelly had varying degrees of success, the best one to follow was Tara, who wasn’t much behind Stratus in the developmental process. WWE may be best to put Trish’s run in the safe and stop trying to recreate her. Just like they searched for the next Hulk Hogan until Steve Austin changed the game, there may be someone on the roster right now who is ready to shake things up again. No doubt, Trish has a legacy which should be respected and celebrated, and putting her in the Hall of Fame may be the best was to close that chapter.
National Pro Wrestling Day lands this Saturday, and is a coming-together of a kabillion different wrestling promotions on iPPV, each offering a match to show the viewers the feel of their promotion and the wrestlers which they have to offer. In essence, it should be a great way for a group to expose themselves to an audience which may not necessarily have paid to see a full show of theirs, and will hopefully encourage them to do so in the future.
A number of women appear on the cards – as there is an afternoon as well as an evening show – both in all-women and intergender matches of both the singles and tag team variety.
First up to make an impression in match 5 of the afternoon card is Intergalactic Luchadora Saturyne, who takes on Juan Francisco de Coronado in a match under the Wrestling Is Fun banner, while Seleziya Sparx will appear in the main event as the manager/valet/annoyance of Ethan Page, who faces Josh Alexander in the offering by Absolute Intense Wrestling. In the evening, Wrestling Is Heart presents Heidi Lovelace teams with Mat Russo against Reed Bentley and Tripp Cassidy in match 3, while Women Superstars Uncensored serves up the first of two title matches on the day in match 5, with Spirit Champion Marti Belle defending against Ezavel Suena. The final female action of the show takes place in match 9, where Thunderkitty and Robert Anthony face D’Arcy Dixon and Jay Bradley, representing Resistance Pro.
This is a perfect opportunity for fans to check out promotions – and lots of them – for the price of one iPPV, so if you have no plans for Saturday, throw down $15 and watch. However, if you are a women’s wrestling fan in the UK, you have another option.
Pro Wrestling: EVE’s No Man’s Land 2 travels to a new venue for the promotion, heading to Preston in the north of England for an afternoon card in conjunction with the popular Preston City Wrestling. Should Carmel Jacob’s title challenge the previous day be unsuccessful, the advertised main event will see Nikki Storm challenge EVE Champion Emi Sakura in a rematch from their impromptu encounter at the end of Wrestle Fever on November 10 last year. Storm had won the title minutes earlier after a hard-hitting outing with Alpha Female, and was defeated by Sakura with a 450 splash. As mentioned at the time, we felt that the booking after the match was confusing and unnecessary, and gave fans the opportunity to feel sympathy for the heel – so much so that Storm commenced her “Sudbury Screwjob” campaign. We also insisted that we though Sakura was more than worthy of holding the title, but the way it happened cheapened her victory. This writer hopes that the natural order is restored on Saturday with Storm regaining the title and entering a feud with Alpha, as they are captaining opposing teams in a War Games match later at Special Edition II on February 23.
Elsewhere, Alpha takes on Shanna – the woman who assisted Storm in attacking her ankle ahead of the title match at Wrestle Fever – in what should be an entertaining outing, though the other advertised singles match between Kay Lee Ray and Blue Nikita will not take place. The contest has been scrapped after Nikita was involved in a car crash in Germany, causing trauma to her neck and back. As a result, she has been pulled from the show, but may be able to return for Special Edition II. As of press time, an opponent for KLR has yet to be announced.
Three quarter-final matches will take place in the Tag Team Championship tournament on the show, with The Lovely Peppers (Kirsty Love & Pollyanna Peppers) facing Kasey & Leah Owens, Ama-Reilly (Amazon Ayesha Ray & Rhia O’Reilly) against She-X (Bete Noire & Viper), and the Glamour Gym (Carmel Jacob & Sara-Marie Taylor) meeting April Davids and a mystery partner.
Also taking place will be a 15-woman Three Minute Warning match, with the rules being a mix between a gauntlet match and a Royal Rumble – eliminations take place via pinfall or submission, with a new competitor entering every three minutes, or when a competitor is eliminated. The only other 3MW match in the promotion took place on October 16, 2010 – with Jetta winning the contest.
Elsewhere on the site, we’ve posted up the entire Wrestling Queen movie from the 1970s starring Vivian Vachon as well as Carmel Jacob winning the GWF Ladies Championship in Germany. We also have a review of Ice Ribbon’s RibbonMania 2012 show from the end of the last year.
