Lots to mention from SHIMMER volume 53 on Saturday afternoon, so let’s get into it.
Let’s start with the main event, which had the right result for the biggest show in the promotion’s history (not 93,173 as announced by Joey Eastman but more around a hefty 700+, which is more than three times the maximum attendance at the Berwyn Eagles Club). With nowhere for her enemy to run and with nobody to help her, Cheerleader Melissa soundly defeated Saraya Knight inside a monolithic steel cage to regain the SHIMMER Championship. While the match was OK, the real tale was in the story told, which did not see Melissa eke out a victory with luck, but saw her deliver a super hurricanrana, missile dropkick and Air Raid Crash to convincingly pin her rival of close to six years.
The crowd was quiet for much of the match – part of the reason being that a lot of the crowd may not be completely familiar with their history, or that the action was not the crisp sort of execution as other contests because most of their matches look more like fights than matches – but they came out of their seats for the finishing sequence, which was a simple tale of good punishing evil and the snarling, unfriendly heel finally getting her comeuppance. However, despite her loss, Saraya retained her scary aura, attacking fans on her way out of the ring – and was also put over by Bryan Alvarez, who was getting his first viewing of Knight, pointing out that she was a proper, grizzly, old-school wrestling heel.
One would anticipate that Melissa will enjoy a longer run with the belt during her second reign than with her first – when she dropped the title to Knight on her fourth defence, following wins over Nicole Matthews, Portia Perez and Jessie McKay. While there is no detail on who Melissa will be facing in Berwyn this weekend for the usual two-day, four-DVD taping extravaganza, there are a lot of names to play around with – including one debutante who surprised everyone when she hit the ring… (more…)
There are a lot of big talking points focussed on this Saturday’s SHIMMER Volume 53 in Secaucus, NJ, and also being broadcast on iPPV (click here to order). As well as the SHIMMER title cage match between Saraya Knight and Cheerleader Melissa, the returns of Amazing Kong, Madison Eagles and Serena Deeb, the debuts of Evie and Kimber Lee and much more, Ayumi Kurihara makes her final appearance in the promotion before retiring in August. She’ll take on SHIMMER original Mercedes Martinez in what is likely to be a bruising affair – especially since the former CMLL World Women’s Champion has vowed to keep competing at the highest level possible before bowing out, despite the nagging injuries which are forcing her out of the grap game before the age of 30.
Kurihara was a hot prospect from very early on in her career following her debut in April 2005. Two years later on April 30, 2007, Kurihara squared off against Manami Toyota for the JD Star promotion as part of its GRAPPLE BEAUTY ~ FUTURE07 season, which is the match we have for you in this week’s Retro. (more…)
The wrestling community worldwide was shocked today as joshi superstar Ayumi Kurihara announced her forthcoming retirement at a press conference. Kurihara, 28, plans to retire at Korakuen Hall on August 4th. The reason for the retirement was given as a number of nagging injuries accumulated over a hard-hitting eight year career. Notably, she missed around a year and a half of action in 2007/8 with a broken clavicle suffered in a match in NEO (she still finished the match), and earlier this year suffered an orbital bone fracture in a match in WAVE. Kurihara said in her announcement today that she would not be happy competing at a level below her best, and that this has played a large part in her decision to retire.
