Joshi star Ran Yu Yu is retiring this weekend, capping a career lasting just over 19 years with a final match against Mayumi Ozaki in Oz Academy this Sunday. Much like her famous regular tag team partner Toshie Uematsu, who retired in April, Ran had made it clear for some time that this was her final run as an active joshi competitor – including running her own self-produced “StarlightsRegret” show this past Sunday as a precursor to her retirement, which saw her team with Aja Kong, Akino, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tomoka Nakagawa to defeat the team of Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima, Meiko Satoura, Sonoko Kato & Tsubasa Kuragaki in an all-star ten woman tag match. Ran picked up the win for her team in 62:54, defeating Kuragaki. Yes, the match lasted over an hour.
In this week’s retro, we turn the clock back on Ran’s career ten years to 2002, and a feud she was having with the now retired Azumi Hyuga, who was at the time the JWP Openweight Champion. This is May 19th, and Ran is challenging Hyuga for her title in a streetfight. Ran, first to the ring, is clothed for a fight and brandishing a baseball bat, while Hyuga (in normal wrestling gear) comes out with a chain. It’s vicious, it’s uncompromising, and it won the “Best Bout of 2002″ award for JWP that year – and as Ran Yu Yu departs as an active competitor, it probably represents one of her greatest career matches. Enjoy. (more…)
Over the weekend, we posted up a recent match featuring Cat Power against Kc Spinelli in Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling – but as she discussed with us on the Women Of Wrestling Podcast, Cat Power didn’t always wrestle under her real name… and yes, that is her real name.
Before debuting in SHIMMER in April 2008, Power wrestled under the name of Haley Rogers, though had to change it because the surname was already in use by a certain woman called Cindy, so it’s a good thing that her real name is so damn awesome. A month before said debut, Cat wrestled for Rock Solid Wrestling in Collingwood, ON, Canada against a young lady by the name of PJ Tyler, who we now know and love as Courtney Rush, another woman who explained her name change when we interviewed her last year.
Incidentally, we found an old PJ Tyler website as we were putting this post together. It’s an interesting look into the past of “the sweetest nerd that ever rocked out”, and shows that despite the name change, Courtney Rush’s ethos is not that different to her former moniker… (more…)
Eve Torres defends the WWE Divas Championship against Kaitlyn at Survivor Series this Sunday, so to mark that upcoming contest, we have a match from a Survivor Series gone by – not a long match, but an eventful one nonetheless.
Back in 2000, Lita challenged Ivory for the WWF Women’s Championship, looking to regain the title which she lost to the Right To Censor member on the November 2 episode of SmackDown following interference from Edge and Christian.
During the match, the challenger to an errant boot to the eye area, which caused her to be legitimately busted open, and probably affected the quality of the match, but conversely added to the drama. You can see the match after the jump, as well as the post match interview while Lita’s boody face is being tended to.
We’ve been away from our regular routine during our trips to SHIMMER and nCw Femmes Fatales over the past couple of weeks, so unfortunately, this nugget of news slipped through the net – and that is something we are addressing right now.
On October 27, Chicago-based wrestling promotion RESISTANCE Pro announced that Amazing Kong would be making an appearance at its Sad Wings Of Destiny show on November 30 at the Teamster Auditorium in the city. It will be her first wrestling booking since confirming her departure from WWE back in July, her first public media appearance since April, and the first time she has stepped into the ring since the Royal Rumble in January.
No details have been released as to who she will be wrestling – if anyone – though it is a promising sign for someone who has dealt with plenty of heartache and roadblocks over the past 12 months. (more…)
Being able to pick yourself up after being released from WWE is a positive character trait that we have already experienced in the last few days with Su Yung, who has gone from strength to strength since being let go in August last year, and made a great showing for herself at SHIMMER last weekend (results here and here).
Just over two months ago, Ivelisse Velez was released from WWE, but similarly, she is looking to stay involved in wrestling, as evidenced by her name being included in the list of wrestlers announced for SHINE Wrestling‘s SHINE 5 on November 16.
She – along with Nikki St John, Athena, Niya and Marti Belle – will be making their SHINE debuts, though no matches have been announced yet.