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The best of the rest
Vickie Guerrero came third in the Best Non-Wrestler of the Year category in the 2012 Wrestling Observer Awards while AJ Lee came fourth. Combined, the pair came fifth in the Worst Feud of the Year rundown. AJ as General Manager was seventh place for Worst Gimmick, but coming third was Natalya’s farting debacle. The Divas Battle Royal on August 20 which Kaitlyn won by accident came sixth in the Worst Match of the Year poll… Michelle McCool says she’s unlikely to return to WWE… Paige and Emma were among the NXT Divas who were in Phoenix, AZ for the Royal Rumble Axxess events… Davina Rose debuted in NXT on Thursday under a mask. She wrestled without it the following day… Kaitlyn v Tamina Snuka was bumped from the Royal Rumble due to time constraints. A non-title Lumberjill match took place on Raw, and went to a no-contest. The Lumberjills were dressed as showgirls, and they all ended up fighting while Tamina and Kaitlyn stood and watched. The rest of them looked like such geeks.
Christy Hemme and Miss Tessmacher missed the Glasgow and Nottingham shows on the TNA tour due to the nasty winter vomiting bug Norovirus. That meant Hannah & Holly Blossom got added to the mix for those shows, with them beating Gail Kim & Tara. Velvet Sky was the ref… Speaking of Sky, she received her title match against Tara on Impact Wrestling on Thursday. She lost. No idea why they shotgunned the shot instead of building it up, especially considering they have time to build up the match before the next pay per view in April… However, there was a Knockouts Championship development at the February 21 Impact taping in London, which you can see by clicking here.
The matches for Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 8 iPPV are starting to be revealed. Sassy Stephie will face Taylor Made, Crazy Mary Dobson takes on Annie Social, Leva Bates meets Veda Scott, and Athena & Kimber Lee collide too… Saturyne came fifth in the Rookie of the Year category in the 2012 Wrestling Observer Awards… Epiphany became the number one contender to Jessie Belle’s Ohio Valley Wrestling Women’s Championship by beating Taeler Hendrix, who through a massive tantrum afterwards. I’ve noticed that Hendrix has filled out recently too, and looks all the better for it… Joyce Grable is putting off a bone marrow transplant until June so she can attend her induction into the Pro Wrestling Hall Of Fame in May. She was diagnosed with leukaemia in October… It’s Courtney Rush v Allison Danger at Femmes Fatales 11 at the end of March… Nevaeh is rounding off Team Combat Zone Wrestling on February 9, joining Christina Von Eerie and Cherry Bomb. Former tag team partners Marti Belle and Tina San Antonio will be on the Team Women Superstars Uncensored trio, with the third partner being Nikki Addams… MsChif defeated Markus Crane at AAW on Friday, but was attacked by Mason Beck after the match… Stop me if you’ve heard this before – Tammy Lynn Sytch was arrested in Branford, CT over the weekend for violating a court order after being found at her ex-boyfriend Damian Darling’s home – though the pair reconciled and got engaged, despite the order being in place. This is the sixth time that she has been arrested over the matter since September. She was held on a $100,000 bond. She claims she has filed a counter-charge against Darling for assault, claiming she has broken ribs after the pair had a fight, though Darling says no charge has been filed against him. Sytch is expected to undergo psychiatric tests… Nikki Roxx beat Kimberly to win the World Xtreme Wrestling Women’s Championship on Saturday… Luscious Latasha has moved from the north east to Florida. Mia Yim is preparing to go there in a month or so.
A 4-way match involving Yumi Ohka, Kana, Ayumi Kurihara and Misaki Ohata went to a 20 minute time limit draw at WAVE last Tuesday. Not going to lie – that match sounds like it was great… Makoyo pinned Wrestling New Classic Women’s Champion Syuri as part of a six person tag match on Friday, though Syuri beat her in a singles match two days later… Hailey Hatred retained the Remix Pro Women’s Championship on Sunday by beating Tsubasa Kuragaki on a JWP card. Kayoko Haruyama celebrated her 15th anniversary in the main event, beating Meiko Satomura… Yuzuki Aikawa is letting the fans decide who her final opponent will be on April 29.
Tommy Dreamer and Ted DiBiase Sr will be part of Pro Wrestling: EVE’s Special Edition III show on April 27. While Dreamer will be wrestling a male competitor, DiBiase apparently has ties with Sara-Marie Taylor and Carmel Jacob in the Glamour Gym… Alpha Female, Shanna and Nikki Storm all took part in TNA’s Gut Check in Nottingham on Thursday… April Davids retained her FutureShock Women’s Championship against Nikki Storm on Sunday… Rebecca Knox’s return to the ring continued last Friday when she and Robbie Morrisey defeated Katey Harvey & Sean South when she pinned Harvey for the win.