However, some good news for fans of Kurihara – she will be competing in the USA one final time in just over one week’s time as part of SHIMMER Vol 53 at WrestleCon in Secaucus, NJ. Ayumi, a former SHIMMER Tag Team Champion, missed the October tapings last year, so this will be the first time she will compete under the SHIMMER banner in a year. The Vol 53 appearance will be a one-off, as she will not be at the Vol 54-57 taping block in Berwyn, IL the following weekend. Her opponent for Vol 53 has also been announced, and she will be taking on SHIMMER original Mercedes Martinez. The announcement of Ayumi completes the joshi lineup for the April SHIMMER tapings, with Ayako Hamada, Kana, Tomoka Nakagawa & the debuting Yuu Yamagata all already announced. (more…)
Earlier this month, there was a clash of shows, with no more than 70 minutes drive between the two. In Voorhees, NJ, you had a double-header featuring Women Superstars Uncensored in the afternoon followed by a Combat Zone Wrestling card. Meanwhile, 65 miles away in Metuchen, NJ, there was a Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling event followed by a show from its parent company Pro Wrestling Syndicate. Critically, the WSU show was better than the (frankly poor) BLOW event, though the latter boasted the larger audience number. For all that anybody knows, it could have been more, but there were hundreds of fans down the I-95 watching another couple of promotions running at approximately the same time. It meant that fans had to choose which show they wanted to see, and was a clash which felt unfortunate. It was very unlikely to happen again.
Or was it…? (more…)
She may not have had much of a run in wrestling, and she may be retiring in mere months, but model-turned-wrestler Yuzuki Aikawa got stuck in. Even though she only debuted in 2010, she announced her impending departure in mid-December, saying she will go after Stardom‘s event on April 29, citing injuries she has incurred, including one to her waist which was too great to realistically overcome.
The match we have for you this weekend shows how she could take a licking and keep on ticking against Ayumi Kurihara in the main event of her own show, using the snappy title Yuzuki Aikawa Produce Yuzupon Matsuri 3 ~ Birthday Eve on May 15 last year – and as you can tell from the photo to the left, both of them properly went for it. Enjoy. (more…)
And so it’s come down to this. With Kimber Lee and Allysin Kay installed as Discovery and Breakout Star of the Year respectively, it’s time to unveil the winner of our main Year End Award. To be honest, it’s been a strange year in that there are a number of contenders for the award, really depending on what criteria you use to determine what makes a “Wrestler of the Year”. Let’s take a look at some of the top contenders.
If you consider your Wrestler of the Year to be the one who elicited the most emotion from the crowd, then you may well choose SHIMMER Champion Saraya Knight. Her late career renaissance has been incredible, and was topped this year by winning the SHIMMER Championship, and reviving her long-simmering rivalry with Cheerleader Melissa. Nobody can hold a crowd in the palm of her hand like “Sweet” Saraya, and she’s taken that momentum with her throughout the calendar year. On a similar note, the WSU Champion Jessicka Havok (last year’s Breakout Star of the Year) has managed to create and foster a very fervent fanbase in a year that has seen her win the WSU Championship (twice), and compete for (amongst others) Crossfire, NCW:FF, ACW & Shine – winning plaudits everywhere she competed. It’s a shame, really, that with the transition of ownership in WSU, Havok only had one appearance in her “home” promotion in the second half of the year. Havok & Knight had achievements in 2012, but arguably the person who has had the most personal achievement in 2012 is none other than Emi Sakura, who started 2012 with absolutely nothing, having left Ice Ribbon in late 2011. From nothing, Sakura ends 2012 promoting her own shows in both Thailand & Japan (under the Gatoh Move banner), a regular gig in JWP and owning the oldest joshi belt in Japan (the JWP Openweight Title) and Europe’s Pro Wrestling EVE Title concurrently. From the outhouse to the penthouse, Sakura went from nowhere to become one of joshi puroresu’s most important names. And then, of course, there’s the dark horse pick – which for us this year was “Rate Tank” Kellie Skater. Skater started 2012 in Japan, and returned from the Land of the Rising Sun a much improved grappler. She had career-best performances in SHIMMER (such as Kana on Vol 48 and Yumi Ohka on Vol 50), had two outstanding matches with Evie back at home, and made a believer out of EVERYBODY in the Eagles Club that she was going to beat Saraya Knight for the SHIMMER Championship at Vol 51. In fact, had Skater won the title that night (or even the NCW:FF International Championship in Montreal the following weekend), there’s a great chance she could’ve won this award. Kudos to an outstanding year to all of these women.