To prepare for her debut for the promotion, we have a retro match from June 26, 2010 between she – wrestling under her old name of Juliet the Huntress – and Melanie Cruise – who also had a good SHIMMER weekend – in Purely Obsessed Wrestling World‘s Summer X-plosion show in Elk Grove, IL. Incidentally, Cruise wrestles St John and Stacy Shadows in a triple threat at POWW’s WrestleRage X show on November 10 in Melrose Park, IL, so it seems everybody’s very busy at the moment… (more…)
There is a term known as the Muta Scale – a measuring stick to judge blood loss in a match, stepping from the Great Muta‘s match against Hiroshi Hase in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1992, where he was a total mess. Bleeding is graded on the scale, with 0.0 Muta being a light scratch, up to 1.0 Muta, where it is comparable to the 1992 match and the wrestler is probably going to be going for a blood transfusion.
On April 2, 1993, Akira Hokuto invoked the Muta Scale in her match with Shinobu Kandori at All Japan Women‘s Dreamslam show (an interpromotional event featuring “dream” matches between women from rival promotions), with Hokuto representing AJW, while Kandori was part of Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling. The match is rated as a five-star contest in some places, partly due to the hard-hitting action, intensity, and the blood adding to the drama – showing that in the right circumstances, at the right time with the right size crowd, bleeding can work as a positive, and not just as a prerequisite for hard-hitting matches. (more…)
SHIMMER fans will be familiar with former Tag Team Champion Hiroyo Matsumoto, but may be less so with new arrival Ryo Mizunami, who makes her debut in Berwyn, IL in a week and a half. This week’s Retro features a match between the pair from the summer of 2008 in a contest to see which one of them would be the top junior joshi. Having said that, neither have exactly done badly for themselves since this match too place…
This was the final of the Jaja Uma Tournament on June 28 held by the Sendai Girls promotion – with Mizunami representing the home team and hoping to keep the honour amongst the company – whereas Matsumoto was considered the outsider. Mizunami advanced to the final by defeating Ayako Sato with a diving guillotine drop, while Matsumoto won through to the last two by beating Tyrannosaurus Okuda with a backdrop driver.
So who would win? Well, click the jump and find out… (more…)
That title isn’t a joke either – the match we have for you today was the catalyst for the WWF women’s division being put into mothballs.
Back in late 1995, Alundra Blayze was enjoying her third reign as Women’s Champion, but was pinned at the Survivor Series on November 18 by Aja Kong, was was being positioned to be the next challenger to the title – and that championship match was advertised to take place at the 1996 Royal Rumble. However, within 48 hours, everything was thrown up in the air, and a month later, the division was laid to rest. (more…)
A year since the excellent Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon weekend in Nottingham, England (results of which you can see here and here), founder and former head of the joshi promotion Emi Sakura is returning to the UK to compete in an EVE ring again – this time for the November 10 Wrestle Fever event, headlined by Alpha Female v Nikki Storm for the EVE Championship, and also featuring former TNA Knockouts titleholder Angelina Love against Carmel Jacob.
Since her last visit to the UK, Sakura has parted ways with the promotion she created, established a new one in Thailand called Gatoh Move, won the JWP and Daily Sports Tag Team Championship with Kaori Yoneyama, and initiated an infiltration of JWP – and you can read more of that by clicking here.
Before she makes her flying visit to England, Sakura will have another big milestone for her year when she holds Gatoh Move’s first event in a proper ring in Itabashi on November 4. Like at the start of Ice Ribbon, GM shows have taken place on mats up until now, barring a couple of exhibition matches between Sakura and Yoneyama in Muay Thai rings in Bangkok. (more…)
Last November, we posted a match to hype the build-up to the (frankly excellent) three day JoshiMania event featuring Manami Toyota against Aja Kong from Big Egg Wrestling Universe back in 1994, which was given a five star rating by the Wrestling Observer. That match is one of ten five-star encounters which Toyota was part of – all of which took place between 1992 and 1995. We have another one for you today, and this one was voted the Match of the Year.
That’s right – a women’s match was deemed the greatest professional wrestling contest of 1995. Even better than Diesel v British Bulldog from WWF In Your House 4.
The match in question saw Toyota defend All Japan Women‘s WWWA Championship against Kyoko Inoue at Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall which featured moments like piledrivers on the floor, moonsaults, German suplexes off the top rope, top rope dives to the outside onto tables and more.
Sit back and enjoy this one – it’s a belter. (more…)
SHINE Wrestling announced yesterday that it would be honouring wrestling legends, though exactly who it would be were not revealed by the time yesterday’s Roundup was published. However, we now have the names – they’re Sabrina, Diane Von Hoffman, Joyce Grable and Leilani Kai, all trained at some point by the Fabulous Moolah.
