On August 11, the team of Hiroyo Matsumoto and Tomoka Nakagawa (collectively known as Jungle Jack 21) claimed their third OZ Academy Tag Team Championship by defeating Aja Kong and Hikaru Shida.
The victory was actually Matsumoto’s fourth run with the titles – funnily enough, her first Tag Team Championship partner was Kong in another pair formed in the JJ21 stable. The win is also a record-tying effort for the tandem, with the other team boasting three reigns being SonChika (Chikayo Nagashima and Sonoko Kato).
The match from Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan has been uploaded, so we’ve got it for you after the jump. Check out history being made. (more…)
So that’s it. After announcing in March that she would be retiring, embarking on a farewell tour which would start in SHIMMER in April and making final appearances in OZ Academy, WAVE, Diana, Ice Ribbon, Gatoh Move and Sendai Girls, Ayumi Kurihara has made her final appearance as an active wrestler.
Despite citing nagging injuries for her reason for bowing out of her eight year career, the 29-year old certainly didn’t hold back or take it easy on herself as she did her farewell rounds. She made the promise in her blog where she revealed her intentions to walk away that she would “continue to fight with all her strength and all her heart until August 4th”, regardless of the damage that it could do to the clavicle injury which was forcing her out. As a result she took part in more than 40 matches in 5 months, including some hard-hitting contests with the likes of Mercedes Martinez and Mayumi Ozaki – something which earned her a recognition in our Good Half Year series last month. (more…)
A bit of a weird one this, I’ll grant you. Considering earlier this year, the 28 year old joshi puroresu standout announced her retirement from the sport due to nagging injuries (citing her 2007 clavicle injury in particular), you’d think Kurihara would be as far away from a discussion like this as it is possible to be – and while, yes, seeing a superb young talent being struck down in the prime of her career is a terribly sad thing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody go on a more joyful final retirement road. Kurihara’s last six months in the business have seen her experience so much, achieve so much and do it all with a huge smile on her face. If she’s leaving wrestling, she’s packing an entire career’s worth of memories into 2013. (more…)
If the original Triple Tails members of Kana, Mio & Io Shirai were to hold a party and bring along their biggest accomplishment, Io would be last to arrive, but would be sporting the shiniest trinket. That’s because the 22-year old claimed the World Of Stardom Championship from Alpha Female at the promotion’s Ryogoku Cinderella show at Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan in front of a reported crowd of 5,500 paid fans (though some reports say that may have been inflated). Using a rolling cradle, Shirai put down the massive German for the pin, claiming her first singles championship, and a prestigious one at that.
While Kana held the SMASH Divas Championship on two occasions, the belt is now defunct and she never managed a successful defence in either reign, and Mio Shirai’s run with Ice Ribbon’s ICEx60 belt was more successful than Kana’s SMASH stints, it isn’t as prominent a championship as her sister’s current hardware – which is a big sign that the nightmare of last year is well behind her… (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…)
Legendary Bull Nakano returns on her 44th birthday to finally bid farewell to her fans, and shines a light on the current stars of joshi puroresu
1. Ayako Hamada beat Aja Kong (15:14) with an AP Cross.
2. Guillotine Drop Match: Kayoko Haruyama & Ryo Mizunami beat AKINO & Maki Narumiya (13:34) with a Diving Guillotine Drop from Mizunami on Narumiya.
3. 50s & 40s & 30s & 20s & 10s: Dump Matsumoto, Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sawako Shimono & Tsukushi defeated Jaguar Yokota, Manami Toyota, Tomoka Nakagawa, Natsuki*Taiyo & Cherry (16:15) with a Powerbomb from Inoue on Cherry.
4. Kana beat Kagetsu (11:23) with the Kana Lock.
5. Nanae Takahashi, Meiko Satomura & Emi Sakura beat Ayumi Kurihara, Yoshiko & Tsukasa Fujimoto (21:41) with a 450 Splash from Sakura on Fujimoto.
6. Yuzuki Aikawa beat Hikaru Shida (15:11) with a Yuzupon Kick.
7. Bull Nakano Retirement Ceremony
• Ayako Hamada and Aja Kong go from headlining at JoshiMania the previous month to opening the show here. Not that these two toned anything down for an opener.