However, for the sake of this award, we have chosen to take the term “Wrestler of the Year” quite literally, and recognise quite simply the best in-ring competitor of the year. Bar none. (more…)
Joshi4Hope ran their fourth standalone show today at the Tokyo Kinema Club, headlined by the return of MsChif to Japan, where she challenged Hailey Hatred for her Remix Pro Women’s Championship.
1. Yuhi pinned Veda Scott (6:10) after a Firebird Splash.
2. Tomoka Nakagawa & She Nay Nay bt Maki Narumiya & Yumi Ohka (16:28) when Nakagawa made Narumiya submit to the CRB.
3. Ayumi Kurihara & Mika Iida bt Leon & Manami Katsu (15:32) when Kurihara pinned Katsu with a uranage
4. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ryo Mizunami bt Arisa Nakajima & Aya Yuki (15:37) when Matsumoto pinned Aya Yuki after a backdrop suplex.
5. Remix Pro Women’s Championship: Hailey Hatred (c) pinned MsChif (17:12) with a running Ligerbomb
For ringside photography, and a pretty amazing bit of what can only be described as stop-motion animation of Yuhi’s Firebird Splash finisher on Veda Scott, visit Lady Go!. Hiroyo Matsumoto, Tomoka Nakagawa, Yumi Ohka and Ryo Mizunami are all scheduled to travel to the US this month to join MsChif & Veda Scott for SHIMMER Vols 49-52 in Berwyn, IL (Oct 26 & 27), while Matsumoto & Mizunami will stay in North America for NCW: Femmes Fatales X in Montreal, QC (Nov 3).
Cheerleader Melissa defends her newly-won SHIMMER Championship against Nicole Matthews, Athena looks to settle the score with Mercedes Martinez, and four women make their debuts.
1. Courtney Rush pinned Rhia O’Reilly with a Skyward Suplex.
2. Melanie Cruise & Mena Libra defeated Shazza McKenzie & Veda Scott. Cruise got the pin following a top rope legdrop on McKenzie.
3. Sara Del Rey beat Leon following a big powerbomb.
4. Sweet Saraya made Davina Rose tap out to the Knightmare (half crab).
5. Jessie McKay beat Mia Yim with the Boyfriend Stealer.
6. Ray pinned Kellie Skater with a Phoenix Splash.
7. Hailey Hatred & Kalamity beat LuFisto & Kana. Hatred pinned LuFisto following a running powerbomb.
8. Ayumi Kurihara & Ayako Hamada retained the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship by beating ReGeneration X – Allison Danger & Leva Bates. Hamada pinned Danger with the AP Cross.
9. Athena defeated Mercedes Martinez with the O-Face.
10. SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa retained the title by beating Nicole Matthews with the Air Raid Crash. (more…)
Ayumi Kurihara‘s reign as CMLL World Women’s Champion was not very long – winning the belt in November last year and dropping it in March – but it certainly had its moments, one of which we bring to you this weekend.
Hailey Hatred‘s challenge for the title came less than a month after dropping the JWP Openweight Championship to Tsubasa Kuragaki, and winning the CMLL World Women’s strap would have been a great way to bounce back and get on track again. Kurihara, meanwhile, was not keen on dropping the title. She had already retained the belt over Cherry at Union Pro on January 3, and claiming the scalp of Hatred would be a great boost to her credibility while enjoying her first world title reign in any promotion. Click the jump to watch the entire 2 out of 3 fall contest from REINA 24 held on January 15… (more…)
Pro Wrestling: EVE has officially announced a show on July 14 in Sudbury, UK, calling it a “special edition” show which will feature the debut of TNA’s Winter – who is a German-born Briton – and two returns – we have strong suspicions on who the returns will be – as well as “one time only” and “must see” matches.
In its press release that it released to Diva Dirt, EVE also points out that running a weekend of shows without iPPV would have “hurt EVE financially and potentially risk the company due to the restricted income without iPPV”. That’s a telling statement – which actually PRECEDED the announcement of Winter being part of the show – and implies that financially, EVE is lean at the moment.