The lightning match between Dark Angel and Princesa Planca at CMLL’s Sunday show was said to be pretty darned good. Dark Angel won with La Reinera… La Jarochita debuts for AAA on Sunday. She says she would love to wrestle either of the Apache sisters.
Australia & New Zealand
Megan-Kate defeated Evie in a mixed tag team match at the weekend. It may lead to the former BFF’s having another match over the Impact Pro Wrestling Women’s Championship that the latter currently holds.
January 22: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – La Comandante, Tiffany & Zeuxis b Dark Angel, Lady Afrodita & Marcela
January 23: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Tomoka Nakagawa, Ryo Mizunami & Kellie Skater b Shuu Shibutani, Cherry & Moeka Haruhi; GAMI b Mio Shirai; Yumi Ohka v Misaki Ohata v Kana v Ayumi Kurihara in a 4-way went to a time limit draw; Sawako Shimono & Ayako Hamada b Yuu Yamagata & Aya Yuki
January 23: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Epiphany b Taeler Hendrix
January 23: TNA (Glasgow, Scotland) – Hannah & Holly Blossom b Gail Kim & Tara
January 24: WWE Superstars (Sacramento, CA) – Kaitlyn b Aksana
January 24: TNA (Nottingham, England) – Hannah & Holly Blossom b Gail Kim & Tara
January 25: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – Hajime Ohara, Nagisa Nozaki & Jiro Kuroshio b Zeus, Lin Byron & YO-HEY; TAJIRI, Makoto & Shinose Sanjushichi b AKIRA, Syuri & Shinya Ishikawa
January 25: Kiwi Pro Wrestling (Tauranga, New Zealand) – Angel b JPE
January 25: WWE SmackDown (Sacramento, CA) – Natalya b Rosa Mendes
January 25: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – MsChif b Markus Crane
January 25: Gatoh Move (Ichigaya, Japan) – Hanako Nakamori & Taro Yamada b Kazuhiro Tamura & Emi Sakura; Masa Takanashi & Riho b Choun Shiryu & Sayaka Obihiro; Emi Sakura & Kaori Yoneyama b Morii & Hanako Nakamori
January 25: Fight Factory Pro Wrestling (Wiklow Town, Ireland) – Rebecca Knox & Robbie Morrisey b Katey Harvey & Sean South
January 26: Impact Pro Wrestling (Auckland, New Zealand) – Dave O’Connor & Megan-Kate b Liam Fury & Evie; Britenay b Olivia Shaw
January 26: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hikaru Shida v Tsukushi went to a time limit draw; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Kurumi; Miyako Matsumoto b Gabaijii-chan & Hailey Hatred in a 3-way; Hamuko Hoshi & Manami Katsu b Aoi Kizuki & Rabbit Miu
January 26: World Xtreme Wrestling (Minneola, FL) – Nikki Roxx b Kimberly to win the WXW Women’s Championship; Erik King & Brittney Savage v Tony Torres & Su Yung
January 26: Zero 1 USA (Mattoon, IL) – Thunderkitty b Allie Kat; Angelus Layne b Serenity
January 27: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Sachie Abe & KAZUKI b Leon & Sareee; Rabbit Mito b Manami Katsu, Nana Kawase & Rydeen Hagane in a 4-way; Manami Katsu b Nana Kawase & Rydeen Hagane in a 3-way; Hailey Hatred b Tsubasa Kuragaki; Arisa Nakajima, Command Bolshoi & Kana b Kaori Yoneyama, Hanako Nakamori & Morley; Kayoko Haruyama b Meiko Satomura
January 27: Wrestling New Classic (Aichi, Japan) – Shuri b Makoto; TAJIRI, Zeus & Lin Byron b Hajime Ohara, Nagisa Nozaki & Jiro Kuroshio
January 27: AAA (Monterrey, Mexico) – Lolita, Mascarita Sagrada & Orquídea Negra b Chica de Arabia, Mini Psicosis & Sexy Lady
January 27: Dramatic Dream Team (Tokyo, Japan) – Danshoku Dino & Yoshiko b Sanshiro Takagi & Yuzuki Aikawa
January 27: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel b Princesa Blanca
January 27: FutureShock Wrestling (Stockport, England) – April Davids b Nikki Storm
January 27: Wrestling Is Respect (Boonton, NJ) – Veda Scott b Saturyne; Angel Orsini b Kimber Lee
January 28: WWE Raw (Las Vegas, NV) – Kaitlyn v Tamina went to a no-contest
February 1: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – April Davids v Bubblegum
February 1: Florida Underground Wrestling (West Palm Beach, FL) – Justine Silver v Santana Garrett
February 1: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – Emi Sakura v Carmel Jacob