• The Guillotine Drop match was four women (each from a different promotion) who all use the legdrop, as per Bull herself. Sendai Girls’ Mizunami eventually hit a top rope version on ICE Ribbon’s Maki Narumiya for the win.
• The concept for the ten woman tag match is genius. Each team has one competitor in their 50s, one in their 40s, one in their 30s, one in their 20s and one in their teens. Cherry is a bit of a cheat on her team, as she’s portrayed as a teenager, but otherwise the gimmick works very well.
• Kana vs Kagetsu was a total change of pace – a grappling and striking clinic early, leading to suplexes and submissions later. Stuck between two multi-women tags, it’s a bit of an unsung gem.
• The six woman tag in the semi-main slot was my most anticipated match of the card, and it was the one I ended up enjoying most. Emi Sakura pinned Tsukasa Fujimoto to win, but more about this match below.
• The positioning of a match between Hikaru Shida and Yuzuki Aikawa as the main event on the show (or at least the last match before the extended Nakano retirement) showed a lot of faith in these two. Aikawa is limited in experience, while Shida has only just moved to the top of ICE Ribbon cards. That being said, they did a phenomenal job in delivering a quality main event, with Aikawa eking out the win.
Click through for observations, match of the night and overall impressions (more…)
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: (more…)
I sit here, having watched 21 matches as part of the three JoshiMania events which took place at the start of December 2011. As I watched the three DVDs, I jotted down notes of the big moments and key incidents in the matches. I now have EIGHT pages of bullet points to go through, and one thing because blatantly obvious: doing a match-by-match review of JoshiMania would be incredibly laborious, repetitive and dull for you, the good reader.
So instead of going through JoshiMania chronologically, what this review will be about is the best matches, the standout stars and moments, and which shows were the best if you absolutely, positively can only by just the one DVD…
The shows had a bumpy road leading up to the first event in Philadelphia on December 2. Meiko Satomura, Madison Eagles and Command Bolshoi all had to pull out due to injury, leading to replacements such as Ayako Hamada, Kaori Yoneyama, GAMI and Portia Perez and a fair bit of rewriting to the matches, as the trio who didn’t make it would likely have been part of the matches at the higher end of the card. Hamada was the biggest beneficiary, as she ended up in two of the three main events (against Aja Kong on night 2, and taking on Sara Del Rey on the final show).
However, nothing can take away from the huge amount of organisation that took place to bring JoshiMania to fruition. As Mike Quackenbush revealed to us on the Women Of Wrestling Podcast the week before the shows, the introduction of Manami Toyota to CHIKARA came about thanks to retired Jumping Bomb Angel Itsuki Yamazaki. From there, it was thanks in part to Toyota’s reputation and contacts that facilitated stars from across Japan to come together for the shows, effectively closing down the joshi scene while tars from promotions like JWP, WAVE, OZ Academy, Union Pro and more came together for a series of interpromotional contests. Indeed, a lot of potential issues were circumnavigated and resolved to come to the point that these shows even took place. So how were they? Well, let’s see… (more…)
JoshiMania is in the history books, and is already available to buy. Click here to take a look.
In the week leading up to the three nights of action, there had been a lot of buzz concerning the event. With joshi talent from a number of different promotions in Japan, female wrestling there had largely stopped (Ice Ribbon carried on as normal, and WAVE also held a card), as many of the top stars had crossed the Pacific and international datelines to wrestling in Philadelphia, PA, Everett, MA and Manhattan, NY for the CHIKARA promoted cards.
The shows main focus – other than showing off some of the great Japanese female talent – seemed to be to provide a platform for CHIKARA talent Sara Del Rey, who won both of her main events against her idol Aja Kong on night one – in a match that she reportedly dominated – and against Ayako Hamada on night 3 in a match which was said to be equal to (or greater than) their SHIMMER volume 28 outing two years ago. Considering Hamada was brought in as a late replacement for the injured Meiko Satomura, she made a strong impression, and also showed TNA what they missed out on by having this woman on its roster, not using her, mismanaging her and letting her go. (more…)
Tonight (or this afternoon, to be more accurate, considering it’s a 4pm EST start) is the final JoshiMania card, emanating from Manhattan, NY. You can check out the results from night one and night two to see how things have gone down so far. In the final main event, Sara Del Rey - who so far has defeated Aja Kong and Tsubasa Kuragaki – will take on SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Ayako Hamada – who is 1-1 after teaming with Cherry to beat Mayumi Ozaki & Mio Shirai on night one, and was defeated by Kong last night.