The show will also feature three men’s contests, making it a split show of sorts. It claims it will draw the fans of the men’s promotions and give them a taste of women’s wrestling at the same time. It’s the same ethos that led to having the Jenny Sjodin v Alpha Female match at the London charity show in April, which is where Alpha won the title.
In theory, this makes sense – draw non-women’s wrestling fans in with what they are familiar with and then give them a taste of EVE’s product while they’re there. However, there is also the possibility of it dissuading EVE fans who may not be interested in the men’s matches. There is the possibility that the ones there for EVE won’t be hugely taken with the men’s contests, as that’s not what they’ve paid to see, and vice versa for the fans of the guys.
Two weeks ago, Marcela won the CMLL World Women’s Championship for the third time from Ayumi Kurihara, as we reported here. Well, the match has emerged online, which means we can get to see the battle that took place on March 9.
Even though you already know the result, this is a match which is worth going out of your way to watch. The first two falls end with crazy submissions, while the third is a ribcrusher which is seldom seen. This is a real thumbs-up of a match.
When it comes to holding championships, it has been a rough couple of months for Kurihara. She dropped the WAVE Tag Team Championship that she held with Kana to Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu on February 5, then she dropped the CMLL belt in this match, and last weekend, she and Ayako Hamada were dethroned as SHIMMER Tag Team Champions at the weekend – albeit after a record-equalling seven successful title defences.
Having said that, Ayumi’s matches have been consistently excellent, putting over the quality of matches which are associated with the championships and making them seem more valuable as a result. Kurihara should wrestle everywhere – she can do joshi, a more western-style, and also (as evidenced in this match) lucha. She is a wrestling chameleon. (more…)
It’s day two of the SHIMMER tapings in Berwyn, IL (you can find out the results, thoughts and photos from yesterday’s DVD tapings by clicking here), and a number of matches have been announced.
After defeating both Canadian Ninjas in singles matches yesterday, Cheerleader Melissa defends her SHIMMER Championship against Jessie McKay, aware that Sweet Saraya has apparently put a bounty on her head.
Elsewhere, the Tag Team Championship will be on the line as holders Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara defend against high-fliers Ray and Leon in an all-joshi affair, Mercedes Martinez takes on Hailey Hatred, and the unlikely team of Sara Del Rey and Courtney Rush will meet ReGeneration X – Allison Danger & Leva Bates.
As with yesterday, we will be adding the results to this post as they happen, and Stew will offer his thoughts from ringside later. Click after the jump and keep hitting refresh to follow the goings-on. (more…)
Cheerleader Melissa walks into these four DVD tapings as the SHIMMER Champion, while Ayumi Kurihara and Ayako Hamada hold the Tag Team Championship. Although no matches have been announced, we offered some thoughts about what could happen, but they are just musings and nothing more. We will all find out together how things will unfold.
Stew is in Berwyn, IL watching the shows live, and will offer up thoughts on the tapings later on. For now, we will bring you results as they happen, so keep refreshing the page to keep up with all the developments.
Click after the jump to dive in. It’s going to be a busy one. (more…)
The CMLL World Women’s Championship is now back in the hands of Marcela, who won the title for a third time last night at the promotion’s card in Mexico City, Mexico. Defending champion Ayumi Kurihara took the first fall of the contest, but then lost the following two, eventually being defeated after two knees to the chest from the second rope in the decisive third fall.
While not a total surprise – considering Marcela defeated Kurihara in a non-title affair last week – there was some speculation amongst lucha fans that Ayumi would retain the championship in this match ahead of the big REINA anniversary card taking place in May which featured a stack of female CMLL stars, and a title change may take place then. However, as has quickly become customary since Marcela’s last title win over Amapola last October, the stability which Amapola brought to the title by holding it for four years has been replaced with some more unexpected results. (more…)
Cheerleader Melissa continues her quest towards Madison Eagles‘ SHIMMER Championship, while Jessie McKay and Nicole Matthews settle their feud in a best of three falls match.
