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…)
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…)