Click after the jump for the matches that will be taking place, and keep hitting refresh to see the latest results… (more…)
Following a successful first night in Philadelphia, PA, JoshiMania rolls into Everett, MA for night two of the three day extravaganza. As with last night, bell time is 7.30pm EST, and we will be bringing you results as they happen, with the main event being joshi legends Aja Kong (who was defeated last night by Sara Del Rey) taking on current SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Ayako Hamada. Click after the jump for the results… (more…)
Good evening everybody, it’s Night 1 of Chikara‘s JoshiMania this evening at The Asylum Arena in Philadelphia, PA. Belltime is 7:30pm, and we’re hoping to bring you live results of the show as well as any news coming out of the shows. Click through to after the jump and keep refreshing the page for results as they come in. (more…)
This week’s Retro doesn’t need much build-up. It was match 16 of 23 at the massive, 10-hour long All Japan Women Big Egg Wrestling Universe held at the Tokyo Dome in front of 32,000 fans on November 20, 1994, and was Aja Kong meeting Manami Toyota in the first round of the V*TOP Five Star Tournament. Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer gave the match a rare five star rating – though even though the top mark is seldom given, it was Toyota’s second perfect match of the year – the first was on August 24 against Kyoko Inoue. In total, Toyota had ten matches rated five stars, while Kong enjoyed two.
Both women will be part of this weekend’s JoshiMania events (December 2nd in Philadelphia, PA, December 3rd in Everett, MA & December 4th in Manhattan, NY). If you have the chance to see these two joshi legends in action, do so. It will be the treat of all treats.
Click after the jump for the match. (more…)
Friday, December 2 will be a big day in Sara Del Rey’s life, as she finally get the chance to wrestle her hero.
“Something I grew to understand about her was her idolisation of Aja Kong,” said CHIKARA’s Mike Quackenbush when discussing Del Rey in the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast. It is due to the 31-year old’s continued great body of work and the first opportunity to have them in the same place at the same time which has led to Del Rey and Kong facing each other in the main event of the first of three days of JoshiMania shows spanning the northeast of the United States.
Their paths have never really crossed during Del Rey’s tours of Japan, and there has been no chance of Aja being on the same card as her in the US, as she hasn’t been in the country since late 1995 when she was working with the WWF and was set to challenge Alundra Blayze for the Women’s Championship before the titleholder jumped to WCW, taking the belt with her – Sara didn’t debut until 2001. However, their paths WILL cross on Friday with one of the best joshis of her generation meeting one of the best female wrestlers in the world at this moment. It should be a titanic encounter, and while Del Rey may be all intense on the outside, you can expect her to be a giggling mess inside, and who can blame her? I know that Skye felt the same way when she wrestled her idol Daizee Haze at ChickFight VII back in 2007…
Del Rey also gets the chance to repeat her epic match with Ayako Hamada that took place at SHIMMER Volume 28 in late 2009 on the third and final JoshiMania show, while the second evening’s main event will complete the round robin with Hamada taking on Kong – not bad on Hamada’s part, seeing as she was brought in as a late replacement for the injured Meiko Satomura, who will still be there as part of a training seminar, but isn’t cleared to wrestle. She’s been announced as a participant at Ice Ribbon’s Ribbonmania on December 25, so here’s hoping she’s given a clean bill of health before then. (more…)
As Chikara gets ready for JoshiMania this coming weekend (December 2nd in Philadelphia, PA, December 3rd in Everett, MA & December 4th in Manhattan, NY), we at Ringbelles are helping to point everybody in the direction of the sort of action and introduce some of the performers you can see on this groundbreaking weekend. A total of 12 joshi names from a handful of different booking offices and promotions will be represented at this festival of fighting females, and in today’s “In Video” segment, we’re taking a look at a fairly recent trios match featuring three of the participants of JoshiMania.