1. Kellie Skater defeated Courtney Rush with a Skate And Destroy.
2. LuFisto beat Sassy Stephie with the Mangalizer.
3. Rachel Summerlyn made Mena Libra tap out to the Texas Cloverleaf.
4. 3S (Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata) beat Pretty Bitchin’ (Nikki Roxx & Ariel) to retain the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship – Matsumoto pinned Roxx following an Exploder Suplex.
5. Mercedes Martinez pinned Britani Knight with a Fisherman Buster.
6. Daizee Haze & Tomoka Nakagawa defeated Mia Yim & Jamilia Craft. Nakagawa pinned Yim with a Fisherman Suplex.
7. Jessica James pinned Athena after hitting the Hard Boiled Egg.
8. MsChif beat Sweet Saraya with a Desecrator.
9. Serena Deeb defeated Portia Perez via DQ when Perez hit Deeb with a cookie sheet.
10. Nicole Matthews beat Jessie McKay in a best of three falls match. Matthews took the first fall with a tights-assisted O’Connor Roll, McKay equalised with multiple Schoolgirl Crushes, and Matthews scored the third fall with the Vancouver Maneuver.
11. Cheerleader Melissa & Ayako Hamada beat Madison Eagles & Sara Del Rey when Hamada rolled up Eagles for the pin.
• 3S continue their run as SHIMMER Tag Team Champions and establish themselves as the most over team in the promotion’s history with a second successful title defence over Pretty Bitchin’.
• Both Sweet Saraya and daughter Britani Knight are defeated by SHIMMER originals, MsChif and Mercedes Martinez respectively. The former sees the Knight’s manager Rebecca Knox get involved in the match but gets her comeuppance when a Saraya basement dropkick goes awry.
• Haze and Nakagawa earn a SHIMMER Tag Team Title shot by remaining undefeated, beating Mia Yim & Jamilia Craft.
• The Serena Deeb/Portia Perez feud that began following Deeb’s return to the promotion after her release from WWE the previous year continues and starts to involve weapons.
• Nicole Matthews and Jessie McKay put their on-off feud to bed after their best of three falls match after trading victories in singles and tag matches.
• Ayako Hamada pins Madison Eagles to earn a shot at the SHIMMER Championship, much to the chagrin of Cheerleader Melissa, who wanted to get the pin to earn the shot for herself. (more…)
Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, how about a look at two of the romances running in WWE that involve two of the biggest storylines going on at the moment?
On Raw this week, the relationship between Zack Ryder and Eve Torres ground to a halt when Eve decided to kiss John Cena after he helped to rescue her from the clutches of Kane. Unfortunately, a crushed Ryder saw the whole thing, though Torres claimed it was a heat of the moment thing, then called things off with him, hoping that they can remain friends.
On the plus side, this storyline is the best opportunity that Torres has every had to show some personality in her near five year WWE tenure, even though it has caused her to experience derision from the audience for knowingly or unknowingly screwing over one of the favourite wrestlers in the promotion right now – someone who has captured the hearts and imagination of fans by standing up to his bosses with his YouTube Z! True Long Island Story, getting over in spite of his booking (or lack of it) and then being sucked into one of the most asinine and ridiculous storylines in years, that being Cena v Kane, by being the whipping boy who is the real life equivalent of Kenny from South Park being murdered on every show. By screwing over the guy who has the sympathy of fans, Eve is positioned as a heel… for now. (more…)
As well as making her debut at nCw Femmes Fatales on March 10 taking on Cheerleader Melissa, Ringbelles‘ choice for Wrestler of the Year 2011 Hailey Hatred is scheduled to return to SHIMMER for the volumes 45-48 DVD tapings the following weekend in Berwyn, IL.