February 2: National Pro Wrestling Day (Philadelphia, PA) – Saturyne v Juan Francisco de Coronado; Heidi Lovelace & Mat Russo v Reed Bentley & Tripp Cassidy; Marti Belle v Ezavel Suena; Thunderkitty & Robert Anthony v D’Arcy Dixon & Jay Bradley
February 2: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Preston, England) – Emi Sakura v Nikki Storm; Kay Lee Ray v Blue Nikita; Viper & Bete Noire v Rhia O’Reilly & Amazon Ayesha Ray; Alpha Female v Shanna
February 2: American States Wrestling Alliance (Mansfield, OH) – Sassy Stephie v Ryley Rage
February 2: Destination 1 Wrestling (Charlestown, IN) – Kimber Lee v Crazy Mary Dobson
February 3: Alternative Wrestling World (Wolverhampton, England) – Kay Lee Ray v Shanna
February 8: F.I.G.H.T. (Shepherdstown, WV) – Kimber Lee v Jessie Kaye
February 8: Shropshire Wrestling Alliance (Telford, England) – Penelope v Sweet Saraya
February 9: Herts and Essex Wrestling (Takeley, England) – Penelope v Lady Lory
February 9: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ) – LuFisto v Mercedes Martinez; Annie Social & Kimber Lee v Allysin Kay & Sassy Stephie; Jessicka Havok v Athena; Niya v Veda Scott; Kalamity v Leva Bates; Marti Belle, Tina San Antonio & Nikki Addams v Nevaeh, Cherry Bomb & Christina Von Eerie; Addy Starr v Chris Dickinson
February 9: Combat Zone Wrestling (Voorhees, NJ) – LuFisto & Sami Callihan v Jessicka Havok & Adam Cole; Greg Excellent v Chrissy Rivera; Christina Von Eerie v MASADA
February 9: Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling (Metuchen, NJ) – Sumie Sakai v Katarina Leigh; Sienna Duvall v Missy Sampson; Amazing Kong v Amy Lee; Shelly Martinez v Amber O’Neal; Niki Nitro v Silvie Silver; Santana Garrett v Mia Yim; Miss Adiva v Becky Bayless; Mia Svensson v Tracy Taylor v La Rosa Negra; Niya v Veda Scott
February 16: Pro Wrestling Elite (Ayr, Scotland) – Nikki Storm v Kay Lee Ray v Carmel Jacob
February 16: Squared Circle Wrestling (Niagara Falls, NY) – Sami Callihan v Rachel Summerlyn; Jessicka Havok v Christina Von Eerie
February 16: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Brooklyn, NY) – Maria Kanellis v Angelina Love; Gail Kim v Katerina Leigh; Ivelisse Velez v Reby Sky
February 17: Insane Championship Wrestling (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Bete Noire v Viper; Mikey Whiplash & Carmel Jacob v Jack Jester & Kay Lee Ray; Fiona Fraser v Nikki Storm v April Davids v Kirsty Love v Leah Owens v Kasey Owens; Rhia O’Reilly v Sara Marie Taylor
February 22: SHINE 7 (Ybor City, FL)
February 22: Charity Appeal Wrestling Shows (Luton, England) – Dragonita v Alpha Female
February 23: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England)
March 1: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 8 (Cleveland, OH) – Sassy Stephie v Taylor Made; Annie Social v Crazy Mary Dobson; Leva Bates v Veda Scott; Kimber Lee v Athena
March 2: Extreme World Wrestling (Hastings, England) – Skarlett v Phillip Bateman
March 30: nCw Femmes Fatales XI (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Kalamity v Mercedes Martinez; Cheerleader Melissa v Jessicka Havok; LuFisto v Sweet Saraya; Sweet Cherrie v Sassy Stephie; Allison Danger v Courtney Rush
April 6: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Secaucus, NJ) – Sweet Saraya v Cheerleader Melissa; Athena v Ayako Hamada; Mia Yim v Amazing Kong
April 13-14: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
April 27: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England)
April 27: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Sassy Stephie v Christina Von Eerie
May 4: ICW: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)
May 25: Pro Wrestling: EVE Queen of the Ring (Nottingham, England)
June 23: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Austin, TX)
July 6: nCw Femmes Fatales XII (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
- Lee Burton
- Photos by WWE, Paige, Ringbelles & Youji Kawauchi