From WAVE on August 28th, 2011, we’re presenting a match which was billed as Yumi Ohka‘s tenth anniversary match, as she and her BLACK DAHLIA faction (comprising here of Ohka, Misaki Ohata and JoshiMania participant Ayako Hamada) against the team of Tomoka Nakagawa and two JoshiMania participants in WAVE founder GAMI and the legendary Aja Kong.)
Kong will headline nights one and two of JoshiMania, firstly against Sara Del Rey and then against Hamada, whilst Hamada will take on Sara Del Rey in the main event in Manhattan. Keep an eye on Ringbelles this coming week as we continue on The Road To JoshiMania. If you’re lucky enough to be attending live, please get in touch, we’d love to get reports and opinions from anybody attending the shows.
Earlier this week, Ringbelles found out about a show taking place on January 8, 2012. We knew nothing about it except that it was taking place at the Tokyo Dome CIty Hall and would be called Bull Nakano Produce “EMPRESS”. And that’s all we knew… until Dave Meltzer furnished us with more information as part of this week’s mammoth Wrestling Observer.
Keiko “Bull” Nakano will be appearing – but not wrestling – on her retirement show on her 44th birthday. Barring a very brief nostalgia comeback when she teamed with her mentor Dump Matsumoto in 2001, Nakano has had very little to do with wrestling since retiring in 1997 at the age of 29 due to injuries suffered because of her hard-hitting style and weight, which was around 220 pounds at the time.
After her retirement, Nakano dropped a shedload of weight – last year, she was reportedly down to 130 – and took up professional golf in 1998. The learning curve turned out to be very steep, and finished 250th place of 251 in a LPGA Futures (essentially a farm system for rising golf stars) Qualifying Tournament in November 2004, and didn’t fare much better the following year when she finished 261st out of 271. However, she managed to make it into Futures in January 2006 a couple of weeks after her 38th birthday. (more…)
Sara Del Rey beat Claudio Castagnoli at CHIKARAsaurus Rex: King Of Sequel, night 2 in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Billed as BDK v BDK, the co-leader of the faction was taken down by a crucifix as part of the round robin tournament known as the 12 Large: Summit to crown a CHIKARA singles champion. The main story about it is that Del Rey and her buddy Daizee Haze are starting to recognise the contributions that they bring to the table of Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes and refuse to bow down to their so-called superior. Castagnoli and fellow BDK leader Ares urged Del Rey to “do the right thing” and lay down last Sunday so Claudio could get the easy win and put himself in a better position in the tournament. Refusing to dampen her strong spirit for competition, Del Rey fought for 13 minutes before getting the pinfall, putting her in a strong standing, considering she beat Icarus last month in Chicago.
Please note: NOWHERE in that storyline does it once mention that Del Rey is a woman fighting a man, and that this is a battle of the sexes. This is CHIKARA – where men wrestle women, and nobody bats an eyelid. It’s a showcase of the best athletes – which is why Del Rey is part of the tournament in the first place. She has proven that she is one of the most skilled grapplers in the promotion, and has earned her spot not due to (or in spite of) her gender, but because she is excellent at what she does. Likewise, Haze beats up the guys on a regular basis, and she is treated as a threat because of how she is presented. Her gender is irrelevant in the promotion, as the guys have no problem throwing her about just as much as she lays into them.
The problem I have is when it’s claimed that Del Rey’s win on Sunday is a victory for women over men, as it isn’t. It’s a victory for one wrestler over another. (more…)
CHIKARA is presenting its second annual Chikarasaurus Rex supershow, and expanding on last year’s edition (which featured Dragon Gate participation), this year’s “King of Sequel” is split across two shows and features stars from three Continents. As far as the ladies are concerned, C-Rex has participation from Ice Ribbon stars Tsukasa Fujimoto & Makoto, CMLL’s Mima Shimoda, Chikara regulars Sara Del Rey & Daizee Haze, and making her first appearance for the promotion in several years, Portia Perez. By now, we hope you’ve had a chance to check out our primer on Shimoda, Fujimoto & Makoto. And without further ado…
In results from Night One:
Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel, Night One @ Reading, PA, July 30
- Mima Shimoda, Tsukasa Fujimoto & Portia Perez def Sara Del Rey, Daizee Haze & Makoto when Shimoda pinned Haze after a Death Lake Driver (tiger superplex).