The 28-year old made her SHIMMER debut last October, competing on volumes 41 and 42, defeating Kalamity on the first taping, then teaming with her in a defeat to Mena Libra and Melanie Cruise on the following DVD.
However, she would only wrestle for half of the SHIMMER weekend, as she had accepted another booking in her home state of Ohio. She would go on to defend the JWP Openweight Championship which she held at the time against Cherry Bomb in Absolute Intense Wrestling in the first JWP title match to ever take place outside of Japan. This time around, Hailey will wrestle on both days of tapings, meaning that there a strong chance of her being part of a storyline arc.
Hatred joins Melissa, Ayumi Kurihara, Ayako Hamada, Portia Perez, Nicole Matthews, MsChif, Sara Del Rey, Athena and Christina Von Eerie as being confirmed for the tapings. In addition, Del Rey, MsChif, Matthews, Perez, Von Eerie and Athena will all compete the day before the tapings at AAW in trios action. (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…)
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…)
It’s been a pretty successful couple of months for Ayumi Kurihara. At the start of October, she won the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship with Ayako Hamada, and successfully defended it through to the end of that batch of tapings. At the end of last month, she and partner Kana won the Dual Shock WAVE Tag League to claim the promotion’s doubles straps, and today, the 27-year old won arguably the most prestigious title in her career to date by becoming the CMLL World Women’s Champion, defeating Marcela by coming from behind to win by two falls to one – the outgoing champ had only won the belt at the end of last month on her thirteenth attempt.
The previous champion, Amapola, held the title for a whopping 1,442 days. Marcela’s latest reign lasted just 29 – the shortest in the title’s history. This victory makes Kurihara the fourth Japanese woman to hold the championship.
This isn’t the first singles title that Ayumi has held. She has also been the Xtreme Latin American Wrestling Extreme Champion, as well as being the final NEO/NWA Pacific Champion before the promotion closed down at the end of last year. However, this World Championship (a title that has been in existence for close to 20 years) is undoubtedly the biggest shot in the arm for Kurihara, who won the belt in the main event of her 6th Anniversary celebration show in Tokyo, made even sweeter in that she had the belt presented to her by the first titleholder, Bull Nakano, who – as you can tell from the photo – is still piling on the weight ahead of her retirement show in January. (more…)
Yesterday, TNA announced that they were forming a working relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling to be a “training and developmental facility”, much like the setup that OVW had with WWE until 2008.
In a statement, TNA declared:
NASHVILLE, TN (November 7, 2011)– TNA IMPACT WRESTLING announces that they are entering into an exclusive relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), effective immediately, as the official training and developmental facility for TNA’s current and future stars of TNA IMPACT WRESLTING. Former wrestling star and OVW owner Danny Davis will work closely with TNA SVP of Programming and Talent Relations Bruce Prichard in the development of the talent through training, live events, and weekly television production allowing talent to explore every aspect of the business.
“OVW is the best of the best as far as training and nurturing potential superstars. Their track record speaks for itself. Whether looking to develop brand new talent or to fine tune existing talent, OVW has the talent and program to fit our needs.” says TNA’s Prichard. “TNA is providing developmental talent the opportunity to hone their craft in an environment that will allow them to grow and prosper.”
TNA talent will be arriving soon at the facility to begin an extensive training program with the industry’s leading experts. The program is akin to a college scholarship program where talent is provided a scholarship style agreement with TNA to learn the craft. The talent to attend the program is selected by TNA’s Prichard and TNA officials who will be monitoring the progress of each wrestler at camp and the live events.
Now, nonwithstanding the fact that TNA’s press office can’t spell “WRESTLING” – even though it matters – this will be a good opportunity for many aspiring young talent in TNA. Quite frankly, it’s something both WWE and TNA need, as the limited number of approved places for wrestlers to get more experience in either company is pretty slim. However, this is also a two way street, as some wrestlers who currently consider Louisville, KY their main base could use it as an opportunity to make contacts and get spotted – or re-spotted, in the case of the former Sojo Bolt, AKA current OVW Women’s Champion Lady JoJo.