Now, most of you will know who Leilani Kai is – former WWF Women’s singles and tag team champion, participated at WrestleManias I and X and also won the NWA World Women’s Title in 2003 at a TNA show. Joyce Grable adopted the name as she bared a resemblance to the original who retired in 1974, and won the NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship on four occasions.
Von Hoffman still wrestles occasionally today – she originally portrayed herself as a German Nazi and then as Moondog Fifi, teamed with Kai and also made two tours of Japan in the early 1980s. Finally, there’s Sabrina, who still laces up the boots once in a while. She started wrestling under the name of Susan Stirling before changing her moniker and also held the NWA tag straps in 1982 with her partner Princess Victoria. (more…)
Gimmicks change over time when you’re in a WWE developmental facility. It may be that a wrestler may go through multiple character alterations. For example, while Serena Deeb was in Florida Championship Wrestling, she changed to Serena Mancini and later Mia Mancini, with her portraying a Mafia-like persona. As she was called up to WWE to have her head shaved as part of the Straight Edge Society in early 2010, she was changed back to Serena, and the Mafia gimmick was dumped when she returned to FCW in favour of her SCS look, which she was now more famous for.
When it comes to Mickie James and Jillian Hall, the same situation holds true during their time in Ohio Valley Wrestling in the middle part of the last decade. Hall did away with her Macaela Mercedes character, though retained the “Bombshell” nickname for a while. For Mickie, she stuck to the Alexis Laree name which she had used on the indy circuit as well as in TNA’s early days.
At the time of this Retro, Mickie was still going under the Alexis name, but both were polishing their characters and style ahead of the call to go on the road with WWE. Hall would get to go first in mid 2005 as the “fixer” for MNM and later JBL before becoming a wrestler, while James followed soon afterwards as the superfan of Trish Stratus in a storyline which would make her a star, and was heavily discussed on an episode of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast earlier this year. (more…)
The funny thing is that the title above can refer to both MsChif‘s past AND the future. Why? Well, it was announced earlier today that the former SHIMMER Champion will return to the Far East for the first time in more than six years next month as part of the Joshi4Hope IV show taking place at the Tokyo Cinema Club on October 7.
MsChif’s last time in Japan saw her wrestle at NEO and take part at the Wrestle Expo 2006 weekend on August 19/20. We asked her about her trip there during her appearance on the Women Of Wrestling Podcast last year, and she was very open with how much she enjoyed it, despite the heat and humidity:
It was a really really cool experience – one I will remember forever, that’s for sure… the temperature was really hot, and you’re talking about nineties, which is fine – however the humidty was like 172%… but it didn’t matter, and it did not even bother me because it’s frickin’ Japan! That was the first time I’d ever been out of the country, and my first time out of the country is frickin’ Japan.
One is a smiley, dance-based wrestler who lies more in the entertainment portion of wrestling; another is tough, power-oriented grappler who has earned the nickname of “Lady Destroyer”; while the third is a wild and crazy brawler who has caused nightmares across four different decades. However, despite their obvious differences, Miyako, Hiroyo and Dump all share the same surname – Matsumoto (no relation).
Of course, it was logical that the trio would eventually end up in the same place at the same time, and that moment arrived at NEO‘s The Women’s Pro-Wrestling Carnival on New Year’s Eve 2009 at Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall. Who would emerge victorious in the Matsumoto Number 1 Decision Match? Click after the jump and find out… (more…)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated may still hold the pretence that wrestling is totally legit (oh, don’t act like you didn’t know) but there is still a lot of buzz around who will top its annual PWI500 list, which runs down the top 500 wrestlers in the world. This year’s was won by CM Punk, as the magazine still recognises wins and title reigns as more important than anything, so it was obvious that he would sit atop the heap. However, our interest lies in who sits in spot 430 – it’s Sara Del Rey.
While PWI generally doesn’t observe women for its list, the magazine says Del Rey’s inclusion comes down to her victories over men in promotions like CHIKARA, where she has seen off the likes of Tim Donst, Ophidian, Ares, Kodama and the massive Tursas over the last 12 months – most as part of the 12 Large: Summit, of which she almost reached the finals.
Sara is the fourth woman to be featured in the men’s list – preceding her are Jackie Moore (back when she was Miss Texas), Chyna and Madd Maxxine – the latter of which we had to do some research on, but she was a 6’2″ West German wrestled briefly for the WWF‘s women’s division in the mid-1980s and also fought some mixed and intergender matches in the Universal Wrestling Federation, teaming with Jack Victory or facing the likes of Percy Pringle (Paul Bearer) on her own. (more…)
Seeing as Women Superstars Uncensored is going “Full Steam Ahead” by announcing its first card under the umbrella of new owners Beyond Wrestling, let’s take a look at arguably the promotion’s most high-profile alumnus in former Tag Team Champion Miss April, better known these days as WWE Raw‘s General Manager AJ Lee.