Early reports from Mako Reco indicate that the match was well received, though birthday girl Fujimoto made a few errors before settling down into the contest.
In results from Night Two at the Asylum:
Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel, Night Two @ Philadelphia, PA, July 31
- ICEx60 Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto beat Makoto in a non-title match with the Venus Shoot (step up enzugiri).
- Daizee Haze pinned Mima Shimoda after reversing a German suplex.
- Sara Del Rey pinned Claudio Castagnoli in their “12 Large:Summit” meeting via crucifix. After the match, Castagnoli attacked Del Rey. Del Rey’s BDK partner Daizee Haze stood up for her, but got chokeslammed for her efforts.
Chikara had several blockbuster announcements to make too – firstly that the DVDs of the Chikarasaurus Rex shows will be available for order tomorrow on SmartMarkVideo (much like the King of Trios shows from earlier this year); secondly, that they will make their iPPV debut on November 13th, and finally, that they will present a show called JoshiMania in December, featuring the Chikara return of Manami Toyota, the debut of Aja Kong, and presumably much more!
Congratulations to all at Chikara for what sounds like a truly amazing weekend. Not only were the ladies front and centre, but you had the amazing Johnny Saint and Johnny Kidd bringing the British style, and the unannounced appearance from CMLL luchadors Atlantis & Rey Bucanero. Unbelievable!
Everybody has to start somewhere.
Hailey Hatred may right now have an absolute shitload of championships and accolades – as we have covered thoroughly during in the June 28 edition of the Ringbelles Roundup and our latest episode of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast – the most prestigious of which is the JWP Openweight Championship, but she didn’t start out as a superstar. She had to toil for years in small buildings for few people to learn her craft and gain the skills needed to become the first non-Japanese woman to win the oldest active joshi championship. Luckily, a few of these matches are on YouTube, so we can see how Hatred had to pay her dues – and it should also offer hope to women stepping through a curtain to be greeted by fewer people that are getting ready in the locker room she just left… (more…)
The Big News
Two big stories coming out of the UK this week…
It was a rough yet rewarding weekend for Britani Knight. Suffering from what she thought was tonsillitis, the 18-year old member of the Knight Dynasty wrestled 5 matches in 28 hours on route to becoming the first ever Pro Wrestling: EVE champion. However, she was bedridden the next day with what turned out to be glandular fever, causing her to miss a date with her home promotion, World Association of Wrestling. We at Ringbelles wish her congratulations on her title win and also a speedy recovery from a nasty illness.
EVE’s title tournament turned out to be less complicated that the brackets would have led you to believe. Starting with FIVE four corner matches and a Last Chance Battle Royal for the losers to determine the quarter finalists, they were hurried through relatively quickly to leave us with singles matches which varied from fine to good – the standout matches of the first night featured Erin Angel v Nikki Storm and Britani v Jenny Sjodin in the quarters, and Sweet Saraya taking on Blue Nikita in a Last Woman Standing match. The return of Blue Nikita was something of a surprise after her relationship with EVE went sour after the first show – so when she ran in to attack Saraya in the opening match of the evening, it took many by surprise. It also meant that both voluntarily took themselves out of the tournament – Saraya was eligible for the Battle Royal and Blue Nikita never got to compete in her four-way contest due to brawling with Saraya before the bell – to compete in the Last Woman Standing affair, which Saraya won with a sunset powerbomb.
The Project nightclub was a makeshift venue after the Royal British Legion was pulled as a host due to licensing issues and complaints – somebody even called up the local radio station pretending to be EVE management to say the event at the Project had been completely cancelled – but as an environment for the audience, it was great. It was cosy, yet sat the fans comfortably with plenty of space, and felt safe yet anarchic. Apparently it was a little too cosy backstage, as there wasn’t much room for the wrestlers – of which there were around 20 – to change, but that could be changed if EVE decides to return to the venue – something the owners were pretty receptive to. (more…)