For example, if TNA wants to give its tag team division a bit of a revival (yes, I realise what I just said) then there are two potential teams waiting to go. The first would be the combination of the Smothers Twisted Daughters, comprised of Izza Belle and Jessie Belle Smothers – the latter of which really is the daughter of the awesome Tracy Smothers. (more…)
The “World Famous” Kana made her US debut last month with some blistering matches both at SHIMMER and Chikara – taking on the best in the world and impressing a whole lot of people. Just as well, as she came in steeped in expectation and hype. I’d watched a couple of DVDs of older Kana matches, and I’d been keeping up to date with what she’d been doing in SMASH (specifically her feuds with Lin Bairon & Serena Deeb), so I had a good understanding of what to expect when Kana stepped into the ring in Berwyn, IL. Regardless, I was still blown away. She had a certain panache and style that was utterly unique, and it absolutely *grabbed* me. Seen up close, the intricacies and technique was somewhat akin to watching a magician doing a close-up card trick. These eyes have seen an ungodly amount of hours of wrestling from all over the world, but even then, they still widened in admiration for Kana’s ability to transition into ankle locks from literally anywhere in the ring, throw some of the most breathtaking kick sequences and seemingly improvise submission attempts on the fly. Just amazing. Her matches with Mia Yim, Sara Del Rey, Cheerleader Melissa & LuFisto will be available on DVD through the SHIMMER shop in due course, while her matches with Jessie McKay and a rematch with Sara Del Rey in Chikara are already available through Smart Mark Video.
The match after the cut, against the super talented Ayumi Kurihara (who is now one half of the SHIMMER Tag Team Champions with Ayako Hamada) took place on the 28th of August this year at Tokyo’s mecca of wrestling, Korakuen Hall, as part of Pro-Wrestling WAVE‘s “East Japan Wave 4th Anniversary ~ Sail Away” show. Subtitled “Premium WAVE”, that’s exactly what you get here. Two of Japan’s premium joshis in a thrilling 15 minute or so war. It’s Kana’s submissions and kicks against Kurihara’s suplexes and dropkicks. You want this. (more…)
Imagine SHIMMER, WSU, ACW, Femmes Fatales, ECCW, AIW, OVW and FCW all clubbing together, putting up their best representatives and holding a tournament where they would be whittled down to one promotion as the best? Can you imagine the politics, jostling, arrangements, hostility, distrust and remarks there could possibly be? On the flip side, there is the chance that all would get on, things would be decided amicably and all would work together for the greater good – highlighting the plethora of great female wrestling talent out there, showing off their top wrestlers and then taking that momentum, breaking off again and working their own areas to capitalise on the buzz that was created in order to sell more tickets, shift more merchandise and create more awareness of their product. After all, women’s wrestling is a niche product within a niche product, and the amount of awareness – and interest – is not as high as it could be.
OK, I’m dealing in extreme hypotheticals on both sides, but if anything, it could create an intriguing night of action, capitalising on the sort of buzz that wrestling fans experienced when the WWF bought WCW a decade ago, throwing up some potential dream matches. Fair enough, it never really worked out that way, but that doesn’t stop wrestling fans from dreaming.
Over in Japan last week, such an event took place. Wednesday’s FLASH tournament featuring talent from Sendai Girls, JWP, Diana, REINA, WAVE, Ice Ribbon, Stardom and a freelance team drew a hugely impressive 1835 fans to Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall – a Super No Vacancy Full House. The first round was 5 on 5, the semi finals were 3 on 3 and the final was a straight tag match. (more…)
Day Two of SHIMMER is in the history books, and now that the smoke has cleared from the shimnanigan-filled afterparty, it’s time to go back and review an absolutely amazing day of action. In my opinion, Day Two (encompassing Vols 43 & 44) was a stronger day of tapings than Day One, featuring many great matches and topped off with a history making Vol 44.