Teaming with Brooke Carter – later renaming herself Brittney Savage – to form the AC Express, Miss April defeated the Beatdown Betties of Annie Social and Roxie Cotton to win the tag straps in February 2009, forfeiting the belt when she was signed to WWE in May. However before leaving the promotion, she had time to win the King and Queen of the Ring tournament alongside her trainer Jay Lethal.
The match we bring to you for today’s Retro is April’s debut in the promotion from October 10, 2008. Accompanied by Gorgeous George, she takes on Jana in the opening match of Push It To The Limit in Bergenfield, New Jersey… (more…)
Earlier this year, REINA fell on its arse. It dissolved in May on what was billed as its first anniversary show. Instead, manager and Champion Yumiko Hotta announced that it was finishing, to the surprise of many people on the roster. It quickly emerged that REINA’s other top brass were backpedalling from what Hotta said, and things would continue in some form.
What followed at the end of May was the announcement of REINA x World, with Aki Kambayashi stating that she, Aoi Ishibashi and Mia Yim would be part of it. What followed in June was Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto winning the REINA x World Tag Team Championship, and things continuing on as before, with imports from the US like Crazy Mary Dobson and from Australia like Alex Lee, but fewer from Mexico.
Now things are expanding. Mia Yim’s blossoming relationship with REINA x World leading to a US offshoot with Real Championship Wrestling based in Baltimore, MD. Called REINA World Joshi Puroresu, its debut show will be on October 6 (yes, October’s going to be a busy month for women’s wrestling), and has already announced Kanbayashi, Ishibashi, Yim and Dobson, under her real name of Sarah Bridges. (more…)
Sometimes a great Retro just falls into our laps, and such an occurrence happened earlier today, when the official YouTube channel of the Ladies Professional Wrestling Association uploaded one of its home videos for everyone to see.
LPWA wasn’t around for long – a mere three years in its original incarnation between 1989 and 1992, before coming back for a further two between 1998 and 2000 – but differed from Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling, which preceded it by a couple of years by being more about the in-ring action, making it more similar to Powerful Women of Wrestling, which was set up by GLOW creator David McLane after he left his original concept.
You may also notice a few of the women featured on the video, such as former World Wrestling Federation Women’s Tag Team Champions the Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai & Judy Martin), as well as former WWF Women’s Champion Madusa “Alundra Blayze” Miceli, D-Generation X member Terri Power, who went on to be better known as Tori, and Reggie Bennett, who went on to win the All Japan Women All Pacific Championship (a title that both Kai and Martin also held prior to their LPWA days).
Click after the link to see the video, as well as the match listings. (more…)
Who said you can’t train an actor or model to be a wrestler?
Well, there’s a caveat to that – they have to be trained hard, treated the same as anyone else and not given free passes. As discussed at the start of the year in relation to former model, singer and dancer Yuzuki Aikawa, there is no reason why someone who came from a showbiz background can’t become a great grappler, as long as they are taught the same respect for the business as the average Joanne who decides to get into it. As we also discussed in that piece, the same could be said for former actress and current Ice Ribbon ICEx60 Champion Hikaru Shida.
Aikawa was viciously beaten at the start of her career to make sure that she knew that wrestling is physical, and her status and beauty would not be enough for her to get by – in other waords, she paid her dues – however she achieved success quickly, winning the Wonder of Stardom and Goddesses of Stardom titles in rapid fashion. Conversely, Shida’s rise to the top was more traditional, having to wait 9 months after her debut in July 2008 until she started picking up regular wins. That’s where we go for this week’s Retro – April 5, 2009, in a match against Chii Tomiya as part of the promotion’s Itabashi Spring Festival. While it may be short and a little messy, both give it the beans, and you can tell that both are on their way to being something pretty special. (more…)
Earlier today, we ran down a list of all the wrestlers who would be taking part on the debut SHINE Wrestling iPPV on Friday. However, there is one person missing from that list – someone who isn’t wrestling, but will be a happy addition to the show. That person is the hostess of the event, Daffney.
Her troubles over the last year and a half or so have been well documented here on the website. Her departure from TNA and the Workers’ Compensation lawsuit which she filed was the top story in one of our earliest Roundups, and last month, we found out that she was owed around $26,000 by the company for medical bills stemming from a number of concussions which she suffered (and you can read more about that by clicking here). However, she is set to return to wrestling for the first time in 18 months – barring the odd appearance like at ACW’s American Joshi Queen Of Queens last year – at SHINE, which is shaping up to be the biggest event in women’s wrestling this summer.
Even though Daff won’t be wrestling on the card, let’s remind herself of one of her TNA contests – a match on Xplosion from November 8, 2010 against then-Knockouts Tag Team Champion Ayako Hamada. (more…)
This may not seem like much of a Retro, considering it is from early 2009, but for Taeler Hendrix, that must feel like aeons ago. Considering she only debuted in spring 2008, her progression to TNA Knockout is pretty darn impressive. As she discussed with us earlier this year, she has had more than her share of health scares, and has come out of the other side with renewed vigour. This match gives us a glimpse of how she started out.
The match we feature this week is her attempt to wrest the World Women’s Wrestling Championship from titleholder, the “Portuguese Princess” Ariel, who was the standard bearer in the promotion, as well as its parent company, New England Championship Wrestling. However, on her debut in the promotion on November 1, 2008, Hendrix challenged Ariel for the title and beat her, albeit by DQ. This was followed up by Taeler pinning the champion in a non-title match on December 13. From there, “The One Girl Revolution” was granted a second crack at the belt, which would take place at NECW Genesis 8 on February 21, 2009.
While we’re also showing one of her matches, we should wish Ariel all the best, as she is due to give birth to twins at some point very soon. We hope everything goes smoothly for her. (more…)
Come on, it’s Independence Day, we have to do something to mark the occasion, and who was more patriotic a female wrestler than Madusa? Well apart from GLOW‘s Americana, maybe…
Sporting the stars and stripes on her gear during her stints in WCW, even Madusa’s name talked about her love for her country. She did her bit to fight for national pride during her wars with Japanese stars like Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto in the mid-1990s, but for this Retro, we’ve selected a match from the tail end of the decade – in fact, it’s from the final pay-per-view of the millennium.
In 1999, Madusa was linked with Macho Man Randy Savage as part of Team Madness, accompanying him to the ring alongside his then-girlfriend Gorgeous George, as well as Miss Madness, who later became Mona and then was renamed Molly Holly in the WWF. However, in-fighting between Madness and Madusa led to the group falling apart and her later forming a relationship with Evan Karagias, and guided him to winning the Cruiserweight Championship at Mayhem in November of that year. However, he was then spotted flirting with Nitro Girl Spice, and so Madisa and Evan arrived at Splitsville. (more…)
Let’s have a look back at Athena‘s past, considering she is the big talk at the moment following her victory at Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s American Joshi Queen Of Queens tournament on Sunday.
The match which we bring to you for this week’s Retro comes from another Texan promotion called XCW, though for the life of me, I can’t work out what that stands for… Xtreme Championship Wrestling, I guess. The match sees Athena taking on a fellow former American Joshi Champion in Jessica James from August 2008, and you can tell that they had even had chemistry four years ago. However, while the match itself is great fun to watch, let’s not talk about how it ended, which is a real pity, though I assume it played into storylines going on at the time… (more…)
Have you listened to the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast yet? It was released on Friday to mark five years since the passing of Sensational Sherri, featuring a group of men and women who knew her well – Bill Apter, Candi Divine, Marianne Ryan, Lexie Fyfe & “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Seriously, if you haven’t had a chance to hear it yet, give it a download, if only for the Ric Flair story that Marianne Ryan tells…
At the bottom of the piece, there are a few links to some videos from Sherri’s career, including one of her matches with Devine, and some other skits and moments. However, we reckon we could add a couple of extra matches from her time in the WWF before she became the manager of Randy Savage. As a result, we bring you this week’s Retro featuring two matches from the tail end of 1987.
The first is from the first ever Survivor Series on November 26, with then-WWF Women’s Champion Sherri captaining a team consisting of Dawn Marie (no, not that one), Donna Christianello and then-WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions the Glamour Girls (Judy Martin & Leilani Kai) taking on the Fabulous Moolah‘s quintet, also including Velvet McIntyre, Rockin’ Robin and Noriyo Tateno & Itsuki Yamazaki of the Jumping Bomb Angels. The other is from a month later with Sherri defending her Women’s Title against Robin in Madison Square Garden. (more…)