In male pre-show action, the team of Knight Wagner, Jordan McIntyre and the indiest man alive (a wrestler I failed to identify, but who wore the indytastic combination of a mask, t-shirt and pleather pants) defeated Team CLASH. After that, SPARKLE action saw Jett Riley & Kimberley Maddox beat December & Buggy Nova, while KC Spinelli pinned Su Yung with a hard powerslam.
1. LuFisto pinned Maja Svensson with the Mangalizer.
2. ReGeneration X (Allison Danger & Leva Bates) beat Sassy Stephie & Nevaeh after a Sonic Screwdriver on Stephie.
3. Nicole Matthews pinned Davina Rose with a Roll Of The Dice.
4. Hiroyo Matsumoto defeated Kellie Skater with a side suplex.
5. Saraya Knight pinned Ariel after a Sunset Flip Powerbomb.
6. Courtney Rush pinned Nikki Roxx following an Angle Slam.
7. Yumi Ohka pinned Mia Yim with a bridging Tiger Suplex.
8. MsChif pinned Tomoka Nakagawa after a Desecrator.
9. Mercedes Martinez & Athena went to a double countout. After the match, Athena wanted to restart, but Martinez walked off.
10. Jessie McKay pinned Britani Knight following a Boyfriend Stealer. Afterwards, Saraya Knight came out and berated Britani for letting down the Knight family name, and disowned her – suggesting she could put out a want ad and find a better daughter than Britani. Britani eventually snapped and the two brawled in a breathtaking extended pull-apart brawl. Britani vows to leave, but wants one match with her mother on Vol 44 to settle it all.
11. Serena Deeb pinned Portia Perez in an amazing no holds barred match, after spearing Perez off a table the two were standing on at the time.
12. Cheerleader Melissa defeated Kana after an Air Raid Crash. Post match, ring announcer Joey Eastman revealed that the win made Melissa the new top contender for Madison Eagles’ SHIMMER Championship.
13. SHIMMER Tag Team Titles: Ayako Hamada & Ayumi Kurihara (c) defeated Madison Eagles & Sara Del Rey to retain their titles after Hamada pinned Del Rey with an AP Cross.
1. Kellie Skater pinned Davina Rose after a Skate or Die.
2. Taylor Made pinned Veda Scott with a neckbreaker.
3. Kalamity pinned Tomoka Nakagawa with a Kalamity Driver.
4. Sassy Stephie & Neveah beat Ashley Lane & Mia Yim with a Kiss My Sass from Stephie on Yim. Former partners Nevaeh & Ashley Lane had already brawled to the back.
5. Serena Deeb pinned Yumi Ohka with a Spear.
6. ReGeneration X, Christina Von Eerie & MsChif beat Mena Libra, Melanie Cruise, She Nay Nay & Bonesaw when Von Eerie pinned She Nay Nay with a Pedigree.
7. Hiroyo Matsumoto pinned Jessie McKay with a side suplex.
8. Sara Del Rey pinned Courtney Rush with a Royal Butterfly.
9. Athena beat Mercedes Martinez via DQ when Martinez blatantly used a steel chair to attack the ankle of Athena. This seemed to cement a double turn, as Martinez was booed, while Athena was cheered. Athena pledged to get back at Martinez, but claimed she thought her leg was broken.
10. Kana beat LuFisto with the Kana Lock.
11. Britani Knight pinned Saraya Knight in a no DQ match with a Knight Light DDT.
12. SHIMMER Tag Team Titles: Ayako Hamada & Ayumi Kurihara (c) beat The Canadian NINJAs (Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews) after Kurihara pinned Perez after an Exploder Suplex.
13. SHIMMER Title: Cheerleader Melissa pinned Madison Eagles (c) with a rollup after escaping the Hellbound – NEW CHAMPION. After celebrating with the fans, Melissa was jumped and assaulted by Nicole Matthews, who claimed that this was “her time” now.
Click after the jump for more thoughts